Goldplanar GL1200

This is the place to discuss the Goldplanar GL1200 ribbon driver headphone.

Video review here:

At first I didn’t like it that much, but having had the opportunity to evaluate it for a couple of weeks now I’ve sort of changed my mind on it a bit. Just so everyone’s aware, I ran this off the SPL S800 - and it does require a speaker amplifier to use.

Generally speaking, they don’t measure well:

Leather Perf Pads

Velour Pads

Side by Side

The leather pads are a particularly unpleasant, muted and muffled sounding experience for me, with no ear gain whatsoever in the upper mids, only coming up at around 6khz in the treble. This has the effect of pronouncing the lower treble harmonic over everything else (not as congested sounding as the GL2000).

The velour pads on the other hand are much more agreeable. Still not ideal with a bit of a nasally presentation for vocals due to that pronounced feature just before 2khz. But, at least the velour pad has some ear gain there above 1khz in general (unlike the leather perf pads), so it’s quite a bit more enjoyable.

In any case, I did some EQ for both pads, which I’ll post down below.

In the meantime, there is also some very strange distortion behavior for the bass and lower mids.

Distortion:


There’s a significantly elevated 3rd and 5th harmonic going on here, and… I’m told this may be normal behavior for this type of transducer - at the very least it’s interesting that they were able to achieve excellent bass extension (unlike the Raal). So my guess is that the driver/diaphragm were optimized specifically for this, but the consequence of doing so meant there was bound to be some elevated distortion down low. This is also above the threshold for audibility.

Thankfully, you don’t really need to EQ the bass, and the THD doesn’t change much when you EQ up the mids and treble. Here are my EQ profiles that get the tuning to be more balanced overall.

Leather pads EQ:
image

Velour pads EQ:
image

For subjective qualities, the detail isn’t anything special like it is on the Raal, however it does give a very interesting presentation of space, stage, and depth. And this is why after EQ I really do enjoy this headphone - more so than I initially thought. No it’s not as competitive as an HD800s or LCD-X or Focal Clear for detail, but it certainly is competitive for space, stage, and layering.

So after EQ I’d give it a cautious recommendation for anyone who already owns a speaker amp. Less so for those who don’t.

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