A Duo take...Dsnuts n Gn3ral Karl..
Let us start by saying a hearty hello to the community.. On behalf of one G3nral Karl and myself, we humbly ask the community to enter this review with a clean slate..I know each and every one of you will have an opinion on what you will read on this look. So we humbly ask that you refrain from 1) Flaming and 2) Enjoy the review 3)Consider the information 3) Try one out and see for yourself. If you end up being curious about these after this read. We do whole heartedly believe everyone at headfi should try one. No we are not associated with Kicker. We are both however passionate about our sounds...
Background...Enter the Kicker HP541
126bd max output (LOUD)
I remember the first time I heard the kicker Hp541, when the urge hit me to get some new cheaper but good phones. I am sure every one of us knows what I am talking about. I didn't have much cash at the time so what the heck these were getting good if not outstanding reviews from owners saying they sound better than phones that cost up to 4X as much. Pssst right. whatever!.
SO I ordered one.. It came to me in a nice blue box..2 cables a short 3ft portable and a longer thicker 11.5ft, Pro 1/4th adapter, Nice Kicker bag to carry it around with..I threw on my go to test for bassy music. Timbalands 808. At first it was kinda not so clear a bit thin and harsh, and on the same tune it opened up to a sound that I could not believe!.. What?? This from a Budget can??!!
It wasn't a smile moment or a stupid smile moment..It was beyond that I just couldn't believe what I was hearing..Good, no great clarity right off the bat. The bass was on point. It wasn't shy to let your ears know it has been punched correct.. The sound was intoxicating, invigorating, unbelievable. The full on mids and then the highs. Crystal, dynamic and clean. I was more than impressed. I was floored. I kept on thinking. These can't be the same phones I just ordered for $50?
Make..7/10. The exterior of the kicker Hp541 is decidedly low key with very little flash..I wouldn't call it hip, but it does have a good strong almost utilitarian look to em. A kin to those closed muffs airplane maintenance workers use..Plushy cushion like pleather oval shape cups and is fully circumaural, initially there is a clamp but quickly adjust to your head. The headband is a thick plastic material that is more sturdy than most and has a center piece on top that is connected to two arm pieces that end up holding the oval cups of the kicker Hp541.
This extra plastic straight piece makes the kicker look squarish on the head. So while this adds to the comfort level it is not the best looking if you are concerned about looks with your headgear on. Isolation is great for when you want to get your hip hop/dub/trance/rock/ metal on with minimal to no leakage. Looks of the kicker is not it's strong suit by any means but who cares what they look like when they are this comfy, this bold..This kick ass.. Read on!!
This next part will require 2 things.. 1st one of these.
Aha the legendary Audio Technica M50.. That is if you have one.. And this
No you dont need to go to your local music store and grab one of these but I want you to follow me with some imagination..Ya you read right .. The same imagination you used in kinegarden!!. You are laughing about now. Maybe thinking no wonder you have the name, Dsnuts.......Ya keep reading Poindexter!!
Sounds..8/10 Thats right! So this will surprise many of you.. I will start by having everyone that has an M50 to now go ahead and put them on. Ya get out your set put your grados your sennies your beyers your other sets away..This is gonna be interactive..Ya you hear right..DO IT!!! For those that don't have or had em at one point but don't have em Just know the M50 represents a headfi standard and they do sound very good..
Now back to the imagination part...Go grab em and throw on your nearest musical source..The M50 sounds
Clear, smooth, fairly wide sound for closed cup, very musical and detailed for monitor type phone.
Crystaline for highs that tintilate your outter hearing buds. With decent punch and full dynamics in the Bass department. sounds good. Right. SO.. Let your imagenation follow what I am saying. YES FOLLOW IT !!. This is our review so you get to do what we say!!
The kicker sounds eerily like the M50.. More similar than different believe it or not. Imagen if the M50 sounds are represented by this pic here.
The Accordion.. Fully extended, this would represent the sounds of the M50.. How does the Kicker Hp541 differ?? So if you start to close the accordion the sounds would become, More bold. More forward. More mids and More bass with that similar highs sizzle you know you love. All while having similar clarity and authority..
Better mids as the M50 does have a bit of recessed mids making them sound a bit warm and laid back. If you have any other phone on hand and do a head to head against the M50 you will see what I mean by this.. They indeed have more emphasis on the highs and lows. The mids almost seem a bit streched out. Then those lovely highs. Dynamic and lush with a bit o metalic resonance at the same time. Easy listening. The Kicker HP541 has a very similar sound to the M50 but with a more forward bolder sound signature.. Tremendous mids and bigger, punchier, bass while the highs remain similar to the M50s. The M50 does have better extension on both ends and a bit more clarity overall however this does not take away from the less analytical but bold sounding Kicker HD541..This My friends, are the sounds of the kicker HP541!!
Ya right about now you are thinking.. I want some of what these guys are smokin!..Believe me if you was near me I would let you hit it up and listen to my well worn kickers vs my m50 and you can tell me I am wrong.."This is Blastphemy!! Just stupidity on a retarded level!!" You say!!." You mean to tell me the budget Kicker HP541 sounds better than my 9/10 sounding rank #6 over all headphones Audio Technica m50?!". No. The M50 is and will be somewhat of a litmus test for other headphones. With that being said. The Kicker Hp541 has a more forward full sound that makes them a fun bold and intimate sounding experience that actually does many a music genres better than the M50. You want your tunes with one of the best mids and need the bass on the same level in your cans?... Try these.
Don't believe me?
Well if you acutually owned them and had a M50 to compare back and forth to, you would understand what the Accordion imagery was all about. If this claim sounds just too good to be true..We challenge anyone here at headfi to try one.. Ya don't tell me you dont have $50 on hand to get one of the best hidden treasures of all time. Just get one and try em..If you don't own one but claim they are this or that and are set in your mind that this is all a heap of dung. Then please move on and consider this just another overblown review. You guys can just hear it from others that do take the challenge on this read...We are not in any way glorifing or hyping the Kicker hp541.. We are just telling it like it is....
With that I now will leave it in the very capable hands of one GN3RAL KARL.....
Edited by Dsnuts - 9/11/11 at 6:04pm