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Sony MDR-ZX500 Review.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

First of all I don't consider myself as an audiophile yet. Still a noob compared to many of you on head-fi. Until my wallet allows me to buy higher quality headphones and amps, I will have to be satisfied with the $70 headphones, which I never am. :(  

Since there is not an actual review on these headphones on head-fi or any other website I decided to do it myself since I really like this headphone. 

 

So I received the zx500 on November and so far my favorite. I made a review on them on youtube

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU5lWeZZh-I go check it out.

 

They come in black for $47 and white for $70

 

511bXlo7FoL._AA1000_.jpg

So for the review....

For 47 dollars I would have to say they sound great! I compared them to the dr dre beats pro and audio technica ath m50s and I have to say the zx500s with an amp can sound as great as those two. 

 

Without the amplifier (fiio e11)

The zx500 strength is in its mids. The mids are very clear and crisp. The mids are where the zx series really shines. The highs are also very clear. I hear sounds I never heard of with these on. The bass which are a bit lacking still sounds very clear. Not muddy at all. Overall they have a "n shape" sound to them on a frequency chart. Each frequency don't bleed among each other. Each three frequencies isolate to itself very nicely. As I keep saying these headphones are very clear sounding.

Since they are at 70 ohms I have to put my ipod nano 4th generation to half of its volume in order to hear decently.  Other than that for 47 dollars the zx500s are very enjoyable headphones to listen to.

 

With the (fiio e11) amplifer

With an amp these headphones are amazing for the price. First of all the volume almost double itself on my nano. Never tried full volume with the amp since I'm scared they will break. With the amp the volume at 25% sounds like it was at 75% without the amp.

Sound wise the zx500 change drastically. The bass increases a lot. The low ends of the bass are more up forward. It does not bleed whatsoever to the mids. The mids seem to recede. Although its still clear it seems to be overpowered by the bass. The highs seems to be more in the open with the amp. basically the amp help increase the bass by a lot.  

 

I have compared them to audio technica ath m50. To me they sound very similar but the ath m50 still beats the zx500 overall. It seems like the ath m50 mids and highs are more up front without killing the bass. Compared to the zx500 without the amp, the ath m50 sounds better throughout the frequency spectrum. With the amp though the zx500 will have a stronger bass than the ath m50 but will lack int the mids and highs but barely. Overall the zx500 puts up a great fight considering the price difference of a 100 dollars.

 

Construction wise its a mix.

The design I like and think its very simple and clean. Not overdone like the skull candies but elegant. I really like the design!!!!

The cord is double corded. It is very durable/thick and won't break anytime. the jack is L shaped and sturdy. The cord is only 1.2 m long so not for studio use. Just to let you know the headphone does not come with a 1/4" adapter. Which further shows you that it was meant for portable use and not for studio use. The clamping force between the cups are lacking. If you tilt your head down they will fall off. The headphone cups are made of plastic but better than your usual plastic. 

The comfort though sucks! The padding doesn't seem to do much and the driver is too shallow. Your ears will hit against the drivers and will leave your ears very sore after an hour use. The padding on the headband does its job though. Its only the padding on the ears that are uncomfortable. 

 

Overall even though the comfort sucks the sound quality overshadows the comfort. For 47 dollars I think they are great. Great for beginner audiophiles with a budget limit. With the amp though they sound great and worth a hundred dollar more than what they are worth.

 

BTW for the earpads I added cotton balls underneath the padding to help with the comfort. Helps a bit.

 

This is my first review on head-fi so sorry if you thought it was poorly done. But I thought this headphone deserves a review on head-fi.  

 

post #2 of 12

they don't look too bad, but they do look uncomfortable. well the pads do.

post #3 of 12

Seems like a pretty comprehensive review, covering all the positive and negative attributes. Well done Sir!

post #4 of 12

Nice (first) review!  It was to the point and you hit on the important stuff.  It's also good to have reviews of inexpensive or starter gear.  Even tweaky audiophile guys are sometimes looking for an extra set of cans as a back up (at work for example), a recommendation to other normal people, or a gift.  I haven't had any experience with the ZX500s, but I did briefly try the ZX700s and I thought they were pretty decent.  I think Tyll over at InnerFidelity gave them (the 700s) a nice write up.  Anyway, welcome and have fun!


Edited by Mkubota1 - 1/14/12 at 5:56pm
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

could an amp wreck your headphone cuz the left side of mine has less bass and volume?  fml TT or could it be because i dropped on the floor of a garage?

 

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sky777 View Post

could an amp wreck your headphone cuz the left side of mine has less bass and volume?  fml TT or could it be because i dropped on the floor of a garage?

 


You were dropped on the floor of a garage?

 

post #7 of 12

If you dropped on the Garage floor while wearing your ZX500 there's a good chance you damaged your phones also. biglaugh.gif

post #8 of 12
My ZX500s just arrived today. I don't have particularly large ears, but these feel like a cross between on ears and around ear headphones, they sit around my ears but the cups are way to shallow. Funnily enough, despite the very bad seal, it doesn't seem to impact the bass at all - these are fun bassy headphones. I will add padding to the pads and hope it doesn't affect the sound in a bad way.

Are the ZX700s the same size or are they larger?
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck99 View Post

My ZX500s just arrived today. I don't have particularly large ears, but these feel like a cross between on ears and around ear headphones, they sit around my ears but the cups are way to shallow. Funnily enough, despite the very bad seal, it doesn't seem to impact the bass at all - these are fun bassy headphones. I will add padding to the pads and hope it doesn't affect the sound in a bad way.
Are the ZX700s the same size or are they larger?

Im pretty sure its the same size just different and better padding
 

 

post #10 of 12

The ZX500 are smaller than the ZX700 although they are very similar. ZX700 is definitely over-ear though.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Have a video comparing the zx500 with the zx700. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuYxyXc6wB4&feature=plcp

post #12 of 12

Just reviving an old thread. I don't think these are available on the market anymore. However I still have a pair of these, and I'm just going through all my <$100 headphones. This headphone takes the cake.

Nice mids, relaxed highs and the bass isn't boomy. I can imagine it'll cost more (like the zx 700/1000) to improve the bass, but since it's rolled off a little, the bass leaves a nice presence.

Amping these headphones through my ears, DOES make them better. They sound a bit faster, and female vocals are luscious without the honkyness.

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