Reference Class Portable: Aedle VK-1

The Aedle VK-1 (USD 380 Β for non Euro customers, 350 390 EUR for Euro customers, tax included).

 

The fashionable looks of the Aedle VK-1 have a little discriminating effect in that it gives an “I’m all about look with sound second” kind of a statement.Β Surprisingly, the sound captivated me so much that the French lifestyle headphone has become my everyday closed-back portable. Its on-ear fit is not the most comfortable thing out there and even though the lambskin leather pads help maximize the comfort factor of an on-ear design, at the end of the day it’s still a factor that would get in the way of people considering purchasing the VK-1. However, one thing that the comfort factor should tell you is that there is something really special about the Aedle, otherwise why would I even bother using a lifestyle headphone as my main to-go headphone the past few weeks. In fact, it’s so special when amped, I have even been using it on my big ALO Studio Six rig as well.

 

Subtle Reference Class Qualities

Dark tonality with relaxed treble, an extremely beefy low end body (even by the standards of proper full size headphones) combined with a clean grainless sound, superbly black background is what the VK-1 is all about. The dark tonality paired with a clear midrange of the VK-1 is in a way reminiscent of the Aurisonics ASG-1 that I praised a while back though with a few worthwhile differences. Overall the sound is less dark than the ASG-1 and the clean sound is definitely grain free, unlike the ASG-1. It’s not a technical headphone and people demanding a neutral sound won’t find it here. There is a mild peak as well as a bit of an unpleasant metallic tint in the treble, and the bass is definitely bumped up, but overall I find the sound very musical and organic. It pairs very well straight from my Samsung phone as well from fancy players like the Astell & Kern AK100 or Altmann Tera, but it also scales up wonderfully when plugged in to high end desktop rig like the ALO Studio Six rig I have at the store. In fact, it is one of the best sounding headphones I’ve listened to on the Studio Six rig. This is an extremely impressive headphone by my standards.

 

The VK-1’s fashionable look may not ooze reference-class personality, but it has a lot of qualities usually only found in reference class headphones. I suspect that there is going to be a lot of bias against pretty looking headphones like the VK-1 especially from guys like us. However, the reality is far from it. The timbre is among the best for a portable and while not the most spacious sounding portable, it portrays an accurate image with an effortless separation amid an especially black background. The black background aspect alone is perhaps unmatched under $1K either full size or portable. Though being closed back, the VK-1 is also free of any obvious housing reverbs issue (hello Momentum, Vmoda M-100, and especially the Sony MDR-1R). There is some high quality sound going on with this headphone. It’s also quite revealing of the source quality and so you’ll be rewarded even more by pairing it with good quality sources. I happened to find a nice synergy between the VK-1 and the Astell & Kern AK100 (though it’s not my favorite DAP). I usually find the AK100 quite stiff and digital sounding, but the Aedle manages to smooth things out and inject a good amount of liquidity to the overall sound. Again with a portable headphone, we generally place a greater emphasis in musicality than pure technicalities and in that sense the VK-1 is very strong while maintaining a good enough technicalities that I don’t hear any congestion in the sound.

The version I use for the review is branded as a LAUNCH EDITION, and with my country supposedly only receiving three LAUNCH EDITION units, I was quick to reserve one for my personal use. Among the premium portable headphones that we sell at the store, the Sennheiser Momentum and Amperior, the Vmoda M-100, the Audio Technica ESW-9 and ESW-11, Sony MDR-1R, AKG’s K495NC, none has struck me as being so reference-class to my ears as the Aedle VK-1. It’s not so much of a PRaT monster as the Vmoda M-100 with its extremely fast paced bass nor does it sound as spacious as the ESW-11, but the authoritative low end weight of the VK-1 is a rare phenomenon even in full size headphones. In fact, I can draw a comparison directly to the Sennheiser HD650 in that the Aedle stands out for its low end weight. The bass has a good amount of decay to make it work with romantic tunes like female vocal jazz, but at the same time enough speed and punch to enjoy Nirvana out of. And how I can not not love that clear midrange in the midst of that dark tonality. This has got to be the clearest midrange in the realm of high end portable headphones, even besting the likes of the ESW-11 and Sennheiser’s Momentum. Vocals are smooth, full bodied, and present without being sibilant. If only that peak in the treble is smoothed out, but I’ll still take it at the current form anyhow.

 

 

Where the Aedle Excels

One of the most difficult and so far, I have yet to find on portables, is to produce a good low end weight without being a boomy or bassy headphone. By boomy I mean headphones whose bass is so much they cloud the other frequencies, and by bassy I mean headphones that’s only purpose in living is to produce bass frequencies and nothing else. Solid low end weight is difficult to achieve even in full size headphones as witnessed on the majority of full size headphones, closed or open, from Audio Technica, AKG, or Beyerdynamic. The Aedle is excellent at this. Music feels planted and full bodied due to the low end weight, and though the bass doesn’t have great sub-low extension, extends quite enough for the majority of music to produce an enjoyable bass experience. The weighty bass is also not particularly fast nor snappy like for instance Sennheiser HD25-1’s or Vmoda’s M-100, but the Aedle definitely trumps the HD25-1 in overall sound quality and it does have one of the most enjoyable bass reproduction around.

 

Exterior build and Ergonomics

Whenever I get a new product, one of the thing I do is I would ask for an impression from the store visitors. Some are old time headphone listener while some are non-enthusiasts walk-in customers. Regardless of their experience with headphones, I figure I can always get a good comments on what areas people find the product to be strong or lacking at. I did the same with the Aedle. One comment I hear about the SQ is on the treble peak, but this was coming from Hadi who has one of the most sensitive ears I know. Even then he said it was a minor peak (though like him I find the peak a little bothersome). Other than that, I have yet to find a comment that can pick a fault in the SQ. The comments from the general crowd, however is that the fit is not so comfortable and that I agree. Modern headphones are in general very comfortable and in relative to the competition the Aedle needs an improvement. Everybody these days use the Sony MDR-1R as the reference for comfort and while I am not a big fan of the plastic-echoey sound, it is indeed the most comfortable headphone in the market today.

A-VK1Black2-HR

 

Of course we can tell that Aedle put a lot of emphasis in the design and the build. So fine the build of the VK-1, I was almost guilty of dissing it as another pretty looking headphone without much substance beneath the lambskin pads and headband. In fact, I was guilty of that discriminative attitude as I only took a short spin of the VK-1 during the Tokyo headphone festival and didn’t really put much thought into evaluating the sound further. The clamping force is a bit stronger than the competition. While it helps with noise isolation, it does not replace a true NC function for airplane listening. Lastly the degree of adjust-ability that you can do with the VK-1 is not as great as you can get with other headphones. On my head, I’m always at the maximum end of the extension range. If you have a large head, you may want to think twice about getting the VK-1.

One thing that I need to mention is while my VK-1, perhaps being the limited LAUNCH edition, has a pretty good build quality on the pads, the SERIE edition doesn’t quite have the consistency in pad build quality. It’s similar to the early batch LCD-2 headphones when Audez’e was still trying to smoothen out their production line. I talked to Rafael at Aedle about this and he explained that it is due to the manual stitching and the nature of the lambskin pads being used. Surprisingly the limited edition Carbon Edition which is simply a black color tone variant, uses synthetic leather and actually has a more comfortable headband (to my head) than the standard version.

 

End Words

A while ago I was deeply in love with the UE9000 portable headphone which like the AK-1 is also another dark-sounding portable. However the AK-1’s weightier low end (not necessarily more bassy, it’s just that the sound is more planted and more weighty on the Aedle), cleaner grainless sound, midrange quality , accurate timbre, and superior coherence wins my dynamic-driver loving ears more than the UE9000.

I still think that the Vmoda M-100 is currently the #1 mainstream music tuned headphone in the market, and the fact that it’s been the best selling premium portable headphone in the store for a few months now is a strong testament to that. It’s got the comfort that the Aedle doesn’t, and though not having the sound quality of the VK-1, overall the M-100 has the tuning that makes it work with just about ANY music. The Vmoda is so well tuned, it’s a very easy headphone to sell both to seasoned enthusiasts as well as the common non-audiophile crowd. Moreover, the VK-1’s subtler qualities are not likely to be noticed by the average guy.

I do wish that they could sort out the mid treble peak and if they do that they need to be careful not to make the sound too dark for the mainstream crowd. Yes, there is some premium to the price, but I don’t think that you’re only buying a fancy look with that premium. I’ll gladly take the VK-1 over any of the current popular portable closed-backs though I have to admit, I’m a big fan of bass weight, dark tonality, dark background, and a grainless sound. All those things embodied by the Aedle. Who would’ve guessed that a fancy fashion headphone could be so inspiring to a headphone reviewer like me?

Anyway I’ll be looking out for the next headphone from Aedle. The VK-1 is their first headphone, and this is a new company that has never build any headphones before.

 

Reference Class Portable: Aedle VK-1
3.9 (77.14%) 28 votes

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69 Comments

  • Reply September 17, 2013

    dalethorn

    I’m curious if you or one of the other staffers could compare the bass of the VK-1 to the B&O H6 – just the bass, since the rest of the range sounds pretty different.

    • Reply September 17, 2013

      L.

      I will have it next week!

    • Reply September 17, 2013

      Mike

      Hi Dale,
      Sorry but we haven’t gotten the B&O here. I’ll be looking out for it.

  • Reply September 17, 2013

    moonsurf

    I was actually just about to order Audio-Technica ES10. If you can briefly compare Aedle vs ES10, I will tremendously apprecaite it!!

    • Reply September 17, 2013

      Mike

      Okay that’s a really good question, and yes if you compare the reviews both headphones do seem to share similar signature.
      I think the ES10 is more comfortable.
      I think the biggest difference is that the ES10 is slower paced, the Aedle on the other hand still plays pretty fast. The Aedle has more treble, the ES10 darker.
      The Aedle has a clean grainless sound, the ES10 a bit of grain.
      The Aedle more upfront the ES10 more laid back.
      Timbre is more accurate on the Aedle.
      The ES10 may be more resolving but I have to do an A-B.

      Anyway the ES10 is a dark, weighty, warm sounding headphone but for some reason I’ve never really gotten into its sound.

      • Reply September 19, 2013

        moonsurf

        Thank you so much for the detailed comparison! I think ES10 will be the one for me since I love the dark signature. But, VK-1 does look sexy indeed!

        • Reply September 19, 2013

          Mike

          Thank you, you’re welcome!

  • Reply September 17, 2013

    Carl A

    Nice review Mike, very succinct, clear and informative.

    I’m in a process of gradually deciding which new ‘phone to buy, as an addition to my Denon AH-D600, and I really want to choose well as the two I then have will have to do me for a good while I reckon!
    The three being B&O H6, V-Moda M100 and the VK-1. I’d quite like to have one to take out(which in my mind rules out the H6)but that’s secondary to absolute sound quality I suppose and I will definitely be using it a lot at home listening to all sorts of music, from Nordic metal thru pop, alternative rock and increasingly more and more classical.
    You mentioned recently in the comments section that Aedle were going to be updating the VK-1 at some point soon. I would therefore not consider this current model, especially as comfort is very important(which I felt to be perfect on the H6; I had bought my Dad the MDR-1R and yes it is wonderfully comfortable and I feel the H6 is its equal in that department)
    So, do you have any idea at all what sort of timeframe they were thinking the updated model might fit into?
    Gonna be a hard choice, between these three. I’ve had access to the H6, but not the M100 or VK-1, but can still see that they are both obviously also really nice ‘phones and have their own individual outstanding qualities. I’ll just have to take the words of you(and others)concerning their respective sound quality.
    Incidentally, I do still really enjoy my Denon D600, however the overall size of them just grates after a while and increasingly I find myself not wanting to use them as they’re just too big and the weight kinda ‘hangs’ down around the lower ear area and annoys!
    I hope that having an alternative ‘phone to use at home will give them some time away from always being the only choice, so allowing me to not grudgingly slip them on!
    Many thanks.

    • Reply September 17, 2013

      Mike

      Hi Carl,
      About the comfort, I talked to the Aedle guys about it and I had expected the SERIE which is going to be the mass-produced version to improve on that. However, apparently they already went into production with the SERIE (I didn’t know it was going to be that fast) and so a lot of the comments still applies. The black colour SERIE however is more comfortable due them using a synthetic leather.
      I think the M-100 is AMAZING and would be the first one I recommend. It’s funny because personally I don’t use it, but I think the M-100 is just the easier headphone to listen and enjoy to. On the other hand while I absolutely love the Aedle better, I think it’s one of those headphones that I would recommend to someone already having multiple headphones and wanting to add to their collection. With the M-100 you can choose any recording quality and blast away, not so with the Aedle, though it’s also a pretty good all rounder. The other reason is comfort. If this is going to be your one portable headphone, I don’t want you to take a bet with this headphone without having able to give it an audition. The M-100 however is pretty well accepted by a lot of people who’s tried it. I haven’t heard one complain on comfort about the M-100.

      • Reply September 17, 2013

        Carl A

        Thanks for your thoughts Mike, appreciate it.
        You also kinda gave me just the information I needed; there was something to do with the VK-1 that didn’t quite ‘feel right’, or more accurately, that felt as though it wouldn’t be my best choice, without knowing why. Maybe I was in some way parsing what you expressed in your answer, that it’s a superb addition to an already-owned selection of ‘phones.
        As I’m struggling with the cost of the H6 anyway, it helps knowing how highly you regard the M100. Be good to see your M100 mini-review on the site, as if somebody comes here to see what Headfonia thinks of it, they will(at the moment at least)find a very lengthy review that pretty much paints a negative picture. I understand there may be reasons why(early sample perhaps, etc)but still, seeing that balanced by your later thoughts will be good.
        Thanks again Mike.
        Be well.

        • Reply September 18, 2013

          Mike

          Thank you Carl.

  • Reply September 18, 2013

    Jeffrey Coleman

    Thank you for reviewing these portable cans Mike. These have only been on my radar for a few months, and I knew so little about them until this article. But your description is selling me on the prospect of owning them. And I was also considering the much higher priced Audio-Technica ES11s (possibly $300 more then the VK-1s in the States).

    My current portables are the HD25s with an upgraded balanced cable, and the DT1350s modded with an upgraded balanced cable. Both are wonderful, especially after the upgrades. But I’m always wondering if there’s more to be had in other travel friendly headphones. I know you said the VK-1s are superior to what I’m assuming are stock HD25s, but are they “leaps and bounds” above? Because like I said the cable upgrades were far more then a minimal improvement. And it doesn’t look like the VK-1s will cooperatively mod to balanced termination.

    I was also wondering if you knew of any sound differences in the unit you auditioned and use, compared to the mass produced variety that the rest of us will have to “settle” with? It must be good to be the king…. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks again, and great pictures?

    • Reply September 18, 2013

      Mike

      Hi Jeffrey,
      I think the HD25-1’s drivers are getting old and today I would recommend the Vmoda 100 for the crowd that I’d usually recommend the HD25-1 to. Cables help, but they can’t hide the fact that the drivers are old.
      The DT1350, I think the T51p is the first proper headphone of that series. I don’t think it’s out yet. The M100 still has a wider genre bandwidth than the T51p, and the Aedle is still more refined. I think the T51 is great, but the competition is very tough.
      Likewise headphones like the MDR-1R, the ESW-11, etc, I think it’s very hard to beat the M100 at the moment. Not on the basis of sound quality or technicalities, but pure tuning, genre bandwidth, musicality. With portables I think it gets up to the point where the majority of new headphones resolve enough detail and what’s matter more is the tuning. It’s like buying a new car, most of them have enough horsepower for city commuting, you just need to find the one that fits your needs better: compact, SUV, truck, etc.
      The Fidelio L2 is going to be an extremely strong performer but you need to wait for the review. πŸ˜‰
      The Aedle does have sound variations like the LCD-2 used to be. From the three Launch edition units, I know that there are slight sound differences. Not big enough to be bothersome though. It’s either you get the sound or you don’t.

      • Reply September 19, 2013

        Jeffrey Coleman

        Wow, are you recommending the M100 over the VK-1? Or are you saying the M100 is best “for the masses”?

        • Reply September 19, 2013

          Mike

          Both, Jeffrey.

          I think the VK-1 is better, but for the average crowd they’ll be able to enjoy the M100 better, either because of the comfort or the tuning. And since you can’t personally try an Aedle (I’m assuming you can’t, tell me if that’s not right), the M100 is really the one I’d recommend.

          • Reply September 20, 2013

            Jeffrey Coleman

            Sadly, where I live, the closest headphone shop is a 4 hour drive away. That’s unless I want to audition every variety of Beats ever made. All my purchases are based on what I read. That’s why I like it here….. πŸ™‚

            Thanks for the opinions. I could see myself getting both.

            • Reply September 21, 2013

              Mike

              Thank you, Jreffrey.

  • Reply September 20, 2013

    mark

    Mike, first thanks for an excellent and well thought out review. I was waiting for this review since you mentioned these a while back. In the meantime, I bought the M100’s and haven’t looked back. They are excellent and I am enjoying them.
    Your comment about these not being as comfortable as other headphones is a deal breaker for me, along with the “bump” you mention. I do give kudos to the manufacturer and look for great things to come from them in the future. Overall a very good first effort.
    As I informed my wife after purchasing the VModa’s, I’m not a headphone collector, having moved on from camera equipment and flashlights and knives. LOL.
    Now to obtain my second pair of headphones. Hmm, perhaps the Sennheiser 650’s.
    Oh, and which were the NC model you recommended as being the best? I had the Bose but thought the sound terrible.
    mark

    • Reply September 21, 2013

      Mike

      Thanks Mark.

      The NC headphone I mentioned, I believe is the AKG K495NC.

      Cheers

  • Reply September 20, 2013

    Franz H

    Hi Mike,

    If I have to choose VK-1 and Momentum, which one will be the best choice? I’m personally will use it as on the go headphone, most likely will use it during long haul flight. I tried Momentum and it sounds good for me, but after reading your review, it makes me curious and want to compare it. I mean you have been tried both of it, based on your opinion, which one should i pick?

    • Reply September 20, 2013

      Mike

      My pick for sound is the VK-1. The Momentum however is more comfortable. For long flights I think the VK-1’s isolation is better than the Momentum, but also on the other hand is not as comfortable than the Momentum. You may also want to look at the AKG K495NC as it comes with noise cancelling.

      • Reply October 2, 2013

        Franz H

        Hi Mike,

        I end up with VK-1. I just can’t denied that i love the sound signature and how fancy its looks even tough i got some trouble with comfort factor, lol. Its kinda gambling tough, i just order it online. But anyhow I do love it so much.
        Do you have any suggestion which amp I can use to improve the treble peak? Portable amp would be preferable. Or maybe any recommendation for you how can I maximize the sound quality of this exotic looks headphone?

        • Reply October 3, 2013

          Mike

          Hi Franz,
          Quite a gamble, glad it paid off. πŸ˜‰

          What do you mean by improve the treble peak? lessen it or add to it?

          • Reply October 6, 2013

            Franz H

            I mean to Improve it a little bit. Is there anyway i can improve the sound stage of this headset also? If you have any recommendation, I would appreciate it Mike.

            • Reply October 7, 2013

              Mike

              Franz,
              Soundstage gets wider if you feed it good quality amp and source. The Astell & Kern AK100 and CypherLabs Theorem are both very good.
              Treble, I still don’t understand. What do you mean by improving it? I do find that a recable lessens the treble peak and smooths out the treble region.

  • Reply November 9, 2013

    Chavericks

    Hpw do they fold?

    • Reply November 9, 2013

      Mike

      Absolutely no folding, unfortunately.

  • Reply December 8, 2013

    AllahModeEngage

    How well would this pair with the Apex Glacier and DX50? Seriously considering getting these as my third set of portables.

    • Reply December 9, 2013

      Mike

      I don’t like the DX50 sound, I like the VK-1 direct from the AK100 better.

      • Reply December 9, 2013

        AllahModeEngage

        I’m hooking the DX50 via LO to the Apex Glacier because I also found the DX50’s HO to be just average. It’s made a great combo so far with the HD25 ALU and I’m hoping the VK-1 will also sound good because as I’ve said on the HD25 ALU review I pulled the trigger on those.

  • Reply February 7, 2014

    Victor_techpackers

    Just to let you guys know here’s a 3D view of the VK-1 : https://sketchfab.com/show/0ec6b8c756f54420b6346e9c39a44d74
    @headfonia:disqus this model is embeddable in your review too πŸ™‚

  • Reply May 20, 2014

    Phoenix

    Interesting review of what looks to be an interesting headphone! I’m contemplating a trip to the Conran shop to go and hear some.

    I took a chance on a pair of M100s without being able to hear them, and while I can’t deny the quality of them, I can’t quite get on with the sound or ‘tuning’. I *much* prefer the Fidelio L2s that I also took a chance on, and which were Β£100 cheaper. I think I even prefer the M80s that I’ve had for ages. So if if the VK-1s are ‘tuned’ differently, and are subtly high quality they may be the ‘phones for me.

    And yes, I’m swayed by the design, too. They look beautiful!

  • Reply May 22, 2014

    dalethorn

    I reviewed the VK-1 here and there. A perfect dark sound, but for me it needed a little more treble. Amazing sound for an on-ear, with no significant colorations. The fit may be an issue – there’s little room for adjustment, and both my wife and I find that the earpads press on the tops of our ears but not the bottom as much – they need a vertical adjustment, or I need to bend the headband.

  • Reply May 24, 2014

    Tibor

    Hello,
    great review thank you. I love the looks of these headphones. I am currently looking for one small and portable ones and I was thinking about t51p, can you compare them a bit more? And which one would be great for my Fiio X5? For home use I have Philips X1 and love the sound from them, so I am looking for something similar, or can be these VK1 even better?
    Thank you so much
    Tibor

    • Reply May 24, 2014

      dalethorn

      The Aedle would be more similar to the Philips sound. The T51p is very different – a much lighter sound.

  • Reply September 15, 2014

    Tibor

    Hi πŸ™‚ So I bought these little beauties (carbon), ehm yesterday… WAU! Why no one told me how fabulous do they sound? Yeah similar to X1’s, I love that dark tonality and clear midrange πŸ˜‰ Well spent 300 pounds πŸ˜€
    So will they benefit from an amp?
    VorzAMP Pure ii for example?
    Now I feed them from Meridian Explorer connected to LG tablet.
    Thank you guys

    • Reply September 16, 2014

      dalethorn

      Since the Meridian gets all its power from the USB line, it doesn’t leave much for dynamics. A bigger amp with some power should give you a fuller sound. I’ve gotten good sound from several tiny USB DACs that double as headphone amps, but the sound is limited, esp. in the bass. The VK-1 is small for a headphone, but it has a lot of potential.

      • Reply September 16, 2014

        Tibor

        Yes, definitely it has. At home I’ve got Alo PanAm, but I spend more time away from home. So a small amp is a must, right? And I red a lot positive reviews about Pure ii so I will probably give it a try. πŸ™‚

        • Reply September 16, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          That will surely help. Or something like the Duet. But of course the VK1 can only go as far as it can. to me it’s more of a mid fi headphone, but good one

          • Reply September 16, 2014

            Tibor

            You know how it works… Until I’ll try a better and more expensive one this will be mine hi-fi headphone πŸ˜‰
            Thank you

        • Reply September 16, 2014

          dalethorn

          I’d like to have the Pure II myself. Looks like a well-built amp.

          • Reply September 16, 2014

            Tibor

            πŸ™‚

  • Reply September 27, 2014

    Tibor

    Hey. I am finally at home and just want to share this.
    My setup is now Windows pc>foobar2000 ks output>Atlas Elements usb>Meridian Explorer>Forza Audio Copper series 3.5mm interconnect>Alo Pan Am RTC tubes>Aedle VK-1. And I am really impressed. The sound is big, clean, with great impact, soundstage is bigger on tubes. I am very happy for this my new hobby, so far the best setup I have heard. Thanks guys, I would not buy any of this stuff without your reviews πŸ™‚

  • Reply November 25, 2014

    John

    Hello, I have just got my VK-1 and love its smooth sound signature very much.
    I am now looking for a DAC-AMP to be used with my iphone 5. Which one would you recommend? Is centrance hifi m8 a good match? Thank you.

  • Reply January 15, 2015

    Adli Yuki

    Thanks Mike for this review. I bought this headphone near a month ago, since I’m addicted to its unique sound tuning, though not that comfortable actually. I’m pairing it with Fiio X5 and alo rx Mk3, awesome sound indeed

    • Reply January 15, 2015

      dalethorn

      Those leather earpads require some time to break in, but eventually it will be more comfy.

  • Reply March 16, 2015

    Alex

    Just auditioned this headphone at a store today – I absolutely love the clean sound and the dark, musical feel to it! But as a student, they are a serious stretch out of my budget at $550CAD πŸ™
    Could someone please recommend a headphone (on ear preferred, but over ear is fine when it comes down to it) with a similar sound signature? Ideally at/under the $300CAD range.
    I’ve been contemplating the Beyerdynamic T51P, Philips Fidelio L2, and the Bowers & Wilkins P5 (I am a sucker for design, being an art student & all Οƒ^_^;οΌ‰
    My daily drivers are a pair of Audio-Technica CKR5s. This will be my first delve into the world of “higher end” audio products, and would appreciated everyone’s educated thoughts! My music preferences are mainly jazz, piano, and some electronic, with a bit of casual Jpop thrown in the mix.
    I will be driving these simply out of my Macbook Air, or from my measly Fiio E6 portable amp which I have picked up cheap on a trip to Taiwan. Thank you!

    • Reply March 16, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      T51P, you’ll love it!
      Vmoda XS is also quite nice for its price

      • Reply March 16, 2015

        Guest

        Thank you so much for that instant reply, Lieven! Just a quick question: are the non-removable cables on the T51P sturdy enough for daily usage? On picture, it seems that they are rather flimsy. Sadly, there is no Beyerdynamic dealer in my area, so I don’t have the luxury of trying them on first. I love the reviews on your website, keep up the good work! πŸ™‚

        • Reply March 16, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          Thank you Alex. I don’t know how you handle your headphones but a gorgeous unit like the T51P should always be treated with the best care.

          If you don’t yank the cables I think the T51P will be fine, the XS probably can take a real beating and has a removable cable but sound wise it isn’t on level with the T51P.

          Can you maybe try the Vmoda XS out?

          • Reply March 16, 2015

            Alex

            Don’t worry, I always keep my gear spick & span in top condition! – Just making sure before I take the plunge. As for the Vmoda’s, I’ve tried the M100s before, but they were much too bass-heavy for me. I’m not much of a fan on the styling part, either! Could you possibly recommend a couple of reliable online dealers for Beyerdynamic, please?
            I see that the Beyerdynamic North America site only carries the T51i.
            I will go take a look at the XS’s when I have the chance.

            • Reply March 16, 2015

              dalethorn

              Beyer NA should definitely carry the T51p – give them a call.

        • Reply March 16, 2015

          dalethorn

          Definitely take care because the cables can break. Mine did. Beyer has a great service center and mine came back within a few days. The other headphone options – with the P5 I broke 2 cables, and the other one, never mind.

      • Reply March 16, 2015

        dalethorn

        I would take the P5 over the XS – the P5 is a little darker, but smoother. Much more comfy too. But the T51p better of course.

  • Reply June 25, 2015

    Benjamin Fong

    I just bought centrance m8. but I dont know if m8 is better or mini m8 better so confused. Anyone can advise what setting for my centrance for my Aedle VK1 n Beyer T1? Thks.

    • Reply June 25, 2015

      dalethorn

      What other components do you use with the M8?

      • Reply June 25, 2015

        Benjamin Fong

        No other components. Just the m8 n my headphones. Either Aedle VK1 or Beyer T1. πŸ™‚

        • Reply June 26, 2015

          dalethorn

          The M8 plays music? I don’t understand.

          • Reply June 26, 2015

            Benjamin Fong

            Is Centrance Hifi M8

            • Reply June 26, 2015

              dalethorn

              I looked up the M8, and with just the M8 and a headphone, you can’t do anything. So you need a component to supply the music.

              • Reply June 26, 2015

                Benjamin Fong

                Oops sorry. I get you now. I used my iphone 6 to play the songs. Sorry I am new to these things…. still learning ……….

                • Reply June 26, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  OK – I’ve learned to not trust theories, like the more expensive is always better. So to know how good is your amp, besides what you hear, about all you can do is read the reviews. But Headfonia gives you 2 important advantages: The reviews and the discussion afterward is usually brief and straight to the points, so you don’t have to read through 100 pages of mostly just personal chat. The other advantage is independent reviews, that are very reliable. The iPhone6 Is a good transport, and the M8 will process the digital data as good as any DAC and amp can do. But then, your source tracks will be the main limitation. Use WAV if you have the space, FLAC if you have a FLAC player, or if you have to use lossy tracks, convert your own to 320k CBR’s from bit-perfect CD rips. The 256k tracks sold by Amazon and Apple are mostly terrible.

  • Reply November 15, 2016

    Dana

    If I were to rate the headphones immediately after purchase, I would have given them 5 stars. However, since I got them in December 2014, they have had to be replaced twice. And the current pair, the third pair, just made a popping noise and delivered a shock to my right ear. It breaks my heart to say it, but I’m completely over them.

    • Reply November 15, 2016

      dale thorn

      I would like to have an analysis of the returned headphones, to see exactly what went wrong from the perspective of the Aedle service department. Then, how you used them in case it provides any additional clues about their weaknesses. Since this is the first complaint I know of, and it’s three(!) times and not just once, there must be a really interesting story there. BTW, I’ve experienced a few service nightmares myself, so I wouldn’t be surprised at anything they find in those returned headphones. You never know…

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