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Official JVC HA-RX700 Owner's/Appreciation Thread-Only Unmodded Observations, Please!!!

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
I know...I know...the JVC HA-RX700's have been done death in other threads, but I wanted to start this one with a fresh perspective of observations to unmodded-unaltered headphones. Also would like to find out specificly your listening observations through which equipment is being used; the music that is used as a reference and the headphones that are used as a reference for comparison and perceived attributes and nonattributes.

Equipment and Music Used as Reference

Equipment: Acoustic Research Model AP-075 Line Conditioner and Lightning Spike Protector->Toshiba SD-3960 DVD player (used as CD transport)->Acoustic Research Pro II Interconnects->Rega EAR Headphone Amplifier

Music: The Stranglers-"Dreamtime" CD Songs:"Dreamtime", "Mayan Skies", "Too Precious", and "Always the Sun" Kate Bush-"Hounds of Love" CD Songs: "Hounds of Love" and "The Big Sky" Peter Gabriel-"Hit" CD Songs: "Shock the Monkey", "Games Without Frontiers", "San Jacinto" and "The Rhythm of the Heat" This music is mainly chosen due to the knowledge and enjoyment factor, I have listened to these pieces of music 100's of times and I am intimately familiar with them all. Also they give a good indication of bass response, male and female voice, synthesizers of all kinds, cymbals, electric bass and guitar both acoustic and electric, wide and intimate soundstages and brass instruments such as trumpet.

Headphones: The headphones that I have that the JVC will be compared to are the Beyerdynamic vintage DT990 600 ohm (circa 1988), the Sennheiser HD 485 32 ohm and the Denon AH-D1001K 32 ohm. I do have other headphones but these are the models I have been listening to lately and compared to the JVC. The description of spec's for the JVC HA-RX700 model from JVC's on-line site: "JVC HA-RX700 full-size headphones with 50mm Neodymiun driver unit and ring port structue, Nominal Impedance 48 ohms, Frequency Response 8-25000Hz, Sensitivity 105db/mv, Maximum Input Capability 1500 mw, (IEC), Weight(w/o cord) 11.64 oz.

General Impressions of My Playback System

The source and amplification I have in my sytem to be very much on the sterile and clinical side of neutral-almost a typical early SS sound but smoother, so a very bright sounding headpohone is not a very good match. But a darker or closer to what you may deem a neutral headphone set of headphones work very well. As an example: my system actually seems to strip a veil or two off the infamous "Sennheiser Veil" as it does in my HD485. What I'm really trying to get at is that if there are any stringent or harsh tendencies in the CD source of headphone it weill show up very well in the system, I believe that you have to take a headphone reviews with "a grain of salt', because I believe it is all about synergy of all the pieces in a headphone system.

General Impressions before listening to the JVC HA-RX700's

Did I really need another set of headphones-the answer was "no", but after reading several "Threads" in "Head-Fi" over the last three months I was very curious about them to say the least. I had just purchased headphones in February which were th Denon AH-D1001's because I needed a closed set of cans so I would not disturb my wife with late night listening in bed and I do not in anyway regret that purchase. But I just couldn't pass up a deal from Newegg.com to purchase the JVC's for under $34 shipping included. The first impression I got when I received mine by UPS was the size of the headphones themselves, they are larger in some dimensions than my Beyer's and my Sennheiser's which are both fairly large cans. They are very comfortable on my head, this includes the headband and the earpads that go all around my ears. They seem to be well constructed with a certain level of quality that you would not expect in a $34 headphone. I plugged in the JVC's for a music "burn-in" and listened to them for about 10 minutes after 8 hours, just for taste of what was to come. All other critical listening on the JVC's were taken after approximately 60+ of "burn-in".

The Good

The first general impressions of the JVC's are that they a warm sounding headphone but very smooth and balanced throughout most of the frequency ranges but a little dark souding to the side of neutral-which is not really a bad thing in my sytem. Of all my headphones I believe they render male voices the best-they sound very natural and maybe a little upfront. They also render acoustic and electronic piano the best of my headphones especially the lower registers. They are also the best with bass and acoustic guitar, they really seem to flesh these out instruments very well. The sound stage is just about perfect-about on par with my Sennheiser's, I believe my Beyer's are a little bit too artificially expansive and my Denon's soundstage a a little bit to small. Also in the soudstage the localization of instruments is very good-you can pick individual instruments out in space very well. As in one of my songs from "The Stranglers" -"Too Precious" there is an istrumental piece about 3/4 the way through they song with several synthesizers and drum sets-there is on section where there is a kick-drum comes into the song at the far lefthand side of the stage about the 11 O'Clock position (strange place for a kick-drum) and the JVC's render this in the soundstage correctly and with great authority.

The Bad

I must say that the JVC's don't reproduce any frequency range badly it's just my Beyer's, Denon's and even the Sennheiser's do some some frquency very well. The bass on the JVC's seem to gradually roll-off from 40hz down and an overemphasis of the frequency range in the bass between 80hz-120hz, this reminds me of British and New England manufactures of certain small loudspeaker monitors from the 1960's and 1970's to give the illusion of deep bass but really wasn't. So the bass is both detractive and additive which contributes to its warm overall sound. The bass on the JVC's are not as distractive as my Sennheiser's which seem to have an equalizer turned up 1 or 2 db from 120hz down which can be annoying on some music. If someone is looking for an open style "basshead" headphone for under $100 I would not hesitate to recommend the Sennheiser HD485. Now we come to the worst aspects of the review; the JVC's seem to impart a certain chestiness to the female voice which make them seem unnatural. Also from the midrange all through the extreme highs there seems to be a fairly heavy veil that effects quite a few instruments including electric guitar, trumpet, cymbals, flute and the upper registers of electronic synthesizers just to name a few. The JVC's do not have the bite or sheen that my Beyer's and Denon's have from the midrange on up, and they do not shine as well as the Sennheiser's in the highs. So all-in-all the JVC's do not sound very neutral from I would say the upper midrange on up.

The Ugly

"A Notice to the Fashionista Police: Please Do Not Apply!!!" As mentioned in other threads you will look like a "Cyberman" from the "Dr. Who" television series. But if can get around the looks these cans are very comfortable. And the fit and finish are great for headphones costing around the $100 mark much less for $34.

More Impressions

If someone was just to read my "bad" impressions they may get the idea that I really do not care for the JVC's very much-but they would be incorrect. But as a matter of fact they are my third favorite haedphone that I am using right now. My Beyer's and Denon's are still ahead, mainly because they are closer the perceived neutrality of what I think headphones are suppose to sound like. But that being said the JVC's are "fun", they are never stringent or fatiguing. I never had to pull them off my head and say "boy I just can't listen to these any longer" as I have to do with some other headphones I own. They also have a warm forgiving tone which may be a "downer" for some people but not for me. I never got bored with the JVC's, they were always entertaining and on some songs my toes would just start tapping uncontrollably with the music and I would just enjoy the the music instead of trying to analyze what I was hearing.The next question would probably be is if you would recommend the JVC's to a friend and the answer is a definite "yes" and I have already. Are they the best closed (semi-open) headphones that a person can purchase in the U.S.A. at this time for under $50? FWIR and from what I know after my sessions I would have to say "yes". I hope to do some more critical listening again after about 100 hours "burn-in" time since FWIR the JVC's SQ may even be better.

Best to Worst Headphones in My System

1. Beyerdynamic DT990 600ohm vintage (circa 1988), Denon AH-D1001k 32
ohm, tie (I just can't choose between the two, one sounds better one
day and then the other sounds better)

2. JVC HA-RX700 64ohm

3. Sennheiser HD485 32ohm

4. Audio-Technica ATH-AD400 (I can only listen to these about an hour at
time)

5. Audio-Technica ATH-FC7 (as above)

6. Grado Labs SR-125 (vintage) (can only listen to these for about 30
minutes at a time)

7. Beyerdynamic DTX-900 (yuck!!! Worst price vs. performance headphones I
own, almost unlistenable)
post #2 of 93
Too bad I just gave away my RX700 to my cousin last week. Maybe we should have an RX700/RX900 and a DX1/DX3 appreciation thread...
post #3 of 93
*subscribes to RX700 fanclub*

Very nice writeup. I really think that you get a ridiculous amount of headphone for your money with these.

I want to stress that, at least to my ears, burn-in improves these headphones A LOT, especially the bass, which only begins to come through after about 50 hours and stops improving somewhere around 150.
post #4 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
*subscribes to RX700 fanclub*

Very nice writeup. I really think that you get a ridiculous amount of headphone for your money with these.

I want to stress that, at least to my ears, burn-in improves these headphones A LOT, especially the bass, which only begins to come through after about 50 hours and stops improving somewhere around 150.
I agree with this as well. The better qualities of both the RX700 and the RX900 don't become apparent until the 50 hour threshold.
post #5 of 93
Thread Starter 
Initial critical listening was done after about 60+ of musical "burn-in", so comments about a 50 hour "burn-in" time frame are a mute point. Like I stated in original post I will do some more critical listening hopefully after the 100+ "burn-in" mark. Happy Listening.
post #6 of 93
I can also vouch for burn-in being a necessity for the RX700's. Mine were awful for the first couple of dozen hours. The highs in particular made it very fatiguing to listen to. Luckily, they do improve a lot over time. I still haven't really burned it in more than maybe 100 hours because my computer is my main source and I'm waiting for Asus to send me a new motherboard.
post #7 of 93
As a relative noobie to the headphone world I've been on a phone buying rush for quite a while. Specifically all of the budget phones. Ksc75's, portapros, sportapros, px100s. The most expensive I've bought so far is the audio technica ad 500 and the akg k81dj. I also have the Tsc hdpro7 in which I feel is an underrated basshead can. I love these. My equipment is mainly the output of a Harmon Kardon stereo receiver and my computers creative live sound blaster card. These are very musical sounding phones. I do agree with the veil but I do a little equing for that. I listen mainly to metal and death metal with a little alternative on the side for good measure. These a are great for guitar and the aggression of metal. I've noticed they are very forward and aggressive sounding. They have a punch to them. Something else that was surprising was the soundstage. Didn't think a closed headphone was capable of that soundstage.
Any niggles? Yes. The ear pads tend to make my ears warm after a while so I have to air out ever so often. I also wish they have the high end sparkle of the ksc75's which are my other fave pair of headphones currently.(Can you tell I'm a budgetphone freak?) Other than that it's just nitpicking for the price they sell at. I'm no expert. Just my thoughts on this awesome phone.
post #8 of 93
I have 2 RX700s, one was old and already burned in for like 500 hours+, the other one was still in the box and never been burned-in yet. Comparing the two HPs, I can confidently say that burn-in do exist and it is very easy to tell the difference between the two. The burned-in one sounds better overall, except for the pads (the new one is still fluffy ).
post #9 of 93
Thread Starter 

"Observations 2.0"

These are the observations I promised after approimately 140+ "burn-in" hours on my JVC's. To start off with I have never had a headphone or loudspeaker that benefitted from more extensive "burn-in" time than the JVC 700's and I've had the audio reproduction bug for over 35 years. The prolonged "burn-in" did not reproduce a quantum leap but it did reproduce a big "step-up "in SQ. First of all the main attributes of this headphone are still the same with some very good SQ upgrades. In the bass the extension from 40hz down did seem to get better and also the overemphasis between 80-120hz is tamed down quite a bit-it is not gone but significantly tamed nonetheless. Also the music I referenced was the same but I also supplemented it with some acoustic music and that was with "Clannad" - "An Diolaim" CD. If anyone enjoys folk-rock music (more folk than rock). I can not recommend this CD highly enough. Also the chestiness in female voices has all but disappeared-female voice is very good now. There is no longer a heavy veil from the upper midrange on up-there is still a veil but it is quite a bit better. Brass and wind instruments are rendered quite a bit better, but cymbals and the like are still very subdued. The JVC's seem to picking up more of the microdynamics that can be in the background of many recordings. The JVC's still do not have the exact bite or sheen that my Beyer's and Denon's have in certain instruments such as trumpet and cymbals. And violins still sound more like a cello that a violin. One of the main attributes that the JVC's had before and was improved upon was acoustic guitar rendering, this was really put to the forefront in the "Clannad" CD - it sounds like the guitar is right in front of you about 8 ft. away-it has the correct tone, pitch, timbre, etc. I probably have not heard a better rendering of any musical instrument through an audio reproduction device in my entire life than through the JVC 700's reproduction of an acoustic guitar-it almost makes me weep. Also reproduction of some stringed instruments in the same vein also improved such as electric bass and acoustic bass. Is the pursuit of perfect musical reproduction of just one live musical instrument a psychological or a psychotic pursuit? I know it can be an obsessive-complulsive pursuit. The soudstage has really not changed and if a CD has overproduction in the recording it does seem to muddy the SQ quite a bit. To say the least I am very encouraged with the SQ with a more extensive burn-in on the JVC's. Please "burn-in" these headphones for at least 140+ hours (that's 6 days) or they will not meet their full potential. More observations in the future when I get the time. Happy Listening.
post #10 of 93
I just bought a pair of RX900 for some unknown reason yesterday.

I think the urge came to me in a dream...best not to question my dreams.

They shipped today!
post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatDane View Post
I just bought a pair of RX900 for some unknown reason yesterday.

I think the urge came to me in a dream...best not to question my dreams.

They shipped today!
<<< you are getting very sleepy... you will dream of the RX700 tonight... you will buy the RX700 in the morning... and you will post your review of the un-modded RX700 after extensive burn in... >>>
post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
*subscribes to RX700 fanclub*

Very nice writeup. I really think that you get a ridiculous amount of headphone for your money with these.

I want to stress that, at least to my ears, burn-in improves these headphones A LOT, especially the bass, which only begins to come through after about 50 hours and stops improving somewhere around 150.
I'm going on over 250 hours burn-in, that sibilance shrillness has just about subdued to the point I don't really notice it, I've got 500 hours planned so I'll see how it is after that. So far though I'm absolutely loving them, they've got me looking at the high end JVC models but that's quite a stretch from the $32.99 I paid.

BTW did you try out the foam mod I posted?
post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Time View Post
<<< you are getting very sleepy... you will dream of the RX700 tonight... you will buy the RX700 in the morning... and you will post your review of the un-modded RX700 after extensive burn in... >>>


post #14 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post
So far though I'm absolutely loving them, they've got me looking at the high end JVC models but that's quite a stretch from the $32.99 I paid.
You and me both, man. A friend of mine got the RX900s on my recommendation and upgraded to the DX1's a week later. He claims that the DX1's blow away both the RX700s and RX900s, so naturally I'm looking at the DX3's already . Considering selling my 700s to partially fund the purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post
BTW did you try out the foam mod I posted?
We tried it on the RX900s and it's quite nice. He re-padded them with cloth though, so I can't really compare the comfort to my stock 700s.
post #15 of 93
I was a big fan of the RX700. Burned in 100+ hours. Had a hard time finding a phone that was better, to be honest. AD700 is such an overrated phone.

Finally got my MS-1i's and I can't honestly be any happier. RX700's pale in comparison besides bass. I haven't listened to them since A/Bing them with my MS1i's. They just sit with my digital piano now.

If you're not willing to go past their price point, they are an excellent value. Otherwise, their short comings become obvious with a higher budget.
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