HiFiman Edition S review 
by Niyologist

(Originally posted on Head-fi, ported here at the request of Niyologist).

Have you ever wondered what type of headphones you need on the go? Tired of bringing oversized headphones wherever you go? Well if you got a large spending budget for on the go headphones. The HiFiman Edition S Headphones are definitely for you. Not enough information? Well it's about time I got to that.

Introduction: The HiFiman Edition S is an interesting set of headphones from years of engineering from HiFiman. The sole purpose of the Edition S is to provide high quality audio. While maintaining the portable size and with decent durability as well. Is it what it's meant to be? I'll explain that further as I analyze further into detail.

Build Quality/Design: The Edition S is made out of a tough plastic. Even though the headband is made out of hard plastic. It would be better if it were thicker and reinforced by metal. At the headband, it seems that the plastic is quite rigid. There are L and R markers on each side of the bottom headband. Below the headband is the metal housing, with the magnetic grills and the covers to keep it in open back or closed back modes. There's also a removable cable port on the left side of the headphone. The Edition S can be folded and stored in the Silver Headphone carrying case that is provided with the Edition S.

Fit: It's best to have flat hair. Having too much high hair doesn't do the fit any justice. It makes it harder to wear. As for comfort. I can wear this for hours with little to no fatigue because of the soft inner ear pads. It only gets hot in the ear pads when I'm running. I sweat a lot. So this may slightly differ with everyone else.

Isolation: Low to low-end Moderate. Not ideal for very noisy environments. Such as crowded trains and subways and Large social gatherings. This is for closed back mode. Open back mode is a no go. It's low isolation at best.
Source: OPUS #1 (EQ: OFF) (GAIN: MIDDLE) (VOLUME: 124/150)


Style: Open/Closed Back
Frequency Response: 15Hz-22kHz
Sensitivity: 113 dB
Impedance: 18 ohms
Weight: 8.74oz (248g)
Easy to drive?

Yes. With the 18 Ohm impedance and very powerful OPUS #1. It was quite easy. As for my ZTE Axon 7. Kind of. My Axon 7 isn't quite ideal for this analysis anyway.

Sound Characteristics:

We'll start with two separate modes because of their noticeable differences in sound characteristics.

Closed Back Mode:

Bass - There is enough quantity for Pop and Trap music. The interesting observation is that the midbass is limited on closed back mode. Although it's not quite deep. Based on my observations. The deepest Bass I heard from the Edition S on Closed Back Mode was 60 Hz. Although despite the semi deep Bass. The quality is very good. It sounds consistent and feels punchy. With a slight warm tilt. Along with decent slam and quick speed.

Mids - Due to the limited midbass. The lower Mids aren't overshadowed. So the female vocals aren't subdued. They aren't too forward either. I'd say they are inbetween. Moving up to the upper Mids. There's a slight upward tilt. Making it sound brighter with male vocals, most percussion instruments, brass and strings. Surprisingly, it doesn't sound artificial in anyway. The Mids aren't recessed in Closed Back Mode. It's strange how it differs from Open Back Mode.

Treble - I find the treble to be presented as slightly bright. Most of the time, the treble can liven things up. The sharpness of this frequency makes it a bit analytical in bass light soundtracks. Such as MDK's "Shinespark (Evan King Orchestral).The timbre is quite natural in that soundtrack and has no hint of artificial tonality in any way. Generally, the treble is refined and a bit sharp. Not ear pinching sharp.

Soundstage: It's average for an on-ear/over-ear headphones. The soundscape is pretty airy, despite the average soundstage. It's probably due to the somewhat energetic treble. The width is above average and the depth is a bit shallow. That all changed with Open Back Mode.

Accuracy/Imaging - Before I get to Open Back Mode. I should point out that the imaging and accuracy is impressive for a portable headphone like this. The accuracy is quite good. With the oval shaped soundstage. The placement of the instruments and vocals are distinguishable. Which makes the music quite easy to follow. The imaging is quite vivid and three dimensional sound. Which does make the music really pop out at you. That and along with the accuracy makes the Edition S an experience that makes your music come to life.

Open Back Mode:

Bass - This is a bit different. It's warmer. Much warmer. The bass seems to have a softer and slightly slower slam. The texture seems to be a deep layer of smooth clay, being trounced by a bouncing bowling ball. In other words. The bass feels and slams smoothly. Almost silky smooth. This is most likely the boosted mid bass. I find it very good for Trance, Dubstep and even Acid Music. What intrigues me is, how did the mid bass get a boost? I'm still figuring that out. Maybe the panels were acting as a dampening effect?

Mids - This part is a somewhat different than closed back mode. Continuing from the bass, Mids also sound warm. The lower vocals are slightly recessed. This is due to the enhanced midbass. So the female vocals are darker and the clarity seems to reduced a tiny bit. The upper Mids have been darkened a bit too. At this mode. It's perfect, for me at least. The problem is that the deets for the mid-range in general has taken a bit of a back seat. So this means that open back mode is not ideal to hear the distinguished details of the mid-range. Although it does sound more organic and musical than Closed Back mode. So it's more of a trade-off of sorts. Although this is because I prefer the reference type sound of Closed Back.

Treble - This part of the frequency is so smooth and a bit dark. Making the whole frequency average out to mostly neutral. The details aren't distinguished either. They are there. Just not obvious like in Closed Back Mode. Once again. This frequency also sounds organic and isn't recessed like the Mids. Instead it's balanced. One thing I noticed is the air. It pumps more air in open back mode. Probably with the help of the vents. So this prevents the music from sounding too dark and boring.

Soundstage - Due to the combination of the smooth and airy treble. Along with the vents, the soundstage almost doubles in size. It's more like 1.4x bigger. So yeah. The width is well above average. The depth is average and the soundstage is easily above average. The shape of the soundstage becomes more circular shaped. Yet still remains oval shaped. Pretty much like an enlarged oval.

Accuracy/Imaging - This part becomes a bit obscure. It depends on what you are listening to. If you are listening to bassier tracks, the placement of the cues can get a bit smeared. So the soundtrack will sound a bit jumbled. Slightly harder to follow, yet still very listenable. With light bass soundtracks, the sonic cues are still easy to read and it becomes quite a fascinating sound to experience. Like for example. Robert Miles soundtrack "Children (Dream Version) has a decent amount of bass, yet it's not smeared or jumbled up and the sonic cues are easy to follow. Despite all of this. The imaging is very much three dimensional and can be dynamic with soundtracks that demand for it.

Overall Sound Characteristics:

Closed Back - Neutral, Reference-Like and Energetic.

Open Back Mode - Musical, Emotional and Smooth.

Conclusion: I have enjoyed listening to the Edition S for the past 9 months. I'm glad I purchased it after testing it out at the Stereo Exchange last June. This seems to be the headphones for everyone. Although if you have too much hair. The fit may be an issue. Then if you go to noisy areas daily, then you won't find these enjoyable. Or if you want Closed Back Mode with the sound characteristics of Open Back Mode. You may not find this your cup of tea. Otherwise if none of those bother you, then go nuts.

Pros - Interesting and effective Interchangeable Sound Signature, Excellent Imaging, Portability.
Cons - Sub-par isolation, Average Build could be better, Sound is swapped between both modes for a truly ideal consumer sound experience.

 Hugo 2 with Van Nuys cover

Chord Hugo 2 review
- A. 'Reddog' Jones


An interview with Chord from December, 2015.

"Hugo 2 is a powerful DAC and headphone amp that builds on the ground-breaking original. Designed for both home and mobile use, Hugo 2 transforms headphones and audio systems’ sound quality with its cutting-edge proprietary DAC technology." - Chord website

Hugo 2 as seen at a Tokyo Headphone show - photo expatinjapan

Hello my name is Andrew Jones and I have been to headphones/ personal audio for about 4 years now. I own all of my equipment and my reviews have not been paid for. I just like to spread my passion for personal audio by giving good, honest reviews.

Source : Apple iPad Pro > Tidal or Questyle QP1R >select titles Dac/Amp : Chord Hugo 2
-Amps used for review:
Cavalli Liquid Carbon
Schiit Audio Jotunheim
-Headphones and IEMs used
Audeze LCD i4 and iSine 20, Focal Utopia,  HiFiman HE1000 MrSpeakers Alpha Prime, Ether, Ether C, and Aeon Flow Closed Meze 99 Classic, OPPO PM-3 and Beyerdynamic DT 880 600 OHM.

I have been been looking for a good sounding portable DAC / AMP, to compliment my iPad Pro work station. I have been reading about all sorts of products, and then out of the audiophile wilderness I started to hear fantastic stories about the Chord Hugo 2. And for the last 5 to 6 months I have read scores of impressions and reviews on the Chord Hugo 2.
And then I read a review by a trusted audiophile and friend, in which he said the Hugo 2 was as good if not better as the Schiit Audio Yggdrasil. The mere notion of having a Yggdrasil sitting in the palm of my hand driving my favorite cans as I walked about jamming out; drove me to order a beautiful Black Chord Hugo 2.

The Chord Hugo 2 showed up in a very sturdy box, that kept the H2 safe, during delivery.
Inside the box came the sexy black H2, with a nice assortment of cables and the remote control.
The remote is nice, sturdy, and small. It is ideal for playing with the sound, while on the move, just point at the H2 and do what ever tweak you wish.
Likewise the Hugo 2 is a finely crafted piece of audio equipment, that is definitely bit larger and beefier than my Questyle QP1R or cell phone. But none the less, the H2 and QP1R fit nicely into my leather audio bag.

The Chord Hugo 2 is designed quite well, on one side of the H2, one hooks the micro USB cables to a USB source and to a dedicated charging port.
On the other side of the Hugo 2 one can connect a CD player or DAP using a fiber optic connection. Also one can hook up a Desk Top AMP and just use to the DAC portion of the H2.
And finally one connects the headphones to the H2 using 1/4 or 1/8 jacks.
On the front/ top of the H2, there are 6 lights, that change color to indicate chosen functions. 4 smaller lights indicate Filter, Input, Crossfeed and Power. The larger light indicates Sample rate of the source and the other light indicates volume.
The remote control can be used to alter any function.

Once I had plugged my IPad Pro into the H2, I was just awe struck by the sound of the Hugo 2.
This plucky, little black box of a DAC / AMP sounds spectacular, so natural and so resolute, that I got goosebumps as I heard the sound. The only other DAC to give me goosebumps was the Yggdrasil.
My oh my the H2 definitely sounds as good as the, Yggdrasil, especially depending upon the source.

The H2 has great hitting bass, that does not muddy up the mids. And the mids are ever so natural sounding, with such great detail.
On one track of Frank Zappa’s I could hear the different level of applause, from faint to heavy. And in one of the Dave Brubeck tracks i can hear one of the drummers drop his sticks as Brubeck was on a tangent. Likewise female vocalist like Kate Bush, Grace Jones, and Rebeca Pigeon ( Spanish Harlem) sound breathtaking. Furthermore male vocalist sound so natural sounding. Nat King Cole, Johnny Cash, and Frank Zappa sound so real so life like. I dis enjoy Zappa sing/ play Uncle Remus, through the H2.

The treble seems spot on to my humble ears.. I dislike overly bright tracks like as I dislike the sound of finger nails scratching across the chalk board. I thought the treble was detailed and delivered just the right details for what ever the track called for.
And as amazing as the H2 sounds, one could tweak the filters and crossfeed, to alter the sound to meet ones tastes. I rarely tweaked with the filters but it is sweet knowing I could do so.
Moreover the natural, detailed sound leads to a outstanding, detailed, holographic soundstage.

My He1000 and Focal Utopia’s soundstage sound so three dimensional. one can place the instruments all around the listener. Classical music by Mozart, Beethoven or Wagner sounds spectacular, with such a detailed, holographic soundstage. It is very surreal to be able to listen to such great TOTL sound, while walking about town. The magic is matching the right track to the environment that I am strutting through.

What shocked me most about the Chord Hugo 2, was how powerful it’s AMP section was. I used the H2 to drive every one of my headphones and my cans just sounded great. The best synergy between the Hugo 2 and my many headphones was the Audeze LCD i4.
The bass and mids on the i4, through the H2 just blew me away. The bass was so deep yet controlled. The mids were musical yet ever so natural sounding. Frank Zappa’s Jazz From Hell, through the H2and i4 gave me goosebumps as I sipped a shot of espresso, at the local Brista shop.
Normally I needed to be tethered to a desktop rig to hear such beautifully detailed music, and yet to quote Zappa, I am “Free as the Wind” while using the Hugo 2.
The sunset never seemed so seemingly magical, as I kick back, under a shade tree.

The second best sounding headphone, driven by the H2, was my Focal Utopia. The bass and mids seem to come alive through the Hugo 2. With the Hugo 2, stashed in my leather audio bag, I felt decadent strutting down the sidewalk, with my Focal Utopia strapped to my head, jamming out to some Beethoven. Clock Work Orange kept popping up into my mind lol.

Finally the third best sounding can out of the amazing Hugo 2, was MrSpeakers Ether.
The soundstage, bass, and mids have this light magical quality. I can only imagine how the Ether Flow must sound out of the Hugo 2.
I was greatly surprised by how good the Beyerdynamic Dt 880 600 OHM sounded driven by the Hugo 2. To get the best out of the Dt 880, I had to have it hooked to my Liquid Gold and yet the H2 did a great job.

I hooked up the Hugo 2, too my amps and was convinced that he Hugo 2 could be used as a free standing DAC. I know I can pair either my Liquid Carbon or Jotunheim AMP to the Hugo 2 to have a versatile system, while out on vacation, or for what have you.

I think the Chord Hugo 2 is a greater sounding DAC/ AMP, although a bit pricey, but it does sound as good as the Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, especially when one factors in the fact it can drive so many cans so brilliantly, without the need for a stand alone amp. And I just love the Hugo 2 because I can enjoy such great music while on the go. But I also like using this about device as a desktop device as i type and use my IPad Pro.

The Chord Hugo 2 is a superb sounding TOTL Dac and amp. I have found myself immersed in the music when listening to my tracks, it is versatile and well built.
It is akin to a modern day harp as used by the audiophile muses of old to inspire and captivate the listener.  The sound is so good, that moment of enjoyment seemingly lasts forever...


-Chipset: Chord Electronics custom coded Xilinx Artix 7 (XC7A15T) FPGA
-Tap-length: 49,152
-Pulse array: 10 element pulse array design
-Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
-Output stage: Class A
-Output impedance: 0.025Ω
-THD: <0.0001% 1kHz 3v RMS 300Ω
-THD and noise at 3v RMS: 120dB at 1kHz 300ohms ‘A’ wighted (reference 5.3v)
-Noise 2.6 uV ‘A’ weighted: No measurable noise floor modulation
-Signal to noise ratio: 126dB ‘A’ Weighted
-Channel separation: 135dB at 1kHz 300Ω
-Power output @ 1kHz 1% THD: 94mW 300Ω
740mW 32Ω
1050mW 8Ω
-Weight: 450g
-Dimensions: 130mm (L) x 100mm (W) x 21mm (H)
-Boxed Dimensions: 220mm (L) x 122mm (W) x 85mm (H)

-Materials: Clamshell precision machined aluminium casing with polycarbonate  buttons, acrylic signal window, and glass viewing portal. Available in a choice of two colours – natural silver, and satin black
-Battery: 2x Rechargeable custom Enix Energies 3.7v 9.6Wh Li-ion (lithium-ion (2600mAh) batteries*
-Tap length filter: 49,152 – 10 element Pulse Array design
-Play time: In excess of seven (7) hours
-Charging: Nominal four (4) hours via Micro USB at 1.8amps (fast charge) – Nominal eight (8) hours at 1amp (slow charge)
-Connectivity (input): Micro USB (White): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit
-Coax via 3.5mm Jack (Red): 44.1kHz – 768kHz – 16bit – 32bit
-Optical (Green): 44.1kHz – 192kHz – 16bit – 24bit
-Connectivity (input wireless): Bluetooth (Apt X) (Blue): 44.1kHz – 48kHz – 16bit
-Connectivity (output): 1x ¼” jack headphone output
-1x 3.5mm jack headphone output
-1x stereo (L & R) RCA output
-PCM support: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 358.8kHz, 384kHz, 717.6kHz, and 768kHz.
-DSD support: Native playback supported. DSD64 (Single) to DSD512 (Octa-DSD)
-Volume control: Digital, activated in 1dB increments. Last known state saved upon shutdown, with exception of line-level mode
-Line-level mode: Activated via dual press of middle ‘Source’ and ‘Crossfeed’ buttons. Line level = 3v via all outputs. Reset by power cycle
-Power saving mode: Auto-shutdown after ten minutes of input inactivity
-Driver support: Driverless with Mac OS X and Linux, driver required for Windows OS

* Non-user-serviceable batteries are covered by a limited 18-month warranty from initial date of purchase. For full terms and conditions please click here.

 User Configurable Options:
-Filters (Digital):
Incisive neutral (Ultimate reference) (White)
Incisive neutral HF roll-off (High Frequency roll off) (Green)
Warm (‘Smooth’) (Orange)
Warmer HF roll-off (High Frequency roll off) (Red)
-Crossfeed (Digital IIR):
Off – No Crossfeed
Level 1 – Light
Level 2 – Medium
Level 3 – Heavy

 Control options:
Remote control (included).

Early review table mess

Later in time...

The original Head pie logo. 
Real pie, real headphones.

Macaw GT600S Review
by Gilly

Shoutout to Penon Audio for the review sample - I am in no way affiliated with Penon beyond receiving this sample for review, and have received no compensation for offering my unbiased opinion beyond this review unit.


When I first saw the GT600S and read the spec sheet, a few things stood out: hybrid driver configuration, metal housings, ergonomic concha-fitting design, and replaceable cables.

These are all components of my ideal IEM, so, needless to say, I was intrigued.

Design and Build Quality


When the 600S arrived in my mailbox, I wasn’t disappointed. The craftsmanship is excellent. The steel housings are a touch heavier than I’d like, but they mostly disappear once they’re in the ear; if they used titanium for the next version, I would be really excited. 
The CNC job here is top-notch, and for those who were unhappy with the edge on the GT100, it seems Macaw has heard your feedback: the 600S has rounded, impeccably machined surfaces on the ear-facing part of the housings, despite retaining the outward-facing appearance of the GT100, and the comfort is great. I can sleep in these, but YMMV; the female MMCX connector is housed in a slightly rectangular tube, which I’d like to see rounded/smoothed for good measure, but it doesn’t affect comfort for me personally. Overall, these feel sturdy and well-made, and I’m really happy that they have MMCX connectors so I can use my bluetooth cable.


The included cable is a black braided OFC wire, with a very unique, contoured metal y-split with short strain reliefs on each end; a nice touch. The straight jack is also metal, with the jack end tapered to fit, presumably, in most smartphone cases (it fits all of mine except an off-brand battery case for my old iPhone that has a big chin), and includes a sizeable rubber strain relief. It has built-in molded ear guides, which I enjoy. A nice design overall - assuming it holds up over time (I’ve had this one for about 2-3 weeks), the cable strikes me as being higher quality than that provided by most high end earphone makers, clearly had more thought put into it than any stock cable I’ve seen to date, even in earphones ten times its price.


For overall build quality, construction, materials, etc, I have to give the GT600S a solid 9/10. They bothered to use metal, which even most high end manufacturers won’t touch, and the craftsmanship and attention to detail is obvious.

Moving on to the sound, the GT600S sports a signature that I’m familiar with, and fond of for many genres of music: it’s a noticeable u-shape signature with accentuated lower bass and upper mids/lower treble. The bass and treble are emphasized, but not too much - it’s appropriate for any music that isn’t mixed with extra bass. It’s a signature that really brings out the presence in string instruments and female vocals. 

I’ve only heard two records so far that made the bass stand out a bit more than I liked; I find it to be pleasantly emphasized with most music. Extension is respectable, and I would neither characterize it as especially slow or fast. The decay is appropriate, and it very rarely steps out of its place. It’s important to note that the bass emphasis comes in low, rather than the somewhat sloppy-sounding midbass that is emphasized in most headphones geared towards mass consumption, and is never more than 10dB north of the lowest midrange frequencies, so it’s never uncontrolled or overly boomy to my ears.

The mids are a touch recessed. They are rather detailed, and very transparent, but occasionally lack the real soul I like to hear in vocals. They definitely do female vocals better than male. They don’t lack detail or clarity, but I do find myself sometimes wishing they were more forward in the mix. It’s by no means a deal breaker, and nowhere near as noticeable as with some other v-shaped IEMs, but it’s something that those considering the GT will want to consider if they listen to a lot of vocal-centric music. Vocals come through clear and detailed on their own;l solos can be downright beautiful.

The treble is similar to the bass - it is mildly emphasized, and very detailed, but can be a bit problematic with poor recordings or tracks mixed with extra lower treble energy. Most music is presented clearly without any harshness; any deviations are again less than 10dB from the lowest points of the midrange, so harshness is absent in properly recorded/mixed music. The real emphasis to my ears is in the lower treble, which seems to match the expectations established by the graph

In my opinion, this tuning is actually a rather wise one - a study of the outer ear’s resonant frequencies reveals that the outer ear actually amplifies frequencies between 2.5-4khz - exactly where the emphasis is in the GT600S’s graph. In theory, an earphone would eliminate this resonance, which means that compensating for the loss of the frequencies amplified by the outer ear actually brings the signature closer to being subjectively neutral.


LG V20 in HiFi Mode (Quad ES9218)
Schiit Fulla
JDS Labs The Element

Tracks used for testing (HiFi streaming on TIDAL):

Snarky Puppy - Shofukan
Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song
David Maxim Micic - Electric Fields
HUW - Beyond Form
Linkin Park - A Place For My Head
Vulfpeck - Animal Spirits
Griz - My Friends and I
Radiohead - Paranoid Android



Snarky Puppy - Shofukan

This is one of my standby test tracks. It’s got about half a jillion instruments in it, and if I can hear them all clearly with an earphone when the percussion goes nuts at 5:20 and the track climaxes around 5:42, it pleases me.
The GT600S passes the test - barely. There is blending at 5:18, and the treble smears on cymbals a little bit at high volumes at 5:42, but at what I consider normal/healthy listening volumes, it gives them a really nice shimmer. The bass, both electric and synthesized, growls but stays out of the way of woodwinds. Toms have a really nice presence, and a good snap - they never bleed. Guitars are set in the middle of the mix and have great tone and decay. Trumpets have great definition; I’ve heard earphones that gives them a bit more presence/body, but they all cost well over double the GT600S’s modest $100 US price.
The only instrument I found a bit underrepresented was the saxes around 2:00, but upon further inspection with my HD650, it’s in the recording/mix rather than the GT600S’s presentation. Everything comes through just as clearly on the GT600S at this point in the song as it does on the HD650, which is pretty damn impressive, even if the timbre isn’t quite as natural and the stage is obviously not as spacious - it would be a miracle if it were.
The GT600S even picks up some really minute, wonky, fun synth and guitar play that goes on at 2:10. Talk about attention to detail...gotta love Snarky Puppy.

Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song

For as long as I can remember, this song has been my favorite track to wake up to, or even just put on for one of those sleeping late mornings where I feel like I just don’t quite want to leave dreamland yet.
It’s also a really great track of hearing the timbre of guitars, since they work alone for the first few minutes of the song.
The GT600S does give a bit of shimmer to guitars that they don’t normally have, but I do think it’s actually more natural compared to how guitars are normally portrayed - acoustic sounds crisp, with strums and plucks clearly audible, and even though they aren’t quite as rich as they might be in real life, the slight bump around 250hz does give them a nice open, almost natural feel.

David Maxim Micic - Electric Fields

This is one of my new favorite tracks. I think David Maxim Micic is a genius, and if you are into progressive metal at all (Rush, Dream Theater, etc), or if you like thematic post rock like Explosions in the Sky, you really have to check him out. His music is incredible.
Micic mixes his tracks with a bit of extra bass, and it shows through with the GT600S, but it’s not much of a detriment IMO. The guitars and synths have great bite and presence, and you can definitely feel the drums. The toms and snares might have a bit too much presence for some, but I welcome it - it can be a bit splashy at times, but here it reminds me more of a live performance in a small venue.

HUW - Beyond Form

HUW does some really cool indietronica that I literally discovered while doing this review because it was on the same compilation as Shofukan. It’s not a track I know well, so I won’t go on for long about it, but I threw it in here because it’s a really cool track and sounds great with the GT600S.
Beyond Form offers a good demonstration of the GT600S’s ability to separate percussion, strings, and synths. There is some serious chaos going on around 4:30, and the GT600S does an impressive job of sorting through it. This is the kind of track that I think the GT is really made for.

Linkin Park - A Place For My Head

The song starts off with some great finger work on electric, and the GT does it justice. Electric guitars come through clearly throughout the track. Cymbals do sound a touch artificially enhanced, and the vocals are perhaps a touch pulled back. Some vocal sibilance is occasionally audible. This isn’t one of the better recordings on the list, so I’m not entirely surprised, but I think it’s still important to note - not all music is mixed well.
Still, the GT brings a visceral yet unobtrusive bass presence to the song. I like it. The deep strings (cello I think?) come through clearly and with good body at 1:50. Toms come through more clearly than on most cans due to the extra upper mid/lower treble presence - think they often get a bit glossed over when this track is heard through basser/warmer headphones. I like the extra snap the GT gives them. 
I will say that the lack of emphasis in the male vocal range/lower mids doesn’t do this song justice. This tuning definitely won’t do justice to music like jazz or metal that rely a great deal on male vocal presence; they seem to lack a little soul for those more raw, emotional male vocal performances.

Vulfpeck - Animal Spirits

I mentioned earlier that some tracks came through with a bit more bass than I would like on the GT - Vulfpeck is the second culprit here. I think this track is mixed to be a bit bassier, like the Micic track mentioned earlier. Still, it comes through as plump and satisfying rather than fuzzy or obtrusive in my opinion, but I do thing most lovers of neutral sound will prefer listening to Vulfpeck through flatter cans.
I will say, the upper mid/lower treble emphasis does some great things for the piano and higher male vocals in this track. I think Vulfpeck deliberately mixes their music for that warm, analog, vinyl-like sound, and the GT does a good job of delivering that design while also bringing forward the other elements of the track without allowing any single element to dominate. The woodwind sprinkled throughout the track sounds great too. 
The emphasis on upper mids rather than lower mids does obscure the intelligibility of the deliberately compressed vocals towards the end of the track.
Some will prefer a more neutral, or perhaps even brighter sounding can for this track, but I think the GT sounds good enough. 

Griz - My Friends and I

I’m a big Griz fan. I love his soulful, funky interpretation of the fusion between hip hop style instrumentals and modern electronic music he brings to the table.
There’s definitely a bit more bass in this track than the others, but it’s definitely intentional this time, and when it comes to Griz, I think that’s great. The wompy bass isn’t for everyone, but when I’m in the mood, Griz is my favorite, and this track delivers a really awesome, upbeat vibe with some seriously thumpy bass.
The GT doesn’t disappoint. It brings the womp and rumble of the lowest of low tons to the front of the mix. I’ve listened to this track riding my bike a few times, and the GT definitely bring the vibe I want for jamming out to Griz and bringing the drive to my workout.
This track isn’t just about the bass though. Synths are there, the hand claps are surprisingly clear when the bass isn’t thumping over the top of them, and the brass sounds great too; it’s not meant to be at the front of this track, but it’s definitely still there.
This is hip hop, though, and the GT doesn’t let the vocals get drowned out. Everything is clearly intelligible, and the vocals are never drowned out by the bass, even when it womps hard.

Radiohead - Paranoid Android

A standby test track of mine that I think is well on its way to becoming a classic, Paranoid Android is another great track for acoustic and some unconventional percussion. The acoustic is front and center here, and drums are still felt but definitely take a back seat, as intended. Thom Yorke comes through perfectly, and the upper midrange emphasis does his voice nothing but favors. When bass enters the mix around 0:50, he never loses his center stage, even though bass tones envelope the sonic stage. 
Listening volume makes a big difference with this track. If you aren’t as interested in the bass, drop the volume, and Yorke (along with the guitars, which image nicely) become the absolute focus of the presentation. Crank the volume a bit, though, and you get a face full of the electric guitar’s distortion (not the bad kind) and the bass plucks are nice and full.
I have to say, the synths and extra guitar distortion come through fantastically at the end of the track - this is one of the better overall representations of this track I’ve heard through an earphone.


In summary, I’m pretty happy overall with the GT600S. It has a lot of what I’ve been looking for in an earphone: metal housings, MMCX connectors, and a fun sound. If I had to make recommendations for the next version, I’d say tuning the U-signature down a bit to help bring vocals further forward, and maybe adding another armature or two (or perhaps just a different one) to further improve treble extension and vocal body should be the goal, along with titanium housings rather than steel to improve weight and comfort. That said, adding all of that would probably put this earphone in the $300 range at best; for the $100 that Macaw is asking for the GT600S, I’d be making unrealistic demands to complain much. I’m really happy to have gotten my hands on these, and will be looking forward to Macaw’s future offerings if they can improve on the GT600S’s very forgivable shortcomings at a reasonable price point.