I've presented this review to a fellow head-fier and completely forgot to post a thread on it.
These impressions were done out of an iPhone w/ a flat EQ, as I was in Best Buy when comparing both headphones. Shouldn't really be an issue as both are very easy to drive.
Important Note: These are both colored headphones, this review will promote the prominent fun/energetic sound & warm coloration. What is a priority in this review is the balance of a strong bass presence, as it is catered to Sony XB owners.
RPGWiZaRD was kind enough to give me a set of songs to test for bass quantity & punch, as well as the articulation of other areas of the sound spectrum; I very much enjoyed his taste in music. These songs include:
I was going to write down comments per song, but as I was going through them, I felt the same opinions repeating over multiple times, so I'll just make one cumilative review.
Everything mentioned about the headphones in this review is in comparison to the other set. For example, when I do a #/10, it is as opposed to the rival set being 10/10.
- Heavy bass presence
- Very engaging sound / Forward signature
- Rest of the spectrum was very muddy
- Small soundstage
- Weak sound separation
In comparison to HFI-580
- Fuller bass
- 7/10 of the clarity/definition
- 6/10 Soundstage
- 6/10 Sound Seperation
Thoughts: The XB500 definitely makes a song more engaging, I believe the bass would be to thank for that. The vibrations were quite present as opposed to the HFI-580, though the rest of the spectrum was quite muddy in comparison. The bass presence & impact made the headphones feel quite theatrical, it was thrilling; though the less refined mids/highs and almost non-existent soundstage took away more than the bass gave.
Notable mention: The drumming at 2:22 of Trustcompany - Falling Apart impressed me with the XB500's, it had much more volume than when compared to the HFI-580's. The bass on all songs seemed much more full, had more body.
- Refined mids/highs
- Engaging sound / forward signature
- Fantastic positional queue's
- Articulated Bass
- Bass not as prominent as XB users might want
- Soundstage could be slightly larger
In comparison to XB500
- Tighter/Cleaner bass
- 7/10 of the bass impact
- 8/10 of the deep bass
- Better Clarity/Detail
- Better Soundstage/Seperation
Thoughts: The HFI-580 did seem more analytical, it brings out all the details of a song and separates the instruments very well, though I feel this leads to a slightly less engaging sound; it is plenty engaging, don't get me wrong, just not as much as the XB500's. The soundstage walls are much harder to detect than the XB500's on some songs. The bass is quite punchy with these, though it does somewhat seem anemic when a/b compared directly to the XB500's, I really believe it might be due to the XB500's pads/build orientation, which definitely help with the vibration/bass flow.
The XB500 were lot more muddy when compared to the HFI-580, the 580's brought so many details, but didn't quite have the bass presence the XB500's did. The HFI-580's do go quite low on the bass spectrum though, and they do seriously pound with songs like Alone With You - Deadmou5 (wasn't on the list).
Notable Mention: The 580's kicked ass when listening to Dito's Sky (Club Mix). While the XB500's had more bass presence, it couldn't touch the other aspects of the sound spectrum of the 580's.
Final Thoughts: Do I think XB500 owners should move to the HFI-580? Nope. There could definitely be some disappointment with the HFI-580's in terms of bass. Sure they have plenty, but as I said previously, it's anemic when compared to the XB500's volume/fullness of bass. I do believe though that the HFI-580's can EQ near the XB500 levels in terms of bass (as I have done myself), and the XB500 can EQ near the HFI-580 levels in terms mid/highs.
Edited by Scytus - 3/5/11 at 4:44am