Pros: Clarity, listenability, smoothness, soundstage
Been looking for some new closed headphones, with only three
at the moment and for some time in fact. Good ones, though:
Sony MDR Z1000, Sony MDR 7520, and Senn Amperiors,
Sometimes you just need closed headphones.
The hot closed headphone right now, already a FOTM,
is the Focal Spirit Pro.
I set out to buy a pair, they were out of stock all over.
So I'm reading reviews, looking at Amazon and elsewhere,
and I see these Yamaha's. Some memories click in:
overpriced and way too much bass. Yeah, they were
$500. Were...I see the price is $259.
Hmmm...what's around for $259 closed headphones,
I wonder. NAD HP50 - I had them, sold them.
The SQ bugged me somehow. BQ not the best.
Not interested in buying them again.
KEF 500, Beyer T51p, Senn Momentum (both versions)
V Moda's offerings including the new XS, Senn HD25 Aluminium,
B&W P5, Sony MDR 1R, Pioneer 2000, (I was casting my net
wide, so to speak) - on sale for $210, look interesting -
maybe a couple of others.
For several reasons I rejected all the above: either owned
them already, reviews left me wanting - several reasons.
I note that the reviews on the Yamaha's are all over the place!
Some complain about the bass ( saying there's too much),
some say they're superb(!), one review even said the bass
was too shy.
I noted that Steve Guttenberg liked them a lot - and didn't have
any issues with the bass whatsoever.
Everyone was impressed with the build quality (BQ).
So I bit. They arrived today.
My first impressions, no burn in:
These are excellent sounding closed headphones.
Superior to the Senn Momentums, Senn Amperiors,
Sony MDR 1R's - and very different from the NAD HP50's.
I'm not yet ready to call that one.
The bass was substantially less present than on the MDR 1R's,
and it does not bleed into the midrange at all. It stays on the
Mids and highs are very detailed, no harshness - highly
listenable. Soundstage is very good, I've not heard substantially
better from any closed headphones.
The comfort is reasonable: it takes some adjusting to get the
fit right. But then they do fit, and do stay in place. (While
sitting or moving about inside - these are not portables).
The build quality is superb, and though aesthetics are of course
highly subjective, IMO they are great looking headphones. Part
of that great look is the obvious attention to quality and detail.
Actually, I was shocked (pleasantly) at the bass - wondering
if Yamaha changed the tuning after the initial reviews? - because
these are not bass monsters by any means. The bass is even
less than on the highly regarded Sony MDR 7520's.
The Pro 500's have a dynamic and forceful sound that's
exciting, detailed, and smooth all at the same time.
I rate them at 4.5 stars, but it's subject to editing
as I continue to listen. But I wouldn't have written
this had I not been pretty certain of my conclusions.