Monday, March 19, 2007

Headphiles unite

What do a bunch of audiophiles with a limited budget who want to enjoy their music without waking up their neighbours in the middle of the night do ? Introducing the headphiles - audiophiles and their headphones which is now becoming a cheaper way to enjoy high quality music.

Since I've always been interested in music and have heard a few audiophile (stereo) solid state amp setup that starts from a modest RM 2k all the way to more than I will ever want to spend on a sound system with tube amps setup I was wondering how a small pair of headphones would be able to match such setups. So I decided to join an headphilers gathering at one of the members house somewhere in KL.

First of all thanks goes out to the host who has graciously allowed us to use his room as a gathering point at first I was in doubt as to how 20 people are going to fit into a house let alone a room until I saw the picture of the house we are suppose to go to.

So I reached there slightly after lunch time not knowing what to expect as this was my first time attending such a gathering but as everyone started coming one by one the fun part began and the headphones were brought out to be tested.

Now we're not talking about those normal headphones that you find in the supermarket or Jusco or your normal retail stores but these are audiophile grade headphones that you have to either get from a proper audiophile/hi-fi shop or order it from overseas. There were the likes of Sennheiser, BeyerDynamics, Grado, AKG and a few more brands that I can't recall at the moment. There were also some IEM that made an appearance but obviously everyone was eagerly waiting for the appearance of the AKG K701 and Grado RS-1.

The AKG K701 will set you back about RM 1.5k where else the Grado RS-1 about RM2.5-2.8k if I remember the prices correctly. Yup just for a pair of headphones !!! Well lucky for me I will not have to fork out that kinda money to have a listen to them and see what the hype was all about. There were too many people surrounding the K701 so I decided to head straight to the RS-1 and test them out. The first impression I had was how real and airy the acoustic guitar sounded. You could hear the plucking of the strings in great detail but then again the headphones were amped which would have definately made a difference as well.

I also had the chance to test out the HD580, HD650 and Allesandro MS2i. All of them hover around the RM1k range and though I have always liked the sound of the Sennheisers I absolutely loved how the MS2i sounded and it plays a wide range of music. I manage to listen to them amped and unamped and though it did sound kinda dull with a lower soundstage it still sounded awesome to me. OMG here comes the poison ....

Other headphones that made their apperances together with their amps to drive them and not forgetting the various sources available.