or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › On-Ear › JVC Victor Head-band Portable Headphones | HA-S500-B Black (Japanese Import)

JVC Victor Head-band Portable Headphones | HA-S500-B Black (Japanese Import)


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 biggrin.gif


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.

RWAK100+JVH HA-s500.jpg



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! biggrin.gif 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 wink.gif


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!



Pros: Amazing Soung, Very easy to drive.

Cons: Uncomfortable for some, Fork swivels can creak at the end of travel, Carying case or bag would have been nice.

Straight out of Japan, not available in North America, why do the Japanese get all the good toys?


I have had these for just over 2 months now and these are my go to portable headphone.


The S500's are light, compact and I personally do not find them uncomfortable. A very soft headband cushion and your run of the mill pleather ear pads that are firm but not uncomfortably so.

The headband is hinged at the top, extenders stay where they are put, cups are rotatable in a 90 degree arc and the forks fold in half at the swivel. They fold up very nicely and it would have been a great addition if JVC could have included a bag or pouch to carry them in.


Folded S500's



I run these through a Colorfly C3, you do not need an amplifier for these as they are very easy to drive. The C3 only has 12mW of output power and I can not turn up the C3 past 30/40 it is just too loud for my ears.


S500's & C3


The tracks for this review were:

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

(Whole Album many times over...)

The whole album sounds great on the S500's, lots of quality bass, which is perfect for this style of music. Vocals are nicely presented, and the treble is not sharp or piercing like some other headphones in my collection.


At the end of the track "Giorgio by Moroder" when DA Sints-sa-ziezer beat slowly decays to nothing, the S500 follows every note right to the end. 


Dream Theater - Train of Thought

(Whole album again)

The first track "As I Am" The vocals are right there in front of you with LaBrie sounding like an imitation Hetfield.

I sat with a coffee on the deck and really enjoyed the rest of the album.

I didn't take the S500's off throughout the whole listening session, and never felt any discomfort afterward.


The balance on these between Bass and Mids is great, I am not a fan of sharp or piercing Treble, luckily these do not have any of that.

These are a good all rounder for many types of music from Progressive Metal to the new Daft Punk Funk.


Infected Mushroom sounds great on these as well. biggrin.gif




If you are looking for a great set of Supra-aural headphones then you owe it to yourself to check them out, you will be surprised.


Pros: PRICE, awesome sound, is very capable for all songs, dont look half bad

Cons: Comfort may be an issue for some (not for me), wish cords were detachable but can't complain for this price

These are my first pair of cans and straight out of the package they look pretty amazing. When I first put them on I thoroughly enjoyed what i heard. Works well for bluesy songs and there is an emphasis on bass but not incredibly bass heavy by any means. After a few hours of use, they are just getting better and better!


Pros: Perfect combination of highs, mids, lows with very good clarity.

Cons: For an on-ear it's almost flawless. Could probably use more soundstage but it's pretty good for an on-ear.

These have been my main headphones for a long time. Their simplicity combined with their excellent sonic character and relatively cheap price make them legendary headphones. There's a reason they have a cult following. 


Pros: Price/Performance rate is awesome

Cons: build quality not equal to this f/p rate.Not comfortable because of PADS.

Sounds quality is really god i have to say this. This headphone is undisputed wonderfull :) I wish i can say these words to comfort. But i cant say this. Because pads are killing me and my ears. I dont want to change it but i must i guess.


What is my advise/advice?

You must buy it if you have enought money and you cant give more than this for a headphone :)


Pros: fun sounding, very detailed, portable, folds up, smooth treble (non-fatiguing), easy to drive.

Cons: uncomfortable for long periods of use, some may find them too bassy (i don't), a carrying case would've been nice.


If you're looking for a good portable with excellent sound, go buy these now. I said now. Why are you still reading this? I said go buy it!


I would like to start by saying that those can usually be found between $30-$70.


I got mine for $40 and payed $15 for shipping. And trust me when i say, this is one of the best $55 i have spent on audio equipment. 


Ever since i got these, i never left the house without them. Ever. They are very convenient and portable. I take them with me to the gym or occasionally for jogging, and they do a perfect job of staying on my head without falling off. 


Just some headphone photography before i begin wink_face.gif


Build Quality: 

Outstanding for the price. If you held it in your hands you wouldn't say its a $50 headphone. Even though they are mostly made of plastic, I am sure they can take a beating. As i said previously, they fold up and are easy to store anywhere. They can sometimes even fit my pocket.




If they can fit in my hands, they can probably fit in yours too because my hands are not that big anyway. 



The first couple of hours i tried the S500's, they were very uncomfortable to the point that i had to take them off every 20-30 minutes. That being said, they do get more comfortable the more you wear them. They have been with me for a 2 weeks now and they only get uncomfortable after say 1-2 hours of use. My ears are probably small/average size, and they are fairly comfortable to me. Clamping pressure is also not that bad. I actually wish they could clamp a little more so that i can move my head up and forth with more freedom. 


Easily Driven: 

Those are only 32ohms and have a sensitivity of 106/1mW. Straight out of my phone and tablet, the volume is usually between %40-%50. On my laptop, its approximately on %20. Yes, %20 is loud enough for me. Even %40 on my laptop would deafen me. To conclude, I'd say amping is very unnecessary, unless you want to go REALLY loud. Personally, I still use my FiiO E11 with them simply because i can boost the bass for that extra oomph whenever i want. L3000.gif




Don't let the low price tag fool you. I consider the sound quality of these on par with my ATH-M50's if not better. Overall these have a fun sound signature with emphasis on the bass. Some will say the treble is recessed but i say its just smooth and non-fatiguing. 



Astonishing. The detail on these is on-par with my M50's, sometimes even better! All that without being assaulted by harsh/strident treble. Micro-details are easily heard and you wouldn't believe this is from a $50 headphone. 



For all you bass lovers out there like me, this can is perfect for you. The bass extends really deep and sub-bass capabilities are excellent. Out of the box, you will notice that the bass is boomy and uncontrolled. Give it some time. After a week or so, the bass gets much more controlled and becomes more well-defined. Is it enough bass for a basshead? No. I am a mini-basshead myself and at times i usually use the bass boost on my E11. I don't get the talk about the crazy amounts of bass these have. The bass is definitely not overbearing to the point of giving you a headache and its not lacking either. I find it perfect for the genres i listen to (drum and bass, vocal trance, hardstyle). 



Simply put, the midrange is very nice. A little recessed if you are coming from a midrange-forward can. But for $50, can't complain. 



Here is where things get messy for some. This can has been accused of being an overly dark, congested sounding headphone. I strongly disagree. I think the treble is wonderful and extends all the way up there without being fatiguing nor harsh. Not a hint of sibilance here. The treble is very smooth and unfatiguing. I can listen to this can all day without my ears getting tired.


Highly recommended!! Go get these now!!


Pros: They sound amazing, especially for the price

Cons: Not comfortable enough for a long listening session

First Impressions:
    Well, when I first used these, I used them in the same place I'd expect myself to continue using these, on the go from place to place, and while at places outside the home. When I first plugged them in, I was planning on letting them burn in for 10, 15 minutes, but I couldn't resist and decided to listen less then 5 seconds after starting that process. I pressed random on my music player, and I was greeted with an 8 bit chiptune track. The first thing I noticed was the slightly recessed treble. Not recessed to the point of disappointment, but it was recessed. The treble contains a very smooth quality overall, making any higher pitched instruments sound laid back and calming. I liked it! So I moved on to the next song. Levels by Avicii. Might I say, the bass on these is glorious. Very powerful. the synths are pretty strong a well.

    Next was Small Two of Pieces. Sadly, I wasn't as entertained by this song as I am on the HD 280s. After going through some more songs, it turns out that these things don't play female voices as well as I hoped. Male voices are amazing, though. The next song was Baba Yetu. It was at this point I realized that these just don't have enough treble and upper mids for orchestral music, and female vocals. I've designed an EQ for those songs, but I'll more often then not be turning to my 280s for that. It makes me sad, because orchestral is my favorite genre. Baba Yetu does have male vocals, and they are very well textured and detailed. Male vocals work better here then on my 280s. At times, the male vocalists can get slightly muddy, but that could easily be the mastering of the music more then the headphones.

    Next up was a few Queen songs. Many songs are handled very well here. I like it. First up was "Is this the World we created". I loved the acoustic guitar on this track on these. Very nice and laid back when called for it to be. Freddie Mercury's voice is well presented here. Next up was "Somebody to Love." YES! This is amazing. Better then my 280s. Lovely. No others words could describe my feelings when this song came on. Its just exactly what I want when I listen to this song. I was there. I MELTED INTO THIS SONG! I don't know if this is what is meant when people say transparency, but jeez, man, I jumped up and started singing, no, belting the lyrics along with the song. At this point in the session, I felt that if I could only have one song to listen to on these headphones, it would be this.

    After about 30 minutes of music there is when I realized a huge problem. These things are painful to the ears. They are so uncomfortable. I thought I'd be fine, I own the HD 280s, and those things clamp down hard on your head. These things don't clamp, but man, the earpads feel like bricks on your ears. It's actually helpful to wear these backwards, which I find strange. Its caused by the fact the headphones can't swivel so that they'll angle themselves to follow the ears. If you wear them backwards, the angle can conform to the ear. It only helps a little. EDIT: Later I found out that these are very position oriented. Depending on how you rest them on your ears will change how they feel to you, so they can be much more comfortable later on.

Later Impressions:
    So I've now used these for 3 hours in total. They don't seem to have a burn in like people keep saying. I am getting more used to the sound signature, which is making them sound better and better, but the drivers themselves aren't physically changing from what I can tell. Maybe the burn is is really that slow, but I'm doubting it'll change much past this. I like it anyways, so it doesn't mean much to me.


I ended up listened to a hard rock song. These things pull you in there, too. such strong and powerful drums.  I just listened
to "Welcome to the Black Parade". That also sounds great on these. These kind of made me want to jump up and dance. I don't like dancing when I listen to headphones, I like to sit calmly and think. Kind of backwards from my normal listening style. I guess that is why these are called" fun" over my normal "analytical" headphones.

Later on, I finally decided to listen to the genre I had bought these for, dubstep. When I say these things have bass. I mean they have BASS! So much bass it is unfathomable to me. I have to turn the bass down after 5 minutes because it is so strong here. Wow. But it sounds GREAT! These things are designed for techno. When I said I would only listen to "Somebody to Love", I didn't realize how well these handles dubstep! I'm loving it! Once again, these have incredibly strong drums. I will definitely be using these to make sure the tracks I make have strong enough drums. I love that these things aren't lacking in all the detail I wanted, like I was expecting them to. The instruments are really well done on here, with the midbass and the lower mids making them sound really full. I'm not used to that, the 280s have really weak lower mids and midbass. Tons of subbass, though.

I decided to get goofy and listen to some country music. It actually sounds really good. I then tried some gospel music. Also great. These things can handle almost anything that you throw at them... Unless you want orchestral. Now, these can be EQed to handle orchestral pretty well, but not as well as I was hoping.

Final Thoughts:
If you like rock music, whether that be acoustic ballads or metal, these are great. If you like electronic music, especially dubstep, get these. If you like orchestral music, and female vocals, these might not be the best in the price range. You'll want something with strong upper mids. and stronger treble. Closer to neutral then these. These things aren't overly comfortable. Without good positioning, you will start to feel fatigue minutes into wearing them. Once positioned well, they can be worn for 2 to 3 hours at a time. Also, I'm kind of concerned about the build quality. I don't know if I'm going to be able to throw these haphazardly into a backpack like I was hoping I could.

I give it 2.5/5 for comfort, 2.5/5 for build quality, and 8/10 for sound. Man, do I love this sound. If you can (magically) stand the comfort, or get a pad mod, please go get these!


Pros: Sound quality, easy to mod, memory foam headband

Cons: Treble is a little recessed, pads are a little hard.

These babies were great right out of the box, and for the price, I definitely suggest them for anyone on a budget, or just anyone in general! 


The sound on these is great, good bass, smooth mids, but slightly recessed treble. I did a few mods on these: put felt in the cups to tighten the bass and reduce sound leak (which was definitely present), and then I covered two of the bass vents to increase bass. I also used the treble booster on my iPod to fix the treble problem and they sound great now. Also, the sound is super-crisp.



These are pretty comfortable, but the pads are a little hard. For less than $5 you can buy replacement pleather pads on eBay, the cans get a little hot after a while with the pleathers but they are more comfortable. And the memory foam headband pad is great.



32 Ohms

Easy to mod

Great purchase!

I bought these for $45, I selected express shipping (total $70) and I had a $25 gift card. 

Arrived 5 days after ordering.

Shipped from Aoyama & CO.

Price drop soon after arrival frown.gif


Pros: Amazing sound, worth much more than they cost. Rugged, fun, and engaging!

Cons: Clamp could be a little better.

Best value and sounding headphones you'll ever find for EDM. :)


Do not delay, get a pair today!! For $50 you can't go wrong with these.


Carbon Nanotube technology ftw!

JVC Victor Head-band Portable Headphones | HA-S500-B Black (Japanese Import)

FeatureDynamic Type: Stereo Headphones Drivers: 40mm, Power Handling Capacity: 1,000mW Cord: 1.2m ( Y-shape), Plug: Gold-plated L-Shape Stereo Mini Japanese imports - in a Japanese retail package (Manuals in Japanese only)
LabelJVC KENWOOD Corporation
ManufacturerJVC KENWOOD Corporation
ModelHA-S500-B; HA-S500-Z
MPNHA-S500-B; HA-S500-Z
PublisherJVC KENWOOD Corporation
StudioJVC KENWOOD Corporation
TitleJVC Victor Head-band Portable Headphones | HA-S500-B Black (Japanese Import)
CatalogNumberList - CatalogNumberListElement4975769403514
Package Height2.83 inches
Package Length7.72 inches
Package Weight0.71 pounds
Package Width7.24 inches
PartNumberHA-S500-B; HA-S500-Z
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › On-Ear › JVC Victor Head-band Portable Headphones | HA-S500-B Black (Japanese Import)