Spirit Torino Headphones

I received 4 Spirit torino headphones for testing a few days ago and since they are a rather new company and I really like their style, I opened this topic to discuss their products.

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The first one of the bunch are:

Spirit Torino Radiante

First Impressions (Review will follow later)

The Spirit Torino Radiante have massive and larger-than-life sound signature. If you want neutral - run for cover. If you want live concerts in your head - turn up the volume and you’ll forget everything around you.

I immediately liked them a lot!

These headphones are not for everyone. But - in contrast to other reviews I will argue that they are not only for bassheads and Rock/Metal lovers. It’s just not true.

Build quality

Spirit Torino don’t use plastic on their headphones. The 4 cans I received are all made of metal and real leather. The build quality is very very good, I love the craftmanship that goes into those beauties!

Despite being on the heavier side, for me the Radiante is very comfortable to wear even for several hours on end. The nicely padded headband and custom Dekoni earpads made from the softest leather are wonderful to touch and wear.

The stock cables made by Portento Audio Italy are pretty much the best stock cables I’ve ever seen on any headphone, period. The packaging is great too, but more on all those details in a full review.

Sound signature

The Spirit Torino Radiante have a massive bass-shelf, yes. But they are very able to present you with lots of detail too. Also, that bass does not simply cover up the other frequencies, in fact I feel it provides a strong foundation for them. Vocals are clearly and beautifully rendered, strings sound lifelike, everything is where it belongs. The instrument separation is excellent, the soundstage to me seems very realistic which is no small feat for a closed-back (semi-closed-back) headphone.

Amplification/Synergy/Tunability

These headphones are the most source-dependent and most tuning-friendly headphones I ever heard, and I mean that in a good way. Depending on the used amp/DAP, the sound signature can change a lot! I tested mainly with my Burson Soloist amp which is quite neutral but has lots of power. The result is a rather forward sound with serious attack.

I was really surprised when switching to my Cayin N8 in tube-mode. It was almost like listening to another headphone - Much less forward and aggressive but more subtle - less sub-bass but a gain in finesse and definition. Other head- and earphones showed subtle changes too of course, but here the difference was big. What surprised me too is how easy to drive those cans are - the N8 had no problem driving them to full potential. So you can tailor the Radiante quite a bit to your needs with the right source. But you can also tune them more directly, because Spirit Torino include a tuning kit which is basically some sort of damper with holes in it that you can place inside the headphones in 2 different positions or just leave it away.

When you’re into EQing headphones, you will be very pleased as those are some of the most EQ-friendly cans you will find. You can change the sound signature dramatically. Several reviewers tuned down the bass a few db and raised the treble a little bit. I tried the same and the result was a lot more clarity. There’s apparently a lot of headroom with the Radiante to play with.

Takeaway after a few hours

I only had limited time so far with the Radiante (and the other 3 models of Spirit Torino), but I find myself rediscovering my library with them already.

As stated above - they may not be for everyone. But I guess they could be considering the many tuning possibilities.

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Great first impressions. These are headphones that have intrigued me for a while now.

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Nice! I dig the classy look and color…reminds me of a focal-inspired grado. lol

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Thanks. If you like an intense live-like sound (and already love Empire Ears Legend X and the likes), they are right for you. I tried the Radiante with Tunderstruck from AC/DC (not a fan of AC/DC though) and the hair on my arms stood up. I played the track 3 times in a row with a big smile. Thunderstruck indeed.

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Before Spirit Torino, I only really liked Focal headphones. I just bought the OG Clear and love them as my neutral-reference. Those and the Stellia are gorgeous.

When I saw the STs, I fell in love with the looks too. You can actually have all models in all available colors and designs and even choose from a variety of headbands too. I love colors and freedom choice! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Great impressions and I can confirm them.
Very well built headphones with premium materials.
They deeply change in their response according to the amp you use.
Not my cup of tea for general sound signature but for sure very enjoyable headphones.

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Spirit Torino Super Leggera

First Impressions

The Spirit Torino Super Leggera are open-back earphones with a rather natural and airy sound signature. I would not call them neutral per se but they’re close - more on that later.

Build quality

Spirit Torino don’t use plastic on their headphones. The 4 cans I received are all made of metal and real leather. The build quality is very very good, I love the craftsmanship that goes into those beauties!

The Super Leggera are very comfortable to wear, at least for me. The nicely padded headband and custom Dekoni earpads made from the softest leather are wonderful to touch and wear.

The stock cables made by Portento Audio Italy are pretty much the best stock cables I’ve ever seen on any headphone, period. The packaging is great too, but more on all those details in a full review.

Sound signature

Just like the Radiante, I immediately liked the Super Leggera. The two are very different though. The Spirit Torino Super Leggera has a much lighter and - as mentioned - airy sound signature with an emphasis on vocals and more extension in the treble. I did not notice any sibilance though and I am rather treble-sensitive. The bass/sub-bass to me is rather neutral - or in other words - not elevated. It’s rather flat but with a little bit of energy in it that helps support the midrange. Still, bass on the Super Leggera is a far cry from the Radiante.

The Super Leggera seem like they are made for vocal- and acoustic tracks and work best with music that was recorded at high quality. Guitars in particular sound so incredibly realistic and engaging, I can almost taste the strings - love it! I need to mention that they still work very well with every other kind of music too, in fact, I could not find anything that was not enjoyable with these cans.

Channel- and instrument- separation are excellent and I feel the sound stage presented is true to the recording conditions - Intimate recordings like Alice in Chains MTV Unplugged sound like they are recorded in a small club (which they were) with the band playing right in front of you. Playing Metallica’s S&M album, they let you relive the atmosphere at the Berkeley Community Theatre where it was recorded. There’s lots of space and three-dimensionality.

Amplification/Synergy/Tunability

Like the Radiante, the Super Leggera are quite source-dependent and also tuning-friendly. You can tailor the sound a lot to your liking depending on the used source, although not as much as with the Radiante.

Switching from my main source Burson Soloist 3XP to the Cayin N8 DAP in tube mode added a significant amount of warmth and a bit of bass extension while retaining an excellent resolution and smooth treble. The Super Leggera are rather easy to drive, so you can enjoy them on the go with a decent DAP too - in fact, Spirit Torino intended them to be their “mobile” model. Since their weight is reasonably low at 365g and they are very comfortable to wear, I can imagine using them outside in less busy environments.

Takeaway

After the few hours I had with the open-back Super Leggera, I can already say that I like them very much. There’s energy, there’s emotion, there’s passion, even without the massive bass of the Radiante - perfect for the quieter and more relaxed moments in life.

Comparison with Focal Clear OG (FC)

Build quality & Accessories

While both headphones have generally very good to excellent build quality, there’s still some plastic used on the Focal Clears earcups that I find a bit disappointing at the price point of (originally) 1500 €. The Super Leggera is made entirely out of metal and leather at a price of 1600 €.

The cable quality is vastly superior on the SL. The cable from Portento Audio Italy is far more flexible and thus easier and more pleasing to use. The FC on the other hand have a total of 3 different cables in the box and a very cool carrying case to boot.

Comfort

I have to say that the SL are actually more comfortable to wear for me. The padding of headband and earcups is superior to the FC plus the SL at 365g are much lighter than the FCs at 450g.

+1 Spirit Torino Super Leggera

Overall tonality

The overall tonality of both headphones is relatively similar. The FC is the overall more neutral and balanced sounding headphone of the two. You could say that the FC is the “Swiss” among headphones: Not emphasising anything too much and hold back a bit rather than polarise. It does not want to stand out in the crowd too much but remain neutral instead. There’s a reason why the FCs are my reference point for testing equipment.

The SC is not too far away actually. It’s a bit less neutral than the FC and instead dares standing out of the crowd a bit, when the time is right to add that bit more emotion and energy.

+1 Focal Clear
+1 Spirit Torino Super Leggera

Treble

Treble is more extended on the SL. The SL also has the edge in details and resolution over the FC. This becomes especially apparent when listening to acoustic- and guitar tracks. When I switched from the SL to the FC on Alice in Chains “Rooster” from their MTV Unplugged album, I felt like there was a veil over the whole scene, covering small details in the recorded guitars on the Focal Clear.

+1 Spirit Torino Super Leggera

Midrange

The midrange is rather similar on both headphones, at least to my ears. Vocals, female and male ones alike, are a bit more forward and direct on the SL resulting in a more intense listening experience on certain recordings. Like with the treble, when I switched between the two sets, I had a slightly veiled feeling on the FC that never occurred to me before.

+1 Spirit Torino Super Leggera

Bass/Sub-bass

The bass on the FC goes deeper with more impact and sub-bass extension than the Super Leggera (SL). This results in certain recordings sounding more balanced overall on the FC than on the SL. One could also interpret that in terms of bass reproduction that the SL is the more neutral headphone of the two. I leave this open for everyone to judge for themselves when they get the chance.

+1 Focal Clear

Channel- & Instrument separation

The channel separation is a bit better on the FC than on the SL. On certain tracks like “Hurt” from Nine Inch Nails, one channel just seems “dead” on the FC while the SL are still bleeding a bit of sound across from the other channel. To me this can at times be almost a bit uncanny, as I start thinking something is wrong with my headphones. But of course that is purely a matter of preference.

Due to the slightly elevated treble and upper midrange, the instrument separation is actually quite a bit better on the SL than on the FC. In busy tracks like AC/DCs “Thunderstruck” for instance, all elements of the recording are more distinguishable from each other without affecting the big whole. I have to give both cans 1 point each here.

+1 Focal Clear (channel sep.)
+1 Spirit Torino Super Leggera (instrument sep.)

Soundstage

This is another close one as I feel the soundstage on both headphones is rather similar. They’re a bit different in HOW the stage is rendered but I can’t really decide which is better. I would say that the stage on the SL is a bit wider and taller than on the FC, maybe even more 3-dimensional due to the better instrument separation.

The soundstage on the FC is smaller but more immediate (due to the added bass foundation) if you catch my drift. Sorry if I can’t make myself clear enough, but this is a tough one! All in all for me the SL has a little advantage especially in live recordings. But again: This one will depend on everyone’s own taste and impression.

+1 Spirit Torino Super Leggera

Comparison takeaways

Both are great headphones in my opinion. The Focal Clear (Original) certainly are the more neutral cans and hence possibly suited for a bigger audience.
The Spirit Torino Super Leggera (Long name!) surprised me quite a bit though. I never thought that they could surpass the FC in certain areas, at least for my personal taste.

The SL have one thing going for them that the Focal Clears don’t have:
They possess character and attitude while remaining rather balanced and natural headphones. I appreciate this quality a lot!

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Great writeup @Tom_Ato.

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Thanks once again, Paul!

Completely forgot : happy Easter to everyone!
:rabbit2:

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@Alb I will compare quickly to my Focal Clear OG to give some context soon. I did not notice any of the tonality issues you described so far. But I will contact Spirit Torino to elaborate on possible changes they made.

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Thank you very much! Also looking forward to your comparison with the Clear since i know how it sounds and have heard it.

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I added the comparison with the Focal Clear. I was very surprised about the result myself!

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Just finished reading the comparison.
Yeah I think I had some old/defective pair of Superleggera since your impressions are far from mine in comparison to the Clear.
Especially the bass, where the amount of it on the Superleggera i heard was so much so that it is impossible for someone to call it “neutral” compared to the Clear, it was on basshead levels of bass.

Now this is where it gets interesting: I did some research and i found a review of William Murdock from February 2020: SPIRIT TORINO - SUPER LEGGERA (FULL REVIEW). - YouTube
To sum it up, he had similar impressions to mine, where there is a lot of bass (he estimated it to be a 10-12 dB elevation, described it as being “bass heavy”) and distant voices, with not too much detail. He said his preferred sound signature is neutral and he really likes the Kennerton Vali.

The only explaination I can personally think of is that there has been some kind of heavy revision of the headphone tonality beause our impressions are basically the opposite, and personal taste is not enough to justify this disproportion.
The thing that really seals it is your comparison with the Focal Clear: you said that to you the Focal was a neutral headphone (to my ears it sounds warm: i remember it having a slight bass elevation and warmer than neutral voices, overall i enjoyed it but i preferred the HD800S).
In the comparison, you said that the bass goes deeper and is more impactful on the Clear and that the Superleggera was “the more neutral headphone”: I suppose it had less bass than the clear. So if I apply your considerations to my case, the Superleggera should have had less bass than the Clear, or still it would have been pretty close to it, but what i heard was the opposite: a pretty big elevation in the bass region.
If i have the time, i will do some more researches and find more reviews. I’ll also look on the italian forums since someone must have heard it.

Also, great write up!

UPDATE:
So i searched a bit and found basically nothing on italian forums, i only found that the Superleggera is often used by professionals. On head-fi there was a review from Audiophile Heaven but was pretty vague, he just said they were “warm, thick and softer sounding”. There was another review (channel name was “The Tech Collector”) of actually not only the Superleggera but also of the Radiante and Twin Pulse and he said that they were overall very bassy with recessed vocals.

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It would still be the best if @Tom_Ato can reach out to Spirit Torino and ask about your and William’s experience with the Super Leggera. Would be good to hear a direct explanation from the manufacturer.

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For sure, getting an explaination from Spirit Torino is the best we can do. I said “There must have been some kind of heavy revision” because personally there is too much of a difference to be considered all a matter of personal taste and so that was the only explaination i could come up, but yeah obviously before coming to solid conclusions it’s better to ask the manufacturer.

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Send an email to Andrea. He’s very responsive and fast in replying to questions: andrea@spiritsoundesign.com

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Yeah that seems like the next logical step, if i have the time i’ll send him an email.

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I will reach out to Spirit Torino to see what’s the case.

Before I received the headphones, I had read all reviews/articles on the ST headphones and watched all YouTube videos as well - Pretty much every single reviewer stated the same: ALL ST headphones are said to be very very bass heavy.

You can imagine my surprise when I found that this is only the case for one model I received:The Radiante. I don’t lie when I say that the Super Leggera that I have (S/N 258) is actually bass-light.
The Clears have definitely more bass and sub-bass. unless my hearing is completely messed up or I go coo coo. (possible :face_with_thermometer:)

Even the Twin Pulse has much less bass than the Radiante and is more on the overall neutral side. Same goes more or less for the Titano. To me it makes sense as all models apart from the Radiante are open or semi-open headphones that tend to have - at least from my experience - less bass than closed back models. If I am mistaken here, please do correct me!

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I’ve only heard the Twin Pulse Ragnarr Edition, but my experience is very similar to yours. It sounded broken, as if some phase cancellation was sucking out a large chunk of the midrange. But the dealer said that that’s just how it sounds.

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