Looking into the soft pleather earpads (unfortunately not readily replaceable, but people have experimented), we can see some fenestrations near the front of the cup behind which the treble ceramic driver is embedded.
Bass is certainly present and of a good amount although it's more of an accentuated low bass with rolled off sub-bass below 40Hz. For music, this is not an issue because few instruments produce music sub-bass anyways and when we listen to synthetic music, often the sub-bass is accentuated and allowing a headphone to roll off could be more comfortable than a flat or "mega-bass" headphone. (Check out this chart for a nice summary of the typical frequency range for various speakers and the human voice.)
What I think is interesting is the slight mid/vocal range accentuation from around 400Hz -1kHz. I see most reviewers tending to comment quite a bit on the bass and effect of the "bass reflector" or the highs of the piezoelecric driver. I think this midrange tendency is just as important to be aware of and has a pleasant effect on the overall tonality.
The treble above 5kHz looks complex and this is likely reflective of the transition between the main graphene-coated mylar driver and the ceramic high frequency driver (DIY Audio Heaven measurements suggests the crossover point ~5.5kHz).
The waterfall plot doesn't look bad. As with many closed headphones, I've typically seen some residual content extending beyond 10ms in the low frequencies plotted with a dynamic range of 40dB.
Electrical impedance is relatively flat and hovered around 34Ω. A couple of resonance peaks can be seen at 60Hz and 3.3kHz. Interesting drop in impedance at high frequencies above 10kHz. I wonder how much of this drop is representative of the ceramic driver. Electrical phase remained flat through the audible frequencies. Notice that these are high-sensitivity headphones! I'm measuring 107dB/0.25V which works out to 119dB/V at 1kHz. The official specs call for 104dB/mW or 119dB/V SPL, 32Ω impedance so it looks like my measurements check out nicely with the specs.
Finally, if we look at the THD chart, it's good with <1% THD from 90Hz up. Below 90Hz, we see a rising distortion level up to 10% in the sub-bass. Notice that "bass shelf" look with increased harmonic distortion in the lower end; InnerFidelity also saw this back in the day and wondered about the role of the "bass reflector" in this.
As a closed-back headphone, we anticipate that the noise isolation should be pretty good (assuming a decent seal of course):
Finally, here's a peek at a bandlimited (up to 20kHz) 100Hz square wave:
These are "fast" headphones with edge transitions peaking around 0.5ms. I suspect that accentuated leading edge with a tented peak almost appearing superimposed on the rest of the "square" wave is a result of the piezoelectric driver.
You can also compare the measurements here with those from AudioXpress' 1MORE Triple Driver Over Ear review / measurements from 2019. Be mindful of the differences due to compensation curve variations when looking at what I present here and the results elsewhere.
II. How does it sound?
III. In Summary...
|Nice looking "racing wheels" external decoration I think. You can see the dark-colored bass reflector under the glass. Notice the "Trident Bass Reflector" phrase; apparently "Trident" was an early name for this headphone.|
Among those I have listened to for any significant length of time, these 1MORE Triple Driver Over-Ear cans are the only multi-driver full-sized headphones I've tried. There are other multi-driver full-sized headphones out there but not many, for example the Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI uses a dynamic + balanced armature driver, the JVC HA-SZ1000 has dual 55mm (bass) + 30mm (mid/treble) dynamic drivers. There's also the dual-driver arrangement of the old AKG K280 which I think uses the same driver, just two of them on each side to "focus" the sound. Multidriver IEMs are more common.
These are not "flat" response headphones. I don't think they're suited for acoustic music like classical or traditional jazz where having a more controlled frequency response will have the music sounding more natural. I enjoyed them more with pop, rock, synth, hip-hop, rap and dance genres where the idiosyncrasies can sometimes really accentuate certain parts of the bass and sweeten mids while keeping the extreme trebles controlled so as not to sound harsh. The resulting sound can definitely be very "exciting" with the right mix!IMO, these are also not good as "hi-fi" headphones for those looking for flat response, high detail, or ultimate dynamic range. I'm not sure how that JAS "Hi-Res Audio" logo is defined or tested/certified for headphones like these. Of note, with a good, quiet headphone amp listening in a quiet room, I was able to hear a faint buzzing from the right headphone. I believe this is from that in-line microphone/remote control probably adding some low-level noise to the channel. I suspect there will be variation between different units so pay attention and see if you can hear it paired to your specific amp. Note that I am being very picky here as the buzzing is only noticeable on my desktop with volume turned up, and very low ambient noise level. It will certainly not be a problem when used in a mobile setting where the volume control and microphone is of use so keep this in mind depending how you'll be using the headphone.
To end, in my audio-related browsing this week, I noticed an interesting interview with Galen Gareis - ex-Belden, now Iconoclast Cables - talking about the supposed effectiveness of audio cable designs:
"Physics don't care who's using it" is a nice line. Good to see him talking about the cable parameters and factors like resistance, capacitance, skin effect and inductance. Good that he links these scientific principles with sound quality rather than voodoo.
He comes across as a passionate, entertaining, knowledgeable fellow. Great!
He still has to connect/imply these improved electrical parameters (like LCR) as having an effect on playback sound quality. Otherwise, why else would an audiophile feel compelled to buy? It's funny that he drags his wife into it. ;-) At least he seems to believe in some form of diminishing returns with sound quality. But then he also claim interconnect differences are "definite" and readily heard (if one is attuned to "open and faster sound") so his beliefs are a bit unclear and implicates a need for Golden Ears of some form.He seems to focus a bit too much on supposed group delay (varying velocity of propagation), and in fact claims that for Iconoclast it's the "velocity of propagation linearity" that's making a difference (he spends more time on this here). Does he honestly think this will have a significant effect from 20Hz to 20kHz!? Prove it scientist! Don't claim with just words - this is the difference between Gareis as an engineer/scientist and him wearing his salesman hat.
Show the group delay for example with a generous 50' length of speaker cable which would cover basically the vast majority of a home audiophile's needs. Let's see some graphs. Show us where the group delays are, at what frequencies, and what magnitude. Knowing that conduction speed is a significant fraction of the speed of light (fast!!!), such talk is mere speculation, not even a reasonable hypothesis at this point as far as I can tell! (BTW, a 50' pair of Iconoclast speaker cables would cost >US$5000.)
Related to the above items, he claims that the lowering of those LCR parameters improves sound. The problem though is that after all these decades, there has not been any evidence that decent, normal cables make a difference compared to much more expensive stuff. So again, as a scientist, where's his data comparing these Iconoclast cables with standard Benden or just inexpensive OFC 12AWG copper using actual listeners?Funny anecdote about showing off his prototype and "getting pressure" from "beta testers". This kind of thing is no different from the typical "subjectivist" stories whether it be wives and girlfriends supposedly hearing a difference or positive comments from unsuspecting Golden Ears. I hope for most audiophiles these days, we recognize that "just so" testimonies like these are simply unsubstantiated claims that should not sway opinion one way or another.Very strange claim that good equipment (like better cables) can help with "bad stuff" like his Herman's Hermits album!? I dunno man, "garbage in, garbage out" even if the output garbage is from a higher resolution system.
He thinks audiophiles feel that stuff that are simply just "better" than what's needed is the definition of snake oil. To some extent this is true but I think most audiophiles are quite realistic with snake oil usually involving the concept of extremely poor value which is typically reflected in the price tag. If I buy a pair of $75 audio cables with better specs than $20 cables but I'm not hyping the product up, then I don't think anyone would be too upset or calling me a "snake oil" salesman, right? Hopefully the $75 cable is better made and will be trouble-free for many years, no forum battles necessary.The problem is that what Gareis is claiming in this interview does encroach into snake oil. For a pair of Iconoclast speaker cables, 6' non-biwire, banana plugs on both ends, the cost starts at US$1220 for the lowest priced "Touch-Pitch Copper (TPC)" and goes up to US$2160 if you want silver-plated TPC. For a 6' pair of "Generation 1" XLR cables, it starts at $520. Likewise, the lowest end 6' pair of "Generation 1" RCA cables, TPC (not even OFC), costs US$462. Obviously that's expensive, and the value of such cables does need to be talked about.Considering the likelihood of things, and Gareis' performance/claims in this interview, these Iconoclast cables are probably a type of Class B "Unnecessary Audio Accessory" snake oil since I do believe they measure well but unlikely to make any audible difference compared to say $20 XLR cables or $100 speaker cables for an order of magnitude price tag difference. The onus is on Gareis/Iconoclast to show us some blind testing results to prove that there is a "difference", much less an actual "improvement" to the sound. To demonstrate an audible difference actually should not be difficult if his subjective claims are true as expressed in that interview. While some might see it as cynical, I don't think there's anything wrong with an audiophile wondering if Iconoclast is basically an opportunity for Belden/Blue Jeans/Gareis to cash in on "high end audio" markups to grab a piece of the market that accepts such prices. Considering the presence of snake oil and trust issues around the audiophile media, I think at the very least, critical thinking needs to be applied.
I don't think these Iconoclast cables look good enough to be Class C "Audio Jewelry" although I'm sure construction is excellent with good materials so there should be good intrinsic value especially to audio tech geeks.
On a side note, Gareis mentions that he uses powerline ethernet to feed his PS Audio DAC system at home. Hmmm... Personally, having used powerline ethernet a number of years back, I'd advise spending money to run some proper ethernet lines to the room before using the money for analogue cables like these! Might reduce risk of hum and will likely improve network reliability.
Now this was perhaps the most surprising to me given his experience and knowledge base. What's this about "my desktop computer is connecting at 10 megabits/second" and that "I never had a connection faster than that in reality"!? What's he talking about being at 10Mbps "99% of the time"!? Boy, Belden better upgrade their LAN at the office if this is the case. Gigabit, 2.5GbE, and 10GbE speeds don't seem to be a problem here at home. I could never live with 10Mbps data transfer of big files like lossless albums copied across computers! Unless I plugged in a bad cable or something, I don't think I've seen 10Mbps ethernet links at home or work in the last 20 years. Maybe he should have another look at his ethernet router / switch LEDs, and check out his computer's network link settings... Odd. I guess he's more of an analogue guy than digital?
By the way, Roon's RAAT protocol last I checked transmits data as uncompressed PCM/DSD. So a stereo 24/96 is already 5Mbps with overhead. If it is true that most ethernet installations run at 10Mbps only, most of us will have troubles streaming stereo 24/192! This is clearly not true.