"A must-own for all audiophiles and a must-avoid for everyone else."

A Review On: Somic HD MH463 Open-air Dynamic Pro Headphones (Black)

Somic HD MH463 Open-air Dynamic Pro Headphones (Black)

Rated # 100 in Over-Ear
See all 5 reviews
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $50.00
CashNotCredit
Posted · 6131 Views · 2 Comments

Pros: Sound quality in general (especially high mids and soundstage). Sonically comparable to headphones four times its price. Costs less than a night out.

Cons: Bass gets boomy. Atrocious pads. Arrived dirty, despite buying new. Questionable build quality. No detachable cable, case, or other accessories.

 

First impressions of these bad boys (coming unamped from a Motorola Xoom, because I spent the week at my dad's, while my audio equipment spent the week at my mom's) were not good. The bass was boomy, the highs were non-existent, and the mids existed in a state of recession that could put 2010 USA to shame. The only thing that made them comparable to Sennheiser was a comically overstated veil. Despite this, I kept listening to them, finding these qualities to become less and less apparent over time. Yesterday, I tried them out again, and to my surprise, they finally started sounding like the HD600 competitors Head-Fi has been touting them as. Perhaps spending 6 hours outside in the Michigan cold while I was in school impacted their sound quality.

 

The MH463, after burn-in (literally) sounds wonderful. Highs are present, but not "sparkly"/obtrusive. Lower mids (especially male vocals) are a bit recessed, but they do an excellent job at bringing female vocalists to the forefront. Soundstage is wide, obviously, with this being an open-backed headphone, but not to the point of sounding "gimmicky". Bass packs a definite punch, but can get a little sloppy on tracks with a lot of low bass (that "boom, boom, boom" crap). As the bass is this headphone's major problem area, it goes without saying that the MH463 perform best with acoustic, classical, rock, and other genres that don't involve subbass.

Only one small problem. Although the Somics sound excellent...that's about all they do right. The build is creaky and rigid feeling (I feel like these things are going to snap in half every time I use the extenders). It is very obvious that Somic spent their money on R&D and drivers, leaving accessories (no case or spare pads) and features (don't expect a detachable cable here) to their more costly competitors. They also shipped a bit...dirty, with residue and other white/grey "gunk" all over the housing. Gross. This isn't necessarily something to complain about, however, as making these cut-backs allows Somic to offer $150+ dollar sound at a $50 price point. Unfortunately, due to this mindset, the Somic MH463 falls victim to having the worst pads ever. Seriously. I can't wear these things for more than 20 minutes without my ears bursting into flames. They also rest awkwardly on the ear, making my ear tips and lobes very uncomfortable. 

Fortunately, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 has some of the best pads ever, and they just so happen to fit the Somic MH463. I just worked this one out, so I can't give a 100% review of the sound, but it seems to circumvent the bass issues with this headphone quite a bit. 

This is one of the best "sound quality for buck" headphones out there. Just understand that when you purchase these that sound quality is all that you are getting. As we are audiophiles, this shouldn't be much of an issue. Unfortunately, I don't see this headphone serving the needs of people who have other needs. At the end of the day, this is a $200 headphone in a $50 package, but it's still very obvious that it comes in a $50 package.

SOUND QUALITY: 

BASS: Loud, boomy, and kind of obnoxious in bass-heavy genres without M50 pads, but is punchy and articulate in more "natural" ones.
LOW-MIDS: Slightly recessed and distant, but still hefty and with a good amount of "body" to them.
HIGH-MIDS: Exceptional. From 350-700 Hz, the MH463 is unstoppable. Airy, a bit sparkly, and right at the forefront, which is exactly where they should be. The high-mids truly set this headphone apart from everything else I have heard. 
TREBLE: It's here, it exists, it does its job, and it leaves. Not harsh or grating, nor recessed and hollow, the MH463s treble gets done what it needs to get done. You'll know when a vocalist breathes or a drummer hits a hi-hat, but it's not painfully obvious unless the track calls for it.
SOUNDSTAGE: Wide, inviting, definitely not intimate. Things that are hard panned sound like they're coming from about 95-100 degrees left or right (slightly over your shoulder). Everything fills in quite nicely.

 

BUILD/FEATURES:

DURABILITY: Not great, it appears. This headphone employs a similar strain relief to the M50...and seeing how my M50's strain relief broke, this is definitely vulnerable. Don't move your head back and forth too much while listening, because the MH463s creak like there's no tomorrow. Also, the extenders are very rigid and tight, sort of like the JVC HA-S400. Perhaps they just need to be broken in. 
COMFORT: Without the M50 pads, the MH463 is unbearable for more than 30 minutes to an hour. However, they do have a well-cushioned headband, so once the M50 pads are on, they are an absolute breeze to wear for long periods.
APPEARANCE: They look...decent, I guess. Save for the residue, they appear pretty plain and standard.
ACCESSORIES: Hope you like 1/4 inch adapters, because that is all you're getting.


Overall, this is a must-own for all audiophiles and a must-avoid for everyone else. If you can get past some build quality and comfort issues (I cannot stress getting the M50 pads enough), then you will be treated to one of the best sounding headphones you can purchase for under $200, let alone $50.

 

EDIT: Turtle Beach X12/X32 pads are much more comfortable than the M50 ones. They can be had from Turtle Beach's website for about $13 shipped to the US.

2 Comments:

What's so awful about the stock pads?
They retain heat like you wouldn't believe, and they rest awkwardly on my ears (could be the pads, could be me. I'll blame myself.) This is an awesome headphone, don't get me wrong, but the heat retention on these things makes them impossible to listen to for more than an hour, max (which is where the M50 pads come in handy).