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Yamaha HPH-200 - Review by Ranjeet Rain

Wharfedale EVO4.4

ranjeetrain

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Welcome Yamaha to the family of my audiophile class gear!

Just picked up a Yamaha HPH-200 headphone. I own acclaimed headphones such as Sennheiser HD650, AKG 701 Signature Edition. What made me pick these phones? Will soon post my detailed impressions. Briefly speaking, bought these after 7 hours of listening. Head on comparison with many other headphones. Got back home two hours ago and first round of critical listening has started.





Stay tuned for detailed review!
 

ranjeetrain

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The connection: Yesterday I went out with the intent of auditioning Aune DAC. Aune Audio is a Chinese company with some upmarket digital front-ends. Their website had the address of their Shanghai office and I went there (without appointment, my mistake). Turned out the address was a residential address and the person had been appointed the "overseas distributor" for the Aune product. Then I called the number provided and was surprised to find the person could speak very good English, which is usually a huge problem with Chinese distributors. He said the address has been given in error by Aune and it's not an office. He gave me his business email and said we can talk over email (so, much about when you want to get to know Chinese products better).

Discovering Yamaha: Anyway, that part of the day was wasted, so I entered a store, picked up a burger and moved on. Lurking around I saw an Yamaha store. They only had a big Yamaha signboard, which interested me. I decided to go there just to look what was there.



Yamaha Showroom at Metro City Mall, Xujiahui, Shanghai, China

From the outside the store didn't look like much. some HT packages on display, a sound-bar, projection system, a small open demo area and lots of headphones, priced between USD 50-500. As it turned out they had a hidden demo room, which was acoustically well treated, sound-proofed to an extent and equipped with a large screen projection system coupled with an all Yamaha setup. What surprised me was that they also had some non-Yamaha headphones, Sennheiser, AKG, Klipsch, V-moda etc. I have good phones from the house of Sennheiser and AKG so wasn't interested in them, but I had heard good things about Klipsch One and Klipsch Reference One, so wanted to check them out. But they didn't have open pairs for demo and were reluctant to open one for me. But they did offer me to demo V-moda which sells like hot-cake in China. I took the offer. But the audition lasted barely 5 minutes. There was something strange about the mid-range from those phones. The sound was absolutely unnatural (overly equalized and processed sounding). I skipped through the song and was done within 5 minutes.

When they saw I was interested, they agreed to open a Klipsch Reference One for me. Klipsch (at half the asking price of V-Moda) was better sounding, but still sounded unnatural. Tonal balance wasn't accurate. The audition didn't last more the 10-15 minutes. Then I asked for an AKG K540. He gave me one, and now the ball was rolling. I own an AKG 701 and have not been hugely impressed with it. Not that it doesn't sound good, rather it doesn't sound like that much of phone to me, to have such a hype around and command that kind of a price. They sure look intimidating but don't sound good enough to me. I always thought AKG 701 were overrated. I touched the K540 with slight apprehension, but my opinion was about to change. If I have to cut a long story short, I would take the AKG K540 over the AKG 701 any day of the week. For the details, keep reading.

The first thing I look for when I audition a pair of headphone (or speaker) is the tonal balance. Tonal-balance tops my list of must-haves. Next comes details, sound-stage, frequency extension etc. And here K540 satisfied me on all the parameters. For the asking price I though it was a great headphone. Dare I say I liked it even better than AKG 701. Now do I mean it was an overall better headphone than the 701? No, I don't mean that. But honestly, for the money, this phone was an absolutely kick-ass machine. Very good tonal balance, bucket-loads of details, full-sounding on both ends of frequency extremes, very comfy to wear and did I mention it sounded detailed? I was like 16/44 songs were not 16/44 but 24/96, it was that detailed. I liked it very much and almost bought it. It beat AKG 701 in my books (the 701 isn't portable device friendly) wheres this phone just shone with everything I tried including my phone (a Samsung Galaxy Note, which doesn't have a high output current). I would have ended up buying it, but the price was much higher than international price and I already have a higher end AKG, so I decided to pass.



Superb phones in their own right. Worth every penny the price.



I have only had around 3 hours on the phone so far. Should have left it playing overnight last night. Not sure if it needs to break in, but some break in won't hurt in any case. So, waiting for the headphone to have around 20-25 hours before posting impressions. To be continued...
 
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ranjeetrain

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Sorry about the delay on this. The headphones took a lot more to break in than I expected.

I was feeling hopelessly nervous the way the phones worked till today. The sound was hopelessly dull, veiled and downright muddy. After one night of hard driving (at full blast) things are looking up. Prior to last night, I was running them at normal listening levels on and off hoping that they will open up. It didn't. Even after a week the sound was still dull. Desperate I hooked it to my phone, put it inside the cupboard, and let it play at full volume all night.

It worked! The headphone is in a different gear now. I am gonna run it another two nights the same way before starting to write the impressions.
 

das.anirban

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The Yamaha HPH-200 recreates the authentic sound of every musical instrument and brings headphone quality sound to a whole new level.
 

das.anirban

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Their deep bass deliver energetic and lively sound. Now user can personally experience their own favourite music with advance level of clarity, depth and full enjoyment.
 

ranjeetrain

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180 USD. I picked in a Yamaha exclusive showroom. Brick n mortar stores usually sell at MRP. If you check online it can be had cheaper.
 
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