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Koss PRO DJ100 and UR-55 impressions (vs M50)

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 


One day I was walking around in Best Buy and came across the Koss UR-55. Since it was a new product and cheap ($40-$50!) I figured I'd give it a try. I almost didn't because I have this bad habit of buying headphones I don't need! I expected that i'd be returning them the next day.
I clearly remember first using them and they sounded very slightly muffled. After listening to them and burning them in it went away. If if don't really like a headphone right away (after burn in) I'll usually return it or set it aside and not use it for awhile. With these I couldn't stop listening to them. Even in the morning I looked forward to listening to them after work. They seem to have my preferred sound signature.


I like a lot of bass, but nothing excessive (D2000 is too much for me for example). The M50's have almost too much for me, but I'm able to deal with it. It doesn't ruin them, but I do feel it's a bit bloated. I also dislike recessed midrange. The M50s  also have this issue, but it's not too bad. It's such a non-issue that it's not even worth mentioning. The one thing that annoys me about most headphones is that the highs can be very fatiguing after just an hour. The Shure SRH-840s have some of the best sound quality ever for a headphone, but the highs can be slightly harsh at times. The Sennheiser HD-600 don't have this problem and perhaps some people see that as a negative. I don't. Those headphones will never fatigue my ears no matter how long I listen to them.


I also don't like excessive details. Some things were not meant to be heard I think. Because of this I generally don't like the Beyer Dynamic DT-880 and DT-990 32 ohm versions. I also generally don't like very bright headphones suchs as the Grado 325i. The Koss UR-55 fit nearly all of my requirements and it's not like I had planned it!


I kept comparing them side by side to my Audio Technica M50's. I could not honestly say the M50s were better then the UR-55! I just could not decide. On the UR-55s some instruments sounded a lot more clear and the vocals were more forward and easier to hear. I also felt as if instrument separation and the size of the soundstage was much better on the UR-55s, however this was possible! On some songs on the M50s all the instruments sounded like they were all in one big blob. On the UR-55 (and DJ100) it was easier to pinpoint all the instruments.


The bass is also just about nearly perfect on the UR-55. It has a ton of bass, but is never excessive at all. The bass on the M50 is at times a bit overkill and I find the quality of the bass on the UR-55 much better.


I usually don't get this excited about a headphone. The UR-55s impressed me from day one. The cheap price also helps a lot. I've suggested them to people when I can, but sometimes I felt like some people were going to start thinking I work for Koss!


I've never been a huge fan of Koss headphones. I own the KSC75 and Porta Pros but never loved either of them. I must have really not liked the Porta Pros much because they somehow went missing! Back when I was 15 or so (now 30!) my friend and I were always impressed with the Koss TNT-55. This was before I was seriously into headphones though.


The UR-55s are not exactly the most portable headphones ever, but they're not exactly a full sized headphone, but close! They are perhaps one of the smallest over the ear headphones you can find. They are also semi-open. One thing that I loved about them the most is that they had a perfect fit and the comfort was very good. The earpad looks like the cheap scratchy foam you find on cheap headphones, but it gets softer after a few days.
So after being so impressed with these headphones I noticed that Koss had several other new pairs of headphones and earbuds out. Along with the UR-55 they also have another product in the "Pulse" series. I noticed they had a pair of full sized closed headphones called the PRO DJ100. They were new and my local stores did not carry them. I did a "store pickup" online and actually drove an hour there and an hour back just for some stupid $80 headphones! All the way up there I kept saying to myself that this might be getting into an even worse addiction then I thought!


I brought them home and was VERY impressed. Right out of the box even. They had a lot more detail overall then the UR-55. It was a bit more forward. Vocals are still a bit more clear on the DJ100 then the M50. Same as the UR-55. The extra details are what made these worth the extra $30 over the UR-55.


Comparing the UR-55 to the M50 I couldn't decide which sounded best. With the DJ100 it's easy. The DJ100 is clearly better in nearly every way.
When I see headphones that look similar to the Shure SRH-840 and the M50's I get a bit worried. This is because I have a small head and they probably won't fit! The SRH-840 have some of the best sound out of a headphone, but the fit is extremely poor on my head. It was bad enough to be forced to sell them and stick with the M50 that doesn't quite sound as good, but close. The fit on the M50 is much better.


So anyway, the fit on the DJ100 is PERFECT. I can move my head all around and they don't move at all. The build quality in some areas seems much better on the DJ100. There is a lot more metal, but at the same time they seem smaller and lighter. The design is a bit more simple too. I hate the coiled cord though! The earcup material is the cheaper variety, but it's not too bad and it's more comfortable to me. I imagine after listening to them for hours they won't be sweaty on my head.


Koss is on a roll right now. Most of the new stuff they've released is pretty impressive in some way. I've tried three of their new products. The Pulse Insider is good, but the bass is too much for me. Those are also compatible with the T-400 Comply foam and that could be the problem. I'll have to try some new inserts. Those have the most bass out of any IEM i've tried. They seem like a in ear version of the porta pros, but with an insane amount of bass.

 

The DJ100 sounds like a mix between the Sennheiser HD-600 and a more toned down version of the Beyer Dynamic DT-880! Like on the DT-880 it's now easier to spot small details such as recording humm and even tiny things after a song has ended (that I never noticed much before). Like the HD-600, it's seems to be a very natural sounding headphone. Everything sounds exactly how I imagine it should sound like in real life. Overall, this is one of the best headphones i've owned under $200. I don't know how it compares to the SRH-840, but I prefer the sound signature of this a lot more. I'll probably end up selling my M50s and sticking with this pair.

 

post #2 of 87

What about the bass quantity and type (punchy, deep?) of DJ100 vs M50 for example. I admit Koss is looking better and better from only being great in the sub $50 category before IMO.

post #3 of 87

tdockweiler recommended these to me yesterday and I immediately let him know I didn't like them at all coming out of my Sony A816. Bass was non-existent and overall sound was flat. It has a powerful little amp and has had no problem powering lots of headphones I plugged into it. I was concerned. I wanted a good ol passive over the ear pair of headphones for airplane travel etc.

 

Welll....I haven't been on head-fi for a while and forgot about burn-in.

 

What an improvement. Bass has really opened up and they sound alive. These are really great cans. I actually thought my PortaPro's sounded better at first. (And they are freaking amazing as we all know) I have A/B'ed them throughout the day and the DJ100's have started to separate themselves as clearly more robust and dynamic. Attack is really great, almost Grado-like. Quick and fluid. Nice warm midrange, but not quite Grado.

 

Really enjoying them now.

 

Thanks again tdockweiler.

post #4 of 87

I heard the DJ100s along side the Senn 428 at BB today on a Zune HD, which is regarded as one of the best portable players in sound quality. I tried the Senn 428s first and found them to have a somewhat typical Sennheiser signature of veiled highs, but with decent (not amazing) mids, and since they were closed a good bit of bass. They didn't go all that deep, but had kind of throbbing mid bass, which annoyed me and would probably tire me out quickly. Overall the sound was about what I expected for the price, kind of a unrefined, sealed HD650.

 

The DJ100 initial impressions were of far superior clarity in the highs, but very very recessed mids. Bass was higher quality than the HD428s going deeper, but lacked punch. The DJ100 phones left me perplexed since it did some things very good, but others so badly. I'm sure I could listen to the DJ100 without fatigue longer than the HD428s but overall I preferred the HD428 if I had to choose between them.


Edited by Maxvla - 7/18/10 at 4:47pm
post #5 of 87
Thread Starter 


 


 

The DJ100 initial impressions were of far superior clarity in the highs, but very very recessed mids. Bass was higher quality than the HD428s going deeper, but lacked punch. The DJ100 phones left me perplexed since it did some things very good, but others so badly. I'm sure I could listen to the DJ100 without fatigue longer than the HD428s but overall I preferred the HD428 if I had to choose between them.


I've never experienced any recessed mids on the DJ100. In fact, completely opposite. I felt the M50's had recessed mids, but these nowhere close. Was an amp used on the DJ100? I know they don't require an amp, but they definitely sound much better with one. So far I have not tried one for more then a few minutes without an amp. Despite the 38ohm rating, maybe these really good require an amp to sound their best. I use the Nuforce Mobile and Total Bithead with them and they sound great.

 

Burn in seems to benefit these headphones a lot. The DJ100s are so new that even a display model could not give an accurate idea of how good they might sound with an amp, lossless music and full burn in. I think the DJ100 has only been out a few days, but I'm not quite sure. They only showed up on the Best Buy website a few days ago.

 

I just think that a store model just doesn't do the headphones justice and one would need to try them out a bit longer.

post #6 of 87

As I mentioned it was played on the Zune HD.

post #7 of 87
Thread Starter 

I've been playing around with these headphones for awhile. I don't know if they're a good match for portable players without say a Fiio at the bare minimum. Directly out of my Ipod Touch (without an amp) on the DJ100 I can max out the volume and it's not even all that loud. There's bass, but not a ton. It's weird because the day before I felt as if they had a ton of bass and I could FEEL it on head!

 

Even tonight I had it hooked up to my computer using a NuForce mobile (DAC/AMP) and even then the bass wasn't as good as the previous day.

 

Once I connected the DJ100 straight up to my Ipod using the Total Airhead there was a night and day difference in the sound quality and this time there was the bass that I remembered. The bass just blows me away on some tracks with my cheap airhead amp.

 

The weird thing is that straight out of an Ipod Touch (no amp!) the UR-55s had more bass then the DJ100s! When properly amped the DJ100s are better in every single way. There's also a lot more bass.

 

I guess this is a bit negative for some (including me kind of) that the DJ100s really need an amp to sound their best. You'd think that since they're only 38ohm you'd really not see a huge difference, but there is.

 

I can say they're very impressive right out of my Total Airhead amp. I think even the NuForce mobile isn't enough for them, which makes absolutely no sense!

 

For use without a good portable amp, the UR-55 is definitely the way to go. What's strange is that even with the SRH-840s I never felt I needed an amp at all ever! Yet most people say you did. Wonder why the DJ100's sound so much better with an amp considering they're only 38 ohm.

post #8 of 87

Thinking I'm probably going to go pick some UR-55's up in like 15 minutes. Been looking for some good headphones in this price range, this will be my first experience with full sized headphones

post #9 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron1006 View Post

Thinking I'm probably going to go pick some UR-55's up in like 15 minutes. Been looking for some good headphones in this price range, this will be my first experience with full sized headphones


Hope you like them. Maybe you could let us know what you think. They're full sized, but still pretty small. It will be nice to see if people other then myself would like them so much.

 

Since i've posted these crazy threads I haven't listened to anything else. I gave the RE0 another chance, but it's one of my least favorites since the 325i. Could be the comply foam i've been using them. They almost sound like the Audio Technica AD700 for some reason.

post #10 of 87

Yeah I definitely like them :). I've listened to like 3 songs so far and I'm quite impressed, looking forward to hearing them after some burn in time.

post #11 of 87

You should try the tape mod on the M50's before you sell them.  I never found the mids recessed, just encroached upon.  Once you tune the bass the mids are clear and apparent.  If you have the time try uning the M50 and ABing w/ the Koss and let us know. 

post #12 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

You should try the tape mod on the M50's before you sell them.  I never found the mids recessed, just encroached upon.  Once you tune the bass the mids are clear and apparent.  If you have the time try uning the M50 and ABing w/ the Koss and let us know. 


I'm going to try this tape mod this week sometime. I think it sounds like a good idea. I will then do further A/B with the DJ100 and the M50s. I did this a lot though recently and almost always preferred the DJ100. Female vocals were better and easier to hear (more foward and clear) and some instruments seemed a tad more natural. It stinks though they don't sound as great straight out of an Ipod touch like my M50s do. I'm just going to be forced to use an amp for them. Kind of silly for only a 38ohm headphone!

post #13 of 87

pics or didnt happen!

 

seriously, pics on the koss. i like some koss, but have always been put off by cheap materials and oddball design issues. the koss site says the dj100 has metal cups. 

post #14 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ourfpshero View Post

pics or didnt happen!

 

seriously, pics on the koss. i like some koss, but have always been put off by cheap materials and oddball design issues. the koss site says the dj100 has metal cups. 


To me, the Koss DJ100 doesn't FEEL cheap or even look cheap at all except for the earpad material. When I'm holding them, they actually feel pretty solid and even designed much better then the Shure SRH-840 and even the M50.

The earpads cups are all metal. I'm sure of this because every morning when I put them on they're freezing cold. There is actually a lot of metal on the headphones. The internal headband is metal also. Yet they're lighter then all other headphones they compete with.

 

The sides of the headphones won't snap due to stress like my old Triports did. They do have a lifetime warranty though.

 

The only negative is that the cheap earpad material does in fact look cheap. I would have used a higher quality material, but in a way i'm glad they didn't. Why? The other material makes my ears sweat after long hours of use. Since the earpad material is thinner, I don't have that problem. It's also more comfortable.

 

It just feels like Koss put a lot of thought into the design unlike the Shure 840 or Audio Technica M50. The headband is also very, very light and comfortable. I don't feel it at all.

 

Here's a photo I took a few days ago. It's not just the headphones and it's not the best to show you the quality.

 

 

KossProDJ100 [800x600].jpg

post #15 of 87

Did you have a chance to try out the mod yet on the M50s?  Getting anxious to hear some good comparisons w/ the Koss.  So the Koss are lighter and more comfortable than the M50's for you?  Hows the isolation between the two?

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