Pros: Balanced sound, firm bassrespons, clear mids & highs, soundsig like my previous DT770 pro 80, loud with mobile devices.
Cons: Inner padding presses against my ears, stiff cord with dual entry, half open which leaks a lot of sound.
So I bought myself the Somic MH489 because I stumbled upon it on this site... I liked the idea of the Sony XB500 but don 't like the Sony sound, so I took a dive with this one. You mainly find this one on Ali express for prices between $70 and $200 (no joke !) but I found one for $57 shipped to Belgium. What the heck, I just did it.
It arrived after close to one month and it was packed in plastic (every package I get from China is packed in plastic), took the plastic off and the box was covered with cardboard. But the box that held the Somic looked like it had travelled have across the world and it did ! But anyway, it's all about the content, is it not ?
Allthough the box was not in great shape, the headphone itself was in perfect shape. The box has a sleeve which covers a box with see through lid, underneath is the Somic. It's in a plastic holder, felt really cheap. But the HP was nicely seated in the holder. While I took it out, the cord sat in a small compartement, rolled up. I noticed the cord was sturdy, allmost stiff. It is a thick cord, so maybe that has something to do with the stiffness. There are no accessories in the box, no 6,3 mm adapter even. But they did put a plastic bag in it with the Somic logo on it. And a Chinese paper sheet with waranty explanation (I guess).
At first it felt firm, but after a closer look I noticed some cheap solutions. The headband is a springsteel part covered with rubber and padded with a red fake leather headrest. The cups are entirely made of plastic with very thin aluminium discs glued on them to get this 'look'. Then there are these huge earpads, big and soft. Feels okay and I got no idea how they will stand the test of time.
I like the way the cord is connected to the cups, this way there is no stress on the connections when I put the Somic in my headphone pouch. The adjustment system seems well made and doesn't feel filmsy. Overall look is solid.
The earpads seem to be non-removeable and it has inner pads too, but more on this later.
Here is were it's most negative feature can be found. The headband is quite firm and squeezes the headphone tightly to your head, but the big trouble is that the inner pads press to your ears and after half an hour my ears start to feel sore. It's like this: the Somic MH489 looks as if it has been copied from the Sony XB500/700 but it's only the look that have been copied. The outher pads are so soft that they squeeze together untill the inner pads sit on your ears, acually making it a on-ear headphone with extra over-ear pads. I don't like it. But seems there is nothing that can be done about it. There's no way to put cotton balls underneath the earpads cause you can't lift them.
So now we've made it to the section that matters. How does this Chinese bass-heavy HP sound ? Well, acually better than expected. First time I 'd put it on I was not impressed. Sounded a bit dull and the bass sounded heavy around the 80 hz to 100 hz area, which I don 't like. But then I started going through some very different tracks and it started lo come lo life. First thing that gets your attention is, of cause, the firm bass. It's deep and pronounced, but never too much. More like adding a decent subwoofer to your home-hifi set.
Some tracks I singled out: The national - Blood buzz Ohio: this is soft easy music with a baritone singer. His voice sounded so on top of the music, just like intended in the production. This was the song where I felt the sound was a bit dull.
Then I switched to Tool - Vicarious. Tool has an owsome bassplayer and the prominent basslines are simply perfect sounding with this Somic MH489. But mids and highs are not recessed and that was about the biggest surprise for me ! Vocals are clear and present, cymbals are clearly notiable while treble is never harsh.
Next I went a bit more exteme with Messuggah 's latest album. Messuggah is a extreme progressive metalband who play very low-tuned music. Never before have I heard a headphone which reproduced their music to deep and thight as this Somic. While it never represses the mids and highs.
To hear what the headphone is capeable of, I then listened to some electronic music, Nero - Promises and Skrillex - Year of the equinox an Bangerang... WTH !! The bass vibrated on my head ! I heard things happening in the lower bass parts which I'd never heard before. Very well controled bass, I have to add. This type of music is what this headphone is made for ! But, yet again, without recessing the mids and highs.
At this point I allready loved the sound of this headphone. And I started to realise that it's sound signature was very similar to the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro I'd owned. Similar but better ! Again no joke. Where the Beyer has recessed mids, the Somic has not. Where the Beyer has uncontrolled bass, the Somic has thight, firm bass. The Somic sounds better overall ! Only thing the Beyer shines in is comfort. Untill now nothing came even close. I started listening to all kinds of music on the Somic, and finally went to the tracks of my own band (I'm the bassplayer and I've done the mixing myself) which I know inside and out. I was impressed by what I heard. This cheap Chinese headphone sounded like a reference HP to me. Like a decent pair of studio monitors with an additional subwoofer.
I believe Somic did an unique trick to make this happen. I believe the MH489 is an on-ear headphone with extra over-ear pads. The on-ear part gives you the clear mids and highs while the over-ear pads provide the deep and firm bass respons. So with this in mind I think it will not sound as good if the inner pads would not sit on my ears. I think it's meant to be this way.
Very fun headphone and my favorite this moment. It may not be my choice to produce music, I've got an AKG K271 for that, but it most certainly is the most fun headphone to listen to music with. Only negative is the comfort issue, but it seems to be getting better as I get used to it. Earpads are not too sweaty, depends on the weather though. The 41 ohm impedance and short cord with L-shaped plug make it perfect for usage with portable gear and my Macbook. So I'm happy with it and can tell you that it won 't dissapoint you.