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Article: Neumann NDH20 Headphone Review

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The Elegias have recently been on sale for 700,  I snagged a pair, and ordered a balanced cable for my use. Replacing a pair of well reviewed Shure cans. I use them at my desk, in close quarters. I was afraid, when I read the title of this article, that I would have buyers remorse, but you have validated me.

 

I have the Focal Utopia cans in my private office, and really like them. I’ll get to listen to the Elegia this evening. 

 

Thanks for for the nice review, with both subjective, and objective findings, and comparison to nearby competitors. Well done.


[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > McIntosh MC60 > Zu Druid V + Undertone (BHSE + Voce)

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > K&K Audio Phono Amp (Zu DL-103/Benz Glider-SL/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Focal Utopia Headphones (balanced)

[beach/Travel] Laptop > DragonFly Red > Ether Headphones

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Somewhat unsurprising results given the gross similarities and parts list from Sennheiser headphones.  Still, somewhat off the beaten path and well worth investigating. 

 

NAD Viso HP50 may be near on half your listed price at this exact moment in some locations.  ;)

 

 

Quote

While the accessories put the NDH20 more in line with the skimpy HP50 than the generous Elegia, the NDH20’s fantastic build quality vaults it over the NADs and perhaps even over the Focals.

 

You appear to have put the reviewed headphones in the wrong pile here.

 

For reference Focal Elegia (stand optional)

 

accessories.jpg   

 

NAD Viso HP50 

 

7f7o1Ey.jpg

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On 6/12/2019 at 1:34 PM, rando said:

Somewhat unsurprising results given the gross similarities and parts list from Sennheiser headphones.  Still, somewhat off the beaten path and well worth investigating. 

 

NAD Viso HP50 may be near on half your listed price at this exact moment in some locations.  ;)

 

 

 

You appear to have put the reviewed headphones in the wrong pile here.

 

For reference Focal Elegia (stand optional)

 

accessories.jpg   

 

NAD Viso HP50 

 

7f7o1Ey.jpg

 

I value the Focal custom molded hard case as an accessory a lot more than the soft-sided bag and extra cable that come with the HP50. The HP50 is a great pair of headphones, but I don’t think accessories are its strong point. 

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Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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On 6/12/2019 at 10:54 AM, Bones13 said:

The Elegias have recently been on sale for 700,  I snagged a pair, and ordered a balanced cable for my use...

 

You should be able to get a street price of $600 (and possibly even better) if you put in some effort (calling around, haggling a bit, etc.).  

 

In closed back I have the ZMF Eikon's as well, but the simple fact is the Elegia is the more neutral, faster/more natural transient and timbre headphone (for a 1/3 of the price).

 

On 6/13/2019 at 5:20 PM, mitchco said:

Nice review Josh! Good to see measurements too! I am still enjoying my HP50's, definitely not the most comfortable ergonomic design, but I do like the sound. Keep up the good writings!

Cheers,

Mitch

 

The NAD HP50's do so much right sound wise, but he ergo's are a deal breaker for me in the end.  I tried to give my pair to my wife but she could not take more than 10 minutes with them.  They are that sort of half on ear  / half around ear design that is too common at this price point and is just uncomfortable unless you have small ears, high tolerance, etc.

 

Thanks Josh, another no nonsense and hold nothing back review.  Thanks!!

 


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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I should try the Elegia before commenting here deeper on the off subject NAD.

 

One night I actually bent the headband in tighter!  Needless to say no problems with fit or comfort here.  Less bulbous head is a given, but my ears aren't tiny and the pads don't sit on them at all.

 

@mitchco there is just a thin piece of preformed metal with connecting wire running along the bottom.  As the Italians say, the correct torque (spec) lies in the arm of the mechanic.  💪

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21 hours ago, mitchco said:

@crenca when I first got the HP50's, I could not wear them for more than 2 minutes because of the clamping force - I have a big noggin and ears. So I grabbed the headband just above the ears cups on both sides and tried to split them apart. Lo and behold, there is a pivot point just above the ear cups on the headband that "gave way" :) on both sides of the headphone.  Initially, I thought I busted them as there was quite the crack, but seems to be a pivot point. Now I can wear them for hours without any issue as the clamping force is "normal".  Sure the headphones sit half on and half off the ear, but once the clamping force has been adjusted, it is much easier to position the cups on the ear to give the best fit/sound possible. For sure the ergos are not the best, but a really good neutral sounding headphone for the money. I would love to upgrade to something a lot more comfortable, but regardless of price, their sound quality is hard to beat for neutrality.

 

 

Thanks for the advice @mitchco - I will give it a go as they simply are not be used much anymore because of the ergos - and the street price is now low enough to make resale more hassle than worthwhile.  

 

Have you had your ears on the Focal Clear's yet?  To my ears, the HP50's FR seems a touch too downward sloping, though I prefer this sin over a too bright FR.  The Clear's seem to be he closest to goldilocks "just right" that I have heard.  That said, the HP50's make for a nice listening session...for as long as I can keep them on my head :) 


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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