The I-Mego Throne Poison tonality can be best described as warm and fuzzy with a rolled off top end with much of the emphasis on the lower mids and an elevated mid-bass whilst doesn’t overwhelm the mids it doesn’t hit massively hard or deep. The somewhat tapered top end and laid back non aggressive presentation does leave a little bit of a struggle for top end sparkle. For many this will mean the joys of a very non fatiguing listening experience with no hint of sibilance and no nasty lower treble peakiness.
For others though it will lack bite and dynamics and some clarity to really engage with what is being listened to. It is not a monitoring headphone, it is clearly aiming for musicality but competing with the Superlux and Capitals of this world will be pretty tough sound wise and to be honest I think the Superlux pull this off a bit better with the likes of the HD631 DJ Pro more muscular and meatier dynamics though not quite as striking visually.
I understand that this one is designed more for vocals rather than beats since the Gold is marketed as a beats orientated headphone but with that in mind the Poison Throne version does still seem to be engineered with stronger emphasis on the lower mids and upper bass and everything above that area for me just a little too muted and recessed for vocals to sound expressive and instruments to have any real sense of space and imaging.
Some amping, EQ and power notes
Now this is the first headphone I ever decided to use some EQ to see if I could shake it loose of its veil and thankfully using a Z10 Neutron Player and a JDS 02 Amp I was able to give a nice boost in the 3-5KHz and reduce the 250-500Hz and produce a fuller and more forward treble that I think does this headphone a lot more justice whilst at the same time toning down for a more balanced response in the mid-bass. The enhanced 6Khz did add a touch of unwanted sibilance but the clarity was light years ahead of the stock sound. Sadly the mids didn’t quite jump out as I hoped but for anyone wanting a slightly different presentation definitely up the 3-7KHz range and tone down the bass and you will find something which I think is really a bit more realistic.
The JDS Labs C5 added a touch more sparkle to that EQ’ed setup with a slightly more forward and faster paced presentation than the 02. Actually using the tricks thus far the Throne Poison was becoming a rather pleasant sounding and cleaner headphone that, if not the final word in resolution, certainly sounds a lot more musical than straight out of the box.
I did notice with amping and pushing the top end a lot harder there was a noticeable level of distortion. Now I read in other tests that lower end distortion was audible when driven hard well the reverse is true when you ramp up the treble giving me a feeling that you simply cannot push this headphone that hard. That is a shame really because with some tweaking and the right amping you can produce a better and more expressive performance out of the Throne Poison.
Straight out of the AK100 was a return to that muted top end and veil that I initially struggled with so once again going to the AK100 and boosting the lower treble and reducing the lower end brought about much the same results as the initial setup in my trusty Z10 neutron app. With an added bonus though the AK100 brought about a much better level of control over the entire range with minimal distortion compared to the the other setups. Lesson here is avoid any pre-amping I guess and keep the gain to a minimum if possible.