At the risk of creating boredom, but still on topic for this headphone review, I feel badly about recommending anything less than high fidelity since I've advocated for high fidelity my entire adult life. The changes in perspective that I've been involved in with my headphone projects of the past year or so finally coalesced in my experience with the Dirac DSP and two earphones - the Apple Earpods and t-Jays Four IEM. The quality that the Dirac DSP brought to those earphones wasn't just an improvement in sound - it gave the Earpods enough quality of tone that after a very long comparison, much of the Shure 1840's tonal reproduction sounded slightly artificial by comparison. I've read headfonia's comments about grainy 1840 sound in several places, so perhaps there's an explanation there.
The interesting thing about the Dirac sound is, to me it seems closer to the "darker" headphones than to the "hi-fi" headphones I listed previously. The several headphone forums I participate on are deathly quiet on the subject of Dirac DSP, as though a few have tried it and don't understand what they're hearing. Since the DSP is specific to both the hardware in the music player and the specific headphone plugged into it, the chances of getting such DSP's for large headphones are unknown. I have yet another IEM (XTZ) on the way with yet another Dirac player for Apple devices, and still no word on real headphones.
What all of this has to do with the M100 is, I hear something closer to the M100 in those Dirac DSP's, and I really like the smoothness and detail in the sound, but with the utter lack of relevant comment relating to Dirac DSP's on these headphone forums, I can't suggest to anyone which is the "right" sound. It may be somewhere in between the Sennheiser HD800 or Stax SR009 and what Dirac does, or maybe not.
SoundMagic HP200, Final Audio FI-BA-SS, V-Moda M100, Sennheiser IE800, Beyer DT770LE, FiiO E07K/MicroStreamer/Vamp Verza DAC/amps, FiiO E12/Zen Head amps.
Why would I want to spend nearly £300 on a pair of headphones and then start using EQ to make them sound like I think they should with my music? I listen to headphones and then return the ones I don't like the sound of. I would never purchase a pair and then keep them because I could EQ the sound to make it bearable, what would be the point?
As I said, if you don't want to listen to the DT's you are going to miss out, and that's fine with me
The point is extremely simple. If they sound better with EQ than your other options, then that's the justification. If they don't sound better, then there isn't a justification. It's really not arguable - you and only you decide what sounds best to you. Since this is my review, I'm reporting my very pleasant experiences to anyone who would consider the M100, but is skeptical because of a lot of confusion in the forums. Users can consider your claims, then consider mine, and decide for themselves.
As to your suggestion with the 770, unlike me where I perform the tests that users request, to help them decide on a purchase, you offer no help at all, just "they sound good", which doesn't equate to anything. When people ask me "How will the M100 sound with my music?", I sometimes ask them to suggest a couple of music tracks, and then I download those and see how the headphone performs with those tracks. As a plus, I get to expand my music collection that way, but even better, I expand my communication with other people, because now I'm listening to more and more current music that other people who read my reviews are listening to.
The music tracks listed in my original V-MODA M100 review were carried over from my oldest reviews, to provide a comparison between different headphones playing the same music. Starting with this review, I'm switching to a more modern selection that I think will fit better with modern headphones like the M100. Note that the following comments are based on using the M100 with bass reduction EQ, as noted in the original review.
Animotion - Obsession (1980's New Wave/Techno): The upper bass synth should have good detail and tone, and both male and female vocals should sound natural, without favoring either. The M100 plays this perfectly.
Ben Heit Quartet - Suite-Magnet and Iron (Jazz with a Bebop flavor): The piano that leads off should sound realistic, and the sax should sound soft. The M100 plays this music very well.
Cath Carroll - Moves Like You (1980's New Wave/Techno): This track's percussion and voice should be crisp and well-balanced, and there should be a good sense of space or soundstage around the voices and instruments. The M100 reproduces the space and detail convincingly, although if this is played too loudly, the sharpness of the percussive sounds could verge on irritating.
Chromatics - I'm On Fire (Synth-Pop, female lead): Another track with plenty of space around the voice and instruments. The voice and high-frequency percussion (tambourine?) should sound natural with no harshness. The M100 plays this music perfectly.
Crystal Castles - Wrath of God (Electro-Pop): The moderate level of bass in this track should reproduce with good detail, and the ambient electronic effects should maintain their separation and never congeal into a glassy, hard, or "ringy" sound as some headphones might produce if they have uncorrected resonances. The M100 does this one just right.
DJ Shadow - Building Steam With a Grain of Salt (Electronic/DJ): This track opens with what sounds like very high and very low piano notes, and those high notes particularly might ring a few resonances in lesser headphones. The M100 handles those notes well, and reproduces the ambient voices with good tone and balance.
Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses (Pop-Rock): The moderate level of bass in this track should reproduce with good detail, and the percussion and voice should be crisp and well-balanced. The M100 makes this sound like what I imagine the original producers heard when they mixed it.
Halie Loren - Sway (Jazz vocal): Bass instrument( here may sound boomy with some headphones, but the M100 handles this perfectly. The trumpet should sound natural but soft, and the voice should have the right presence without sounding recessed or too forward. The M100 does a great job in both respects.
Hans Zimmer - Dark Knight-Aggressive Expansion (Soundtrack): The percussion hits hard here, and the M100 handles it well. The bass tones beginning around 0:45 into the track are the ultra-deep "shuddery" kind that require good deep bass response from a headphone, and the M100 delivers on those.
Kaskade - 4am (Electro-House): The bass that kicks in around 1:01 into the track is subtle, but the M100 gets it right. The percussion and female voice should balance well with neither overwriting the other, and the M100 aces this.
Katy B - Perfect Stranger (R&B-House-Garage): The heavy bass that begins at 0:27 into this track is played very well by the M100. The voice is slightly forward, but it doesn't overpower the instruments or get lost in the mix. The M100 balances the different elements in this music extremely well.
Machine Gun Kelly - All We Have (Rap/Hip-Hop): The heavy bass beats that begin at 0:23 into the track should sound like drum impacts, although they're not sharp impacts. The male and female voices should have a good balance and not overpower the music or sound recessed. The M100 plays this as good as can be expected given the limited quality of the recording.
Massive Attack - Angel (Trip-Hop): This track begins with a steady low-frequency sound and some solid deep-bass impacts. The voices should blend well with the music and have just the right presence, although the recorded quality of the instruments isn't great. The M100 plays this as good as can be expected given the limited quality of the recording.
Morcheeba - Bullet Proof (Trip-Hop): Bright percussion and medium-strength bass impacts make up most of this, with some dance-club spoken intonations thrown in. The M100 renders the percussion treble correctly (not too bright, not harsh), and the voices sound just right.
Peter Tosh - Get Up Stand Up (Reggae): The bass here has a decent but moderate impact, and the lead and backup voices have good separation that's not too narrow or wide. The M100 renders the bass with good detail and the voices sound very natural.
Porcupine Tree - Trains (Pop-Rock): This track opens with some detailed string sounds and a forward-sounding male voice with a higher-than-average register. There are also some "clip-clop" effects starting at 3:19 that should sound like they were made with wooden blocks of some kind. The M100 reproduces all of these sounds faithfully.
Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C-Sharp Minor Op3 No2 (Classical, Piano): Grand piano played mechanically from an original recording by the master himself. The bass is light here, but the piano tone is good quality, and the M100 plays these notes very well.
Scarlatti-Kipnis - Sonata in E Major K381 (Classical, Harpsichord): The harpsichord here is fairly bright and highly detailed, and the M100 renders the tones and transients superbly.
Trombone Shorty - Backatown (Jazz-Funk): The deep bass impacts here are unusually strong, and work very well with the horns and other instruments. The M100 delivers the impacts with proper weight, and makes the horns sound real.
William Orbit - Optical Illusion (Billy Buttons Mix) (Electronic): This is about as close as I want to get to easy-listening music. The string(?) tones beginning at 0:18 are subtle, but clearly reproduced by the M100. The bass isn't very strong, but still adds a good underpinning to the music. The short poetic rap at 4:14, preceded by an etherial female voice, sounds so perfect that this track could easily have been mixed using the M100 headphone.
Judging by your comments on Headfonia you already have the AE's and are really enjoying them, I quote...
dalethorn posted a comment in The Beyerdynamic We Love: DT770 Anniversary Edition · a day ago
Once I figured out this treble-trim, I settled in for a long listen. I can't be sure this is the best sound I've ever heard in my house, but it has to be close. It's marvelous.
Good to see someone else enjoying these awesome cans!!
dalethorn posted a comment in The Beyerdynamic We Love: DT770 Anniversary Edition · a day ago
Good to see someone else enjoying these awesome cans!!
Yes, I noted already that I settled on a smaller treble adjustment. And, I found this marvelous music track: "Xilent - Choose Me II" - have you heard that one?;) - the AE's detail really makes that come alive.
That's in one of my playlists, I particularly like this shortened version with some awesome timelapse which goes so well with the audio.
Of course the fact that the AE's love it too helps immensely!
Bizarrely I was listening to that very track as I typed my first post in this thread
Edit: Ooops, if you check back on page one of this thread you will see I already shared the same song + timelapse
I was just feigning ignorance - I saw your post on headfi and watched it, then bought a couple versions at iTunes. I'm always on the lookout for more music.
Hehe you're keeping me on my toes, I almost didn't notice!
A couple or three more interesting ones from Xilent will give your cans a workout!
I'm working on a script for a video comparing mostly the M100 and DT770LE, and may include the Momentum and ATH ESW11 or 9a in that too. The main complaints I've read about the M100 where the DT770 came out well ahead were things that (to my investigation) aren't fidelity features exactly. The cavernous sound of the un-EQ'd DT770 appears to be mainly a feature of the earcup design, and I recall the DT1350's substantially hollow sound as well - both sets I bought in 2011 and 2012. That cavernous sound, to whatever extent it's controlled or dampened by amps or other things, adds to the sense of space or soundstage. It's very pleasant when presented properly, but it does seem artificial to me, like a well-done simulated stereo or other mono enhancement. Check out the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction on the late CD's or downloads from HDTracks - a perfect implementation of mono enhancement without phony stereo effects. I never was greatly impressed by the Senn 800's soundstage for example. The M100's earcup fit is very snug and I get the idea (without opening it up) that they didn't plan to have extra space in those earcups for the sound to bounce around in, so it sounds very different compared to the DT770, like the extra space just disappeared. Listened to on its own, it sounds fine to me.
The other major feature of the DT770 that attracts its fans is the treble detail, and comparing to the M100, the M100 sounds somewhat dull or lacking in life, or sparkle etc. by comparison. But the DT770 has a very significant peak in the treble that (to my ears) makes a lot of music tracks sound like something is frying in a skillet in the background. There's a lot, a whole lot of excess high frequency energy being produced there. Using the -4 db correction at 7 khz (and -2 at 5 and 10k) I configured in Foobar, the DT770 sounds more normal, but even then the frying-pan sound is apparent in a lot of music, mostly pop and techno, albeit at lower levels. Playing the M100 on its own, the treble is OK, and in fact when you look at headphones like the Sennheiser Momentum, their upper treble is way recessed compared to the DT770.
Not getting any skillet noise here, using an Arcam Alpha 3 Amp, and just passing 200 hours
It doesn't happen on all tracks for me, just some of the electronica with intense highs, and some pop music. It might also be very confusing to readers here to see this discussion of the DT770 in the M100 topic.
I'm going to give the M-100's another go today... time to break out the EQ.
PC>JRiver> DAC/amps: Fiio, Audinst, Yulong, Arcam, Fostex, Audiolab, Schiit, Oppo, Ifi ●
Headphones: D7000, Q701, M80, M100, DT770, DT880, HP100, HP200, Mad Dog, HD650 ●
This is getting more confusing in this M100 thread when the unspecified "they" refers to a different headphone.
For better or worse, I'm no longer able to compare the M100 and DT770 fairly (other than pure speculation), because the sparkly detailed sound of the DT770-32 is making the M100 sound uninteresting. Is this good or bad? I dunno. All I can say for sure is, I'm glad I don't get paid to do this.
Downloaded the Accudio by GoldenEars app for i-devices. They don't have settings for everything, and some of their settings are really questionable. The B&W P5 setting kills the bass and makes the P5 shrill - I don't get that at all. But it's a professional EQ app, as witness the perfect job it does with the DT770-32LE. So I tried the P5 setting for the M100, and being slightly bright I pulled the top slider down 2 notches and the 2nd slider one notch: Nirvana! If you'd like to hear some real bass detail with the M100 try this app and setting and West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys - yummy!
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