Gramophone Dreams #22: Koss, Focal, iFi Contacts

Sidebar: Contacts

Koss Corporation, 4129 N. Port Washington Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Tel: (800) 872-5677. Web: www.koss.com.

Focal-JMlab, 108 rue de l'avenir, 42353 La Talaudière cedex, France. Tel: (33) 04-77-43-57-00. Web: www.focal.com. US distributor: Focal North America, 313 Rue Marion, Repentigny, Quebec QC J5Z 4N8, Canada. Tel: (800) 000-0001, (844) 362-2562. Web: www.focal.com/us.

iFi Audio, 139-141 Cambridge Road, Churchtown, Southport PR9 7LN, Merseyside, England, UK. Web: www.ifi-audio.com. US: iFi Audio (USA), 105 Professional Parkway, Suite 1519, Yorktown, VA 23693.



ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
Bogolu Haranath's picture

. HR made it "clear" .......... A "clear" winner ...............

dalethorn's picture

My headphone pusher (the Pusher Man, heh) tried really hard to get me to buy the Clear, but I wisely resisted, thinking that the improvement from the Elear was likely to be very minimal. But, AudioAdvisor was selling AudioQuest NightOwls for $400 (originally $700), so I bought one of those instead. And wouldn't you know it, they made it a little worse than the NightHawk I bought a couple of years ago. The NightOwl treble is a little worse (and choppy), and where the NightHawk had a good deep bass with some extra warmth in the upper bass, the NightOwl bass is just plain weak.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Agreed with everything you said ........... I own Night Owls as well ....... I agree with your assessment about their sound .......... They need a long break-in ...... You may notice some improvement in sound after the break-in ........ Get Clears ........ I am sure you will be as happy as HR and Tyll ......... BTW, I got both the Pine and Faust recordings of Bach .......... The Pine recording sounds nice and warm with more body and weight to the sound (more to my liking) ..........The Faust recording (like you said) sounds somewhat (mildly) lean and bright (to me) .......

dalethorn's picture

I reread the Innerfidelity review of the Clear. Not for me. For starters, fabric earpads - hate 'em. Secondly, the response looks a little ragged and bright, as he noted in the review (but downplayed). Then there's the approximately 60 ohm nominal impedance that hits a whopping 330 ohms in the bass, centered around 50-60 hz. No wonder the bass has issues! I'll be on the lookout for something similar that doesn't have a big impedance spike, that gets its best response with pleather pads, and looks a little smoother in the treble.

I wish I still had the Sennheiser HD800 and a couple other headphones I didn't measure when I had them - I have a pretty good mental frame of reference as to how they sounded (slightly bright or peaky), but I don't have any good reason to get them back.

dalethorn's picture

With most headphones for most users, by the time they have 500 hours on them they're already being replaced, not to mention deterioration of sound due to earpad wear. With the NightOwl and most premium headphones, a shorter break-in period of 30-40 hours takes most of the edges off, but rarely if ever changes the basic frequency response or cures obvious resonances.

In the specific case of this NightOwl, with a carefully applied EQ the sound is surprisingly good. In fact, playing the amazing Tutt-Keltner Drum Improvisation track, the razor-sharp detail is so good and with the upper harmonics stretching out to infinity, I'll bet it would compete with the Focal Clear. Very few headphones have that clarity and resolution well above 10 khz as the NightOwl does, and I didn't apply any EQ above 8 khz.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Ok, noted .... Where did you get that Tutt-Keltner recording? Can you provide me some info, like full name of the artist(s) and the name of the album? .......... I like to get it ........... Thanks .....

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Ok, I found it ......... It is Sheffield drum and track record ....... I also, found another Sheffield drum and track record released in 2008, which I downloaded .......... Thanks .......

dalethorn's picture

While the PortaPro might seem like a real dog given its price, I borrowed one from a friend recently since I had never heard it, and I was surprised how good it was. I've gotten much worse in the $200-$300 range.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Portapros could be a good "entry level" 'phones for a budding headphonophile .............

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