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Multitest headphones – Headphone Heaven Fieldtrip

Prijs: € 3500

Multitest High End Hoofdtelefoons

Level 1: 350-500 euro

Multitest High End Hoofdtelefoons (40)

Final Sonorous III

Final is a quirky Japanese brand that makes in and over ear headphones from € 50 to € 3,500. Earlier we tested the E5000 in-ear which impresses us not only because of its audio performance but also because of its beautiful design. The Sonorous series is over ear and includes models II, III, IV, VI, VIII and X. Models II and III are the ‘entry level’ and according to Final, some elements of the top models are incorporated. The Sonorous III has the titanium driver from the X and a technique that the brand itself calls BAM (Balancing Air Movement). Final pays attention in the design to the airflow in the housing. We also saw this in the in-ears. This allows the driver to be placed in the outside of the inside of the housing. This housing is made of ABS, a thermoplastic that is also used for motorcycle helmets or cameras. The finish on the outside is also reminiscent of a camera.

Sound

The Final Sonorous III is not everyone’s friend, but an instrument that only shows its qualities after listening for a while. The middle area is very nicely rendered and because it is a matter of making choices in this price/quality class, we especially miss a solid bass. And every human being reacts differently to that. Jaap didn’t like the Sonorous III, but Yung started to appreciate it. The soundstage is very good, as is the detailing. It looks a bit like small active nearfield monitors from, for example, Genelec. By accentuating the middle, spaciousness and timbre are given to the space. Space all too often taken up by heavy bass and treble in this price range. At first hearing (in the shop for example) this is a reason to reject the Sonorous III immediately. From too much bass and treble we also get tired quickly. With these headphones you can enjoy hours of music, especially if you like acoustic music, vocal music, (classical) songs and small ensembles. Furthermore, these headphones are very sensitive. A separate headphone amplifier is not required. On the Oppo R11s phone, the Sonorous did fine.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

We don’t get the response correctly measured, because of a moderate closure on the head of our measuring lady. But we can measure impulse and distortion. And that’s more important. The Final definitely measures well there. Distortion in the bass is ‘low’ and dives well below 1% from 80 Hz. We don’t see any crazy things. In short: technically an excellent headphone.

Specifications Final Audio Sonorous III

Type Closed Back
Driver dynamic
Sensitivity 105 dB
Impedance 16 Ohm
Weight 410 grams
Cable length 1.5 metres
Price 379 euros

Meze 99 Classics Gold

We have tested this Romanian surprise before, so for those who want to read more about it we refer to our extensive review. In terms of looks and sound characteristics the opposite of the final Sonorous III; a warm and somewhat coloured sound comes into our heads. Sounds really nice and musical, these headphones with golden accents and walnut wood. Also almost three years after its introduction, these closed over-ear headphones are a bang for the buck.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

Again a closed model where the closure is not good. In short: we are losing low energy, which affects the response measurement. But distortion and impulse is measurable. The impulse behavior of the Meze is less good than the Final Audio. But again better than a planar. Distortion is very low. It saves quickly a 5 dB with the Final Audio, just over 6dB with the Sundara and almost 10 dB with the Audeze LCD3. Sennheiser does come in this class. In short: Meze is doing very well here. We think it’s a somewhat crazy tuning, but it does surprisingly well on a smartphone or portable player.

Specifications Meze 99 Classic

Type Closed Back
Driver dynamic
Sensitivity 103 dB
Impedance 32 Ohm
Weight 260
Cable length n.a
Price 299

Hifiman Sundara

 

When we were offered the Hifiman Sundara for review, the purchase price was still € 499. From Björn and Garmt we heard that there is a price reduction of the Sundara, to € 349. We already found the Sundara to offer a lot for the original price, a price drop of 150 euros is downright spectacular. The planar driver and the open system provide an open and transparent soundstage with a surprising amount of bass punch. Moreover, the Sundara is easy to control. A headphone amplifier makes this unit really sing, but it doesn’t have to; on a telephone this entry-level Hifiman also does more than fine.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

The Sundara is – especially with the promotional price of 349 euros – a good buy. The response is surprisingly neutral and the distortion is just fine within this class. There are models that perform a bit better in that area. Just like impulse behaviour (dynamic models perform better there). But overall this is just a very nice headphone with a (very) pleasant sound character.

Specifications Hifiman Sundara

Headphone type Open back, planar
Drivers planar
Impedance 37 Ohm
Sensitivity 94 dB/1mw
Frequency range 6 Hz – 75 kHz
Weight 372 grams
Price 499 euro / 349 euro

Sennheiser HD 660 S

In this test Sennheiser is the only ‘regular’ brand participating in this Operation 2 for 12.

The HD 660 S competes very well in the foursome that we are testing in this category. The planar and open headphones stand out for their pleasantly neutral sound, a soundstage that nicely portrays the sound around the head. Also the mid bass sounds nice, a bit tending towards warm, almost as a non-planar driver would sound. The qualification ‘musical’ is a bit of a catchword; with this we want to indicate that the Sennheiser HD 660 S offers a pleasant listening experience. The fit is fine as is our overall opinion of the sound.

What does Harriëtte say about it?

It’s a very ‘German Measurement’. Looks like Sennheiser invented the Harman-Curve. The response is almost perfect. Just like the impulse behavior. Distortion technique: almost perfection with low distortion in the low frequencies and very low distortion from 400 Hz (-70 dB: 0.03%) with the absolute top: 0.017% at 1 kHz. Handsome. Funnily enough it is also audible; the Sennheiser comes across very calm and balanced… an everybody’s boyfriend.

Specifications Sennheiser 660S

Type Open Back
Driver Dynamic
Sensitivity 104 dB
Impedance N.b
Weight 260
Cable length n.a
Price 499

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