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Move over AD700 and other mid-fi headphones, Onn is in town!!!... Who??? (Canadian's REJOICE!)

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

A true Diamond in the rough - Onn Enhanced Bass Professional Dynamic Open Air HiFi

 

I thought I was finished with full size headphones. Honest I really thought I was just going to just use IEM’s, but a head-fi meet changed all that. One afternoon of listening to Denon AH D7000, Beyerdynamic T1, and Sennheiser HD800 and other full size headphones I realized I was missing something only full size headphones can give. But I’m on a paupers budget so struggled with the thought of buying even the most affordable of the high end headphones I had heard. But as many of you know, once the seed is planted it’s hard to shake. So I started strolling the for sale forum looking for a good buy. But I just knew $6-700 was really not realistic for me right now.

 

Then one day I was walking through Walmart’s electronics section and as has become my habit I looked over their headphone selections and low and behold they had something new. In Wal-Mart Canada they recently started to sell Chinese imported electronics gear under the branding “Onn” and here they had two full size headphones, one open and one closed. The open headphone had the awful name “Enhanced Bass Professional Dynamic Open Air HiFi” but its specs intrigued me:

 

  • Driver 54mm
  • Impedance 60ohm
  • Frequency 20-24,000
  • Sensitivity 105db
  • Jack 3.5mm
  • Cable length 3m

 

The specs combined with a decidedly Audio Technica influenced wing system and open grill design (as can be seen in the photo’s” was enough for me to decide to give it a try despite its price of only $40, that’s not a typo, you read it correct the first time I did indeed say $40. I figured with Walmart’s return policy I couldn’t go wrong, even if I just sat in my car in the parking lot and returned the headphone 10 minutes later.

 

So there I was with my son sitting in the parking lot, him playing with his trading cards, me taking a quick listen in case I was holding onto a pile of garbage. My expectations were low; after all how good can a $40 Chinese knock off sound, especially one that upon opening the box had such an obviously poor cable? I plugged them into my iPhone and found the specs were legit in regards to sensitivity and ohms as I had to crank the iphone up to ¾ volume, but then I had my first surprise, “hmmm these don’t sound nearly as bad as I feared”..., in fact the more I listened the more I knew I was going to have to take these home for further testing.

 

Once at home and able to use my sound card (Auzentech Forte 7.1 with headphone amp vs. my desktop amp which was having hissing issues) the surprises kept coming. Since these looked like an AT headphone I fully expected an AT AD700/900 type of sound. What I got instead was incredibly heavy bass, a nice midrange that seemed ever so slightly slightly recessed and sparkly treble that was a bit rolled off. As for detail I found these to be smack dab between the the AD700 and the AD900/Sennheiser HD600. The sound stage was as good as the AD900 or the HD600 but not quite as wide as the AD700.

 

By this point I was pretty excited by the find. Here I was, only $40 spent and I had headphones that sounded as good as any sub $250 headphone I had heard and almost as good as $400 headphones. But I have to admit I hadn’t been listening to full size headphones lately as I mentioned above, so I contacted two of the head-fi members that were at the head-fi meet I had attended, one of which was the owner of the D7000, HD800, and T1 all at the same time. After this member picked up a set and PM’d me with his surprise at how well this unassuming headphone sounded, I knew I was on to something special. So I then doubled my efforts to get a hold of my other head-fi contact as I wanted him to have a listen plus he is the gentleman who made my desktop amp, so I knew he might be able to recable the headphones since the only aspect of the cable worthwhile was a nice cloth covering.

 

A couple nights later (70+hrs of burnin) I sat at my friend’s house and he had his first listen. I could tell he was impressed by what he was hearing and like me was quite surprised. After listening to a couple of reference tracks he felt they were not as detailed as his HD600 but liked their signature except for the bass which was a bit too strong and boomy versus detailed. Upon looking at the cable he thought it should be replaced and I agreed. So he re-cabled the headphone with the cable he liked on his HD600 and we had another listen. The change was astonishing! Suddenly the bass had much better control. The mid-range became more pronounced and detailed, and the treble also improved.

 

So here I am sitting with a $40 headphone and $25 worth of aftermarket cabling and I no longer feel I need the D7000 or anything else.  I have a pair of Earsonics SM3, and a pair of Monster Turbine Pro Copper IEM’s both of which are close to 10 times the cost which are sitting unused for the most part. They both (especially the SM3) have better detail but neither one has such a nice full bodied sound.

 

They seem to have managed to give me the best aspects of the AD700/900 and HD600 in one package. The detail is still not as good as the AD900 or HD600 but it’s not far off and they don’t have either of those headphones issues which caused me to sell them. To be specific, they offer the bass of the HD600, the midrange of the AD900, and the treble of the AD700 (minus the grainyness). The treble in particular is nice in that cymbals come across with a brassy sound versus a pingy sound (HD600) or a sibilant hissing sound (AD900). They also don’t have the veiled mids of the HD600 or recessed mids of the AD700.

 

So are these GIANT killers? Do they threaten the behemoths of the industry like the HD800 or T1? No not at all, they have nowhere near the detail of those giants but they are one of the nicest sounding midlevel headphones I have had the privilege to listen to, enough so, I can see myself using these for a good long while as I save up my pennies for the ultimate headphone.

 

They will not be for everyone. If you don’t want heavy bass, you will want to pass, if you live for the Grado midrange and treble, take a pass, but if you are like me and found the HD580/600/650 series close to your headphone bliss but couldn’t get over their few areas of weakness, this headphone might surprise the heck out of you.

 

So here is the kicker, these are only sold through Canadian Wal-Mart’s as far as I can tell and not all of them at that. So, if you’re lucky enough to be in Canada (or have a Canadian Head-fi buddy), you might be able to find one of these gems, if you do, shell out $40 and be grateful you have found one while they still exist (I personally am buying a second pair as a backup). I suspect that Walmart has NO CLUE about what they bought. To them these are just a cheap headphone they can mass sell. They have no idea of how good the drivers are inside this headphone, nor that they have a decent albeit cheap design. In fact I suspect they may get many of these returned by customers who will think they are garbage because they don’t have the right equipment to drive the headphone properly. Personally I am going to try and see if I can get some information from Wal-Mart about where these were bought or made as I would hate to see these simply disappear into obscurity.

 

To be clear, these need to be re-cabled to really reach their potential, in fact the hiss issues with my desktop amp disappeared after they were re-cabled. But other than $25 worth of cabling and a good burn in, you don’t need to do anything else but enjoy their sound and even the burn in can just happen naturally as their initial sound is pleasant enough to enjoy as they evolve. The build quality of these also bely their $40 price tag and while AT inspired are obviously cheaper quality but the build is quality is not so bad as to be completely off putting but does need to be mentioned. One nice thing about their design though is they lend themselves to DIY'ers who may have a heyday with these.

 

Ratings:

 

Original equipment:

  • Bass – HD600 > Onn/AD900 > AD700 – Tie between Onn and AD900 due to Onn’s boomy sound and lack of control.
  • Midrange – AD900 > Onn/HD600 > AD700 – Tie between Onn and HD600 due to HD600 veil and Onn being slightly recessed plus the Onn not having as much detail.
  • Treble – AD900 > Onn > HD600 > AD700, ultimately HD600 is more detailed than the Onn but the pingy nature of instruments like cymbals is a major aspect I dislike about the HD600, AD900 has sibilance issues but so much better detail it is the best treble.
  • Detail – AD900/HD600 > Onn/AD700, the poor cable definitely compromises the detail of the Onn bringing it down to the same level as the AD700.
  • Soundstage – AD700 > AD900/Onn/HD600
  • Cable quality – AD700 > AD900 > HD600 > > > > > > > > Onn, as can be seen the Onn cable is CONSIDERABLY INFERIOR!
  • Headphone design and material quality – HD600 > AD900 > AD700 > Onn
  • Comfort – Onn/HD600 > AD900 > AD700

 

Replaced Cable

  • Bass – HD600 > Onn > AD900 > AD700
  • Midrange – AD900 > Onn > HD600 > AD700
  • Treble – Onn > AD900 > HD600 > AD700, the increased detail in the treble of the recable Onn was enough that I prefer it over the AD900 because it doesn't have the sibilance issues I had with the AD900.
  • Detail – AD900/HD600 > Onn > AD700, recabled the Onn bests the AD700 landing somewhere in the middle between the AD700 and AD900/HD600
  • Soundstage – AD700 > AD900/Onn/HD600
  • Cable quality – Onn > AD700 > AD900 > HD600
  • Headphone design and material quality – HD600 > AD900 > AD700 > Onn
  • Comfort – Onn/HD600 > AD900 > AD700

 

As can be seen in my ratings the cable change has a significant impact on the quality of sound of this headphone. Re-cabled for me I find the Onn to be better than the three other headphones I have owned from an overall sound signature perspective. This of course is purely subjective as some might love the way HD600 produces cymbals, or prefer the detail of the AD900, etc. But for me the Onn has the perfect marriage of detail and sonic qualities to fit my needs. I am also feeling like these deserve some experimentation since they have a nice foundation, so will be doing several DIY type projects to see how much more these can be tweaked and improved upon.

 

qnn1.JPGqnncable.JPG

qnnpads.JPGqnnwings.JPG

post #2 of 55

Wow, this is an amazing find.

 

Congrats to the Canadian Head-fiers.

post #3 of 55

Intriguing... looks like I'll have to pass by a walmart soon.

post #4 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys, the cool thing for those of us in Canada is that if you don't like these, they can be returned due to Wal-Marts 14 day return policy.

post #5 of 55

That really looks like a rebranded AD700 :P Looks like a good find however. It would be intriguing but I'm not in Canada :P

post #6 of 55

They might be good, but the question is can the sound be maintained with every headphone? Many cheap Chinese manufacturers cannot seem to keep the sound the same with every headphone.

post #7 of 55

Wow, nice! I'd love to try out a pair but I'm not in Canada!

 

But then again, Canada is like a hop, skip and a jump away from where I am...hmm...

post #8 of 55
Thread Starter 

Rawrster, I bought these because they did look a lot like AD700/900 cans, but they are actually oval as compared to round, and they sound nothing like the AD series because the bass is so much more pronounced. They also have none of the fit issues I had with the AD700 in particular as they are snug on the old noggin.

 

If anyone is interested in trying these all I would want to recoup is my shipping costs and the $40 they cost to buy. If you want them re-cabled, I'll have to talk with the person who cabled mine to get a price for you though. I suspect it will be around $25 but he may have just been doing me a favour when I bought mine and may actually charge a bit more than $25 to ensure all his costs are covered as well as some of his time. But I will find out if you want him to do it. He might also be willing to prep the cable and let you finish the wiring job yourself if your into DIY stuff. I'll also find out what type of cable he used if I can.

post #9 of 55

It is a removeable cable, or would we have to get in there ourselves?

post #10 of 55

Interested and I am in the US, also interested in a recable.

post #11 of 55

Nice pics of all the stuff in your office, what's the blurry blob in the foreground? 

post #12 of 55

Well I'm the one who did the recable and I have two pairs sitting here that I've been testing (one stock and one recabled) and although these aren't going to compete with any of the top 'phones they really do sound pretty good.  Stock, the sound is quite boring and lifeless but still way above average for $40.  Recabled, I find myself putting these back on over HD650's, vintage K240 monitors etc.  I would have to say part of the reason they sound good not necessarily that they do everything the best, it's that they don't do any one thing bad.  The bass is good, the mid is good, the treble is good, they have sufficient detail to keep me happy, and they are in no way harsh.  (I don't think they would make good heaphones for testing amps though, because they don't really have a strength)  With my simple setup they just let you enjoy the music, I would say that in recabled form they are worth every penny, and then some.

 

As for consistency, Dweavers pair came from a different batch than the two I have here, and to me the bass sounds different, but his were broken in quite differently and have a lot more hours on them.  So I would have to do a direct A/B comparison to say for sure.  As far as build quality goes, they are all the same, average to low quality.

 

post #13 of 55

Thanks for the heads-up dweaver. I just scooted over and picked up a pair.

 

Then I got home and saw Robin W's post which arrived while I was out...

post #14 of 55


I don't think my post should be taken as a negative, just that you really should recable them (litterally anything would be an improvement over the stock cable)

I would say listen to them stock, and if you like them they will just get better recabled.  They keep the same sound signature, just everything about them improves.

 

All I used was Mogami Neglex 2534 microphone cable, it's good, it's cheap and it's easy to work with.  I will say that since these are single entry headphones and the wire for the right driver goes over the top, they are a massive pain in the you know what to bring the wire over the top.  I would recommend converting them to dual entry by drilling a hole in the right cup, or just cutting off that rubbery stuff and hold your wire in place with some nice heat shrink or techflex, it's just for looks anyways, the top frame doesn't touch your head.

 

I will be doing a dual entry recable for another member on here I could probably snap some pictures and make a nice little tutorial if that helps.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

Thanks for the heads-up dweaver. I just scooted over and picked up a pair.

 

Then I got home and saw Robin W's post which arrived while I was out...

post #15 of 55

Thanks Robin!

 

I have this bad habit of expecting more than I know I'm going to get

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Move over AD700 and other mid-fi headphones, Onn is in town!!!... Who??? (Canadian's REJOICE!)