Today we’re taking an early look at an all-new planar magnetic headphone from ADVANCED, the GT-R. Since this is only a preview, let’s dive right in and skip all the formalities.
After a full week of intensive listening, I have to give props to ADVANCED for the quality of sound these cans put out. My planar magnetic experience is admittedly limited only to HiFiMan’s Susvara. On the other hand, that is a 6000 USD summit-fi flagship so I’d like to think it’s given me a pretty good idea of how a well-tuned, high performance planar should sound. This also means my bassline for what I consider acceptable is also pretty high. While the GT-R doesn’t perform on the same level as that particular planar, and I wouldn’t expect it to at it a 15th of the price, it’s damn kickass in it’s own right.
I’ve found the GT-R to have an aggressively forward mid-range that somehow doesn’t comes across shouty or sibilant. It just physically appears a couple steps forward of the rest of the signature which gives it a very unique presence. Other mid-forward products tend to lack something. Maybe it’s bass extension, or treble that rolls off too early. The Brainwavz B400 and AKG K553 Pro come to mind, both great products in their own right. The GT-R on the other hand gives me a wholly different experience and suffers from none of those quirks.
While vocals are extremely close and intimate, they’re backed by a vibrant upper range and a thundering, snappy low end that has no qualms digging into visceral sub-bass regions. The GT-R’s sound is also very textured and capable of picking out minute details, all placed within a deceptively large sound stage. I say deceptive because, track dependant, the forward mids make things more intimate than they really are. It’s like sitting directly in front of a vocalist while the rest of the band plays in the background, spread out across the stage. With no lack of clarity I find it to be a very engaging presentation, one I look forward to experiencing further over the coming week leading up to my final review.
The GT-R is also a very attractive headphone with clean, simple lines and a practical design. I love the all-black color scheme. It’s accented only by some subtle white text on each ear cup that quietly announces you’re looking at the Advanced GT-R and that it utilizes “Planar magnetic driver tech”. The subtle black and red knurled bands above the pivot points are a nice touch too. They let you quickly tell left from right, although I’m not sure it matters since the basic design is mirrored. Build quality is impressive too with great fit and finish. Despite being composed of mostly steel and protein leather, the GT-R is very light. The only plastic I could find surrounds the base of each ear cup. It has a smooth, matte, grippy texture to it that makes holding the GT-R a non-event, unlike the Susvara which tends to slip out of my hands.
The protein leather used on the floating, self-adjusting headband is of high quality. While lightly padded, I never had any significant issues with comfort or hot spots given the way weight distribution is handled. Clamping force is strong out of the box and the headband’s self-adjusting mechanism a little too lenient. With movement, the GT-R always feels like it’s about to slide down your head a bit, but it never does. These are two things that could use some fine tuning before release. That said, if they stay as is, since the head band loops are steel, the more daring of you out there could probably stretch it a bit to loosen things up further. Since this is only a loaner, I’ve been happy to let the clamping force loosen naturally with use.
Overall the GT-R feels like a very competitive offering and a killer first go at planar tech. ADVANCED has lots of competition, but I think they’re right to be confident in the GT-R. It ticks all the right boxes sonically and stylistically. These could very well become the Godzilla of the headphone world.
Be on the lookout for a full review soon! Thanks for reading.