Source AV 2/2017


I’ll post some more detailed impressions later, as well as photos, but I just quickly wanted to say that I was really impressed with n3rdling’s Orpheus clone. It was really articulate-sounding to me, and it didn’t have the upper-midrange brightness that I don’t like too much from the SR-009 (although on the Questyle CMA800P and SRM-007tII, it sounded less bright than I remember in past listening sessions).


This, was very interesting to hear. I know that chinsettawong creates DIY electrostatic headphones, and I’ve heard a DIY estat before, but this was just mind-blowing to me. If you know what the SR-007 MKI and SR-009 sounds like, this “Orpheus Clone” is like a mix of them. It was just a very technical/musical-sounding hybrid. You really have to give it a listen yourself because I was/still am at a loss for words on how to describe it other than that. It has a bright upper-midrange similar, but much more toned down, to the 009, but a warm, and pretty much transparent, bass and treble response on the other ends of the frequency spectrum. It sounded very fast like the 009, but at the same time didn’t sound ethereal like a typical estat.

The imaging was amongst the strongest and most well-defined of what I’ve heard in any headphone system: very, very solid. The soundstage was also airy similar to the 009, but that could be attributed to the Blue Hawaii amplifier it was hooked up on.

I think projects like this demonstrate the enthusiasm this community can have. Learning about the technology of how something works and applying that to make something of your own is, in my opinion, the ultimate realization of this hobby. I’ve been wanting to read Roger Sander’s “Electrostatic Loudspeaker Design Cookbook” to learn more about the design of electrostatic speaker panels, and n3rdling’s creation may have just motivated me even more to look into it. Getting into the world of DIY estats is no trivial task and I have a lot of respect for people who venture into it.

The yin and yang were in perfect harmony with the “Orpheus Clone”.


Milos room (AccuphaseCDplayer>BHSE>Clones). Milos had the clones setup in a communal room so it wasn’t as quiet or private as the other demos. I was very impressed when I heard them at the SoCal SBAF meet. I was again very impressed this time around. The Clones seem to combine the strengths of both Stax 007’s (musicality) and 009’s (detail, transparency) and adds a bit more bass impact and openess/airiness to the sound. My impressions are mainly based on Diana Krall’s “A Case of You,” which is one of my favorite songs of all time and one I’ve heard hundreds of time. I have to say that the Milos’ setup is the best I’ve ever heard this song. Seeing the utilarian design of the Clones, it did make me wonder how the sound would change if he added casing/grills to design (to protect the drivers?) if he were ever to take these into production. BTW, do the “Clones” deserve their own name as they seem like their own beast?

Overall, my two favorite system at the event was Headamp and Milos’ Clones.

@Audio Zenith

One major and very unfortunate trend becomes more and more noticeable with pretty much all the newest high end headphones: BRIGHTNESS. I want to call it HD-800 or Mercury trend, make your pick. Utopia is pretty much the only exception, but even that one as most of you know is partial. In this madness @n3rdling clones are like a breath of fresh air and I would strongly recommend those who are serious about audio give ’em a real good and careful listen, memorize it and start looking for something similar. Clones are not perfect, but the base line is there and in the right place. Will talk about them later.

Next was @n3rdling clones. I heard them before, a few times at different meets and was always impressed. Will not go into detail analyzing sound qualities because they are still prototypes, Milos has great ears and surely knows all the small issues.

One thing is for sure though, sound is very effortless and they, like Utopia’s are succeeding in making you want to believe it’s the truth. More work is needed for perfection but personally I would probably put these on the same page with HE-1, quite an achievement for a handmade prototype ;-).


Attack of the Clones
I was extremely impressed by @n3rdling‘s Orpheus clones. They basically combined the best aspects of the Stax 007 and 009, with an overall sound signature in between the two. I especially like the bass, which had excellent impact and quantity. It was not thin or rolled off like the 009 or soft and slightly bloated like the 007 tends to be.


I won’t go so far as to say the HE-1 is “an experience”, but… if you get a chance, then you should give it a listen.

My conclusion is thus: it’s an impressive headphone system. It’s not my cup of tea. I wouldn’t buy it even if it was $5K or $10K. I’d still prefer to take, say… Utopia and a good tube amp, or Milos’ clones (which are almost perfectly neutral to my ears the last few times I got to check them out) and either BHSE or Aristaeus.