Pros: Comfortable, sturdy materials, sounds great
Cons: Non-removable cable, not for those with large heads
Hello everyone, I've been asked by a user to review the Takstar HI2050 so here we go. I'm just your average guy making his way through college with a passing interest in audio fidelity. I'm NOT an audiophile, but I've got a little experience with some of the lower end stuff as well as some mid-fi offerings such as the venerated Sennheiser HD600 and the much newer Philips Fidelio X1.
The Good Stuff...From China?
The Takstar HI2050 is a budget open headphone offering from Chinese company Takstar. I got it for about $50 from Amazon, but it's known to be lower from places like AliExpress. I swear, headphones like these go after the law of diminishing returns with a VENGEANCE.
I consider myself to be overall pretty bad at describing what I hear so take what I write with a grain of salt. And keep in mind that everyone hears differently; it's not a bad thing, just different.
For a $50 headphone from a Chinese company, these have remarkably nice packaging. Think Sennheiser HD800 presentation, but with super-cheap Chinese materials instead. The plastic headphone-shaped tray is covered by cloth ruffled in a way that reminds me of the inside of an HD800 box. Solid (enough) cardboard holds it all together. It comes with the user manual, 3.5mm->6.3mm adapter and an extension cable. The attached cable is already 6-7 feet long, but you know, just in case for all the people that need their headphones to have a 10+ feet cable.
If you're at all familiar with big names in the headphone industry, you'll know Beyerdynamic. And you'll note that these have a very similar style, from the arms holding the cups to the fabric earpads and their color. These headphones are very well-built for $50 and sometimes indicate the development money was spent on physical design rather than sound tuning. But that's not the case here, a little more on it later. The headband padding is sufficient and very soft (maybe pleather?). The arms are aluminum and are very solid. The cups are a mix of silver and black plastic with metal mesh grill covers and a label plate with "TAKSTAR" written on it. The cups are oval-shaped unlike Beyerdynamic headphones, which are circular. I prefer this as my ears (and probably everyone else's ears) aren't circular. The headphones are very comfortable and they're deep enough and large enough to not touch my ears. I don't think the pads are velour, but they're a comfortable fabric. Clamp is just right for me, not too tight, but enough to not be loose around my head. One caveat is that if you have a larger than average head, these might not be the headphone for you as I had to fully extend the arms for a comfortable fit. The cable is non-detachable and pretty long, maybe around 6 feet or so. Then they also supply an extension cable to make it even longer. It terminates in a standard 3.5mm plug but comes with an adapter if you need to plug into a 1/4" jack. The cable is pretty thick and seems durable.
Overall I consider these headphones to sound fantastic. Not quite to my liking in terms of the sound signature, but it's of good quality. Treble is clear, detailed, and emphasized, mids and vocals sound good, but are easily less present than things like the snares and cymbals. Bass response is very smooth and of ample quantity, though not emphasized or overbearing. I'd say that it's not super detailed or textured, but it's not boomy and it's clean enough in presentation. Instrument separation is alright and the soundstage is of average size.
Quick comparison: Superlux HD668B
These two headphones are of similar price and both are great bang for your buck. But which one do I like more? I'd say that my vote goes to the Takstars. On the merit of build quality, the Takstars easily take it. The HD668B feels very flimsy in comparison. It's super lightweight with it's wireframe design, but it's made of plastic. While that's great for flexibility, I feel like it could be easily crushed, though for me, it's withstood everyday handling just fine. The Takstars, on the other hand, use aluminum arms and a very flexible headband; it just feels more solid. The one-up the Superlux has on the Takstar is that they have a removable cable whereas the HI2050's cable isn't removable (and at 6-7 feet long, too long for my use). The Takstars also win for me on comfort. While neither headphone clamps too hard, the circular shape of the cups on the HD668B meant the bottom rested on my ear lobe enough of the time, while I have no such issues with the Takstars. Also, the standard pads on the HD668B can get hot very quickly, being made out of pleather or vinyl or something like that. I dealt with that problem immediately by swapping for velour pads. The HI2050 has fabric pads standard so no swapping necessary for a comfortable fit. As for the sound quality, I think the Takstars are a little more resolving overall. Not only that, but they have a warmer and more desirable bass presence. That's not to say they have a warm sound signature,, but they are warm compared to the Superlux. The HD668B feels colder, more analytical. It's detailed and tight, but those are also the qualities that make it sound a little cold and less fun. My recommendation between these 2 headphones varies based on a few factors. If you want lightweight as possible, the Superlux feels a little lighter, though I wouldn't say by a lot. If you want something with a sturdy build, I'd easily recommend the Takstar over the Superlux. If you like a thinner and more analytical sound, pick up the HD668B, otherwise go for the HI2050.
If you'd like to see what I thought of the Superlux HD668B, check out my review video here: Superlux HD668B Review
These headphones have no right to be as good as they are at $50. They're well-built, they sound very good and they're quite comfortable. For me, they tend to be fatiguing after long periods of time due to the emphasized treble energy, but for those who like it, they're very good for the money. Being open headphones (I'd actually call them semi-open since the mesh style actually blocks quite a lot), the HI2050s leak sound in and out. It leaks less than some headphones, but it leaks nevertheless so it's not great for portable use (especially with the massively long cable). If you're looking for something to appease the inner audiophile, but can't sell 2 organs and an arm to buy some of the more expensive offerings, the Takstar HI2050 is a very solid choice at a surprisingly wallet-friendly price.