Pros: Price! They are basically free! Portability, they fold up really nicely. Bang for buck! Fun sound with slight emphasis on bass!
Cons: The black version has been know to chip (wear). Can be uncomfortable during prolonged use.
I got these straight from Japan via Tenso right as Dsnuts got the hype train rolling last fall. Bought 3 pairs, of which I gave one to a colleague (yes,they are so inexpensive you can just give them away!) and one to my brother in law, and luckily, I kept a pair myself! I have an ongoing love-affair with these headphones! Higher end portables (Sennheiser HD 25-1 II, ATH ES700 etc.) has come into the picture since I first go these, and while the ES700's are my go-to portables today, I still tend to get drawn back to the HA-s500's from time to time. There is just something so engaging and fun about these headphones that I can't seem to let go of. Luckily, I don't have to
These are built with portability in mind! They fold up to a really nicely and will easily fit in my coat pocket. The body is all plastic, which is understandable considering the price (did I mention these are cheap?). They do however not feel cheap! I've read that someone had issues with the black version chipping and wearing. My gunmetal versions (-Z) don't have that issue however, and if I polish them a bit, they still look like new. The cable is semi-flat and feels solid. My units do however have one tiny issue (might be design issue) and that is the cable exits on the earcups. These are a tad loose and that can result in some cable crackling when walking. Will be probably try to resolve this with a mod later on, but as I said, it's a tiny issue.
I personally find these quite comfortable, but as with any supra-aural headphone, they do sit on your ear, and this may or may not work for you. When I first started using on ear headphones I was quite sensitive to the constant pressure on the ears. But as time has passed, my ears seem to have adapted to this pressure and I no longer have a problem with wearing on ears even for hours on end at work etc. I personally find that the s500's nowadays just disappear on my head and after an hour or so I'll be checking if I'm actually wearing them or my DT700's (I know this is a bold comparison as the DT770 are extremely comfortable, but it has happened a few times so I figured I'd mention it). They are also really light weight so that should not be an issue for anyone. But when it comes to comfort, I'd advise readers to get a few second opinions from the The JVC HA-S500.. Appreciation, fan thread.
Appearance and style
I really like the way the HA-s500's look when worn. I have no problem wearing them in public, on my way to work etc. The don't have the shallowest of cups, so they do stick out on the sides of your head a bit. The gunmetal version look awesome in profile.
This will pretty much be to most bang for buck you will ever get from a headphone, EVER! I can't emphasize enough how much you are getting for less than 50$! If possible I'd give them a 6/5 for value! Everyone should own at least 1 pair of HA-s500's, just because they are so insanely inexpensive (I'll have to stop using the word cheap when describing these!).
The most important aspect of any headphone, and this is why the HA-s500's have a 6000+ post appreciation thread. I've said it before and I'll say it again, they are one of the most fun sounding headphones I've ever tried. You won't get the sparkling highs and the forward mids of the ES700's. But you will get a smooth laid back sound that is not dark nor bright, but warm and above all, engaging and non-fatiguing. The bass is emphasized and the extension is astonishing for a pair of headphones in this price range. I just tested them with onlinetonegenerator.com and got a clean tone out of them all the way down to 19Hz. They are easily driven by any DAP, but if you are a basshead, I'd recommend you try amping them with an amp that sports a bass boost function. When I play them through my Fiio E17 and boost the bass all the way up to +10 the headphones will literally rattle. The CNT driver seem to handle just about any amount of bass without clipping! I'm 100% sure that my ears will start clipping long before these headphones do. I do however hope that no one tries to prove me wrong! Listen at moderate and safe levels! You don't want to damage you hearing just because the HA-s500's are capable of doing it! For EDM these are actually still my go to headhones! I think Datsik and Excision were using these headphones in the studio when they made their music
Get a pair! There really is no reason not to! If you don't like them (and I dubt you won't) just give them to a friend!