Is Bassier Better?
Before I ever owned and reviewed a Pendulumic model I met Chris in London along with Uncle Wilson of Jaben. I tried the S1+ and what was still a prototype of the T1 and I remembered saying to their surprise I thought the S1+ sounded better, mainly due to the T1s recessed and dull midrange. Apparently that was going to be worked on for the production model. Sadly to my disappointment I can’t notice any obvious changes and that impression remains.
While it seems like a more refined model than the S1+ by just the smallest of touches, with a bit more control in the lows, its tuning and balance is no where near on the same playing field. The S1+ was for the real discerning enthusiast and one that wanted a balanced sound, I no longer find that to be the case, this has a bass boosted way above a distant and blurred midrange. It is not a signature I look for in any headphone or earphone, it made Josh take them off quite quickly but I imagine impress a lot of people that are much more casual towards how their headphones sound and put bass ahead on their list. In reality they have not made a really bassy headphone, it just gives that feeling because of the state of the mids next to it and I miss that full and rich midrange of the Stance.
Full does still sum up the bass and treble, which are full of decay and meat, even the midrange has a lot of decay where it lays and the sound is not thin at any point. The extra decay does just make things sound messier though, especially in the treble which sounds sloppy and quite unnatural in timbre. The overall sound is also just muddy and muffled, lacking clarity and distinction in all areas.
The bass is by far the best frequency range, not perfect, but much more impressive than the rest. Being a sealed on ear can you can’t expect the most extension but the mid bass is warm, punchy and not quite as soft as with the stance. Yes it has some extra decay which makes it a bit wet but that’s actually quite pleasant.
Overall this headphone is in dire need of more speed, balance and control and it might be able to evolve into something much more.
Not all the Improvements I Wanted….
Like with their Stance model, I love lots about this model. The design, analogue controls and feature sets is easily above the rest of the competition and the extra portability definitely adds something to the range. That being said for the most part these are just a sleeker super aural version of the amazing Stance, an award winner here and to truly justify the price increase these needed to up the game in sound quality, improving what is possible and I don’t think these show that. The bassier sound just is not as exciting and seems more consumer grade than before. Like the Stance had its + version, I would like to see this reworked with a more balanced sound and a touch more clamping to have secure to my head, then we would be really talking. For now though, if you want to get rid of your wires, stick to the OG S1+, it’s golden!