Pros: Price, Bass/warmth, Detail, Soundstage, musical
Cons: Pads heat ears up, lack of high end sparkle, low isolation
Little background, I’m a home theater guy who likes listening to music on his Tannoy’s with a Denon receiver I consider warm. When I upgraded to the Tannoy’s I almost went insane watching broadcast TV, out of nowhere there was edginess to certain male voices on occasion. Over time I came to realize that this was just in the poorly mastered audio recording. None of my blu-rays exhibited this or most shows for that matter. These speakers lifted the veil of my old speakers and presented a much clearer openness and transparency I’d never heard before.
So I gotta say the guys who come in here and right these off as $30 crap cans without a good listen are blowing smoke out their asses. After enough time to really sit, listen and finally compare these I’ve come to realize just how good they are for how little you pay. They’re not giant killers per se but for anyone who doesn’t know the difference, or is just looking for a detailed fun headphone these will truly blow you away. My wife bought me Beats Solos for my birthday a couple years ago which I returned 2 days later, so dark, muddy and no detail to write home about; pretty sad for $200 Canadian at the time. That’s how I found Head-Fi.
My owner ear experience to date has been budget in ears and a cheap PC gamer headset. You have to understand I get sweaty palms just thinking about spending money so making the jump to high end stuff I’ve never heard before would almost kill me. Well OK these aren’t so bad and people seem to be raving about em – let’s spend $30 (well $50 shipped)....... Holding breath......
*With that said I’ve still been able to borrow an auditioned many a Sennheiser HD555 or similar and always enjoyed their detail but greatly missed the bassy warmth.
Enter the Pannasonic HTF-600S.
BASS: The Panny’s have just that, impact and warmth that make them fun, but not at the expense of a lot of detail or bloat. Bass is never lacking and extends quite low, it never lags behind and supports everything else almost a little too well at times. However you never get that feeling like someone bumped the subwoofer dial and it’s up too high congesting the rest of the music.
MIDS/HIGHS: Although the treble seems to roll off early and it lacks that detail monster sparkle, surprisingly there’s a ton of detail and it’s presented just right for what you get. I thought there was something wrong with these as I was hearing edginess, almost distortion in certain recordings, but remembering what my Tannoy’s had exposed I went back and listened to the same songs on other sources. Well it’s there too, but my cheap and coloured PC speakers masked it quite well as did my budget IEM’s. The HTF600’s have lifted a huge veil off my music and opened things right up exposing the poor quality of some of my 192kbs and revealing the audio goodness of Flacs. There’s a great sense of space in these and the presentation does a decent job placing things around you. It’s not pin point accurate but you get the idea. The midrange presents vocals nicely towards the front; they never get lost behind anything or feel recessed. The lack of extra sparkle comes with a bonus so to speak, making these so easy to listen too for extended periods of time with any fatigue.
Oh isolation....... where are you? I sit next to the server room at work and will be switching back to iems (now to find better iems). Isolation is really low and I catch myself far too often turning up the volume to levels that are not too good for most. However the Panny’s will be moved to home stepping in as my new PC gamers and computer music listening cans.
I’ll mention I gave up on trying to EQ these. I really have fallen in love with what they do flat, never truly excelling in any one area, basically just doing everything very well in a fun, pleasant and detailed manner.
What it boils down to is I can listen to everything from classical to rap and never feel like I’m really missing out on anything. I get a thoroughly fun and almost hi-fi sense of listening to music on a limited budget. So to the Beats crowd out there save yourself a few hundred dollars and just get these or to anyone else who wants good, fun quality sound for next to nothing go buy now.