Impressions about the Bakoon HPA-01M

Preamble

I think it’s important to first know where I come from, and what I generally listen to, to truly contextualize my thoughts about this amplifier.

I mainly listen to metal, from drone, to doom, to death, to techdeath. Fast or slow, sad or energetic, as long as it’s cool I like it. I do listen to a couple of things outside of metal but they are like 10% of what I usually listen to.

I’ve been using the Sennheiser HD800S as my main headphones for a couple of years with various amplifiers, chronologically: iFi iDSD Black Label, Violectric V200, Feliks Echo, Denafrips Ares II, Pathos Aurium and last but not least the Bakoon HPA-01M.

As for how I listen to music, I usually focus on a few artists for a long period of time, a sort of “rotation” of albums/bands. For example, I am currently focusing on deathcore, while before I was mainly listening to drone and techdeath. I still listen to other genres, just not nearly as much as the “main” ones.

What I wanted to do in this article was to compare the Pathos Aurium and the Bakoon HPA-01M in its current drive output.
This is the chain I used for the comparison: PC → Denafrips Ares II → Bakoon HPA-01M/Pathos Aurium w/Siemens E88CC A6. The Pathos is basically the “benchmark” upon which my impressions are based upon.

I will be focusing my thoughts mainly on the differences the two amps have in the low end and the soundscape: soundstage, instrument separation and how overall the music is presented. I will not be talking that much about the highs or the mids, other than to say that they are slightly on the warmer side. Only in a couple of albums I will talk a bit more about them, but they are the exception and not the rule.

First Impression and General Sound

Let’s start right off with my first impression of the Bakoon: I wasn’t too impressed. The low end is the first thing that hits you: the drums and the bass both sounded so much thicker and weighty. It made some albums sound almost bloomy, the drums would be just too much and they would drown out the other instruments. It wasn’t overwhelming to the point where you hear only bass, but still it was pretty noticeable. It didn’t sound natural or balanced to me. I wasn’t a fan of it.

At first I tried only a couple of albums in my “current rotation”, after some time I then decided to also try albums that I really didn’t listen to that much at all. And it clicked. Something was different. “Did it always sound like this?” I thought to myself. The answer quickly came soon after, when I switched back to the Pathos. “Absolutely no”.

What happened? Albums that previously would have been considered a 5/10 or 6/10 in terms of enjoyment now were up there with the ones in my “rotation”, the ones I like the most. After those drastic improvements, I went back and listened to a big chunk of what my music collection had to offer and It clicked, again. And so, I went back to the first albums I listened to.

I now liked the changes the Bakoon introduced, I probably was too harsh in calling the lower frequencies overwhelming. They were definitely more present, with more slam and authority, but it sounded…”right”, and now was the Pathos that sounded “wrong”.

To put it simply, I would say that the Bakoon sounds richer than the Pathos. It adds presence to the bass, making the sound have a real weight to it. The soundstage feels generally smaller than the Pathos, but on some things the former sounded hollow, like someone scooped out the main body of the sound and only the outer edges of the soundstage were left. On those albums, I often found myself raising the volume with the Pathos, trying to get the density the Bakoon gave to them, only to no avail.

Now, some may think that the Bakoon is simply a warmer amp, but it is not. It’s still pretty transparent and balanced. One key difference I find between a very warm amp and a more linear one is how the drums sound. Let’s take for example the Feliks Audio Echo, which I owned prior to the Pathos and the Bakoon. Going off of memory, the drums were not as tight/controlled and sounded generally a bit more bloated, with the Bakoon the control is pretty good and the timbre is more organic, while the Pathos gets a bit “too technical” and drums may come off as really tight and almost dry, but in a good way. They are very fast and although not as “big” or present as with the Bakoon, they are still pretty enjoyable because of the sheer control and tightness.

And so, it’s not because the Bakoon is overly warm in it’s presentation, it’s just that the current out is doing some black magic and almost changing the very way my HD800S respond to the lower frequencies. If I switch to the voltage out, yeah it’s a more warmer leaning amp, but the low is not nearly as present as with the current out.

As for technicalities, the Pathos has an advantage in this field over the Bakoon: it’s faster, tighter, has better separation and soundstage. The Bakoon gives a more intimate experience, while still retaining pretty good spatial recreation and separation, just not at the same level of the Pathos.

I think I have talked enough about my general impressions, time to get to the real meat of it: I will now analyze how each album changed going from the Pathos to the Bakoon, and how my enjoyment of it changed as well.

I would like first to spend a couple of words on defining “enjoyment”. It’s not only how much I like an album, but also how likely I am to listen to it while I’m in the right mood and how it fares against similar albums, plus some more variables. For example, if I want to chill, I’m not going to listen to technical death metal, I would usually go towards a more polite sound like with some doom/funeral metal. 

I will try to express how much I like an album by giving it a score from 1 to 10, where 1 is “please give me anything else” and 10 is “I don’t want anything else”. I know that it’s too reductive to just assign a number since a lot more factors play into the picture, but I wanted to keep it simple and give a quantifiable way to express the difference in enjoyment between the two amps.

Album Analysis

Album name: Krüller
Artist: Author & Punisher
Genre: Industrial/Doom Metal

The first time I listened to it (with the Pathos) I had a pretty lukewarm reaction. It wasn’t bad don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as I wanted it to be. Either way, if I wanted to listen to something more “relaxed” I had other options to choose from, and so I didn’t think too much of it.

Then one day I decided to listen to it with the Bakoon: it changed. It changed a lot. The weight and overall presentation of the sound just made this album go to a whole different level.

For my personal tastes it made the music find its ideal way to express itself, to put it simply, it gained soul. The buzzy, noisy, industrial sounds for which A&P is most famous for really get to life, giving an excellent tonality to the album, letting it express in a way which was simply not possible with the Pathos.
The sounds of his personal-made instruments got thicker, denser. Suddenly, it has a real weight: the atmosphere in “Drone Carrying Dread” lives up to its name: you can really feel the oppression and the dread of the music, while still being somewhat calming and gentle.

The Bakoon manages to give the same weight it gives to the instruments to the voice, while the Pathos just sounds a bit too thin and “scooped out”, it just didn’t have the density necessary.

From “Centurion”, with its oppressing and harsh vocals, to “Maiden Star”, with a more mellow and almost “optimistic” sound, the voice really benefits from the Bakoon’s more dense presentation. As with the Pathos, they were sometimes almost “drowned” under the music. If I were to compare the voice’s presentation on the Bakoon versus the Pathos, I would say with the latter they are a “side dish”, while with the former they are more of a “main dish”. The Bakoon does a better job in giving it the importance it deserves.

Overall, one of the more drastic changes In terms of enjoyment. I actually have some other albums from A&P, the earlier one’s are more drone-y and I do enjoy some good drone metal, but they never really stuck to me. Now, I will go back and check them out. This time, of course, with the Bakoon.

TL;DR: From zero to hero, the album found what is in my opinion a really nice way to express itself and gain its soul.
Enjoyment: 5 with the Pathos, 10 with the Bakoon.


Album name: The Satanist
Artist: Behemoth
Genre: Black/Death Metal

I personally think that because of the more raw and “black metal” style of production, I have always found that Behemoth don’t really scale off of better gear. If I were to visualize the improvements in sound with getting a better amp I would say they grow at a normal pace and then just plateau upon reaching a certain level.

The Bakoon makes the sound a bit hazy in the low end. In Furor Divinus I prefer the tighter sound of the drums with the Pathos, while with the other amp they aren’t as precise. Surprisingly, the Bakoon doesn’t really boost that much the quantity of the bass, both amps have a close amount of presence of the low end. If you couple this with the not so “refined” production, I prefer the Pathos. Another thing that I found is that on this album in particular is a lack of air with the Bakoon, it makes the highs feel a bit congested and not as well extended, the cymbals aren’t as sparkly as with the Pathos.

Still, I really like this album and it’s one of my all time favourites, it just has a unique atmosphere and here Nergal really adds a lot with his vocal performance in tracks like “Messe Noire” or “O Father O Satan O Sun!”.

TL;DR: The Pathos gives a more balanced sound in the low end, but overall they are pretty close.
Enjoyment: 8 with the Pathos, 7 with the Bakoon.


Album name: Lifeblood
Artist: Brand of Sacrifice
Genre: Deathcore

Like with Krüller, the Pathos wasn’t able to make me really appreciate this album. This is where I felt like the expression “scooped out” fits it most nicely. It just sounds…hollow. The speed is here, the tightness is here, but…the music sounds thin. It’s one of those albums where you continue to raise the volume hoping that the music will really come to life, but it just doesn’t. In some passages the Pathos is a bit too much for me also, it sounds almost harsh on this particular album.

I think that for a genre like deathcore engagement and fun are two aspects that are necessary, and the Pathos simply wasn’t able to deliver them, or at least in this particular album. In other deathcore bands like Shadow of Intent or Thy Art is Murder the situation isn’t as bad, but still the Bakoon for me does a better job.

With it, the “scooped out” effect is almost completely absent and the music does not sound thin. The drums now sound much more present and hit harder, giving the necessary base upon which all other instruments can sound the best: you can have the grittiest and most aggressive guitar, but if the blast beat isn’t on the same level it just sounds strange, it comes off as if half the song is missing, and that’s what was happening with the Pathos. It’s not only the drums though, it sounds overall denser, giving a better presentation on how this album sounds.

Sometimes though, I get the urge to raise the volume. Also, it’s not like the Bakoon turns the album from a 3 to a 10, I think there is something going on with the production that isn’t really to my liking but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Still, with the Pathos it’s not bad per se, it’s just…lacking. Someone might find a more technical proficient presentation better, although I personally think that 99% of people would prefer the Bakoon, it’s just that much more enjoyable with it.

TL;DR: The Bakoon is a big step in the right direction, although sometimes I feel something is missing. Might be because of the production.
Enjoyment: 5 with the Pathos, 8 with the Bakoon.


Album name: Damnum
Artist: Allegaeon
Genre: Melodic Technical Death Metal

In this particular album I think the Bakoon boosts too much the low end, to the point where I think it actively degrades the experience. It’s not bloomy though, the drums still sound somewhat tight, it’s more that it invades the space reserved to the other frequencies and kinda smears the overall sound. For example, in “Bastards Of The Earth” there is this sort of veil that goes to “suffocate” the vocals and the highs, I think it’s partially the fault of the almost overwhelming drums, coupled with the overall warmer sound of the Bakoon.

The Pathos, on the other hand, has a more balanced sound and keeps the low end in check: everything has its own space and it still hits hard when it needs to, while with the Bakoon it sounded a bit soft at times.

TL;DR: The Pathos does a better job in giving the right space to each frequency, while with the Bakoon the low end gets too much presence, to the detriment of the mids and the highs.
Enjoyment: 8 with the Pathos, 6.5 with the Bakoon.


Album name: The Battle of Yaldabaoth
Artist: Infant Annihilator
Genre: Technical Death Metal

An absolute brutal album, you want to listen to this when you want to just be consumed by sheer aggressiveness and speed. Here, technical proficiency is a must and the Pathos does an excellent job at it.
The speed, grip and control, especially on the drums, is just nuts. It sounds a bit harsh sometimes when the sound gets busy, but on an album like this it’s more than bearable, and in my opinion it fits with the tone of the album. You do not listen to this if you want to chill, you want to have a great time and listen to something cool, you want to be overwhelmed by the brutality.

In this album, there is no “scooped out” effect, might be because there are just so many things going on that they fill in the soundscape quite nicely, it may sound a bit thin to some but the difference here is not that much, you get 100% of the brutality of this album and that’s a good thing.

What about the Bakoon then? The drums sound a tiny bit bloated, especially the bass drum. I think it does a better job in giving presence and weight to the voices, but it falls behind on speed and tightness. With the Pathos you can distinctly hear each kick and percussion on the drums, with the Bakoon it gets a bit fuzzy, as if he isn’t able to follow the rhythm on the music and eventually on busier passages the drums “melt together” and you lose the ability to hear distinctively each kick and snare. For example, on “Three Bastards” the bass drum gets crazy fast at around the 2:07 mark and with the Pathos you can distinctively hear each single kick, while with the Bakoon it’s not as precise or tight.

The guitar does sound good on both, although the Pathos gives a more forward presentation, which I prefer to the more laid back one of the Bakoon.

TL;DR: The Pathos, with its technical abilities, gets to shine with an album like this. The Bakoon is still enjoyable though, just not on the same level of the Pathos.
Enjoyment: 9 with the Pathos, 7.5 with the Bakoon.


Album name: Fit to Kill
Artist: Blood Red Throne
Genre: Death Metal

While with Damnum I found the low end to “overpower” the rest of the frequencies, here the situation it’s similar in terms of quantity, but doesn’t veil anything and it’s much more controlled, it now actively improves the experience. The drums just sound right to me in this context and the bass has the right amount of grit and presence.

In “Killing Machine, Pt. 2” the bass is just roaring with evilness, just as it should be for an album like this. This is an album that requires a certain amount of “evil” and only the Bakoon in my opinion is able to succeed in it. In “WhoreZone” the presentation of the bass, combined with the drums, is spot on and gives the right amount of “evil”.

The Pathos does a better job as well if what you want is something a bit more balanced, but here I prefer how the Bakoon presents this album, it’s really up to preference.

TL;DR: The Bakoon is, in my opinion, more coherent to the overall atmosphere of the album, but still the Pathos does a great job.
Enjoyment: 8 with the Pathos, 9 with the Bakoon.


Album name: Aggression Continuum
Artist: Fear Factory
Genre: Industrial Metal

Let’s get straight to the point: both sound really good. The Pathos gets to stretch its legs and show its technical abilities: everything sounds tight and well separated, you can hear pretty easily the nuances in the music, like the harmonics of the guitar or the precision of cymbals. The Bakoon, on the other hand, gives an incredible presentation with the guitar: it’s so good, almost addicting, but, it doesn’t have the same tightness or precision as the Pathos. With the latter the various instruments are presented in a balanced way, where each one of them has it’s space and presence, without one overpowering another, while the guitar on the Bakoon might sound almost “exaggerated”, and not everyone might like it. I personally don’t mind it, I like it, but I can see it being a bit too much for some depending on their preferences.

You can still hear the general characteristics of the Bakoon in the drums: they have more presence, it’s just that the real showman of this album is the guitar. Because of this, the added weight that the amp gives to the drums is not really necessary and in this case I prefer the more “subdued” and balanced presentation of the Pathos.

TL;DR: Nothing much to say, it’s a solid album and both amps do a solid performance: with the Pathos you get more precision, and speed, with the Bakoon an incredible guitar.
Enjoyment: 8 with the Pathos, 8 with the Bakoon.


Album name: Nightfall
Artist: Candlemass
Genre: Doom metal

Nothing much to say, impressions are pretty similar to the one’s for Aggression Continuum. With the Pathos you get a really nice, balanced and even sound, with the Bakoon the guitar takes the spotlight and is really, really good. It doesn’t have the same presence as in Aggression Continuum, but you can feel that it takes the spotlight of the song, while with the Bakoon nothing really stands out, but in a good way: everything has its space in the soundscape.

TL;DR: See Aggression Continuum.
Enjoyment: 8 with the Pathos, 8 with the Bakoon.


Album name: From Mars to Sirius
Artist: Gojira
Genre: Groove/Death Metal

One of my all time favorite albums. Here the jump from the Pathos to the Bakoon is evident: with the Pathos something is missing, that “scooped out” effect is back but it’s not so severe, it’s still an enjoyable listen but I feel that the Bakoon does a much better job at it.

The latter just sounds fuller and more engaging, while the Pathos comes off as cold and more “flat”.
Other than this, they are pretty similar, the drums are not that emphasized like on other albums, and the guitar roars a bit more with the Bakoon compared to the Pathos. 

On “To Sirius”, for example, the difference between the two amps in the low end is more noticeable: both the drums and the guitars make their presence known. On “Ocean Planet” those differences are more subtle, to the point where they are much more similar between each other in terms of presence.

TL;DR: I prefer the Bakoon, but only because of the whole staging/”scooped out” thing, otherwise the Pathos would do a pretty good job.
Enjoyment: 7 with the Pathos, 8.5 with the Bakoon.


Album(s) name: Fourth Dimension, Episode, Visions, Infinite
Artist: Stratovarius
Genre: Power Metal

You may be wondering why I decided to talk about 4 albums. Let me explain. First off, you may have noticed that those albums are in chronological order, but 1 is missing: Destiny. I decided to not put it since I only have a remaster of it, and also I think that those 4 are enough to properly explain my impressions. Before we start, I wanted to say that I used the first track of each album to do this comparison. In order, we have: “Against the Wind”, “Father Time”, “The Kiss of Judas” and “Hunting High and Low”. So, what you can hear, going forward with the albums, is that each time the production changes.

In Fourth Dimension the Bakoon doesn’t bring that many tonal changes in the bass. It sounds overall fuller yes, but in terms of presence the drums only get a slight boost, nothing too much. The guitar does get a more noticeable boost, but on certain passages it sounds kinda “buzzy” and just unfocused, as opposed to the more precise and tight presentation you get with the Bakoon. Also, despite the instruments sounding a bit distant in instrumental parts (again, kind of that “scooped out” effect), I think that when the voice comes in it actually fills in the space somewhat nicely.

Still, I wouldn’t say the overall production is good, it kinda sounds a bit lifeless with both amps. At the end of the day I think that the Bakoon has a slight edge over the Pathos just because it sounds fuller, despite being less clean (although not by much) compared to the latter.

Going to Episode, with the Bakoon the tonal changes get more evident: the guitar sounds fuller and the drums get a nice boost in presence. The Pathos still does a good job though, it’s just that the differences in tonality and presentation become bigger on this album as opposed to Fourth Dimension. If I had to complain about something, I would say that the Bakoon sometimes has a bit of a “bloom” effect, specifically on the guitar, but only in certain passages.

Moving onto Visions the guitar changes in sound, it’s more detailed, in the sense that you can really hear the harmonics as opposed to Episode, also it now sounds somewhat colder in comparison to Episode. It does lose some presence though, it’s a bit more set back. The Pathos does an excellent job in pulling out those harmonics, while the Bakoon smoothes them a tiny bit. Overall this album sounds slightly more “dull” in comparison to Episode, it’s a bit flatter in my opinion. The Bakoon does a nice effort in making it sound fuller, but it’s just not enough. Both amps end up, in my opinion, doing a similarly good job, although I still prefer the Bakoon.

Last but not least, we get to Infinite. Here, the guitar sounds even more detailed, with more harmonics and bite, but not as cold as the one in Visions. With the Pathos, I think the production makes this album’s overall’s tone a bit leaner, like the drums having a more tight and dry sound, but more refined: faster, better separation and better soundstage.

With the Bakoon the differences are immediate, the guitar gets more present: more than Visions but less than Episode, a nice balance I would say, while retaining the improvements in the technical aspect that have been made with the better production. The drums get a noticiable boost in presence, while still retaining their tightness. They are just more meaty.

TL;DR: The more we go forward with the albums, the more the Bakoon (usually) makes a difference in enjoyment, for the better.
Enjoyment (Fourth Dimension): 6.5 with the Pathos, 7 with the Bakoon.
Enjoyment (Episode): 7 with the Pathos, 8 with the Bakoon.
Enjoyment (Father Time): 7.5 with the Pathos, 7.5 with the Bakoon,.
Enjoyment (Infinite): 8 with the Pathos, 9 with the Bakoon.


Album name: ░█░█░░█░█░█░
Artist: KEYGEN CHURCH
Genre: Doom/Orchestral/Synth/Industrial Metal

This is an absolute banger of an album, it really nails the atmosphere it’s going for: the combination of the organ with the various synths is just incredible. You can’t really say “this album is X genre” because it’s a mix of so many things, it’s kind of its own thing and I love it for that.

Every time I got a new amplifier to toy with this was always one of the first albums I would put on to evaluate the amp’s performance and I can say confidently that the Bakoon does a wonderful job. The low end gets meatier, fuller, and the organ gains a nice boost in size. I personally found that the Bakoon is the only one to really bring out its soul. Now, you may think that the difference between it and the Pathos is pretty big since I am writing very good things about the Bakoon, but it really isn’t. It’s just that the Bakoon gives that extra edge that pushes the album from being “just” excellent to really come into fruition, it’s the extra step that makes it gain the soul.

The Pathos, simply put, it’s not able to do that. It comes off as a bit cold in certain passages, but still it remains very enjoyable. The staging is bigger, but it feels slightly empty, as opposed to the more full-bodied sound of the Bakoon.

TL;DR: The meatier sound of the Bakoon really elevates this album to the next level, with the Pathos it gets close to gaining soul but it’s not quite there.
Enjoyment: 8 with the Pathos, 10 with the Bakoon.


Album name: New History Warfare Vol.2: Judges
Artist: Colin Stetson
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz

I don’t usually listen to jazz, but a friend of mine recommended it to me and so I gave it a shot. Turns out, I liked it quite a bit. I still listen to it very rarely, but when I do it’s always an enjoyable experience.
Both amps do a great job, the saxophone really comes to fruition with both of them, although I think the Pathos does a slightly better job.

Here, in my opinion, you really want a wide soundstage, and the Pathos is able to achieve that. If you prefer a more intimate presentation though, go with the Bakoon. It still does an excellent job spatially, it’s just not as big.

Personally, on an album like this, presentation is a big point. As I said before, the Pathos does a better job at it with its wider soundstage and a more “light” sound as opposed to the denser Bakoon, it makes the saxophone sound more “volatile” in certain passages where it’s required be like this, it sounds delicate without never being “hollow” and manages to fill in the space in a way that I think fits really well with this album.

The saxophone is presented in various ways, from being on the front stage and really making you feel it in “The Righteus Wrath Of An Honorable Man” to a more distant and “ethereal” way in “From No Part Of Me Could I Summon A Voice”, and the Pathos achieves in giving them their proper sound.

TL;DR: The Pathos has the ability to articulate the saxophone in a better way, while the Bakoon falls a bit behind.
Enjoyment: 8 with the Pathos, 6.5 with the Bakoon.


Album name: He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms
Artist: Silver Mt. Zion
Genre: Post-rock

Honestly nothing much to say, both amps do a good job and there is no standout feature, the Pathos sounds a bit bigger and the highs are definitely beter. I don’t listen to this album as much as I used to, but wanted to include it because I still enjoy it from time to time. As I said before the biggest difference in the two is that the highs are bit more extended on the Pathos and it has more air, while the Bakoon sounds more on the denser side of things. 

TL;DR: Similar performance, I would give a slight edge to the Pathos though.
Enjoyment: 6.5 with the Pathos, 6 with the Bakoon.


Album name: The Planets
Artist: Gustav Holst
Genre: 
Classical

Despite not listening to classical music that often, I really, really like The Planets.
I’ll say it right away: the Pathos is just better. I have talked a bit about how in certain albums I felt the highs might not be that well extended with the Bakoon and how they are more subdued, but here you can really hear that. The trumpets on Mars just aren’t good on the Bakoon, they are not “sparkly” and energetic enough, they sound too polite on it.

The Pathos, on the other hand, gives an excellent rendition of those trumpets, they sound just as they should be. In terms of bass there is some difference, but because the bass drum isn’t as prevalent and it’s more of a “background” thing, it becomes almost negligible in the grand scheme of things.

Then what about the soundstage and the overall grandness of the sound? I feel that because of the bigger soundstage of the Pathos, it performs better, also there is no “hollow” effect in the music.

TL;DR: Because of the more subdued highs of the Bakoon, the Pathos it’s my preferred amp for this album.
Enjoyment: 9 with the Pathos, 7 with the Bakoon.

Conclusion and Final Words: what have we (I) learned?

  1. Take your time to really study how the amplifier sounds.
    Even if you think that there is no way the new amplifier you bought sounds better than the one you currently have, give it time. Listen to it again tomorrow, and the day after it, and so on. Give it a week and try as many things as you can, you might rediscover (just as I did) some albums that didn’t really captivate you for one reason or another, but that now speak to you.
  2. The Bakoon seems to do a better job in elevating metal music as opposed to classical or jazz, where the extra presence of the drums, bass or guitar isn’t really needed to enjoy it, as opposed to metal where I think the extra energy in the lower frequencies really ties in well with the overall sound, especially on more brutal genres like death metal or deathcore.
    When things get too fast though, like with techdeath, the Pathos in my opinion performs best.
  3. The differences I heard in metal music, regarding the lows, with the Bakoon get more accentuated the “better” the production is: I feel that, out of all the bands I talked about, Behemoth, Candlemass and Stratovarius, their albums (only Fourth Dimension and Visions for Stratovarius) had the “worst” production out of the bunch, and coincidentally they are the ones where I found the differences in tonality to be less evident and more subtle.
  4. With metal, performance varies drastically based on the artist (or there might be even differences between albums of the same artist, like we saw with Stratovarius) and the genre.
    Because of this, I can’t say that one amplifier is better than the other: you might like a colder, more technical presentation with your metal and that’s fine. You might even listen to genres completely different from the ones I listen to, and that’s fine too, of course.
  5. The albums I picked are only a small sample of what I usually listen to. In general, I would say that the Bakoon is better 90% of the time and the albums where I preferred the Pathos were very few, mostly non-metal or some techdeath stuff.

The Bakoon made pretty big improvements on some albums, smaller on others, or it even made a couple sound worse, but they really are a few. Most importantly, it made me rediscover and appreciate albums that with the Pathos just didn’t sound great enough for me to listen to.

And so, which amplifier will I keep? Well, as of writing this, the Pathos has already been sold to someone that I hope will enjoy it much more than I did. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great time with it, but the Bakoon is just better for me. Going forward, it’s hard to think of a future without the changes the current out brings to the music, it’s just that good for metal, at least for me.

Do you think that I am a fool for listening to metal with HD800S and that your headphones are much, much better? Do you like metal and think that your chain does a pretty good job at it? I would love to hear your thoughts on “The Best Headphones For Metal Music” thread.