Austrian Audio The Composer - Official Discussion Thread

Over ear, open back: Austrian Audio - The Composer with Fiio M11 Plus

Torben

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Does anyone know how to buy the Composer in the US?

The US Distributor currently does not have a timeline for when they’ll be receiving stock unfortunately. So it’s still going to be a ways out before anyone in the US has them available for purchase.

I have lied, the Austrian Audio Composer is now available for purchase and I’ve been told that the shipment from Austria to North America should be arriving tomorrow or early next week to the distributor for The Composer (which is not the same as the ones that are currently dealing the pro line-up).

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Just saw that! Very curious to hear them.

  • Very good tonality and technicalities
  • Ultra-clean and ultra-fast driver
  • Amazing bass range down to the lowest frequencies
  • Very easy to drive (using Fiio M11 Plus medium gain)
  • Magnet attachment for earpads
  • Very comfortable - I normally get warm ears, so far that is not the case

Torben

5 Likes

I haven’t had the chance to listen to one yet but I know @Resolve currently has one and I know @GoldenSound also has one and both have mentioned they both quite like it.

I’ve heard it described as a HD 800S upgrade. The build quality on it looks fantastic.

P.S. Nice Rooms stand!

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Do you know in terms of what? There are a lot of flagships that can be upgrades to the 800s, but it depends on what aspects are prioritized.

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It’s tonally similar to the HD 800S but has better bass, a less preferable midrange and pretty equal treble.

It also doesn’t have snug connectors that cause regular people and reviewers alike to pull the connectors out of the socket so just based on that alone it’s an upgrade :wink:

I know Resolve will be posting measurements and at my request, will also be posting direct comparisons to the HD 800S as well.

I suspect that it’s not going to be a headphone I personally enjoy as it will be too bright for my tastes but I suspect many people will enjoy it based on feedback I’ve heard from both our reviewers and other people in various audio circles who’s opinions I hold highly.

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For me it has been very important that I can drive The Composer with a DAP

The Composer
Sound pressure level (SPL) - 112 dB (1 V)
Impedance - 22 Ω

Don’t think this is possible with HD 800S

HD 800S
Sound pressure level (SPL) - 102 dB (1 V)
Impedance - 300 Ω

Torben

4 Likes

Some additional pics

Torben

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Austrian Audio Composer Review in Progress

Austrian Audio were kind enough to send over the Composer, along with the Full Score One amplifier (which will be discussed at a later date). We’ll have the review video out soon but in the meantime here are the results.

Also, big shoutout to Oratory1990 for putting this headphone on my radar. I was not expecting it to be as solid as it is.

As usual, if you don’t understand what you’re looking at for the following section, watch this video.

Austrian Audio Composer Measurements:

B&K 5128

Raw

Calibrated

This is a generally good tuning for anyone looking for a neutral-bright set of headphones with a similar sound signature to that of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, HiFiMAN HE1000 V2, and Arya series.

You get full bass extension all the way down to 20hz, which is impressive for an open-back dynamic driver headphone. It’s even throughout the mids until around 2khz, where there’s a notable dip. Ear gain around 3khz is right on the edge of where I like it, and then a bit of brightness in the treble.

Interestingly I find that the 6khz peak on the Composer is masked by the emphasized upper treble a bit, so it’s less noticeably imbalanced than the 6khz peak on the HD 800 S.

As mentioned, I’d actually describe the Composer as a dynamic driver HE1000 V2, or maybe even Arya V3 or Organic. The sound signature is very similar to those, so I’ll be comparing them in the review as well. But in the meantime, here it is compared to the HD 800 S.

Composer vs HD 800 S

You can see it’s similar for a number of features like the 6khz peak, but the Composer also does meaningfully better in the bass and sub bass, with better extension down low.

GRAS

Vs Harman 2018 OE

On GRAS you can see basically the same thing, minus the upper treble information which is to be expected. Again, it’s a solid response for ear gain enthusiasts with a few quirks like the 2khz dip and the 6khz peak, just like on the 5128.

To reiterate, it leans a bit brighter than neutral. Note that when I say this, I don’t mean like… Beyerdynamic levels of brightness, I mean closer to the typical HiFiMAN sound signature.

Harmonic Distortion

If you do not understand what you’re looking at here, or if you’re unsure what the audibility thresholds are for harmonic distortion, please watch this related video.

95dB

Mainly elevated third in the bass and second around 2khz. Note the percentage view as things are still under 2% here at 95dB.

105dB

This is where things get a bit wild with higher order products in the bass when you push it.

What does this mean? For the composer, harmonic distortion won’t be an issue under normal conditions, so don’t think this means you’ll hear audible distortion products in your music. However, it will absolutely limit what you can do with EQ, meaning you can’t push the bass like crazy on this the way you could with planars - like something from Audeze or the Meze Empyrean 2.

While it’s somewhat to be expected with this type of driver, I do wish this could be better at the price point.

Impedance Curve

Low impedance and easy to drive, but it’ll be affected by source output impedance as well. So if you want things to be unchanged, a lower OI source is better here.

Excess Group Delay

Nothing out of the ordinary.

EQ Profile

The Composer was fairly easy to EQ, although I wouldn’t say this is an “EQ required” headphone by any stretch. Just a reminder, my position on this subject is that every headphone can and should be improved with EQ - personalization is one of the keys to great sound quality.

As mentioned, I was conscious of the fact that the Composer doesn’t have the ultra low harmonic distortion you may find with certain high end planars, but you can still push it a bit with no issues. And thankfully it’s already pretty close to what I like, just a bit on the brighter side.

One caveat to this is that filling in the 2khz dip does seem to reduce the ‘soundstage effect’, making the sound a bit more intimate. So decide how much of that you want.

composer EQ

EQ Result

I also kept some of that counter-clockwise tilt that it has by default intact. I figure this is a great headphone for classical and jazz music - stuff with instruments, and having a slightly more clarity focused presentation with a bit more treble energy really makes that music shine in my opinion.

Notes:

  • Build quality is exceptional. The materials feel very high quality.
  • Comfort is also extremely good - this is an all day kind of headphone thanks to it also being lightweight at around 398g.
  • Large oval pad opening with lots of space for my big ears inside. The pads pop on and off magnetically.
  • Unique cable connector style with 2 pronged plugs on the headphone side. I haven’t seen this before.

Overall, I like this headphone a lot for my preferred styles of music, but it also won’t be as versatile for all genres. I think my main complaint is just the price point. It’s a bit extra given it trades blows with the HD 800 S and there’s also stiff competition around its asking price.

6 Likes

Overall, I like this headphone a lot for my preferred styles of music, but it also won’t be as versatile for all genres.

Can you give a couple of examples of good, but more versatile headphones in the same price range?

Meze Empyrean 2 would probably be my pick around there.

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Man, didn’t realize this was 2.7k. Looks great on paper but that price is definitely going to be a pause moment.

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Hi Resolve,

On sound quality alone would you pick the Utopia over the Composer?

Thanks!

Yes, without question.

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Posting the video review here for folks who haven’t seen it yet:

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Another review (German):

Torben

@Resolve - Hi Andrew

Not sure how to read your numbers. This is my current EQ:

But how do this compare to your numbers? What is what in your table?

Thanks

Torben

1 Like