I am glad to inform you that today we have in our editorial office another creation from a brand that does not require special introduction, iBasso. Testing new developments from this reputable company is always an interesting and exciting activity. The full-size SR2 headphones that finally arrived to me were no exception. The predecessors, SR1, somehow passed our editorial board, but I think it will be more interesting to get to know their successors right away, because iBasso engineers always manage to perfect even their most successful developments, making them even better.
SR2 is a semi-open headphone built on a dynamic driver with flexible silicone suspension, Tesla magnet system and biocellulose domed diaphragm. According to the designers, the result of the combination of these technologies is a wide dynamic range and excellent transient characteristics. And the elasticity of silicone is combined with a Tesla magnet to deliver precise, detailed, high-resolution sound, while the biocellulose diaphragm delivers smooth, comfortable sound. In general, everything is smooth, detailed and with due expression.
My description sounds promising, let's find out how the headphones actually sound.
Text: Alexey Kashirskey (aka Hans Barbarossa)
Impedance: 24 Ohms.
Frequency Response Range: 3Hz-40kHz.
Gold-Plated 3.5mm Termination Plug.
Rated Power: 50mW.
Cable Length: 1.8Mtr.
Appearance, kit and ergonomics
The headphones are delivered in a large cardboard box with excellent silver-gray printing: the brand logo on top, a photo of the headphones with the model name, familiar to all audiophiles as "Our Father", the inscription "High Definition Headphones" and driver technology refinement. Detailed specifications are shown on the back.
Inside we find a hard case with a zipper, in which there are headphones and a replaceable cable, and another small box with replaceable ear pads and instructions-guarantees.
The status of the headphones emphasizes their aesthetically restrained, "gentlemanly" look. Premium sound should live in its proper place, you can't argue with that.
Silver ear cups (once again, I note the semi-open acoustic design) and black arches, on which a soft and extremely comfortable headband made of high-quality leatherette is attached, are made of metal. The fastening elements of the headband arcs to the cups are made of durable plastic. The outer side of the cups is framed in a circle with the inscription "High Definition Headphones SR2 Design by iBasso Audio" and is securely closed with a black metal mesh.
At the bottom there are connectors for connecting a 3.5mm cable.
The ear pads are voluminous and extremely soft, simply airy, made of leatherette with perforation throughout the surface. Thanks to the ergonomic design and softness of the ear pads, the SR2 sit on your head more than comfortably and their weight (395 grams) is almost imperceptible. Moreover, I became so friends with SR2 during our long joint music parties that by the end of the audio testing, removing them from my head, I felt that my head no longer had enough of their comfort and warmth. A little more and I would give them a name and start talking to them (joke, just a joke).
Nice braided cable made of monocrystalline copper. It is silver in color, very elastic, with 3.5 mm jack connectors on one side (connected to headphones) and a 3.5 mm jack with an adapter to 6.3 mm TRS, made in the same style, on the other. Even in the solo nomination, this cable is worthy of admiration, and its duet with SR2 gave me a real visual delight; in one word - stylish!
So, after the first act of our Marlezon ballet (kit, appearance, workmanship and convenience), the headphones confidently gain the highest points. Now let's immediately move from this wonderful overture to the symphonic part, namely to the sound talents of SR2!
The headphones were burn-in for 70 hours before listening.
Listening (audio testing) was conducted on: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo paw Gold, QLS QA-361, iBasso DX220 (AMP7), DX220 MAX & iFI micro iDSD Black Lable.
With all sound sources, the headphones played at a decent level.
The SR2 sound is balanced, open, with a well-developed low-frequency range, with a light elegant afterburner in the midbass area, smooth and rich mids, with good resolution, as well as a clean and unobtrusive high-frequency range.
It is a smooth and sweet-voiced manner, where the main focus is on the mids, and the low and high registers interact clearly and harmoniously with the midrange and add character to the sound.
The musical canvas is drawn broadly, in contrast, in detail, with good separation of instruments, the transfer of textures, timbres and a scrupulous display of all the small nuances of the composition. It is a dynamic and well-balanced manner, where sound images intertwine and form a skillfully assembled mosaic.
The headphones strike a good balance between serious academic manners and the emotional component of the music.
iBasso SR2 builds excellent stereo panorama and have good detail, presenting songs legibly, smoothly, broadly and musically.
Low frequencies have good articulation, density and punch. The bass is thick, firm and deep. It is neatly forced: it is not a "hump" at all, but a light and elegant rise. It clearly interacts with the mid-range register, complementing it with depth and rhythmic basis. The drum kit sounds dense and rather sharpened: the rumblings of the beats effectively scatter on both sides of the head of the admiring listener.
As I already mentioned, the lower register unconditionally supports the mid-range, which is assigned the leading position in SR2, and the lows add a little warmth and lively body substance.
Mids are smooth, smooth and natural. Here, each musical image is endowed with its own tangible basis (thanks again to the lows). The flow of the mid-range register is simultaneously solid, smooth, velvety and extremely detailed. Drive, emotion and dry neutrality are perfectly combined here. Every timbre, every vibration of a voice or tremor of a string is transmitted naturally and deeply, naturally, evenly and melodiously, without a hint of synthetics.
High frequencies are reproduced clearly and harmoniously. Quantitatively, there are not many and not a few - more is not necessary, since, to my taste, the delicacy of the highs is only beneficial here. The register is transmitted clearly enough, comfortably, without excessive sharpness and distortion. He diligently contributes to the overall work, exactly matching the entire sound canvas. Pure harmony and nothing more. And such obedience is a good level for such a capricious register.
In terms of genre preferences, SR2 confidently show their versatility. In my opinion, they play rather interestingly both instrumental music, jazz, electronics, rock, and brutal genres.
SR2 is the case when you predict everything even before you include the first piece of music. These headphones, like a respectable gentleman, can do a lot, but do not try to amaze you with catchy effects. Oh no, in a world of beauty, fairground tricks are inappropriate. The style in this case is observed in everything: from the impeccable appearance, the most comfortable and well-thought-out design to the high-quality, neutral, detailed, melodic sound. Such an audio signature, I am sure, is able to satisfy the needs of the widest circle of music lovers.
Once again, I say this phrase, but you cannot erase words from the song: the engineers of the iBasso company coped with their task brilliantly - the headphones turned out to be very good. Well, as a code that concludes our lofty review, a few words about the price. The SR2 has a suggested retail price of $ 549. Considering the good kit, great design, build quality, ergonomics and - most importantly - great sound, I find the cost of these headphones more than acceptable.
Pros - Sound, design, kit, excellent cable, build quality, price
Cons - No (not for this price)