I wasn't going to post this yet due to a recent Mad dog review coming up but sod it, one more wouldn't hurt! lol
Quick background then, Dan Clark i.e MrSpeakers used to design amplifiers and started getting back into high end headphones. He came across the T50RP thread on Headfi and decided to get on in on the gig and have a play around. He finally found a great tuning and came up with the Mad Dog!
Design & Build
The design is pretty much stock T50RP with some stickers covering the original Fostex design on the cups. The differences are Dan has added his custom pads which are called the Alpha pads which are a Lamb Leather ear that are angled. He has also added a leather crap to smooth out the pressure from the original headband.
The headband is made of a really robust metal covered in rubber. It's the most durable headband ever in existence and can be bent in all angles and bent back into place many times without even showing signs of wear. In fact this headphone is built like an absolute tank all around but i'll go into that in a bit. The extenders are a brass coloured metal followed by plastic caps and finally large plastic ear cups.The cups have kind of a ball and socket kind of design and I'm not sure about its long term durability n this area but it seems to be fine.
More about the durability man these are some rugged headphones. For a phone that originally cost about £100 these are built better than almost all the headphones I've came across! The only ones build better are probably the DT770 and even then it's close.The cable designs are pretty simple. MrSpeakers throws in a V Moda cable and also an original T50RP one. The T50RP cable is thick and terminated into a 1/4 inch. The V Moda cable plugs in reverse way and is a 3.5mm and is very handy and durable too.
Here's where it gets interested because this is essentially a £100 Planar magnetic Studio headphone that has been modified and the improvements are clear!
Originally the T50RP was all Mids and lacked Treble extension and Bass too.
So how do they sound?
When you hook these up the first thing you will notice is again the juicy Mid range but straight away followed by a deep bass. The bass is deep and well extended but it's quite a slow bass and doesn't provide the same bass as say a Denon or a Beyerdynamic. It's just very neutral sounding really but has a slight boost. The Mids as I said are the star, they are juicy, rich with a slight hint of dryness sometimes but overall they appear quite liquid for the most part. The mids are quite engaging and with the added bass makes for a very nice headphone.
The Treble is probably the weakest part of the show here being quite confused sounding at times. I think the T50RP design is stopping the Treble as this is something the T50RP struggled with. They are still decent but things do get a bit funky sometimes I would say they are similar to the M100 but the M100 has a bit more extension and detail in this area imo.
The Soundstage is ok for a closed headphone. It's not quite DT770 but it's pretty good. I would compare it to the HD650 in this area but without the air. They can sound closed and congested at times but overall decent. The imaging and positional accuracy is excellent is great for music. I'll add about gaming in a moment.
how it all comes together is you will hear a smooth, warm tone that is laid back with a nice deep bass. Vocals will sound engaging and you will feel the emotion of the music. for faster tracks you will probably be missing out with these because they are more of a sit back and relax type listen, very HD650 like. You will hear a fair sense of distance but the sound may appear quite boxy and I think this is design more than anything. You will notice that there isn't any sign of harshness or anything of the sort.
In terms of driving them , these are moderately efficient and can be driven with cheap amps like the E5 but will need something beefier to sound their absolute best. you certainly notice a difference as you go up
Due to the good imaging and positional accuracy this headphone is good for locating enemies in first person shooters. For gaming the Soundstage is a closed in one but not as bad as say the ATH M50. I certainly wouldn't pick these specifically for gaming but if you just happen to want a good closed phone for music and want them to double up for gaming they are a good choice.
Open areas won't sound quite as open with these but they do a good job with immersion and explosions and the overall tone is very pleasing. If these had a Beyerdynamic DT770 or Denon D600 soundstage these would be a very good gaming headset.
Compared to other mid fi phones
Vs the Denon D2000
The MD has better a better mid range with a more laid back tone. The D2000 is more lively and has a better treble but the MD is less fatiguing. Bass obviously goes to the D2000 and so does soundstage and the positional accuracy is about even. I prefer the Denon just because I find it more fun, engaging and musical and a tad more detailed. It's close and both are on a similar level but I just prefer a more musical sound. The D600 fairs similar but the Bass is more powerful covering some detail making it a bit less detailed then the D600.
Vs the Momentum
The Senn is more congested closed in and is pretty much inferior in all areas compared to the MD but only by a small margin. The Momentum to my ears is a poor man's MD and that is because they have similar traits and sound but do it less well. The momentum however is potable and efficient making it maybe a better buy in that regard. If you are looking for a home phone to use with your amps then go for the MD it's just a step above!
Vs the V-Moda M100
Both have a lush thick kind of sound. The juicy nature of both of these makes them great partners! one for portable and one for home use! The MD focuses more on the Mids where the M100 focuses more on the Bass. Both have lush mids but the M100 has more powerful bass that can take you attention from its good mids. The treble is similar but the M100 has more detail in the treble to my ears and also has more energy. both are easy on the ears and nice and warm. The soundstage is similar but the MD has better imaging. For gaming the M100 sounds cleaner and more fun for some reason.
Vs the DT770
Really straight forward. The Beyer are better at Soundsstage, imaging, and accuracy. The MD are more smooth abd refined however with a better Mid range. Treble will depend if if you are fine with a bright one or a more laid back one. The Dogs are more neutral just q bit more polished in sound. It's again energy vs laid back it's a side grade if you own one imo.
Hope you enjoyed!