I am broke.
Seriously, this is not some self pity/ half joking redundant head-fi woe. I am literally broke.
In the last 6 months I have acquired a number of headphones. Those being Ultrasone Pro 750, Audio Technica W1000X, Denon D7000, and now the JVC DX 700. I have since sold the AKG 702 and the Grado 325i as well as my headsix portable amp, but my spending has finally outpaced my income and capital.
The experience has been exhilarating and tons of fun, but like any other addiction it all comes crashing down when you realize how have no money and probably have made some poor choices, all of which are entirely your fault. I have made some friends of sorts around head-fi, I have come to really enjoy the community and all the knowledge and opinions here, but I have found myself buying into what should never really be bought into - THE PERFECT HEADPHONE.
Long gone are the days when I only had my HD 600, even further away are the days I only had my 325i. Long gone are the days when I put on a pair of headphones and forgot about what was on my head and got totally immersed in the music. In a way I am more educated than I ever was in hi-fi jargon, electronics knowledge (or pseudo knowledge) and my collection is as big and as good as it ever has been or I could have imagined, but I am out of touch with music, and I guess some would argue reality.
Ironically, I took a course this semester: Into to World Religion and I was hit with all this while writing my final on Buddhism and Hinduism. Essentially, the source of all pain and suffering is desire (that cannot be filled) and in that it occupies time and space in your mind that could be better spent enjoying what you have. Simple to say and understand on the surface... but it took me a whole semester to understand what these texts are trying to tell people. I have no doubt in my mind I could have been just as happy with my HD 600 or 325i. Sure, my headphones right now are way better, my ability to enjoy has maybe even atrophied. FYI, I am not a convert -I am an atheist, but I can understand and appreciate the meaning of a text, regardless of origin.
So, to end this perhaps melodramatic prelude to my review : Enjoy what you have right now and keep lusting to a minimum. At the end of the day, and after spending a ton of money, you might be surprised to find yourself less happy than you were in the first place.
DX 700 Review
I know a few people have been waiting on a D7000/W1000X comparison and I promise it will come, but I want to make sure I do a good job so I will take a few more days.
The DX 700 are second hand and came from the states, they arrived in 3 days via usps priority mail to my doorstep in Canada. For those unaware, this is simply ridiculous speed. On top of it all, it made it through customs with me having to pay a cent in tax, which I should have had to pay. So far, so good right? The headphones obviously must be broken if this much is going so well.
Looks: well personally I think they look worse in the flesh then they do online, I was pretty disappointed actually -but that could be because they are being compared to the D7000 and W1000X, which are simply gorgeous. They look ridiculously silly when worn but I guess that is not so important.
Construction: Wood is not lacquered but I am pretty sure it is dyed and it shows slight imperfections. They are second hand so I am sure some of it is caused by the previous user, but the wood has little protection against dents and nicks.
The headband is pretty firm but I find it comfy. The swivel joints are made of plastic and make a sound akin to a cheap headphone when being adjusted. The headband is very stiff and not easily adjusted, and quite frankly the way the headphone is designed, you have to have it extended to the max to fit your head unless you have a tiny skull... I am very underwhelmed by the over all build quality -minus the cable- the cable looks great. It is on par with the build quality of the Denon D7000 (nice thick and braided), minus the god awful stiffness and unwieldy nature.
If you are rough with your gear - stay away from this headphone. I would not want to drop it.
That being said, the build quality on the D7000 is pretty pathetic too, but at least they did a much better job of hiding it with looks.
What blows my mind is how the SA5K is made entirely (almost) out of magnesium and retailed for 699.99 and other headphones retail for far more, and are made of plastic, wood, and metal only where it absolutely needs....
Comfort: The headphone has very thick padding and it is quite deep. Deeper than the W1000X and a fair bit deeper than the D7000. It looks kinda like two hamburgers sticking out of the side of your head. Despite the stubbornness in adjusting them, once on they provide great comfort. For those with overly sensitive skulls, the pads are quite firm as is the headband.
Soundstage: IMMENSE, really impressive. On par or maybe better with the K70X (don't have them any more). It really gives a sense that you are in a room with the band. Somewhat Dolby headphone setting on a soundcard, minus the shitty and unnatural sound quality. Separation along the X axis is out of this world for a closed headphone (or any headphone really), but the Z axis (3D depth) is simply stunning. They truly combine to provide a believable, almost palpable soundstage to any song.
Highs: I have not tested enough, but I sense they are perhaps recessed. On the plus side, the lack of sparkle helps keep the flow of a song more consistent as highs don't stick out like fireworks. They are by no means muddied or deafened, just not in your face (or ears).
Mids: Really not sure about this one yet -I need more time. I will have to update the review. For now, I think there might be a spike (or dip) somewhere in there as some songs sound a little different. Whether or not this is a product of the soundstage or the actual frequency response I have no way of measuring.
Bass: Bass goes low. It goes almost, or just as low as the D7000 but rolls of a little in the ultra deep, where as the D7000 actually have somewhat of a spike. Any track that the D7000 is a bit too much in the bass, these are able to handle with easy while still digging to unearth the bass, and really provide some pressure when things get to 20-40 hz.
Speed: The headphone is quite speedy for transients and is never sloppy. The sound is somewhat laid back though. So it is an odd mixture.
Would I pay 899.99 from audio cubes? no way.
As much as I am enjoying the sound from these headphones, the build quality is really not good enough for me to highly suggest them. Maybe this will change in time, I know not, but for now... there are definitely just as good, but different options that are much better built. On the same note, the sound is really special, but I can see it as being polarizing. I think anyone who is looking into getting the DX 1000 but are afraid of the bass bloat (never heard, can't comment) as I was a bit, I don't think you can go wrong with the DX 700. I have no idea how much better (if it is) the DX 1000 is, but SQ wise, the DX 700 is really promising. The prices on Price Japan are much better than Audio Cubes and while it is more than I paid for them, it is a pretty good deal considering the SQ and the presentation.
Edited by sokolov91 - 5/20/10 at 3:50pm