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Pioneer HDJ-500K DJ Headphones (Black)

75% Positive Reviews
Rated #212 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Fairly good looking

Cons: Muffled mid-highs, high price tag for sound quality

I was rather disappointed when these arrived today, as a DJ who relies on mids and highs just as much as lows I wasn't very happy with the overall sound of these. I expected, for the price tag, a little more clarity. Instead I feel I ended up paying an extra £40 just to have the brand tattooed across the top of, what are, quite attractive headphones. My studio headphones are ATH-M50's and for DJing I had previously been using a useless pair of £15 Sony's from Argos...the jump to the HDJ500's was felt marginally in the build quality and weight and less in the sound quality - I am being rather blunt and harsh, I understand, but I honestly feel like I've been taken for a bit of a mug, by being suckered in by the name "pioneer" and a price tag that one would think would be of reasonable sound quality.

I am not someone who feels loyalty , and try to judge each product in its own right without any bias towards the marketing and brand and am more than willing to admit when I've made a wrong purchase.

In this case I think I have made a wrong choice, and am returning them whilst I look for something more suitable.

 

I'm sure there are those out there who are more than fine with the sound quality, though I have noticed that quite a few of the others have alluded to the muffled mid-highs, but for me the mid-highs are just as, if not more important for beat matching - (I should add I am a dance music DJ, Trance/Hardcore/DnB etc) for me I seem to use the highs to beatmatch more than the lows and I shouldn't have to be adjusting the main EQ on the fader channels (which of course will effect anything coming of the master...to the crowd) in order to compensate for what these headphones lack.

 

Annoyed at myself that I wasn't able to get to anywhere to sit down and compare these (not living in a city has this disadvantage) to other headphones. If there is anything I have learnt here, it is the importance of testing a product before blindly buying.

 

I honestly feel I could have gotten the same quality out of another set, and payed a good £40+ less.

Posted

Pros: Plenty of tight punchy bass, great looks, detachable cables, very affordable, comfortable, right cup swivels, wide soundstage.

Cons: Plasticky and squeaky, recessed and grainy mids, loose cable lock, not collapsible.

GREAT BASS ON A BUDGET

Pioneer HDJ-500 review

 

(NOTE: this is a review of the HDJ-500, not the HDJ-500K. The difference is that the K model has a smartphone compatible 1 m cable to receive calls).

Bass-head headphones are the most prominent models in the market today but unfortunately, as most of us know, a number of this bassy headphones while offering plenty of low end thump, the bass is simply bloated and not good. For a couple of months I've seen lots (and by lots I mean at least 90) of people wearing the cheapest headphone in Pioneer's current DJ headphone line, the HDJ-500; many of these might as well be fakes, but I still wondered about their popularity. After a few months I went headphone hunting (I'm sick, I know) and in a few audio and department stores that have Pioneer headphones on sale asked the employees about the HDJ-500 since they were gone; two of them told me they were best sellers and that they tend to sell-out shortly after receiving them...so to my surprise many of the HDJ-500s I've been looking around might actually be genuine. So two weeks ago I finally got a pair (in white as I didn't have any white headphones) and I'm glad headphones like this are popular. Keep reading to learn more.

 

DESIGN

 

The HDJ-500 don't look like the rest of the HDJ line, not only design-wise, but because the construction materials don't have the same quality feel of the 2000, 1500, or even 1000. 

First off, their design is very stylish. They really look amazing and the style is bolder than that of the boring 1000 and 1500 and that the sober and elegant 2000. They have chrome or colored accents in both the headband and the cups. They might seem a bit too much but I think they look great in the white version. There are other versions with black bodies and red, yellow, and purple accents. Unfortunately they feel very very plasticky and flimsy which can be easily seen and heard when grabbed with one hand, even when they look more expensive than they really are.

 

 

 

 

The right ear cup can swivel to both sides and makes a substantially enough sound to know it locked in place. The HDJ-500 are, in my opinion, the most comfortable model of the HDJ line for one-ear monitoring. The right ear cup rests comfortably on either side of my head and the headphones still feel secure. They have plenty of padding on both the ear cups and the headband and although the removable ear cushions are somewhat hard out of the box they become quite soft after a few hours of listening. They are comfortable to wear for long periods of time and don't get too steamy even on warm weather and that's something great for closed on-ears. Although they are cushy, you won't be mistaking these for memory foam filled cushions. An issue I've encountered with the cushions and I think it applies only to the white model is the fact that they get stained very easily and are hard to clean. Another issue I've found is the squeaky noise the right ear cup makes when handled in certain angles; it really drives me crazy but at least it doesn't squeak when worn. 
 
The HDJ-500 come with two cables, a 1 m straight one and a 3 m coiled cable with one side being a 2.5 mm plug (for the ear cup) and the other one being a 3.5 mm plug compatible with the screw-on 6.3 adaptor. They are texturized and thick enough and both have a locking design but the lock doesn't feel secure enough in my opinion. Both cables have a very thick 3.5 mm plug which bothers me a lot when using it with a portable; they could have used it in the coiled cable only. 
 

 

There's a lot to say about portability and not because of its abundance but because of the lack of it. As you can see in the next image, they are quite big. The cups are almost the same size of the UE 6000's which is an over-ear full-size model. This can be explained because of the relatively big 40 mm drivers. The cup is pretty deep as well and there's a somewhat long gap between the ear and the driver created by the cushions. All of these characteristics might explain the comfort and sound, but they affect the size a lot. Then it comes the fact that they don't fold in any way; not even flat. The UE 6000 they are compared with in the picture do fold while being larger. The UE 4000 for example are another pair of cheap on-ears that don't fold flat, but that have a substantially smaller footprint than that of the HDJ-500 and come with a carrying pouch (the HDJ-500 don't). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUND
 
At the very beginning of the review I mentioned I was glad these became so popular and it is not only because of their looks but because people are actually using basshead headphones with a decent overall sound. Let me explain: while these do have an accentuated bass response, the other frequencies don't suffer so much because of it and the bass is pretty good for the sub-100 pricetag. A thing to note is that their sound changes a lot with burn-in. 
 
The highs are nothing to write home about; they are just a little bit accentuated over the mids. If something they can get a little sibilant with very high frequencies. Still they are very clear and are not grainy. You could say they are the norm if not a little bit better for closed on ears in the same price range. The sibilance decreases considerably after burn-in but they remain clear and sparkly.
 
The mids are not so good news out of the box. The HDJ-500 have a U shape frequency response with emphasis on the lows and it shows in the recessed mids. But don't phase these out yet! They are recessed, but crisp nevertheless, never consumed by the lows or highs, and  frequency separation is great as well. Although they are crisp they are very very grainy, but fortunately this graininess tends to disappear with burn-in and now that they settled in they are just a little bit grainy, but can still be easily noticed. 
 
The lows is where they shine. The bass is boosted, but it is surprisingly tight! They sound great with songs with a solid beat to them since the bass is full bodied and has great impact. Lots of headphones manage to "hit" you with their bass, but only a few can do it for this low of a price. There's something remarkable about the bass: it doesn't bleed into the mids. 
 
The overall sound signature is that of a "fun" headphone with great bass more fit for electronic and certain rock sub genres than for ballads or vocals-heavy music. Still they would make a decent job if you happen to listen to other kinds of music because their only real fault is the grain in the mids. The soundstage is actually pretty wide for closed headphones and I think the huge gap between the ear and the driver is the main culprit, as well as the dept of the cup. Imaging is just ok; you won't feel like you're in an actual concert under no circumstance. The isolation is pretty good as the earcups themselves don't transfer sound through the plastic so it all depends on the cushions which are not memory foam filled and that results in some minor leakage. It isn't a problem during commuting but your 1D tracks will be heard by others on a quiet waiting room if you're too liberal with the volume. If you are in need for actual human interaction but still want to listen to your tunes, you could always swivel the right ear cup and they will stay on your head securely. 
 
CONCLUSIONS
 
The HDJ line of headphones is remarkable for various things Pioneer did to get the right spots for each model's price range and target market, and I think this was a success. For $100 you get a pair that offers great and fun bass with minimal compromises to the other frequencies (for the price range) that looks stylish at that. I really don't think Pioneer was targeting actual DJs with these because of their build quality but based only on their sound, included accessories, and an ear cup that swivels I dare to say these could pass as a decent DJ headphone in a pinch. For the rest, I think they are a great second or third pair to go out to the streets listening to upbeat music while looking great and not worrying that much about your investment; at least that is how I'll be using them. 

Posted

Pros: Great for electronic music, for amateur mixing, affordable price, closed build, suitable for street use as well, highly sophisticated visual design

Cons: The cable lock could be tighter

My first and only high quality headphones. I use it at home for listening to music, home mixing, gaming and watching movies, but I use it with my iPod as well in the street, at public transport, etc. I wanted something at a reasonable price, suitable for home listening and mixing (mainly goa trance, chillout, trip hop). Closed build was also an important issue, since I hate people on public transport forcing me to listen to the sounds of their ****ty music, just don't want to become one of them, not to speak of how great it is to insulate external sounds while travelling for example . The spiral chord is really handy, I haven't had any problems with it, the jack lock could be a little tighter though, occasionally I unlock it accidentaly (you have to turn it 90 degrees, happens like once in two month :-), but it's not a serious issue. I had the best experience while listening to the genres mentioned above, but sometimes i use it for rock, metal or punk and they sound quite good as well. Haven't had any technical problems so far (in one year). The visual design is just the icing on the cake. Pure elegance and modern look combined.

Posted

Pros: Durability, looks, bass response

Cons: Muffled mids and highs(depends on eq), white one will stain.

After having these DJ headphones for about a month, I can see I'm fairly impressed despite the fragile appearance and the frequency response graph. UnEQ'd, mids and trebles will be slightly veiled(take it with a grain of salt) due to the bassy sound signature of these headphones; they are for DJ's after all, not studio use. The response is far better than when they were out of the box though.

Rock: These are...Well, I'd say neutral on speed (they don't attack, nor do they lag too much when listening to rock). You will get a blast listening to drum lines though.

Electronic/Anything focusing on bass: The response is tight and controlled; you can easily feel the vibration from truly low bass lines (and hear them too thanks to the wide frequency response range, 5Hz-27kHz). The bass doesn't feel overpowering either, mids and trebles will come through with startling clarity.

Comfort: These feel more like on-ear supra-aural headphones rather than circum-aural. This is due to the pad design, your ear still rests mostly on the earpad portion of the earcup, not really touching the grille of the drivers, which is covered by a piece of cloth anyways. You'll also notice they're fairly light, you'll scarcely feel the headband pressing down once you have a comfortable fit. They will clamp a fair amount, so a few hours of wear is the maximum for me.

Durability: I've only had them for a month but they are in fairly good nick. In black, many blemishes won't show up. Most of the headband and the plastic isn't very plasticky actually, it has this ergonomic soft-grip material feel to it, similar to the backs of certain smartphones for grip. I've ended up tossing these into a cramped sports bag which was already holding a tablet computer and a notebook. They came out in once piece, so they're fairly tough at this point. We'll see how school treats these cans soon. If they do break though, I'll report back.

Looks: I don't really need to get into this. They look quite nice, and draws a fair bit of sometimes unwanted attention. It's a more contemporary approach to styling, sharper and angled.

 

Other thoughts: They are sibilant, since they aren't exactly studio material. I'd recommend these headphones to any basshead if you can find them cheap though, they'll easily please trendsters and people who like rap. Just make sure whatever you're listening to doesn't have single frequency bass though, or else it will sound very disappointing. They have a tendency to be picky about your source though: speedy thing goes in, speedy thing goes out garbage in, garbage out. No dropping turrets through portals please. Otherwise, I question if I should have bought V-MODA crossfades or some Ultrasone HFi 580's instead. But that's something I'll find out another day.

 

I will comment, after several months(half a year, in fact), that these headphones are still in one piece. The rotating mechanism has loosened slightly but it's nothing a bit of stiff glue or gaffa tape can't fix. Never was a fan of the rotating part either. But despite the Pioneer logo having worn mostly off, I can say they look quite appealing. I'd venture to say that the Pioneer logo on top looks better in black. They sound much darker than they did out of the box, but songs like K-ON!'s Cagayake! will make even these sound bright. Don't believe me? Try it yourself. Overall, I'll bump up the rating.

Pioneer HDJ-500K DJ Headphones (Black)
Description:

The HDJ-500 DJ headphones are designed for a flexible DJ lifestyle by adapting to both DJing at home, in the club or auditioning your dance music on the go. Using technology from headphones further up the range as well as new innovations, the HDJ-500 makes monitoring the tempo of dance music more accurate than before.

Details:
DetailValue
BrandPioneer
EAN0884938117777
Feature3m cord for DJ use & 1m interchangeable short cord included for listening on the go
Weight1.25 pounds
LabelPioneer Electronics
ManufacturerPioneer Electronics
ModelHDJ 500-K
MPNHDJ-500K
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameCONSUMER_ELECTRONICS
PublisherPioneer Electronics
StudioPioneer Electronics
TitlePioneer HDJ-500K DJ Headphones (Black)
UPC884938117777
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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