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Apos Caspian Review – A Good Value?

by Stuart Charles Black
Apos Caspian Review

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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…

Video Discussion

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In The Box

Caspian Headphones

Apos Flow Balanced Cable (Dual Mini-XLR to XLR)

Standard Single-ended cable (Dual Mini-XLR to 6.35mm)

Carrying Case

Thank You Card

Apos Sticker

Apos Caspian Review

Apos Caspian ReviewApos Caspian Review

Product Highlights

  • Fun-sounding, non-fatiguing for marathon sessions
  • 50mm dynamic driver
  • Open-back
  • All-natural oak earcups sourced from the North Caucasus mountains
  • Inch-deep sheepskin ear pads with acoustic memory-foam inner filling.
  • Stainless steel yoke and headband
  • Natural leather headband for all-day comfort 
  • Aluminum alloy grille
  • Graphene-coated multilayered composite membrane with variable thickness
  • CCAW coil (aluminum core coated with oxygen-free copper)
  • Internal litz wiring

Specifications

  • Price: Check Apos!
  • Driver: Graphene-coated multilayered composite
  • Driver unit: 50mm
  • Frequency response: 5-45,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 115dB
  • Impedance: 33Ω
  • Maximum input power: 500mW
  • Ear cup outer material: Natural sheepskin leather
  • Ear cup inner material: Acoustic memory foam
  • Thickness of pads: 1” (27mm). In other words, DUMMY THICC.
  • External dimensions of pads: 4.5” x 3.4” (115mm x 88mm)
  • Height and width of ear pad opening: 3” x 1.7” (77mm x 45mm)
  • Grille material: aluminum alloy
  • Headband materials: stainless steel, natural leather outer lining, bio-leather inner lining, polyurethane foam insert
  • Yoke material: stainless steel
  • Weight: 13.3oz (378g) 

Most people know that I’m a relentless referencer.

Yeah, I just made that up in an attempt to find a way to start this article.

If something can be referenced, I’m your guy.

Some people are probably sick to death of it, but you know what? I don’t care.

You want another one? Just say the word.

When John at Apos asked me if I wanted to demo the Caspian, my first reaction was “Heck yes I do!” in my best Napoleon Dynamite voice.

Then my mind immediately went to Phish’s “Prince Caspian” and I literally started singing it out loud:

“Oh! To be Prince Caspian! Afloat upon, the waves.”

Speaking of, the Caspian is pretty wavy, and all I need are some tasty waves and a cool buzz.

See what I did there?

“Don’t play me like a got a flower pot head, kid.”

Anyways, the Caspian is a fun affair; think mid-bass rise but without the hissy treble. The imaging and placement of instruments are good and you’ll get a few out of your head moments, but the Soundstage isn’t really wide or anything.

Even so, it’s also not claustrophobic or boxed in sounding like a lot of closed-back headphones. I guess it kind of sits somewhere in the middle.

The treble isn’t necessarily “dark”, but it’s definitely subdued and not overdone like your mom’s meatloaf.

I actually really enjoy the mid-bass “shelf” if you will. It’s not a bump and doesn’t intrude on the sound signature. I’d classify it as a cross between a bump and a gentle rise.

So, a Grump. Haha!

As a former bass head, it really satisfies like a Snickers.

AND YOU’RE NOT YOU WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY

Apos Caspian Review

Mmmm…Sacrilicious. It even looks like a Snickers. xD

In fact, the Caspian’s sound signature kind of mimics the Harman Curve in some respects.

Imagine a gently sloping line from the lowest registers of the bass down to the treble. The difference between something like a K371 and Caspian is most certainly the bass shelf on the 371 – it was a bit much at times (read: laughably bad in some instances) but largely depended on the track in question.

On the Caspian, it’s well controlled on every track I’ve heard. This is in part because the Caspian doesn’t really have a low-bass shelf whereas the 371 did.

Out of all the 114+ demoed units at the time of this review, I really think the Caspian does the mid-bass rise the best. Many a company has attempted, most have failed.

Apos really does it justice here.

The other aspect of the frequency response that manufacturers attempt to color is, of course, the mids.

Mid-Range

There’s a rise in the mid-range around 2.5kHz for some presence, and if you’re familiar with how sound works, our ears expect a bump of some sort in that region.

The Caspian handles this, as well as the treble, rather nicely.

Vocals in no way sound recessed or pushed back, and hi-hats are crisp without hissing or becoming sibilant.

If you’re a regular reader or subscriber, you’ll know I’m never going to bullsh** you.

Headphones, DACS, and whatever else only sound as good as the source file.

In the case of the Caspian, I’d probably stick to well-recorded, polished modern music: Hip-Hop, Pop, Electronic, etc.

Still, this is a sound signature very sure of itself and incredibly well controlled, all things considered.

It can and does work well for most genres because nothing about it feels over the top or blatantly obnoxious.

In other words, it still impresses without having to try all that much, or be too much.

Apos Caspian Review

While V-shaped headphones of the past – the M40x, Crossfade M100, M50x, DT770, etc. – all had issues – namely an exaggerated bass shelf at the expense of the mid-range, or a treble that sounded artificial, the Caspian feels like an evolution of sorts.

It’s a deviation from the norm while at the same time maintaining that “bass-head sentiment” for lack of a better word.

Everything that makes the bass-head experience is here, only it’s not sloppy and obnoxious like that drunk kind of not attractive but still kind of attractive girl you made out with in college at a random party but only because you were really inebriated and she looked kind of attractive but actually wasn’t lol.

You want another run-on sentence?

Just say the word.

Instead of reading those other blogs, you’ll come here.

The type of music that the Caspian really works well with is something like Kid Cudi’s “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen” which by the way, is a FAR cry from his 2009 effort – at least so far.

Roughly halfway through and I’m fairly disappointed. Update: I listened to the entire album and there were maybe 2 good tracks out of 18. In other words, it was a snooze fest.

The original Man On The Moon ranks as one of my all-time favorite Hip-Hop albums and for good reason: Top to bottom, it’s an incredible record. One of those CDs that end up breaking because you play it so much.

A timeless classic that people will be talking about decades from now, well, aside from the last 2 tracks which were pretty forgettable.

Still, it was a raw, visceral look at a flawed individual who held nothing back. It was angsty and moody, but it was beautiful all the same.

It was as if he said, “This is me, take it or leave it.”

Go ahead, give it a listen.

The Raspberries taste like Raspberries.

The SNOZZberries taste like Snozzberries!

It was a rare moment when nearly all of the beats matched all of the vocals impeccably well. The production was eccentric and unique, but still catchy at the same time.

Surely an amazing triumph in the history of recorded music, and likely spawned what is now pretty much known as Emo-rap (unfortunately).

I say unfortunately because it’s all mostly trash.

Man On The Moon III feels like sterilized Trash-Pop, but hey, it sounds “good” in the sense that it matches well with a headphone like the Caspian; technically speaking anyway.

Cudi basically sleepwalks through the record. He sounds dead inside. Possessed, almost.

You know it’s a bad sign when you’re like, is it over yet? How many tracks are left?

Whatever. I got off… track there for a second.

The Caspian is like Beats By Dre if Beats were actually good.

It’s the type of headphone you hand to someone with Beats on their head – but only before slapping them in the face like this:

So hand it to them first, then slap and run away.

They CANNOT get off Scot-free.

Fortunately for you and me, the Caspian is also really easy to drive, homie.

Apos Caspian Review

Amplification

At 115dB/mW, it requires almost nothing to get pumping, meaning it’s very efficient at using the power it receives. At 33 Ohm Impedance, it won’t resist power at all either. Related: How to Choose a Headphone Amp [Definitive Guide]

I ran the Caspian out of the Burson Playmate 2, FiiO K5 Pro, and iFi’s Zen CAN Signature stack (The HIFIMAN Version).

In the case of the Burson, I hardly had to turn up the volume at all to get a good level.

With the Zen CAN, I’m at around 11 ‘o clock on +6dB gain. In other words, more than enough.

With the K5 Pro, I’m at 10 on the lowest gain.

As far as “synergy” and all that crap goes, yes; I’d rather have you pair the Caspian with something more neutral.

The K5 Pro is on the warm-ish side, so maybe not the best pair. But it still sounds good to me!

Any iFi stack will do since it’s a cross between warm and neutral.

The Playmate 2 contains the ESS chip, so that or a simple DragonFly Red is likely your best bet in terms of a more open, crisp sound.

Now for the burning question: Is the Caspian worth its asking price?

These headphones sit at around $499, but let’s take a look at some interesting tidbits that may prove their value is worth a purchase. Red is where I interject:

50mm Kennerton Dynamic Driver

Capable of producing a vast range of bass frequencies with minimal power requirements, the 50mm driver is a real beast. But beasts have to be tamed or else, in this case, they bleed all of that bass energy into the mid-range, creating a muddled, awful experience. (As we just discussed above with those other headphones) We started with an extremely low-mass driver. Low-mass drivers respond quickly to signals and minimize decay time, resulting in a realistic sound. Then we mechanically decoupled the driver from the wooden housing, which decreased the total harmonic distortion. After that, we added a lightweight graphene layer to the diaphragm to boost rigidity, decrease distortion, and improve speed and decay. Finally, our engineers tuned the driver for an enveloping full-spectrum experience. Apos Audio

Mini-XLR connectors

Apos Caspian ReviewApos Caspian Review

The Caspian utilizes a 4-pin connect, and I must say I enjoy how stable it is. It’s a smooth, easy click and there’s little force required unplugging.

These cables aren’t coming out unless the button is pressed, and I think that adds a nice element of durability and peace of mind.

In addition to that, the cable feels strong and flexible. It coils up quickly and easily but also isn’t too long. In other words, it’s nice and malleable and feels like a Headphone cable should feel.

It may fray over time though, so be advised. I will update the article as needed.

Apos provided a nifty cable wrap at the end as well – It mimics the effect of a belt and feels like quality material.

The Caspian uses 4-pin mini-XLR connectors. We chose these because they’re the most secure connection: a headphone cable won’t detach unless you thumb the release. They also have the largest surface connection area, which plays a role in conductivity. Apos Audio

Hand-stiched sheepskin earpads

Apos Caspian Review

Apos Caspian ReviewWhen you hold these headphones in your hand, you’ll know where your money went.

The pads feel great to the touch, and in fact, I caught myself pressing my fingers into them repeatedly.

They could be a tad larger, but I’m not going to complain too much as they’ll accommodate most ears rather well.

Apos says it’s plush, and they’re not lying. They really do feel like high-end materials:

We started with an inch-deep pad of acoustic memory foam and wrapped it in soft hand-stitched sheepskin leather. The look is plush, elegant, and luxurious, like the upholstery of a high-end sports car. We made them oval-shaped to accommodate a variety of ear shapes and sizes. The combination of deep memory foam and sheepskin leather creates a comfortable seal around the ears, with an emphasis on isolation and comfort. The materials also boost the low-end of anything you’re listening to, adding body and weight.Apos Audio

Handmade oak ear cups

Apos Caspian Review

Again we have quality materials that feel great to the touch.

You really do have to hold these in your hands to know what I’m talking about.

The headphones aren’t needlessly heavy like an Audeze, but they feel robust and durable.

In fact, I already dropped them and they asked for more like Mick Foley.

The ear cups are made of all-natural oak sourced from the foothills of the Caucasus mountains. This is a non-endangered variety of wood that has excellent acoustic properties and doesn’t crack easily. Symmetry between ear cups is all-important when it comes to acoustical and visual balance, so we hand-milled each set of cups symmetrically from a single piece of wood rather than hand-match them after the fact. Apos Audio

Headband: cuddly on the outside, steel on the inside

Apos Caspian ReviewApos Caspian Review

Upon first glance, I couldn’t figure out what the headband reminded me of until I read Apos’ explanation:

We worked with the factory that produces Beyerdynamic’s headbands to create a lightweight yet resilient one of our own. We started with anodized black stainless steel and wrapped it in foam and hand-stitched leather. The result feels plush yet durable. It has a subtle amount of clamp force, but it and the headband’s size can be adjusted for comfort. Apos Audio

This is a simple, highly utilitarian profile that just works. Nothing about the design seems unnecessary or excessive.

It’s a compact headphone that pretty much clamps perfectly. It’s not quite as tight as an HD600, but also not loose-ish like a DEVA or really loose like a 9500.

Speaking of, let’s talk about comfort.

Comfort

This is a headphone that you can wear for extended periods without fatigue.

I just finished up a 3 1/2 hour session and didn’t once feel as though the headphones were digging into the top or sides of my head.

The Caspian may very well be added to most comfortable headphones of all time post in the future.

All of the above points served a purpose here in this article, though.

In other words, the fact that Apos mentioned all of those things as highlights of the headphone does seem rather appropriate when you’re listening to them and taking in everything that accompanies the overall experience.

It’s a quality product for sure.

To top it off, you get a really nice carrying case and 2 sets of cables (one balanced) in the box.

With all that being said, I have to say that the value here does match the asking price pretty closely, and I do feel as though Caspian is worth an investment.

*GASP*

Oh, to be Prince Caspian.

Apos Caspian Review

The Caspian could indeed be an end-game headphone for bass lovers (as well as general music listeners) and one that will undoubtedly last you a long time. I may even sneak it into my Top 5 Under $500 list.

It seems like Apos really put a lot of time, effort, and thought into this project, and for that I applaud them.

*AI Colonel Campbell voice*

It’s taken a lot of time and money, but it was well worth it considering the results.”

Final Word

I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Caspian is as resolving as something like an Arya – and it’s definitely not neutral. So be advised.

This is a fun sound, not an analytical or immensely detailed one.

The catch?

It still works incredibly well, and it’s tuned nicely even despite the obvious fact that it’s kind of trying to impress you.

Still, there are moments of uncertainty, as the vocals can sometimes be a tad overshadowed by the bass – such is the case on a track like Cudi’s “Heart of a Lion (Kid Cudi Theme Music). He sounds a bit muffled and sort of “pushed underneath” for lack of a better term, but it honestly could be the recording.

By contrast, for something recorded in 1995, the ever-popular “1st of Tha Month” from Bone thugs-N-Harmony has never sounded better.

It’s punchy, rich, and hits hard.

It’s your quintessential bass-head experience if the bass-head experience was done right – as in, you can actually use the headphones for more than just one specific type of music.

Again, a running theme in this article.

Neck brace not provided but recommended.

All that to say what I heard on “Heart of a Lion” is probably the exception and not the rule.

Most of the time, vocals are going to sound rich, life-like, and forward just enough to keep you engaged. Phish’s “Shade” off their 2020 Album Sigma Oasis is a fine example of that.

Trey sounds lively and his voice is incredibly clear and distinct.

The catch is that the headphones don’t sound dull or boring outside of the mid-range. They do a fantastic job of keeping you the listener engaged as well.

I’ll be honest though; this is probably closer to a $400 headphone boosted to $500 by virtue of its incredible build, comfort, extra balanced cable, and really nice carrying case.

So $25 apiece for each of those things, in my mind, does give it that extra special sauce.

Verdict

All in all, Apos’ Caspian headphones are a solid investment when you consider the entire package, and should satisfy music connoisseurs and bass-heads alike.

Anyway…

I think that’s enough talk. It’s time for the final exercise.

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Apos Caspian Review and came away with some valuable insight.

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Does the Caspian seem like a good value? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photo Album

Media

slenderbodies – Are We? (2021)

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – E.1999 Eternal (1995)

Great Good Fine Ok – III (2017)

Belle & Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996)

CoryaYo & Walter Warm – House Plants (2018)

Tei Shi – La Linda (2019)

Yes – The Yes Album (1971)

Yes – The Quest (2021)

Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt II (2009)

Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (1995)

Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (2009)

Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon III: The Chosen (2020)

Ratatat – Ratatat (2004)

Phish – Sigma Oasis (2020)

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