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First Look: Abyss Headphones AB-1266

CT6A6008 If King Kong had ever ridden with the Hells Angels, I think this he would have chilled out to nicely aged casks of bourbon and a set of Abyss Headphones' AB-1266. And if your first reaction to this rather bizarre mental image is "what the …?" then I think we're pretty much on the same page. The first time I ever saw a pair was at RMAF this past year, and I must say, I made good use of that time -- and I'm really glad I did. Here's the short-form: your $5,495 will get you an incredible sounding system with the absolute best in terms of bass performance on a headphone. Best ever. Full stop and … end scene. Fine -- lemme add this. There's a ton of great, world-class headphones out there. Some "do" detail like laser scanners -- nothing is missed! Fewer "do" sound staging worth a damn -- it's really not a strength of the genre. And fewer still "do" bass like a full range loudspeaker -- there's a hit-your-gut compression that simply gets lost in the translation to head-speakers. And then … well, then there's the Abyss.

I’ll have a lot more to say once I get some more time on them and run them through a variety of headphone amplifiers, but I will say this — I’ve never heard anything like this in a headphone. It’s stunning.

Again: more soon, but in the meantime, here’s my faux unboxing vid.

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4 Comments on First Look: Abyss Headphones AB-1266

  1. KingLocal // March 5, 2014 at 7:53 PM //

    Sure, Beats Audios don’t sound too great (or honestly, too bad… but definitely not too great). But how, in this age of Beats/Scullcandy/Soul/V Moda/etc. could anyone, ANYONE in their right mind build ‘cans this ass-ugly? I mean so coyote-ugly I would certainly chew off my own arm if I woke up one morning to find it was trapped under a pair of these. No doubt, sound quality is the single MOST important thing, but it’s not the ONLY important thing–like pride of ownership matters too. What happened here?

    • Part-Time Audiophile // March 5, 2014 at 8:13 PM //

      I’ll deal with a bit of this in the review, but the teaser is this — if your design requirement is “structural rigidity”, you’re kinda screwed when it comes to headphones. And by “kinda”, I mean “totally”.

  2. agbenjamin // March 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM //

    Too much bass me thinks, I even had to reduce the frequency above and below 48Hz -3dB for the Audeze Xes…Too much bass is exciting and loved by metal and reggae-heads…and now there’s a trend to go that inaccurate route. People familiar with acoustic instruments will pick up what I speak about. There are also questions over other aberrations affecting frequencies above too, with single-ended drive, that Tyll Hertsens at Inner Ear discovered. It is an exciting headphone however…possibly too much of a good thing, but then what can one expect for a mere $5500?

  3. Hah! Just what I need when I had to reduce -3dB @48Hz the significant low frequency output of the Audeze-X which has less of it than the Abyss. I suppose, given what I hear, I’d have to reduce the Abbyss’ bass by -12dB! The Abyss does some things well…I can’t put my finger on what that is yet. It’s an interesting design comparable to other planars with single side drive, but not quite to bipolar drive planars. Still needs work, but then what can one expect for $5500? 🙂

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