I'm officially at the point where the Marshall Major IIIs get a full recommendation. I've worn in the pads a bit and they're just super comfortable now for on-ear. They're my favorite V or U-shaped sounding headphone. The bass extension is fantastic because while it's very, very deep it's very clean with minimal bleed.
But what put these over for me is how well they work on Bluetooth. Great range, great connectivity, and the built in amp/dac is fantastic. Far better sound than the stereo jack on my S10 and on par with my dongle amp/dac.
I got mine for 69 bucks I think. If you can find them still at that price -> buy them. The only thing I did with mine was very gently bend the metal in the headband to reduce the clamp force because of my watermelon head. Other than that, they're perfect.
Coincidentally I bought from a shop in Cary, NC apparently, which I sit on the border of being in Raleigh/Garner.
I was going to buy the Dragonfly Red but for the same price I get a better build, included OTG cables, and a balanced option. I'm gonna buy the Meze balanced cables for my Elegias at some point so having that option is pretty cool.
I'm pretty much done with new headphones until I decide what the best bang-for-buck closed back Planar would be for me. Doesn't seem like the Dan Clark Aeons are it. I do highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out a Planar if you haven't heard one. My Devas are the only thing I own that makes classic recording non-analog stuff even remotely tolerable. I'm talking about stuff like Al Green or Frank Sinatra or Otis Reading. Much of the digital library of music from the 50s and 60s is extremely stale, congested, and washed out sounding. The better resolving your headphones or gear the worse it gets if the source isn't analog. I don't know if all Planars translate older recordings so kindly but the Devas are a stark improvement over anything else I have.
The problem has been my phone. Paired with Xduoo Link.. it's not enough power to open up the sound on the Devas or expand the sound on the Elegias. Since most of my listening is phone related.. twas a quandary. Many people do not seem to feel as though dongle DACs are worth the time or money. And so people overhype them to all hell. It's always helpful to question the length of time a reviewer has spent with an item and whether or not they had a chance to encounter its faults. Because everything has faults.
Anyway, I'll check back in when I have. Right now it seems like a hard to find device, maybe because it's newer. It should be a contrasting sound to my Zen DAC which was a main reason I didn't pick the Hip DAC. Sometimes you feel like a nut..
So.. the Sparrow has been an adventure. Very long story short it appears that the device's hardware chip, an ESS Sabre, has an issue in this specific device even though it apparently passed Earman's QC (which seems to be very MQA focused). I've been working with Moon Audio, Earman, and other users/owners to try and figure out what everyone has experienced or reported.
In short, I noticed very early on a metered clicking sound when playing back audio on the balanced input on my phone (Android). Then it became noticeable on the single-ended input. Now, at the time I wasn't letting the device continue to playback continuously. I was just skipping between different sources, and different apps, and different files. But if you let the playback continue for about 30-50 seconds it stops and device works perfectly thereafter.. until you pause audio playback for about 5-10 seconds. Then it'll resume to click for about 20 seconds before stopping again. I only came to this conclusion on other user reports. Prior to that I was suspecting cables or apps on my phone.
So I had planned to return the device but given that I can nudge it into a workable state I'm inclined to keep it because there's nothing quite like it on the market. It's not something I can recommend at this point. In my back and forth with the very polite, and very Serbian, folks over at Earman, they anticipate a firmware fix for the device at some point. If that happens then maybe I'll be able to recommend it.
I'm keeping the device because of its sheer versatility. It is about the size of a small car key dongle and it's has enough power to easily drive 300 ohm, low-sensitivity headphones. The sound is very clean and clear but extremely impactful. There's energy to the sound. It's like Viagra for headphones. For IEMs no, this device is overkill. For balanced headphones, a completely click-less version of this device, would make any high-end audio closed-back instantly portable. Makes me wish the DEVAs were balanced.
In any event - my future endeavors in audio have me eyeing the Audeze Mobius or the Beyerdynamic Tygr. Both "gaming" headsets with interesting characteristics.
I just bought a pair of Sennheiser 599s, specifically for gaming, should be here Friday. I've been using my Fidelios and my Devas for games, and while both are good, they're not great for gaming.
The Fidelios I just can never seem to get the right comfort for my ear type. I think my ears are taller than they are wide so rounded cups just sorta sit right. They have more energy, more impact, but less openness than the Devas. They're also the kings of sound staging. Problem is the pads. The stocks pads are super comfortable.. but they're itchy. My replacement pads are super comfortable but insulate making them less open. Fucking rock and hard place.
The Devas just need more power to drive. I could invest in a gaming DAC/amp or I could just get another headset for the same cost. So.. headset it is!
If anyone is interesting in purchasing the Fidelios from me I'd be willing to sell them for what I paid which is about 70 bucks. They're highly rated but they're very mid-fi. They have exceptional sound staging, boomy but airy bass, warm mids, but grainy highs. This is where audiophiles slam them because the high end has a limit on its resolution. They clean enough but could be cleaner. Their original price was 300 dollars and they now sit at 150. I bought mine on sale so.. for 70 bucks they're an absolute steal.
They're open backs meaning there's no noise insulation. They're good for gaming provided you find the pads comfortable. I could include the replacement pads I bought for them as well. The stock pads are proprietary and clip on. So the replacement pads have to be stretched over the ear cup bypassing the clips. This covers the 3.5 mm jack so I put a hole in the bottom of one of the pads to pass the jack through. Works like a charm! But again.. I have to sets of replacement pads and they're plenty comfortable but they turn it from open-back to semi-open back. Since I play videos and podcasts while I game this becomes an issue. I need open-open, not semi-open.
If anyone is interested just DM me. No hard sell here, if you want a gaming headset without a mic and would like an open/large form factor they're some of the best you can purchase. Especially if you play games with BOOMs. These will have all the boom.
Big fan of the Sennheiser 599s. They're extremely lightweight, the pads are firm, not memory foam, but they're plenty comfortable. Not a fan of the cables. I hate proprietary connectors. Looks like a 2.5 mm insert into the headphone, Bose does this bullshit as well. If you do that.. give me a cable worth a fuck. The two included stock cables are fucking nonsense. One is about 60 feet that terminates in a quarter inch with an adapter to 3.5 making an average sized Chinese penis at the end of 60 feet. Great. They include a 2 foot phone cable though that was probably made for 30 cents so yay?
Sound is great on these for the price. They take amplification well too. Vocals aren't forward, they're aside or behind the mids. Different listening experience for much of the other shit I have but works well for hip-hop. I like the control. Good bass, pleasing highs, no distortion, scales well on volume, full sounding, not super spacious for an open back but definitely better than a closed. Quality resolution, I'll have to test out imaging later. These are meant for gaming so I think the nearer sound staging might do better for sound detecting.
But yeah, nice headphones but fucking Sennheiser with these bullshit cables.