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DKims

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About DKims

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  1. Actually I tried Hamachi first. But they said Hamachi will never work here and said to get a proper VPN. Tunngle is dead I'm pretty sure.
  2. It was recommended I get a VPN by the help desk. I did originally think about getting a VPS, but since I was going to get a VPN I thought about trying it out for a bit.
  3. Unfortunately my roommate is actually no longer my roommate. I was living with him over the summer temporarily. My university also does not allow routers unless we take them into the university help desk to get the wifi disabled (effectively making them glorified ethernet switches, but we aren't allowed to use regular switches either since it causes security flags in the building's switch to go off). I saw AirVPN have something with an exit-ip, do you know what that is exactly?
  4. Hi, I'm looking for help setting up a MC server using Torguard. I live on a university campus and the network does not allow for my server to be visible (expected). I bought Torguard in hopes of being able to host my server that I was using over the summer (and not pay as much for AirVPN, but it already looks like I'll have to cancel Torguard and go for AirVPN), but any attempts I've made so far have been futile. I didn't buy a dedicated IP (didn't think I would need it). I don't have much knowledge on VPNs (in fact, let's just consider it nothing since I only know to change the VPN server to play anime games on Japanese servers) and I need some help. Might sound silly to have spent money on a VPN just for MC but I was going to get one that was better than a free one eventually since I also have a dedicated server machine so I assure you I am using it for other more useful things (like (attempting to) build backend stuff as a practice project since I'm a CS major). Going back to MC just seemed better that playing League in season 8 so it just kinda happened between me and my roommate
  5. Yes, but for a reputable brand to price a product like this at $100 is disappointing. I forgot to mention it in my review but even my Corsair Vengeance 1500 V2 from 4 years ago sounds much better than these other than in detail. I stopped using those but decided to compare them to the K182s.
  6. So a little while back, I decided that I wanted to buy a secondary pair of headphones to my HE560s. Being a college student who regularly uses the loud and crowded buses to get around the campus, I needed a decent closed pair of headphones to take around with me. After a few weeks of searching, I found the AKG K182 on Ebay that had a starting bid of $40. After losing multiple bids on the Audeze EL-8C, I decided to just go for this pair since no one seemed to really be that interested. I later found out that this pair is worth $100 so I think I got a bargain So for $100 what do you get (or for $40 if you can find them)? Build and Comfort: In short, it's pretty good. The plastic seems thick and heavy duty, the headband and folding joints have a rubberized feel and coating on some parts that feel pretty good but I'm not sure why they went for that. The ear cups are a smooth, matte black plastic that feel solid and don't seem to scratch unless you intentionally pressed your keys against them. The rubber cable is OK. It's definitely too long and there isn't a short cable included, which is weird since these were meant for on the go use. The cable isn't the straightest either and doesn't like to stay straight even after a bit of cable training. You can also hear the cable if it rubs on your shirt or zipper inside the left cup, which may not seem that bad, but you can hear it clearly and right passed the music you're listening to. There are two downsides to the build and comfort, though: creaking and the earpads. These creak quite a bit. I mean just pressing the headphones slightly made them creak and that sound goes straight into the cups so you can hear them clearly. This is a pretty big disappointment since I readjust them quite often while on the bus from all the moving around that I do while the bus is moving. This might not be a big deal for the people who will only use them indoors but it becomes a problem for people who want to use them on the go - just like they're meant to be used. The earpads... oh god the pads. To be frank, they're not the worst. They could be M40X levels of bad, but they aren't. They seem durable enough to last a good while, and they aren't filled with hard foam. However, the pleather feels cheap (how did Hardware Canucks think that they were leather? If this is real leather, then this is the cheapest leather that I've ever seen) and they are deceptively shallow. What does that mean? They look pretty deep at first, but as soon as you put them on, you realize that they actually aren't. My ears were easily able to touch the driver (my ears aren't big either) and after about 30 minutes, my ears were in enough pain to just take them off and not wear them for a few hours. The opening is decently large and really can't be anymore than what it already is because of the size of the cup. I don't fully blame the pads, though. I think that the driver is way too far out and should've been deeper in the cup and angled. They're conveniently labeled L and R in a huge font so at least there's that. The headband doesn't help either. The headband has a small and hard pad at the top that's just really uncomfortable. To be fair, it's much better than feeling the plastic of the headband but being better than a plastic mold isn't really anything to brag about. After about 30 minutes (again), I started to get a headache at the top of my head from the pad being uncomfortable. The clamp isn't bad, it's actually fairly good. But that's really all I have to say about the comfort. The isolation is pretty good - any sound in the headphone is kept inside pretty well (I was listening to them at around 70 dB) and noises from outside, other than the loud as fuck droning sound of the bus was kept out pretty well. Build: 7/10. Creaks way too much and pads feel cheap. Cable also takes off points. Comfort: 4/10. Can't really figure out why people are saying these are comfortable. Maybe they're coming from non-pad rolled M40s or on ear headphones? Sound: These are pretty easy to drive. I plugged them into my Audio-GD NFB 11.28 and only had to go up to 9 o'clock on low gain. My reference is the HE560s. Let's get this out of the way. I don't like the sound. In any way. It is very thin sounding and muffled. Sound stage is non-existent, and imaging goes about as far as LEFT, RIGHT and CENTER. They do improve in sound when put on an amp like the NFB 11 but that's really not a good thing since the NFB 11 is more than 3x the price of the headphones. You almost never want to spend more on the amp/DAC than the headphones themselves, especially budget options. I also tried them on an SMSL X4 portable DAC/amp and they sounded decent there too, but compared to the NFB 11, it was pretty disappointing. Even when put on an amp like the NFB 11, they don't sound great anyway. I'm having a hard time saying that they're even just OK at $100 or even $40, which is what I got them for. The fact that the K182s are that sensitive to the amp that they are fed from is really disappointing for an on the go pair of headphones. Treble: The treble sticks out way too much, which is partly why the sound is so thin. Mid Treble: Muffled. All I have to say. Mids: Thin and also muffled sounding. Decent for male vocals. Bass and Sub-Bass: It's certainly there, but this is what really contributes to the headphones sounding thin. Bass drum kicks are extremely digital sounding, and again, thin. There's almost no sub bass to back it up with impact or bloom, so the bass just sound empty. Sometimes, on electronic music, it just sounds like a one-note fart. That's not exactly how it is obviously, but that was the first that came to mind. These are extremely boring. The HE560s, which many people thought were boring and did not have enough bass (which is I think is ridiculous but to each their own since we're talking about headphones), were much more enjoyable to listen to. The K182s were just not full sounding, it was almost as if there were a bunch of one note sounds playing instead of all of them meshing together. That also contributed somewhat to the muffled sound. It's not even like these were really detailed and "revealing" so that they're "great for studio use." Overall the K182s were pretty forgiving of many of the tracks that I had that were poorly mastered. Not much of anything was revealed and bass details felt lost. Without the NFB 11 or even the X4, everything was just flat out worse. Sound: 5/10. At least they aren't Beats or the crappy old Sony's from a few years ago. New Pads: So recently (at the time of writing), my HE560s had to be replaced (again. Seriously starting to question the driver life span) so I returned them and obviously with the stock pads. Then I got the idea of putting on the ZMF Ori pads that were on the 560s on the K182s. This is the result: They look pretty ridiculous since the pads aren't meant for cups this small. Although the since the cups look like they're layered, it doesn't look all the bad. Overall, there was improvement to everything. Especially comfort. My ears no longer were touching the driver and I was able to wear these for a longer period of time (but not like hours longer, maybe about an hour and a half longer, which is much better than before). The headache at the top of my head is still there after some time. Sound was also improved overall, but not enough in my opinion. There were some downsides to these pads too. Treble: SSSSSSSSSSibilance. The treble was pulled back slightly but, high hats were painful to listen to. It was bad enough to make me change my foobar layout to have an EQ even though I never use EQ (I like to listen to headphones and music the way they were meant to be). I lowered the 14kHz range about 4dB. And the S's. THE S's OH GOD THE "SSSSSSSSSSS" IT HURTS. Mids: Since the treble was pulled back a bit, the mids were much clearer and did not seem as pulled back. But again, there was some added sibilance, making the higher notes for female vocals shouty. Bass: Much better than before but still not there as much as it should be unless the track had been mastered to have stupid amounts of bass. Sound stage is somewhat there now and imaging is still LEFT, RIGHT, and CENTER. Overall, improvement is there, but the sound is still thin and somewhat muffled and there is added sibilance. Some thin felt around the insides of the pads should fix this but not worth the fix in my opinion. The ZMF Ori pads are $60 without shipping. That makes these headphones around $160 if you add these pads and you still have to consider adding a felt ring on the inner parts of the pads to counter the sibilance. This is seriously not worth the price and even at $40 for the headphones alone, this is not worth it. Edit: Tested with SMSL X4 and ZMF Ori Pads Much better than with NFB11.28. Sibilance is less than before but still there since the Wolfson DAC is much warmer than the Sabre DAC. Detail is lost but it's better than sibilance. I still have the EQ set to pull the mids and highs back a bit. 6/10 with a Wolfson DAC. 6.5/10 once my EQ is dialed in. Overall: At $100, I don't think these are worth it. There are better options for under that price and especially when you factor in the mods that were mentioned above. There are many open pairs that will simply outclass these cans for lower and even for closed there are a few options like the M40s, which are slightly more but need a pad upgrade, and the Status Audio CB-1s (although the build is no where near as good, the comfort is way better at stock). At $40, they might be worth it. They're better than most cheap, celebrity branded/common (Sony from a few years ago) options so they might be worth buying as a backup pair (and they don't look ridiculous at stock like the Koss Porta Pros). But I say that with a bit of hesitation. The pickiness of amp/DAC is also a big downside since these are meant for on the go use. Overall: 5/10. The only thing going for these is the build quality. At $100 these are simply not worth the price and I simply cannot understand how these got any good reviews. Decent I can understand, good? Not really.
  7. Before Reading: I'm not really a fan of using super colorful words because they really aren't helpful for people just starting out so I will try not to use them. Everything here is MY IMPRESSION. This means that some things will not be the same for you. If there's one thing that I've learned from this hobby, it's that everyone is different so my impression will be different from yours. Also my bank account hates me for getting into this. I'm pretty much just writing down whatever I think without paying too much attention to what others may think, kinda like Zeos I guess, but with less "it sounds like UUUUUUGH" - Zeos 2017, and a little more describing of how they sound. Reviews that I write up will most likely not have pictures. I don't think it's worth the effort taking pictures through my phone and moving them to my computer (especially when you can just look them up online for products that have been out for a while) unless there are anomalies or things that I think I need to clarify. I buy anything I feel like reviewing, just like pretty much every reviewer on this forum. I am not paid by any companies or sent any products for review. I'm just some guy that likes to share his opinion. IMPORTANT: It is crucial that you read this section. I mentioned this in my review of the Sennheiser HD598s and I will mention this in any write that I do. The scoring in the SOUND and OVERALL sections are relative. This means that the scores in other sections will all a regular 0-10 scale. An 8 is good and a 1 is garbage like in a normal scale. However in the sound and overall sections, an 8/10 in one review does not mean it is equivalent to an 8/10 in another review (a one is still garbage). This is to give me a wider range of ratings without making the scale extremely wide, which makes things hard to really compare (and a 40/100 does not look good even if I say that it is good) and this will prevent perfect scores since no headphone is perfect. This is largely to keep things in different price brackets somewhat away from each other. For example, the HD598s that I gave an 8/10 will definitely not be the same as or even close to a 9/10 that I give to higher end headphones. The 8/10 will most likely be equivalent to a 6/10 in the review for the higher end cans. This allows them to be comparative in some ways while also distinguishing the price differences. An 8/10 is still very good for any review, but just remember it is relative to the products in the same price bracket, so it is definitely not the same as an 8/10 for an LCD-2 type of review, which are about 6x more MSRP (an example. I don't own LCD-2s). Review: The SMSL M3. A budget DAC Amp combo that supposedly delivers great sound for a great price. At $83.99, it is clearly a direct competitor to the Schiit Fulla 2 and the Fiio E10k (although it sits in the middle of the two in terms of price), and is about $30 greater than the FX Audio DAC-x6. Unfortunately I do not own any of the other amps to compare, and the only other amp I have to compare the M3 to is the NFB 11.28, a significantly more expensive DAC Amp combo. With that said, there will be some comparisons in order to clarify and better illustrate some things (just no direct sound comparisons). Specs: Output levels:1.9Vrms THD+N:0.0006% Dynamic Range:112dB SNR:107dB CHANNEL separation:105dB 32Ω 108mW @THD=0.1% 64Ω 85mW @THD=0.1% 150Ω 49mW @THD=0.001% 300Ω 24mW @THD=0.001% THD+N:0.0002% SNR:100dB 24-bit 92khz over USB 24-bit 192khz over optical or COAX I'm not completely sure about output impedance but I believe it is .1 ohms. I could be wrong because someone is saying that it is 10 ohms on another forum. Looks and Build The M3 comes packaged in a small square looking (but not, so don't try to force it back in the wrong way) white box with black text and designs, which looks very nice. Be careful when you take off the outer covering of the inner box since once you take it off, the M3 can fall right out if the box is upside down (the top of the box is open and only covered by the outer shell). Once you take the cover off you'll see, what is thankfully, soft cell foam. A little unnecessary for such a small and tightly packed product but it is definitely not a downside; better safe than sorry. The box also has the specs listed out on the side, which is convenient. Under the M3 and its protective foam, you'll find a white micro usb to micro usb cable, a decently long (I think 6ft) white usb A to micro usb cable, and a 3.5mm to quarter inch adapter. I'll get to why I italicized later, but it might be pretty obvious after reading this part. The SMSL M3 has a metal housing, with a matte black finish and non-sharp edges (looking at you Schiit). At the front (from left), you'll see the power button, which has a white LED, a grid of more white LED indicators, a quarter inch jack (fun fact the headphone jack is the socket, not the plug, which I may be guilty for mixing in my HD598 review), and a volume pot. The volume pot is plastic and also finished with a matte black paint and ridged for grip. On the back (from left), you'll see RCA outputs for both right and left channel, COAX input (IN 3), Optical (IN 2), micro USB (IN 1), and another micro USB (IN DC) for power. In short, the M3 is very well built and looks great, without attracting finger prints unless you have oily or sweaty hands. The volume pot feels very nice to turn too. The problem comes in with the WHITE CABLES. It's a very minor complaint and it's certainly not as bad as the blue, aquamarine-ish, transparent and thick USB cable that Audio-gd gives but why would you ship a BLACK DAC Amp with WHITE cables? The Audio-gd cable isn't even that bad since the amp is so big that it pretty much hides the cable if you put it at the back of your desk. The M3, on the other hand, is small so it definitely won't be at the back of any desk since the volume pot has to be reachable, and it doesn't cover the cable because it's small and not at the back of the desk. Again, a minor complaint, but extremely annoying at the same time. The white LEDS on the other hand are not really minor. Yes, they are not blue, thank you, but they are tiny, bright, fuck you LEDS that don't even look dimmer when you look at it from above like with the NFB 11.28, which has a tiny, bright, fuck you blue LED but looks dimmer at an angle and it only has ONE. The M3 has one big tiny, bright, fuck you LED and another 3 other smaller tiny, bright, fuck you LEDs. I think you get the point now. With that said, if you don't stare at them at night or you have brighter things near it like monitors, it really isn't too bad. Still very distracting and somewhat painful at times. Looks and build: 9/10. Fucking LEDs Features Let's start from the front again. The power button is actually more of a standby button. Holding the button turns on the DAC and Amp. Holding it again turn it off. Strangely SMSL decided that the standby should shut off both the amp and DAC, which makes Foobar freak out. If there is a later revision of this, the DAC should at least stay on. The power button also has another function when turned on. Pressing it changes the input modes, leading into the next feature, the grid of LEDs. The first column indicates inputs 1, 2, and 3 (USB, Optical, COAX respectively). The next sets of LEDs indicate the sample rate. The sample rate changes automatically depending on the source. Initially it will start with 44khz when Windows starts but it will eventually go to what Windows outputs. One thing to remember is that the M3 is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH 16 BIT AUDIO - only 24 bit, which is fine, just set Windows and Foobar to output 24 bits. The quarter inch jack is hardly a feature and honestly every amp should just use quarter inch except for the thin, portable amps. Although this is portable, it is clearly meant to be used as a desktop amp that can be connected and powered by a phone. The volume knob for the pot feels like plastic ridges with a metal cap - not too sure and I can't confirm anymore since I sold it to the same friend who bought the HD598s from me (again, two days ago as of writing this review). I can say, though, that the volume pot feels very smooth and it is most likely logarithmic since sound levels are logarithmic. Moving on to the back. I've already listed the possible inputs and outputs so I won't be explaining those any further. Things to note are that the RCA outputs are LINE OUT meaning they do not control the volume. The RCA outs are mostly for using the M3 as a pure DAC and connecting it to an external amp. The optical and coax inputs are the only ways to get 24 bit 192khz because the USB input only goes up to 92khz, so if you have optical you might as well use it. Here's the important part. The IN1 (USB) and IN DC (also USB) are completely different things. IN1 does data and power so if there is a USB connected to IN1, IN DC does not function. You do not get extra power from plugging in a second USB cable. As this suggests, IN DC only does DC power and is for using the amp with coax or optical inputs. If you are going to use coax or optical, you will most likely have to use IN DC and not IN1. I'm not sure if IN1 is even functional while optical and IN DC are plugged in - I don't have optical or coax because MSI decided that it would be smart to remove it for more random analog jacks that have bullshit features on them (Like Surround Sound). It doesn't matter since it's not like having all them of them would affect anything. The input selection will just ignore other inputs. Interestingly the amp portion is more of a feature to the M3. It is not even listed under the amp portion on their website, only under DACs. It's also always on high gain, as there is no gain switch. DOES NOT WORK WITH APPLE PRODUCTS. Don't ask why, that's just how its made. I guess it's the plug and play aspect of it, since a lot of plug and play products seem to be like this. Features: 9/10. For this price it's pretty good but a gain switch would've been nice to have rather than the array of LEDs. While they are convenient and look cool, a gain switch would make these better for IEMs. What Can It Drive? Unfortunately I only have (had, sold my HD598s around two days before the writing of this review) two headphones to vouch for. People have reported that they can drive HD650s to decent levels because they are somewhat sensitive headphones. What I can say, though, is that these surprised me quite a bit. My usual listening levels are around 80db for any loud music and 60db for classical music. Unsurprisingly, these can drive HD598s easily and can reach 85db at around 9-10 o'clock depending on the track. However, the real kicker is that these can get HE560s to 86db max (from my measurements) and that was honestly too loud for me anyway. At my normal listening volumes, I was anywhere between 11 to 2 o'clock on the volume pot, which didn't give it much headroom until max since the dial can only turn to 5 o'clock. I am certain that if these can drive HE560s, anything else that is more efficient will be driven properly by this amp. Drive: 7/10. It can drive my HE560s to reasonable levels but I cannot say anything for high impedance headphones or more inefficient ones but I'm pretty sure the more inefficient planars would not get passed 70db. That said, pretty damn good. Sound So, it can drive HE560s to comfortable and satisfying listening levels (unless you're a fiend and listen to music at 90db), but does it drive them properly? Let's start with the HD598s first. I mentioned in my HD598 review that these do in fact make them sound better, and a noticeable yet somewhat subtle difference from on board audio. The difference wasn't too noticeable at first but going back to on board, I could immediately tell the difference. Compared to on board, the bass was more controlled, detailed and not overrunning the mids. In general, the bass was very clean. Mids had a lot of vocal clarity and were generally brought out more and highs were much clearer and less veiled on the 598s. With the HD598s already being mid centric and bass light, it was a little annoying to have the bass pulled back slightly. It was more pleasant to have them controlled and not muddy, but the HD598s were already known for having less bass than other headphones, so that put me off a little. There wasn't any impact in sub bass but that was because of the headphones and not the amp itself. Mids were absolutely magical on this combo and gave me the chills everytime (listen to Walkure from Macross Delta for mid centric music, they are amazing). The highs that were veiled were also brought back, but without the sibilance, so they still had less highs than other cans but they were definitely better than the on board audio. Sound stage was noticeably wider than on board and imaging/positional audio was slightly improved but not by much. The HD598s are not exactly great at positional audio from my experience. HD598 combo: 7/10. Kinda lifeless in songs that are mastered that way, but I don't fault the amp for that. It will really depend on the track. Although the bass was pulled back and highs were brought out, this amp is actually slightly warmer than what I would consider neutral. It's just that the on-board was a cluster fuck of garbage pulled through Realtek's CEO's ass and passed right into MSI's CEO's hands who just smashed it all together then went about his day without washing his hands of the disgusting material. All of which made the M3 sound brighter/neutral. Some compared this to the Fulla 2 and Magni Modi combo (for some reason) and stated that both were brighter/neutral compared to the M3. The M3 is stated, for the most part, to be more detailed than the E10k. Now for the HE560s. This is going to be difficult to describe without direct comparisons to my NFB 11 and reviewing the HE560s at the same time (which I haven't written yet so I'd rather not say too much), but I will try my best. I honestly did not think that this was a bad combo in anyway. The SMSL M3 was surprisingly engaging and nothing sounded thin or tinny. With the HE560, the sound was slightly (like very slightly) warm with bass having impact and the low rumbles in electronic music was very fun to listen to. Mids were still very clear and distinct and highs were clearly more present than the HD598s which was somewhat fatiguing, but that is the fault of the headphones and not the amp. It is not NFB 11 in terms of highs, since those are ear rape with highs and this pair of cans. That being said, it was clear to me, even without having listened to higher end amps before the NFB 11, the M3 struggled with bass extension and even some bass detail. There were times that the bass was not as clear or the grungy-ness was too amplified or not there. Bass control was clearly a problem. In any tracks with somewhat louder bass, the bass almost always had the rumble and punch to it, which was fun to listen to, but it was almost always there (which will be a turn off for some people in certain tracks). It did not overflow into the mids and did not detract from the music (in fact I think I prefer this). With classical music, I wasn't blown away by this combo. It wasn't bad - clarity was still fine - but the highs (while not veiled) didn't have the sparkle that I wanted to hear from a violin or piano (although it was great for piccolo, flutes and high octave clarinets because no ear rape and fuck piccolo players). This was strange but I'm guessing it was due to the recordings and the amp not being super neutral). It was certainly better than the highs of the HD598s IMO. I don't want make a direct comparison with the NFB 11 so I will leave it there. HE560 combo: 7.5/10. It was definitely fun to listen to this combo but bass in heavy bass or low level bass tracks, while not thin sounding, had clear control issues. Some will be able to tell (although anyone who hasn't listened to anything more than Beats or Streets by 50 won't because they don't know much better), and most audiophiles will pick up on this. I did enjoy the M3 more than the NFB 11 in some of the bass light or mid heavy tracks because it was more engaging, which is a huge plus. I saw one report that there is channel imbalance at lower positions on the volume pot. I looked around for similar posts and could not find any. While I do not have IEMs to test this and really no longer have the amp on me, I can say that I did not hear any channel imbalance with either of the headphones I tested. Noise could not be heard with both headphones either with the volume pot maxed out. I would be wary about the imbalance and noise with IEMs if you have them (will have an update once I get earbuds or IEMs). Overall If you're on a tight budget and you don't plan on buying planars that are more inefficient than the HE560 (HE400i and HE400s are less sensitive and may be better with the M3) or don't plan on buying planars at all, this is definitely a good budget option. It's compact enough to be taken around, has a quarter inch jack, good build, looks, and features. It even sounds pretty good and is, in my opinion, more engaging and fun, at times, than the more neutral NFB 11 (not all the time but I'll get into that in my NFB 11.28 review, which will not be out until I finish the HE560 review, which will most likely not be out until I get my Ori pads from Massdrop, which are estimated to ship on October 31, so not for a while). I would definitely take this over the E10k, since the E10k doesn't really have as many features (the bass boost is pretty much unusable) and the M3 just sounds more detailed in the lows. I cannot say anything about the Fulla 2 personally since I have never heard it, but I'm sure there is a comparison somewhere online. I hope that in later revisions, and there better be some, the LEDs are less fuck you and more "here's some info you might want to actually look at without hurting your eyes" (keep them white though, just dimmer), the DAC isn't shut off when in standby, and a high low gain switch is added. Highly recommended at this price (especially for dynamic headphones), and even more if you can get one for cheaper. Overall: 8.5/10. It does what it says and I really enjoyed listening to music through this DAC Amp combo. This review is subject to change. Not in opinion but in content. I will add an IEM section, although the IEMs are cheap MEE Audio instead of their more expensive line, since I don't really have earbuds or IEMs. They're not coming in for a while because I ordered them off Massdrop. Some of the wording may be edited as well since I wrote this at 4AM.
  8. I forgot Audio GD was a thing. I'll go check that out. Also I have an ODAC.
  9. I do have a DAC. The tube amp was really just recommendations with the HE560 so I'm just trying to do some research before buying stuff. Also I thought hybrids were a little less veiled than a pure tube amp.
  10. Is there anything that doesn't add a "veil"? I like the highs the way they are, just don't want to add anymore.
  11. Just as the title says. I'm willing to spend (well I have to save up first) to spend around $500 (that includes the price of tubes if tube/hybrid amp is recommended). The Lyr 2 is recommended for these, and I was planning to save up for them with a pair of Gold Lion tubes, but I want to know if there are any other alternatives around this price point (or less). Originally I was just going to get a Magni 2 but apparently it is brighter than other amps, and the HE560's are bright enough for me.
  12. Before Reading: I'm not really a fan of using super colorful words because they really aren't helpful for people just starting out so I will try not to use them. Everything here is MY IMPRESSION. This means that some things will not be the same for you. If there's one thing that I've learned from this hobby, it's that everyone is different so my impression will be different from yours. Also my bank account hates me for getting into this. I'm pretty much just writing down whatever I think without paying too much attention to what others may think, kinda like Zeos I guess, but with less "it sounds like UUUUUUGH" - Zeos 2017, and a little more describing of how they sound. Reviews that I write up will most likely not have pictures. I don't think it's worth the effort taking pictures through my phone and moving them to my computer (especially when you can just look them up online for headphones that have been out for a while) unless there are anomalies or things that I think I need to clarify. I buy anything I feel like reviewing, just like pretty much every reviewer on this forum. I am not paid by any companies or sent any products for review. I'm just some guy that likes to share his opinion. Things I Used For This Review: DAC/Amp: SMSL M3 (getting another amp soon, keeping the M3 as a DAC) Comparision(s): Corsair Vengeance 1500v2, On-Board Audio (Desktop, laptop, phone) Program(s): Foobar2000 (using WASAPI Event so that Windows doesn't interrupt me with any notifications), Room EQ Wizard, Sound Level Meter (Android app). Review: Build and Comfort: I'm going to be honest I'm not very good at judging build quality. Many products that are highly regarded as "high build quality" never really seem that way to me. The same goes for the HD598's. It's built using mostly plastic, although I will admit that the plastic does some somewhat sturdy. Any plastic that is exposed seems pretty thick (and dense) so I wouldn't worry about it cracking from low drops or accidentally hitting it on something. I've seen people in other reviews bending the head band almost fully backwards without it snapping, which is really impressive, but I still wouldn't trust this thing to survive a fall from my head. The size adjustment is what I'm worried about the most since they are the biggest failure point in the build. That isn't to say that they aren't good, the easy readjustment feels good and stays without any trouble, but relative to the rest of the build, I would be more careful with them. Any doubts I have about the build are most likely due to how light the headphones are. The leather (at least what seems like real leather to me - certainly smells like it) is a nice touch on the head band. It doesn't feel scratchy and should last a really long time. The stitching, while very uniform and good looking, just looks and feels like it will come apart just from touching it. It hasn't happened yet so hopefully it stays that way. The ear pads are velour and feel very soft and comfortable. I'm not sure how long these will last but I've had cheap (and I mean CHEAP) velour pads last an unreasonable amount of time without any sign of wear, so these will probably last even longer (I'm guessing maybe 8 years before signs of wear). They aren't particularly thick and the ear cups are not very deep, so the tips of my ears touch the inside of the cup and starts to hurt after 6 hours or so; they don't create a complete seal against my head either. I have relatively normal sized ears so this won't be a problem for anyone with smaller ears. For the seal, I wish the pads were thicker but I'm really skinny and my head is not very big so they should be fine for about 90% of people. If you're thinking about pad rolling, I would consider otherwise because I couldn't find any pads that properly fit these and the sound will most likely change. Whether it changes for the better or worse, I don't think it's worth the trouble of finding pads that fit. I mentioned this already, but the headphones are light. VERY light. I would probably forget they were there if I couldn't feel the velour and didn't have music blasting into my ears. I can listen to these for 12 hours straight without feeling any discomfort at the top of my head (a big problem for my Corsair's and my HE560). If it weren't for the fact that I could wear these for extended period of time, I would've rated these at a 7/10 for build and comfort. The ear cups do start to hurt a little but after re-adjusting the cups for a few seconds the irritation goes away. Build and Comfort: 8.5/10 Design: Not a lot of people seem to be fans of the design, particularly the color. The cream and brown color is a real turn off for some people and many go for the black HD598 special edition. Personally I really like this design. I tried to find these all over on Ebay and ended up paying $30 over the black special edition that was on sale on Amazon, just for the original design ($163 was what I bought them for). Worth? "Hell yeah.." -imaqtpie 2016. The brown marble looking ring on each side is really nice around the silver ring and the black outer cover of the driver. These are certainly fashion cans even if they are open and don't sound like SMS Audio Streets by 50. If it weren't for the HE560's I'd give these a 9/10. I'm not sure if other 2.5mm jacks fit into these, but even if they don't, Sennheiser, THANK YOU for making the cable removable. I'm not a real fan of the looking mechanism because it's kind of difficult to remove the cable and put it back in, but the lock is really sturdy so I don't mind it that much. Design: 8/10 Difficulty: These are NOT difficult to drive. Both my phone and laptop have enough power to get them loud enough, and strangely my laptop (Acer Swift 3 2017 if you need a reference point) drives these much louder than my desktop. I had my desktop at around 80 percent and Foobar at max volume to get anywhere between 65-80 dB for any music that wasn't classical, which was around 55-70 dB depending on the piece (these are min-max not averages). My laptop had the same Foobar settings but turned to 25 percent for the same sound levels and my phone was almost maxed out for the same volume levels (LG G3). Side note: I might have sensitive ears but for those of you who think that you listen to music at around 100 dB, I can almost guarantee you that you don't. At most the volume is 90 dB and that is also pretty damn loud. I am aware of the impedance spike to 300ohms at 100hz but in my experience I can't really tell a difference between my on board trying to power them at 100hz and my SMSL M3 (in terms of volume. More on this in the Sound section). Since these are dynamic drivers, they also don't require a massive amount of current to be driven. Difficulty: 9.5/10 (easy to drive) Sound: For sound I used and compared these to the gear I mentioned above. I didn't compare them to my HE560's because A) I had to send them back because apparently my M3 driving them to 85 dB during a SPL measurement made the left driver noticeably quieter than the right (I definitely won't be doing that test again...) B) I haven't spent enough time with the HE560's C) I'm going to get a new amp at some point (feel free to suggest any amps for planars, besides the Lyr 2, unless there are tube suggestions with the Lyr. Nothing over the Lyr 2 price pls) so I'm going to write the review after I get the new amp. I was tempted to write some things about the HD598 that I thought were negative but only because the HE560 did it better (for literally $650 more comparing MSRP's) which wouldn't be fair and might turn some people away from these headphones because they got the wrong idea from my review. This could also make their decision on what headphones to get much more difficult (the problem with headphone reviews is that people like me and the rest of the normal people of this world that aren't @LinusTech or ZReviews, don't have the luxury of trying out headphones, so the purchase has to be an investment, which is why I don't want to deter people looking to purchase a certain pair of headphones by giving the wrong idea, ultimately making it more difficult to make a decision and putting them back to square one by doing more research). I also thought about comparing my old and cheap JVC and Sony headphones but I didn't think it was worth the time. My Sony's developed this weird rattle in the bass region (my dad doesn't seem to hear it but he has them now) after a while and the JVC's... they are just god awful in comfort. I don't remember how either of these sound because it's been a few years. All of my scoring is relative in this section. I compare it to other gear and grade it that way (except the HE560 in this review). This means an 8/10 is good compared to something in the same price bracket or cheaper but might be a 6.5/10 compared to something more expensive. This also means that the number 6.5 is actually equivalent to an 8 (in this example). This is better than rating them on a flat scale that has ranges (1-3 being shit, 3-5 is ok, 5-7 is good, etc.) since rating headphones is subjective and (in my opinion) relative. I'm probably going to update this section if I think the new amp makes a significant difference from the M3. Definitely not going to be for a while. Initial Impressions: These are open cans and leak sound at all times. That's just how they were made. However they aren't as open as some other headphones (There's a noticeable difference in the ambient sound when putting them on). They also don't leak as much sound as some other open cans. If you wanted to take these around, you could, if you listened at lower volumes (around 30-40 dB, or conversation level, in a quiet environment). At 35dB I can still have conversations with other people and still hear the music without it leaking like crazy (you can sort of hear what's being played but not unless you really tried). Desktop on-board: Everyone's said this before, but the high's are recessed. With the ALC892 (on board), they were just boring compared to my Corsair headset, which gave the high's are particular sparkle that I really liked. Classical music with more high end became flat and annoyingly boring. The mids were very forward, like typical Sennheiser headphones (HD558/600/650) and the bass... let's just say that with the on-board, the bass drum had this thump that was satisfying but the bass overlapped the mids and were a little muddy. The sound stage was decent, definitely not mind-blowing, but the mids and bass drum were pushed pretty hard so it was fatiguing after a while. Regardless they were clearer than my Corsair's, which just sounded muffled in everything. Desktop sound: 5.5/10 SMSL M3: A lot of people say that an amp doesn't make a noticeable difference with these headphones. I didn't find that to be true. The M3 pulled the bass back but gave it more detail (the bass was a lot tighter) and was still satisfying to listen to. They didn't overlap with the mids anymore and the bass drum still had a noticeable "thump" to it but wasn't so forward that I felt like my ears were getting annoyingly tapped by someone. The mids for the most part stayed the same. I couldn't hear a difference in terms of detail, but that doesn't mean that nothing was different. With the bass pulled back the mids became center focus of these headphones. They're no longer as forward with the amp, but personally, I think this is better since it's not longer fatiguing. These literally gave me the chills everytime I listened songs with singers as the main focus (for anyone interested, listen to Walkure [especially Walkure], Aimer, Tristam, or Tonight by TwoThirds). If you like songs with singers, then these are the headphones to get. WIth the M3 the high's are brought back. Somewhat. They still aren't sibilant, which my sensitive ears greatly appreciate, but they still aren't all that satisfying to me. I didn't mind this when I listened to pieces with flutes (and piccolos) and clarinets playing in the upper register (because fuck flute and piccolo players) but that was mostly due to the fact that flutes and clarinets have their own "sparkle" with the way the instruments sound(I know I said I wouldn't use words like this because they don't help but I couldn't find another way to describe it). Classical pieces with piano solos still and upper octaves weren't all that fun to listen to. This can also be due to the mastering because these can deliver more high's with other songs. If you like having high's, regardless of mastering, these aren't the cans for you. Many people recommend Beyer's if you want high's. Sound stage was somewhat improved. This is from the bass+mids no longer being pushed into my ears and the high's not sounding like someone put a towel over my head. With the M3, the music sounds like it's being played a from a small room rather than a box around my head (unless I'm blasting the music, then it sounds like it's coming from headphones no matter what). This wasn't noticed immediately though, I just noticed it while I was listening half consciously and something didn't sound the same in some of the recordings. Was it worth spending the $84 for the M3? Definitely. If you've never used anything besides your on-board, you might not even notice that you don't like it (some on-board audio isn't so bad but MSI clearly did something with the ALC892 that was "gaming orientated"). I'm going to score this without trying to take away points from listening to my HE560's. SMSL M3 + HD598: 8.5/10 Laptop + Phone: I'm going to keep this short because there was no real difference in sound quality between these two (might be different for you even if you have an LG G3 or Acer Swift 3). Everything was pretty much the same as the M3 but there was less detail and the bass was clearly thinner and asking for more. I'm guessing this is the 100hz region since that's where the impedance spikes. Neither my Desktop or M3 had trouble with this, which is, again, strange. The laptop drives them much louder but not the bass region as... well? I don't know if it was worse since it wasn't muddy like the desktop audio but it was definitely thinner. Laptop/Phone: 7/10 Imaging: It's ok... like very ok. There's left and right and if you try, you can hear things behind you, but center and front sound the same and good luck with corners. Front and Center sound like they're coming from the top and there is no front or bottom. Imaging: 6/10 Note: Sub-bass basically doesn't exist with these. Other than the bass drum's initial attack, you don't feel anything, and these don't extend down to the lower frequencies very well. Then again, they aren't planars so that's expected. In Games: I only tested two games. Why? Because I only play two games. I'm not a fan of Triple A titles (is Final Fantasy considered one? I do play that) or FPS games. League of Legends: I'm starting with this one since this is where I tested it first. And let's just say... I'm never using these for League of Legends. Everything sounds extremely thin, any low end sounds from the game are gone and no longer give me this vibe that I'm being surrounded by the environment. I think that Riot developed this game with gaming headsets in mind because even the gold noise when last hitting is noticeably lighter. I'm guessing that even that had some kind of mid to low end frequency to it. League isn't very good with positional audio. If you're on the blue side, then everything sounds like it's coming from the center or from the right because of the way the camera is placed. Red side makes everything come the center or left for the same reason. Anything coming from the left (on blue side) is extremely quiet and the gradience (not the best term I know) as you move away from something that's centered to something that's to the left is extremely quick. It's the same for red side only from the right. I would stay away from this game when using these headphones. I prefer my Corsair's much more in this game. I don't fault the HD598's though, I think riot just did an awful job with the game sounds (this includes the client, not just in-game. The client is extremely annoying). I at least remember playing with my JVC's and I didn't hate the audio this much with those. In short, everything sounds hollow and I don't understand how Imaqtpie uses these for this game. Not fun. League of Legends: Don't bother/10 Final Fantasy XIII-I: The HD598 does much better here. I will admit that I couldn't tell a difference in detail between the Corsair and the HD598 (by some miracle that Square Enix pulled off in this game I guess), but the environment was much more closed off with the Corsair compared to the HD598, which was much more immersive. It did have less "rumble" (neither really had any XD), but it didn't affect my experience at all. Clearly positional audio was nothing to Square Enix in this game. I can understand why. The battle scenes don't need any positional audio. All of the character are kind of stationary. If things are far away, they're quieter; if they're close, they get louder. That's about it for imaging. This is subject to change once I try the HE560's but I doubt that it will change. FFXIII-I: 8/10 Overall: I highly recommend at least getting a decent budget amp. The M3, Fulla 2, E10k, or the DAC x6 are all very highly regarded and also have a DAC, which is a nice addition (you can use them purely as DACs with the line outs when you upgrade your amp). It does make a difference compared to on-board audio, which you may not notice at first but you will definitely notice if you have to go back to using on board. It's kind of like when I got my 144hz monitor. Other than occasionally noticing that it was smoother, I wasn't really blown away at the fact that my screen was moving a lot smoother and I could see some spells a split second quicker. I was used to 60hz being smooth so 144hz also just seemed smooth to me. But when I had to go back, I thought I was lagging, only to find out that I had gotten used to the 144hz monitor. I could clearly see the difference between 60hz and 144hz (I have a 144hz as a main and 60hz secondary and there's a huge difference). Ok, so enough padding the 144hz monitor market (and attempting to end those who think that 30-60fps is the same as 144fps XD). What does this even mean to me? It's the same for audio, is that point I'm trying to make. What seems good to you now will make things that are better seem almost the same, initially. Once you go back though, you realize that there is a clear difference because you had gotten used to it (what i've learned is that sometimes it's apparent from the start, especially when you get more and more into this hobby @ HE560). For me, I noticed some difference immediately, like the sound quality and how open these were. But that's because I've tried other headphones in the past that were cheaper and gradually got to this price point (and then I spike immediately for planars. @ HE560. My bank account is crying). At the same time, these are very good for the price. Which is why they a exponentially better than the cheap stuff I tried in the past but not so different from something like the HD600 (thanks to a friend I got to try them). These aren't perfect. I still qualms about the build and I think the ear cups could be deeper (or thicker pads). But... If you want to get into the audiophile world of your bank account hates you but not as much right now since you're just starting, the HD598 is a good starting point. Especially if you like listening to singers and hate sibilant high's. Yes, the bass is lacking if the song is mastered that way, but they can produce more bass if the song asks for it. There's also a closed back version of these apparently, but I've never heard them (HD598 CS I think). I wouldn't try to buy these at MSRP. You can, and they are ok at that price but for $250, you can get headphones that sound much better (arguably) or save up a little more for more expensive ones. The reason I said that they were good for the price is that they are easy to find for less than retail (the HD598 has been around for a while so it's somewhat outdated in driver design compared to some of the newer dynamic headphones and there's the less popular HD599 which is the replacement for these). Sennheiser really loves to put these up for sale on Amazon for around $170-$199, usually for the black special edition. Even on Ebay, which is where I got mine, used the go for $100-$150 or if you're lucky to find them quick enough, $160 new. Just beware of fakes (the difference are well documented so do your research). Overall: 8/10 Edit: I forgot to mention that I was using a different cable from stock. I'm not a believer in cables making a difference as long as they're not made from some super cheap oxidized garbage but using the New Fantasia cable (the 4 ft replacement cable from Amazon), there was a noticeable difference in bass. It was very, very slight, but there was slightly less bass than the stock cable. I'm not sure what in the cable would cause this (length, material, connector, unable to carry the power properly???? I don't know), but it was something I noticed immediately. I couldn't tell if there was a difference in detail or impact, which is good; the bass was only slightly quieter (again, very, very slight and only noticed it in extremely bass heavy songs).
  13. Thanks. Any opinion on the m560 then? I don't really see any people complaining about those but I can't find a comparison to the HE4-- series. They're also cheaper than the HE-- series.
  14. I thought the ringing was a QC issue, since not everyone is reporting that they have ringing (my plan was to just return it or sell it for slightly less if I didn't like it or just send it back for another unit to see if the ringing would be fixed. If I really have to mod it then so be it, I guess...). Regardless, I'd like to spend $110 or less for an amp and the only reason I would spend more is because the more expensive amp is significantly better and anything after that has diminishing returns (ie: the asgard 2 or aune x7 if they are that much better than something like a magni 2). Do you have any other recommendations for planars? I was going to buy the HE4XX but saw a few reviews of the m1060, which is why I wanted to try them (and I didn't want to wait until december to get the HE4xx). Anything that, in your opinion, sounds as good as the m1060 without the ringing would be appreciated. I still haven't gotten an answer for using the M3 as a DAC which was the more important question... Edit: forgot to mention that I'm just waiting on the m1060's before buying (or really any headphones that I'm buying or being recommended).
  15. I recently bought and SMSL M3 for my HD598's, which seems perfectly fine for now. I have plans on buying the Monolith M1060s though if they go on any sort of sale and I will definitely need a better amp for those. Theoretically, could I have the SMSL M3 as a dac (I really don't think I'll need a better dac) and connect the line out to something like the magni 2? I plan on getting that since honestly, if I like the monoliths as much the hype is saying (which I'm hoping I like them since I'd be ok with those being my endgame), then I will probably never buy a more expensive or difficult to drive set of headphones (HD650's at most after this probably since I'm never going to be able to buy something like an LCD-X.). Not sure if I'm going to be modding the monoliths either, other than taking out the foam under the outer grill (too afraid to damage drivers by doing tape mod and I don't want to spend $80 on earpads as of right now, especially when I have to glue them). Also if there are any suggestions of a similar amp to the magni 2 (around same price, not including the O2 because that goes for more and everything is front port...), that would be appreciated. I'm looking at a B-Stock magni 2 for now since I don't care a minor cosmetic error. Thought about getting a SAP-8 but not sure if it has the current to drive planars.
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