So yesterday I picked up my sony XB950’s, you know those 250 dollar bluetooth / wired headphones that are as good wired as they are wireless? Yeah, so those literally fell apart as I picked them up. So I’ll fix those with superglue and they will never leave my house ever again.
So I got pissed, and I don’t want to only have earbuds, so I went to guitar center and picked up the headphones in the title.
Main negative thing: They are 200 dollars. And before anyone says a damn thing, yes, I tried a pair of ATH-M50X’s. They don’t sound right to me; they just sound like tehy ignore mids as often as possible and have a bit of shimmer. I don’t like them.
The other thing I wanted to avoid was the breaking of plastic. My 950’s came apart like they had been broken for years. So, I was thinking “metal construction will be better for me” because of how much I use my headphones and how I take them off (grab one cup, pull off).
So with these minor requirements, I had a few choices and a max of 200 I was willing to spend. There were 2 pairs of Beyer Dynamic’s, this pair of Pioneer’s, and one from a company called… Line in or something? The last company I had little interest in. They sounded ok, but not the quality over all that I wanted.
So obviously I went with the Pioneer’s. Though there was someone recommending the Sennheiser HD380’s, which are 100 bucks and sound pretty good, but none were in stock and they are made of kinda meh plastic, plus the cable is really thin. Audio quality, great, physical quality not so much.
So with these pioneer’s you get these specs:
5-30 (5hz - 30khz) Freq Response, very flat, very even sound. 5-45 would be better but I’m not that picky.
36 Ohm 50mm drivers. So you don’t need a DAC or anything like that. Those Beyer Dynamic’s are 80 Ohm, and to get the right sound out of them I’d need a DAC or my phone to have a DAC.
A replacable thick cable. BEWARE, the input on the headphones themselves are 2.5mm. You can’t use any ol’ cable, just like with the Sony’s I had. However replacement cables aren’t expensive, and this pair of headphones comes with 2 cables. Though, one is short and uncoiled for like a phone or whatever, and one is longer with a coil for studio use.
So, now that all that shit is done… Sound. What sounds does it pick up better than others? What do they do better than other headphones and what tracks did you use to benchmark them?
Same as the earbud post that I made.
With this track, these headphones actually picked up drums I had never even heard before. As a test of separation, theres no shimmer, theres dead air where there is supposed to be, and there was just a whole new area of sound I hadn’t ever noticed before. The entire drive home, and to a friends house, and cleaning horse stalls in the middle of that, I was enamoured. I was absolutely captivated by the mix like it was the first time I’d heard it.
And I know people say that all the time with stuff like this, but I was absolutely grabbed.
Now, I will say that because I had bass focused headphones previously, it took some readjustment to become familiar with flat headphones again. And in fact, I compare these to my Sony MDR-V55J’s (I think thats the name on them?) as a more advanced version of those that can handle MUCH more complex sounds.
I always thought 200 bucks was too much, but when this mix ended I got the feeling of “you get what you pay for”. So anyways.
Because, over all, the Dieselboy mix isn’t actually all that bass focused, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t buy headphones with almost no bass. I couldn’t really hear much of it. Well, that was because the Black Bassline mix I have available is shittily mixed thanks to youtube. So all the HiHat sounds wash out the bass. Where, with this beat tape, it was very aparent to me that the warm grip that the bass plays in this opening track is VERY well handled. It almost makes me wonder if the metal frame will warp the driver a little in the cold. IDK yet, so I will psot a follow up on that concern later.
Lastly, for fun.
I wanted to see if these could handle a washout of high guitar with a hard hitting bass guitar. Not only does it handle the album amazingly well, but again I heard part of the first two tracks that I just hadn’t heard before. Or not been able to pay attention to it before, rather.
So as a firstm impressions post, these are fucking great. I think I’ll stick to the more high bar headphones from now on because of this. And if 200 dollars is too rich for your blood? Well, the Sennheiser HD380’s are as good as these in a lot of ways audio wise, though I don’t know the freq response or ohmage off hand, so, sorry about that. But I don’t trust the construction of them. That doesn’t mean that they’ll break the instant you pick them up, I’m just rougher than most.
I use headphones and music as a way to stay on track of something and get through my day. Its a part of my life and how I keep from driving into a tree to tell you the truth, as sad as that is. So the HD380’s, while great ESPECIALLY at 100 bucks, not going to last a week with me, sadly. Maybe at an audio station, and I might still get some HD380’s for the music production station I’m going to turn Mac Pro 3,1 into, but I also have 2 cables with my X7’s? IDK. I might hold off on that.
Another set that were good and I was considering were Beyer Dynamic’s DT990’s. Open back, but 90 Ohm’s. I’d need a DAC. But good construction and awesome sound quality. If you don’t want to throw 200 bucks at it, those DT 990’s were 175. Not MUCH better, but good for the price. I would have expected those to actually be 250 bucks, but there was a price drop at guitar center due to a new model coming soon.
So, need new headphones? Pioneer HDJ-X7’s are my current recommendations.