Let’s talk about hacks. A hack is a dirty word in some circles. I grew up in the age of the geek, when a proper hack was a glorious endeavor. A genius hack would get you the admiration of your peers and confused stares from everyone else.
Which brings us to the big smile on Mr. Speakers himself, Dan Clark.
Dan hacks Fostex orthodynamic headphones for a living. His Mad Dog won friends and influenced people by being both affordable and an almost unbelievable upgrade over the Fostex donor. His new Mad Dog Pro takes that a step farther by bringing a very hi-fi sense of detail to the full-bodied warmth of the Mad Dog, while offering both affordability and a proper cable upgrade.
The star here, though, was the 3d printed Alpha Dog. Calling it a genius hack seems too trivial. It’s a fully reengineered product. Other than the source driver and the so-comfy-you’d-be-crazy-to-change-it headband, you’d have difficulty spotting the family resemblance. Paired with an Auralic Vega source and a Cavalli Liquid Glass amplifier, the Alpha Dog showed the kind of air and detail retrieval that I don’t usually associate with $600 cans. The comfort level was outstanding, giving a tight fit on the ear, no real sense of clamping, and minimal weight. Bass seemed less prominent compared to the Mad Dog Pro, but hey, you can’t have everything.
Take me, for example. I no longer have $600. The demo was very convincing.