Excuse the scandalous title, but that got you to click here didn't it?
I've only had the Prodipes for about a week and a half, but I can easily say, without any hesitation, that you'd be hardpressed to find ANY new headphone that sounds as good as this for newbies (The type that's into the V-curve sound sig) for under $50. They go for around $40 now, and are a screaming deal for anyone that's in the market for a new headphone, or just want to try something new for cheap.
Initial brief impressions:
These are pretty beefy headphones. They're your typical DJ styled headphone, but they aren't very creaky or fragile feeling. For $40, I'm pretty impressed with how they feel. They even come with an extra set of pads! Granted, they aren't the best, but at least they're there.
Anyways, the sound! These have changed a lot during the course of the week and a half I've had them. When I first used them, they sounded bassy, with recessed mids, and spiky treble. Basically, what most DJ headphones sound like. However, they now have improved a good bit. The bass has tightened up and reaches down to around 30 before dropping down. 20 is audible, but has a somewhat significant drop out. The mids have started to come out from behind a veil, but it is still recessed to a degree, especially compared to everything else I have, most of which is very mid-forward. However, despite the recession, the mids still manage to sound natural and fluid. Timbre, while not spot on, is very respectable at its price point. The treble has smoothened out a good bit since they've been run in. The soundstage isn't the biggest, but positioning is surprisingly accurate.
I figured that after three months, I should have a full fledged review of these right? I would have written a review a while ago, but I was waiting for a few things to add to the review from Olimoronio, but (very) sadly, he has passed, so the review shall be without some extra pads and stuff that supposedly actually impact the sound.
The packaging of the Prodipes is very basic, with a cardboard box and nothing but the headphones and an extra pair of velour pads (that recess the mids further) inside. However, what I do not understand is the reason there is, even after this long, an indent in the headphones’ headband pad.
When I first used them, they sounded bassy, with recessed mids, and spiky treble. Basically, what most DJ headphones sound like. However, they now have improved a good bit. The bass has tightened up and reaches down to around 30 before dropping down. 20 is audible, but has a somewhat significant drop out. The mids have started to come out from behind a veil, but it is still recessed to a degree, especially compared to everything else I have, most of which is very mid-forward. However, despite the recession, the mids still manage to sound natural and fluid. Timbre, while not spot on, is very respectable at its price point. The treble has smoothened out a good bit since they've been run in. The soundstage isn't the biggest, but positioning is surprisingly accurate.
The treble is a bit rolled off, but not to the point of being recessed. Lower treble is a bit forward in fact. Sibilance is a rare occurrence, happily. The forwardness of the lower treble adds a good bit of energy, making it ideal for genres such as rock and electronic, but more on that later.
The midrange of these is pretty bland, to be frank. It’s recessed a bit in comparison to the bass and treble, but still retains plenty of detail. Vocals, while not amazing, really don’t sound very “wrong,” especially for a headphone at this price. Sure, if I switch to an orthodynamic, these are handily spanked, but these are budget dynamic monitors. They don’t enhance anything to make them sound artificial. If I have any niggles about the midrange, I’d have to say that they’re a tiny bit warmed up by the bass. Instruments such as guitars and woodwinds have some extra warmth to them, but nothing major. Actually, my only reservation with the midrange is that the Prodipes suffer from the typical closed headphone “hollowness” to the sound, and have it exponentially compared to my other headphones, even my vintage Koss VFR’s, which already have a lot of hollowness. However, if you feel adventurous, cutting the fabric on the pads, the part that covers the driver, the mids start to free up, making them about 15-20% better to my ears.
Speaking of bass, the Prodipes have oodles of it, but, like I’d expect from headphones costing 2-3 times their price, it knows when not to take over the mids. Along with great quantity, the quality isn’t half bad either. It’s very, very detailed for its price range, picking up individual bass notes and plucks without fail, while extending to 20hz with ease.
The soundstage is relatively small, not being very deep, or wide, but positioning is respectable. While not being razor sharp, the details don’t smear.
So the basic sound signature of the Prodipe Pro800 is slightly V shaped, but what is expected of a “monitor” as of late, when the M50, DT770, and such, are taken into consideration. Bass is huge when the music calls for it, while sitting in its place when it is supposed to, but still warming the mids up the slightest bit. The midrange is between neutral to laidback, while suffering from “closed can syndrome,” and treble is rolled off, while still being a bit north of flat.
But wait, I’m not done yet! The Pro800 works its magic with most genres, but a few stand out. Mainly rock and electronic, but I’ll write about a few others for the sake of completion. However, classical will be left out, because these honestly don’t do classical in my opinion.
Electronic: I shall be using Hallucinogen’s In Dub for this section. The sound is very ethereal. Bass is incredibly hard hitting and enveloping, mids are a bit sucked out, sadly, and the treble is, well, there. It’s not recessed, it’s not prominent. While the sound lacks all around north of the bass, I still can’t think of another headphone that’s better for electronic under $50, heck, under $75.
Rock: In memory of Olimoronio, I shall be using a Depeche Mode album (one of his favorite bands). People Are People in this test. Wow, this is probably the closest I’ll get to a live performance anywhere under $200. Seriously, this sounds serene. The bassline in Everything Counts is simply breathtaking. Screw the lack of mids and treble. This is awesome.
Hip-Hop: Big Pun’s Capital Punishment here. Vocals are surprisingly good in this album. The Pro800 keeps up surprisingly well, the beat is kept and never overwhelming, and adds a vintage sound sound to it.
Sadly, this is where the raving truly ends. I tried these for Metal, using Meshuggah’s Chaosphere, but it was more or less a mess compared to Depeche Mode. Sure, the bass was pretty awesome, but it lacked energy all around. I wanted to toe-tap to this album, but I simply couldn’t. Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew fared a bit better, but still rather unremarkable. Classical was more or less a mess.
The Prodipe Pro800 is, in my opinion, the headphone everyone looking for a budget headphone for hip-hop, rock, or electronic should get. It sounds absolutely sublime with the right songs. These punch well above their weight. However, if you’re looking for an all-around headphone should look elsewhere. Also, the one thing that keeps me from fully recommending them is the fact that the adjusters are incredibly fragile. I’ve already broken the headband, and I wasn’t very rough with them at all. But if you don’t stretch the headband much, you should be fine.
Edited by Ishcabible - 6/17/11 at 7:40am