Back to a 3-4 week wait.
ALPHA DOG WINS BLUE MOON AWARD!!
I hadn't heard from Dan Clark in a while. I'm busy. He's busy. Still I think his time may have been better served. Mr. Speakers has come up with their first reference headphone, the Alpha Dog. It's made on a 3d printer!! So we're talking 3d precise, and it comes in a lustrous red and with a 1/4 inch jack or an XLR balanced connection. I could go on about it, but really Jude from Headfi.org is an amazing reviewer and he does a far better job of getting to the meat of the issue than I could. If you haven't seen Jude's work in the past, go to Headfi.org and take a good look. It's an education and a lot of fun.
Here's some info from Dan's pen:
Meet Alpha Dog; the New Standard in Closed Headphones
Building on the Mad Dog platform, the Alpha Dog is our first reference headphone. Alpha Dog delivers all the goodness of the Mad Dog, but with wider soundstage, greater transparency, and linearity typical of the better open-backed headphones. And they look great, too.
MrSpeakers’ Alpha Dog integrates the legendary Fostex T50RP driver with a proprietary enclosure that delivers:
Can a Closed Headphone Ever Sound Open?
Most high-end electrostatic, planar magnetic (ortho) and dynamic headphones are open backed. Conventional wisdom says open back headphones deliver the largest soundstage and sound better, at least when used in quiet spaces when nobody else is nearby.
That said, many people need headphones for travel, work, roommates, etc., where open back headphones aren’t a great solution. And of course many headphone users really only want one set of headphones. For these peoples a closed back headphone can be a necessity.
Our highly acclaimed Mad Dog pushed the boundaries of closed headphone performance and has frequently been described as one of the most open-sounding closed headphones.
So we saw a challenge: can we build a closed headphone without the “closed” caveat and make the cup acoustically vanish? Game on!
The Cup that Doesn’t Sound Like a Cup…
Meet the Alpha Dog, the world’s first production headphone made on 3D printers.
The short story (and it could be longer): after a lot of research we determined the key to next level transparency and soundstage was upgrading the enclosure. Utilizing 3D printing technology we created a larger, more rigid enclosure with a patent-pending double-wall cup and internal lattice and a bass-tuning screw built into the wall of the headphone.
3D printing offers many advantages over conventional injection molding. One is inherent to how 3D printers work. With careful setup, it's possible to manage wall thickness, air space, and the "matrix" support structure to improve audio performance. The double-wall with matrix printing delivers a unique combination of rigidity, isolation and low weight, which the design team has wrapped in a classically elegant yet functional industrial design finished off with high-end auto paint and a lush clear-coat.
We call the result the Super-Cup™.
In addition to the Super-Cup, the Alpha Dog incorporates numerous design and technology innovations and features:
Super-Cup wall structure and Very-Bass tuning port
So How Does it Sound?
The Alpha Dog sets a new standard for soundstage, transparency, dynamics, neutrality and realism in a closed headphone.
It’s so open you’ll forget it’s closed, until someone tries to talk to you. Bass is linear, deep, and super clean.
Mad Dog vs. Alpha Dog
We love the Mad Dog for its rich and detailed mids, slightly darker sound and really fun bass presence. The Alpha Dog takes all that goodness while smoothing the frequency response and speeding the transient response. The result is remarkably open and transparent sound, with faster, harder hitting yet extremely linear bass ( -3dB at 12Hz) and a smoother, more nuanced top end with more “air.”
Like the Mad Dog, the Alpha Dog works best with a good portable or desktop amplifier. For casual listening, such as at work or while reading, the Alpha Dog works fine with your iPhone, tablet or computer audio, but it will only achieve moderate volume and soundstage and bass will not be at their best.
If you want a headphone that is affordable, fun, e.g. a touch of emphasis on the bass, with a very balanced sound, a neutral/dark signature, and ridiculous comfort at a great price point the Mad Dog is the call. If you are interested in soundstage, detail retrieval, ambience, and linearity with improved visual design, go Alpha Dog. And if you go Mad Dog, you can always upgrade to a set of Alpha Dogs later.
Continuing our tradition of allowing users in our installed base to upgrade, we are pleased to offer our best upgrade program yet:
Pricing and Availability
The Alpha Dog will be priced at $599.99. It includes an XLR cable or a ¼” single ended cable. Our first production run will be available at the end of September. We expect heavy demand for this product, and will fulfill orders first-come first-serve.
We will not take orders for upgrades until product is shipping, at which time we will start an upgrade list so we can maintain minimal turnaround time to avoid any inconvenience to owners.
Adaptors for additional balanced connections will be available, starting with adaptors for Ray Samuels, iBasso, and ALO balanced portables.
Production product may vary slightly in appearance; we’re working on a couple of minor aesthetic enhancements which we’re not sure will go to production.
*MrSpeakers does not warranty the paint finish around the Very-bass adjustment mechanism, nor do we warranty the headphone tuning if the Very-Bass has been adjusted. Each headphone will include calibration information on the headband to allow users to restore left and right channel settings. Be aware that Very-bass may not be for everyone: if you are not mechanically inclined we do not suggest you modify the headphone settings. Should you adjust the headphones and wish to have MrSpeakers restore them to factory tuning there will be a $29.99 tuning fee, plus shipping. More details will be available in an FAQ to be posted in early September.