I’m coming from Noble K10 and Katana ciems. I’ve used them at work for the past 5 years. I got the K10 (which definitely has more low end) in 2014, but I’ve been listening to the Katana for basically the past year, so I’m used to a more neutral tuning. I’m also constantly surprised at the soundstage from the Katana, considering it’s an in-ear.
Now I want to move from IEMs to closed back (needs to be closed back because it’s for work)
I tried the hd-820s, elegia, aeon flow closed, lcd-xc, sony z1, and a beyer model at audio 46 and liked the 820s, but I couldn’t get a good seal, so sound leaked everywhere. z1s were a quick no. elegia seemed too closed in and the aeon flow seemed too thin. the audeze was fun, but man those things are heavy (and i’d probably never hear the end of it if I had something that big at work). I later tried the ath-l5000 and those things have an amazing soundstage and everything sounds great except they fall off a cliff down low and have no bass. So I want a closed back, but I can’t find one that gives me an upgrade over what I already have and doesn’t leak sound.
So I was psyched for the Stellia when it was announced. A closed back Utopia? Upgrade over the Elegia? Sign me up! I was also curious about the denon 9200 since I haven’t seen too many reviews of those and had heard that they weren’t as v shaped as the 7200s
Anyway, the Stellia arrived, and the first track I always put on with new headphones is Whipping Post from the hi res copy of At Fillmore East. I’m not a bass head, but there’s a lot going on there and how loud Berry Oakley is in the mix gives a good idea about the low end from headphones as well as how it fits in in relation to everyone else. There was definitely more bass than the ath-l5000, but I don’t know if it’s much more than my Katana. Everything else sounded good, but, after listening to the Katana for a year, which is supposed to be fairly neutral, nothing is jumping out at me.
I listened to more (24 bit: Avett Brothers, Springsteen, Damien Rice, Daft Punk, Beck, Counting Crows, Dire Straits, Pearl Jam, Gary Clark Jr, Jason Isbell, Miles Davis, Mingus, Maceo Parker, Neil Young, as well as 16 bit lossless from more like Bon Iver, God Street Wine, Brad Mehldau, The Black Crowes, etc) and it sounded good, but nothing said “wow, ditch those Katanas and keep these.”
The 9200s arrived yesterday. I put on Whipping Post first again, and, yeah, Berry is louder. And TIGHT. It was very apparent that the 9200s are much more v-shaped than the Stellia. I listened to many of the same tracks and compared the two side by side. The Denons are definitely boosted in the low end, but that low end is very tight. The boosted highs are noticeable, though not necessarily to the point of being too much. You can definitely tell it the most on live tracks where the already compressed croud is tinny anyway, but the 9200 amplifies this.
So they are very different headphones, with the 9200 definitely being v shaped and “fun”, while the Stellia is much more neutral (and bass light in comparison). The big thing for me is that I have read so much about the clarity and detail I’m supposed to be hearing with the Stellia, and I just don’t hear more detail than what my Katana already gives me. So Stellia really isn’t doing anything for me. Is it just me? Am I expecting too much out of a closed back headphone coming from a flagship ciem?
In other news, both the people to my left and right could hear what I was listening to with the Stellia, but they couldn’t hear when I had the denons on. So the Stellia have some leakage.