After a long period of research, asking questions, and a war in my head I have finally decided to purchase the JVC HA-S650.
I was looking for the "perfect" on-the-go, closed, isolating, decently sounding, and most importantly comfortable headphones and I think the JVC HA-S650 fit the bill quite well.
I also noticed no one reviewed these, so I'll be honored to do the first review while having them on my head simultaneously. These cans have been burned in for about 15 hours so far.
First and foremost, the box these headphones come in is quite simple yet professional looking and with a few glossy bits seen here.
Packaged relatively well, the only thing it came with is the headphones themselves, so no free 1/4 adapter or bag.
So let's begin...
When I first got these, I thought dang are these cans small. If you were to compare, I would say they are a stubby version of the PX100/100-IIs. They are very light in weight and feel inbetween fragile and sturdy. They fold flat so you can rock em around your neck and place em in your travel bag, however they don't collapse. The headband is adjustable like any other, and is made of a rubbery material that bends along with the aluminium, so that part definitely won't break.
The cable I really like. They are chilled out cables that don't stay bent if you ever try that and tangle-free. Quite thick too, probably twice the thickness of the cables found on a PX100. The cable is Y-style, so some might not like that and a tad short, but perfect length from your pocket.
The pads a easily removable by twisting them to the left allowing you to check out the memory foam pads under the leather (or pleather?) and see the driver.
In terms of aesthetics, they look great. Subtle, black, and professional that would match your everyday suit-n-tie look. They look small on the head too, the band disappears in your hair (at least mine) and all you have 2 small glossy blocks on the sides of your face.
They are also 32 ohms, run pretty loud on an Ipod Touch 3G. I need to set the volume 1 increment to the left of the pause/play icon to achieve my comfortable listening level.
One of the most important things to me is comfort. And these deliver! The padding smells like leather, so I'm sure it's leather (but maybe pleather?), and they are oh-so-soft. They are as soft as the pads found on the Bowers & Wilkins P5, and definitely something you can have on for hours back-to-back. The clamping force for a big head like mine, is just right. Not even the slightest discomfort from either the band (which doesn't have padding) or the earpads and I have been wearing them for about 4 hours now.
These cans isolate quite well. How I tested them? I put the TV on a volume where the neighbors would complain, and I could only hear a little bit of muffle coming from the TV, provided that I had music playing out of my Ipod at the same time. Another test, my friend rang our apartment bell, and that thing is very loud. I didn't even notice it until he called my on my cell, which I saw it vibrating and lighting up. And another test to mention, I used these while vacuuming the house, and I own an old Miele bought in 1983 which is pretty loud. Honestly I could only hear it slightly when music is playing. When I was at the train station, a fast train raced by being very loud, and of course I was able to hear it though I was still able to hear my music 40%-50%.
Sound leakage is almost nil on these. Good I had my buddy over to test it. I played music on my comfortable listening level, and he said he couldn't hear anything. Good so far.
*One thing to mention: When you put em on your head, wait a bit for the pads to close up since they are memory types. Also you'll feel like some sort of "sucking" sensation which indicate you have placed them on your ears perfectly for a seal, so yes a bit of placement matters, kinda like what I have read with the 228 however only the seal is affected.
Alright here is the most important part...
Songs range from 192-320 kbits on MP3 format. 192 sounds like 320 to me, so I never bothered to get all converted to 320 or FLAC.
I find these cans so far to be pretty "neutral". No frequency stands out above the others, and they work pretty well together. I'd say you can play any genre with them, which is great for my very wide range taste of music.
For the bass and lows, I would describe the bass as "somewhat" tight, full, and the fairly extended lows are satisfying and really detailed. Maybe the bass is more accommodating to the rest, than being the most prominent sound.
On the song "Body On Me" by Nelly ft. Akon & Ashanti, the low note of the bass is quite clear to hear but doesn't leak into the mids.
On the song "Again & Again" by 2PM, the bass punches well, and is somewhat tight but also tucked in making sure it's not the most obvious.
On the song "Da Blow" by Lil' Jon, the bass is not overwhelming being the only thing you can hear, but mixes well with the vocals and the hi-hat hitting in the background.
On the song "Closer" by Ne-yo, the bass kicks really well and is deep without overwhelming his voice which is really refreshing.
For your mids, both men and women's voices sound clear and detailed. Guitars and pianos sound quite refreshing.
Song tested: "Happy And" by Kang Kyun Sung ft. Nicole Jung, "Nunibushyeo" by Jumper ft. Jiyoung, "Day After" by Hong Kyung Min ft. Park Gyuri, "Dear Mom" by SNSD.
All these songs are male and female duets, except "Dear Mom".
For highs, let's just say it's right up to the level where the mids and bass are. All your sparkles, hi-hats, etc. in the songs are obvious, but not painfully sharp or harsh in any way. Not overpowering, not understated, just right.
Sibilance/128 kbits forgiving:
These headphones are sibilance free, which I am really grateful for. But oddly if you position them dead in the middle of your ears, there will be sibilance. In my case I position the cups to where a little bit of my earlobes stick out, if the earlobes are covered, sibilance is there. Weird...
No, these are not forgiving of 128 kbit songs, you'll hear a difference compared to 192 kbit, but not 192 kbit to 320 kbit (in my case).
Soundstage and 3D Imaging:
With these headphones you get tickets to mid to front row seats and you can pick out each voice and instrument quite well.
For 3D imaging I used the song "Pushing Me Away Remix" and there is this little "beep" that moves from the right to left speakers. Let's say the "beep" revolves around my head, so fairly good, but not as good as my RP-21s which has more depth and width.
Also on "Dear Mom" by SNSD, towards the end of the song there is a sparkle sound that goes from left to right, followed by a rainmaker instrument sound that goes right to left. You can clearly follow the sparkle which is also at the top of your head, and the rainmaker sound at the bottom as if it was in your throat. It felt like these sounds were literally around my head.
From all this I can basically say if you are/were in the same boat as me, trying to find a supra-aural, closed, isolating, portable, comfortable, and neutral/decently sounding headphone, these would be it.
Also the price tag is welcoming. For 39 Euros, they do well for people on a budget. Just remember, if you want something with more bass, something like the AKG K518s would fit you better, but the bass should be adequate enough for others.
Thanks for taking time and reading!
Edited by BlackSushi222 - 8/1/10 at 7:34pm