Previously reviewed on Headfonia, the SJ-55 is the top entry level headphone offered by Audio Technica. I recently acquired a pair, and I'd thought I share my thoughts in how they stack up to the ATH-M50 and Grado SR-60i. Source is Ipod Touch 1G/Ipod video 30GB (320 CBR Kbps lame rips) + Fiio E7.
To start off: The SJ55 is like a baby M50.
At around $60 to $80, the SJ55s are less than half the price of the ATH-M50s. After 48 hours of burn in, it is quite clear that the SJ55 is no match for its bigger brother. While the build quality decent, the treble isn't as sparkly, and the mids are slightly more recessed than the M50. Clarity wise, the SJ55 has a slight veil. Comfort wise, the SJ55s are okay; the padding is sufficient, but if you do not like on-ear headphones, I'd advise you to stay far away.
Compared to the M50, the SJ55 just almost has enough bass. While not as powerful as the M50, the SJ55 does deliver a slight punch. Bass extension is good, but the M50s are better. The bass of the SJ55 lacks the crispness of the M50, but make no mistake: the bass IS there.
The soundstage of the SJ55 is fairly narrow compared to the M50. I found that songs that use L/R stereo separation for sound effects/imaging/musical passages were extremely apparent on the SJ55. I found I could hear details and nuances of songs that were drowned out by the M50s bass.
Compared to the Grado SR-60, the SJ-55 has more bass punch, while the SR60s have more extension. The SR60s have a natural decay that allows me to use them for bass practice; the SJ55s would often bloat the sound when practicing. The SJ55 has an extremely recessed midrange compared to the SR60. The SJ55 has better bass impact, but lacks the sparkling highs and mids of the SR60.
Overall, the SJ55s are not a bad portable can; they are good, but not great. At half the price of the M50, they deliver approximately half of the performance. However, if you are looking for a reduced m50 sound signature in a portable package, then the SJ55s might be for you.
SJ-55 is an on ear headphone that is built well.
Bass: Precise, punchy, just deep enough. Not as powerful as the M50
Mids: Recessed, but present
Treble: Good treble, not as sparkly. No sibilance like the M50.
Clarity: Slightly veiled
Soundstage: Very narrow, but very good L/R stereo separation.
Comfort: On-Ear. May be uncomfortable for some.
Edited by ltyu - 1/13/12 at 1:41am