I have just sent these on to @shipsupt after spending some quality time with them. Amps used were the SRM-717 and BHSE. Sources were my Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 Mk2 SE and Kuzma Reference 2 turntable.
In a word: baller.
These things honestly don’t inspire much confidence when you first remove them from the flight case, as the cups flop around on wiggly screws and don’t have any grills over the backside yet. There’s a metal headband with a suspension system. I was really paranoid of damaging @n3rdling ‘s babies the whole time lmao. That being said, the system works even if it’s not the most glamorous; in fact they proved to be quite comfortable and light. The earpads were the longer Sennheiser type. In fact, they seemed like Orpheus earpads? Or at least Baby Orpheus? I think? Either way it was swank.
As the tour’s official “tester with a female skull (that isn’t kept displayed on a shelf),” I can report that they are comfortable with smaller sized noggins too. Keep in mind I’m about 5’7″ tho.
Also they were quite durable. Milos said I might need to tighten the screws should they have come loose, but really I didn’t find any need to do this. Everything held together quite well.
Okay so sound. I plugged these into the SRM-717 first and let them “warm up” for a few hours. Listening to The Weekend’s “King of Fall,” I was greeted with some very satisfying low end punch. If you’re expecting the whole stereotypical flaccid e-stat bass, these are gonna surprise you. Beat heavy genres like hip hop, acid house, jungle, cosmic drum circles… from trap snares to motorik rhythms…. these Orpheus clones sounded fast, punchy, powerful, and like they wanted to kick someone’s ass. Is the bass as good as the AB-1266’s? No. However I have zero complaints about it, and that’s coming from an e-stat.
Those expecting the romantic euphonic sound of the HE90 will be surprised to find these aren’t so much Orpheus clones in that regard. At least, not to my ears. What they sounded like was, well, a *Super SR-009* for lack of a more apt descriptor. They have the same impressive transparency and a very similar tuning from the mids up. Yet there’s no question in my mind that these out resolve the SR-009, especially in low level information. That old cliche of hearing new things in the mix? It pains me to say it, but damn, it was happening. A lot.
These are some of the most detailed sounding stats I’ve ever heard.
The SR-009 seems downright laid back by comparison. Not in terms of warmth or brightness or anything. Again: to my ears the tuning is quite similar between these two aside from the low end which is more robust on the clones. The SR-009 however presented more of a holistic picture. By contrast, the clones kept tossing information my way. There was a much more active, engaging sound to the clones. Separation was more apparent, layers and nuances popped more, and I’d say they’ve retained the more grandiose and diffuse presentation of the HE90.
Now, on the BHSE, I tend to find most e-stats a bit too bright for my personal tastes. Like the SR-009, despite the liquidy smooth treble, I find the clones more fitting for my personal tastes on the SRM-717. However I did prefer the clones on the BHSE to the SR-009, as I feel the bottom end helps balance the sound a bit more and make up for some of the subjective thinness I get from that amp.
Really, the best praise I can give these is that I told Milos to put me down for a set if he decided to make a production run.
I want a set.