The Sound: Private 435
Note: Despite fit issues encountered with the universal demo of the MH335DW, the Private 435 gave me no troubles at all. The body is smaller and so are the sound tubes. Because of that, I didn’t suffer ear fatigue and could listen at longer periods of time. Less deleterious miasma invaded me’ ears. Methinks these impressions be right on!
Private 435 is a hotter earphone than MH335DW. At times, upper mids can sound hyperactive. Switching between the two demo units was a blessed relief- that MH335DW was nearly a torture device. But a starker contrast in sound certainly doesn’t exist from a single company. After the first switch, cymbals and upper midrange elements sound balmy. Fading percussion elements shimmer slightly longer than I am used to hearing. To be honest, my music listening habits changed in demoing the Private 435. In particular, I was drawn to small stage ensembles and intimate listening venue recordings.
When approaching fast, but simple music, between-frequency smear isn’t a problem. But in every frequency, a common thread flows from stage to stage.
This connectedness coalesces the whole so well that, at times, you will swear sound is coming at you from speakers behind and above you. Bass rumbles always at the shoulders and vocal elements float in front. Every element expands from there. But it is upper mids that expand the farthest. Each element is readily recognizable, but defining lines between instruments aren’t as stark as the lines of the MH335DW. While the sense of space is wide, common between-frequency elements blend. It’s a natural sound, closer to what you hear in every day life. I expect that the MH335DW has measurably greater stereo separation; but the the naturalness of the blending of channels often sounds wider.
As a result, the sense of absolute speed and contrast is lower. But Private 435 isn’t a slow earphone at all. It merely is a high-voiced, atmospheric earphone that attracts with an almost otherworldly pull. If anything, these phones are genre earphones, fitting some music obscenely well. Others, such as trance and IDM, I simply do not enjoy.
At first blush (and coming from the MH335DW) I disliked the Private 435. At first I thought there wasn’t enough contrast between bass and upper frequencies. And why so much atmosphere in the mids? After settling into the earphones, however, I had a hard time leaving. Why? The slight smear and slide of upper midrange elements, the atmosphere, the extremely wide sounding stage, and the rolling reverb elements were completely addictive. Even when listening to music that is less suited to the Private 435 I had to have the sound. It was like a first trip to a foreign country when you’re nineteen and have been given 1000$ to spend ‘whichever way you want’; you know things will get messy, but damn, you know they will be good.
What I liked least about the Private 435 was its deemphasis of lower bass elements. Bass has energy and resolution, but mainly in its upper haunts. Lower bass has next to no thrust.
Like the Private 333, Private 435 is reasonably sensitive. It really picks up on noise. If a source or amp isn’t tailored to use with sensitive earphones, L/R balance will be off because you will need to use very small volumes in order that you don’t blow your ears. Unlike the Private 333, contrast flows out of the upper midrange and into its surrounds. Owning both would serve every single music under the sun.
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