I don't usually write reviews but I'm moved to do so on this occasion just because I feel that the What HiFi review of these Amperior cans isn't up to their usual high and trustworthy standards.
I've owned these cans for several weeks and being an experienced audiophile who does believe in (and hear!) burn-in I had them wired up to a CD player on repeat for the first couple of weeks during which they changed signifcantly.
I was after a pair of closed-back cans to use with my Roland V-Drums kit, but also good enough for music listening at work etc. as an alternative to my lovely (though lean sounding) Etymotic IEM's. Initally I purchased some Audio Technica ATH-M50s which are highliy reviewed but which I found a bit to hyped up in the frequency extremes (bass and treble), lazy sounding and with a rather recessed mid-range. And as any proper audiophile knows it's the midrange where the magic normally lies.
My post burn-in comments on the Amperiors are as follows:
SOUND: punchy bass does not overbear the rest of the frequency range. Not as deep as the ATH-M50's but more enjoyable and less overbearing. Very good warm and rich mid-range. Highs natural and clean - just occasionally I thought they might be just a tad rolled-off (though more natural than the hyped-up ATH-M50 treble) until I discovered that positioning on the ear plays a part - it seems you kind of need the driver centred over your ear canal for best treble extension. Overall I find the sound very musical, rhythmic and enjoyable - much more addictive than the ATH-M50 while also significantly richer sounding then the Etymotic experience. Only downside in my books is that of course they lack the airiness of open cans but if open cans were an option I'd have bought a pair of Grados! :-)
COMFORT: I think a lot of reviewers form their opinion too quickly and get this wrong. These cans do take some getting used to. But after a couple of weeks I started to find them quite comfortable. The Velour pads are better than on their sister HD-52-II's (though they may not isolate quite as well, though isolation is still fairly good but when that is a requirement I use the Etymotics which are unbeatable in this regard). Importantly, I also believe the head band pressure starts to relax after they have been stretched out on your head for a few weeks so they do become a much more comfortable wear. Probably not as pleasant as something like the ATH-M5) that sits around (rather than on) the ear but then again I always find a fully closed circumaural heaphone to feel rather aurally claustraphobic and the supraaural Amperiors less so. Only downside is that with a shunky air of glasses the comfort level decreases but I have leaned to push up the arms on the glasses slightly which resolves.
BUILD: Seriously, I can't believe it when I read that the Amperiors are lacking in quality!!! :-0 I'm fussy about product quality but I really think they are well made and I have every confidence in them to last a long time. And I think they look great too (mine have the silver aluminium ear cups). I love the split headband and the only thing I question from a design perspective is the decision to have the cable exit to a 30cm flying lead with a 3.5mm plug to which you then attach either the plain cable or the one with the iPhone mic and controls (both supplied). Functionally this works very well and offers flexibility but from and audiophile perspective I just don't like the idea of two plugs in the signal path rather than the usual one! (this may compromise the performance potential of the cans VERY slightly).
NOTE: These cans are now recently discontinued - perhaps thanks in part to What HiFi's very misleading review?! :-/ I picked them up for only £129 brand new and there is no doubt that I got a bargain. BUT, I base my comments above on the their performance irrespective of price and certainly I would have been happy to pay around £200+ based on my perception of sound/comfort/build.
Amperior Headphones: 4.5 / 5
[What HiFi review quality/accuracy: 1 / 5]
I've had these since launch and they're fantastic headphones. I auditioned
these off of the back of a mate's recommendation for the previous model (He's a DJ). As above I find the review/marks strange as they share a lot of common parts with the HD25 II so it does make you wonder how these stars are awarded.
I couldn't be happier with mine and they sound far better than the B&W, Denon and *cough* Beats I tried out.
Five stars from me. I didn't pay anywhere near the RRP figure quoted above (who does?).
The review seems a little unfair as they sound better than the Momentums (which you give 5 stars) and are probably not far off the 5 star HD25s. You critisise the finish but the head band is the same as the one on the HD25s you give 5 stars! You also fail to point out that these use most of the parts from the HD25s so the cables and ear pads are easily available for replacement. Since these are the two most vunurable parts that will condem lesser headphones to be thrown away it is no small point to mention.
You also completly fail to mention the included cable with iPhone/iPod controls and microphone built in along with the standard cable.
These do have a fairly tight grip but this enables them to be used out and about without fear of them falling off. As always how much the preassure affect you is a matter for individual prefference. However they can't be any tighter than the HD25s you give 5 stars to as they use the same band!
I managed to pick up a pair for £155 and would say at this price they are a 5 star rating.
At full price I would say these are 4 star as are the Momentums, due to there lesser repairability.
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A seriously talented performer that has a few design issues
This is a top-notch surround package for the money. It’s a worthy alternative to the award-winning KEF R100 5.1
A great amp with some notable musical skills, but it loses a star compared with its better-performing, better-specified rivals
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