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Review: Philips CitiScape Uptown (Updated Sept 18, 2012) - Page 10

post #136 of 366

Just got mine today and have been burning them with the usual music I listen to for a few hours.

 

First impressions:

 

-This definitely looks and feels like a quality headphone, in-line remote aside.

-The earpads are soft, yet firm. Pretty high-quality pleather in my book, moreso than the HTF600 and roughly SR-303 level. I just hope they don't harden up after extended use.

-Those earpads are a bit small by circumaural standards. Larger than the HTF600, but still smaller than AD700 and Stax Lambdas to the point where my ears tend to touch the edges inside.

-Clamping force is a bit on the high side, probably a necessity to ensure a good seal. It feels a bit tighter than a Stax Lambda Nova/numerical model and possibly even a brand-new HTF600, but definitely less than a worn HTF600, and much less than the AD700 or vintage Stax Lambda models. It certainly detracts from comfort, in any case.

-The soundstage isn't the best I've heard when coming from really open designs like AD700s and Stax Lambdas, but competitive with the HTF600.

-Bass is pretty prominent.

-Mids aren't totally overshadowed.

-Noise isolation isn't spectacular; you'll still hear sounds from outside, albeit attenuated somewhat.

-I can't test noise leakage yet without asking someone else to wear them, but I'd expect that the real strength of these headphones is that the sound won't leak and disturb other people, even if sounds do come through.

-They're a bit less sensitive than the HTF600 volume-wise, even with the in-line remote set at full volume.

 

Of course, things could change after burn-in. I'll have to set aside some time for that.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 10/3/12 at 12:54pm
post #137 of 366

I agree with most of your points except the clamping force and the bass.  My pair doesn't clamp that tightly, so maybe yours just needs a little stretching.  The bass is present, but not what I'd call prominent.  Maybe it's just semantics.  I'd say a headphone like the V-Moda M-80 has prominent bass.  A bass-head probably isn't going to like the Uptown much.  There's not much in the way of treble extension and the mids aren't super detailed--so I can see why the bass might stand out a bit.  The sound is a bit compressed  and echoey out of the box until the drivers loosen up--maybe 45-60 minutes of use?

post #138 of 366

I just noticed something...treble in the 2 KHz to 5 KHz range (especially the latter) seems really imbalanced toward the right driver on a number of sources. Could it be the 4-pole TRS jack (needed for the mic) at fault, for which I need a separate adapter, or just lack of burn-in? Seems strange that it would be imbalanced there whereas slightly higher treble ranges shift toward the left driver while mids and bass are balanced. (And before you ask, I tested my other headphones on those same sources. No such treble imbalances presented themselves.)

 

What I meant was that bass was clearly present; you wouldn't think it was missing. Yet it wasn't too overpowering to the point where I felt like it was taking away from the vocals, at least for now.

 

Note that I haven't listened to too many basshead cans (though the HTF600 might qualify as a budget one), and if they're anything like Sony's XB line (without EQ), I'd probably hate them. My music consists of far more than bass frequencies.

 

I also noticed that regarding isolation, it's not impressive by itself if you expect to use them like a pair of earmuffs, but when you actually have music playing, it does help quite a bit.

 

Finally, as for clamping force, it could just be that the area around my ears is more sensitive to pressure than what most people can stand. I should note that the very cans I found among the most comfortable are also those that have barely enough clamping force to rest in place, and will fall off if you try to headbang with them. Soft earpads that distribute the force well help with comfort with higher clamping forces (as I learned with the SR-303 compared to the SR-202), but they're not a total solution for me.

post #139 of 366

The imbalance could be from the crappy volume slider--make sure it's maxed out and press down a bit to make sure it's making good contact.  Might be burn-in related as well.  I'm not a believer in any significant changes from extended burn-in, but I've had some headphones that needed a bit of use to loosen up.

 

Everyone is sensitive to different pressure points (I hate pressure on the crown of my head), so I'd definitely give your Uptowns a stretch--the method of clamping them on some books a few inches wider than your head is one simple way unlikely to damage them.

post #140 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post

The imbalance could be from the crappy volume slider--make sure it's maxed out and press down a bit to make sure it's making good contact.  Might be burn-in related as well.  I'm not a believer in any significant changes from extended burn-in, but I've had some headphones that needed a bit of use to loosen up.

 

I forgot to mention that the treble imbalance is consistent throughout the volume slider's range, and pressing down on it at the maximum volume side doesn't yield any audible changes.

 

Also, now I don't think it's because of the microphone contact being connected to ground in 3-pole TRS jacks, since I also notice the imbalanced treble on my 3DS (which does have a mic contact, and even supports the remote's button for pausing and resuming playback).

 

I didn't believe in burn-in either...until I got the HTF600, anyway. That headphone's frequency response goes on a roller-coaster ride during its burn-in period, especially the bass.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 10/3/12 at 2:16pm
post #141 of 366

Do any of you hate the Downtown buy love the Uptown?

I wonder if they really share the same drivers? It's quite possible despite the major sound signature differences.

 

It's nice that the Uptown has no lack of treble. The Downtown I have is too dark for me and it's mids are much too forward. Definitely "honky".

 

I need to take my player into Best Buy and demo the Uptown. I got the downtown for $30...

post #142 of 366

I had a similar experiences with tdock. I had the Downtowns for a day. Put them on, got disappointed, threw it back in its box and returned it to amazon.

 

I listened to it for an hour at most so I can't recall exactly what it was about them that put me off. But after reading Tyll's promising review and another on Head-fi, I think I overshot my expectations (I bought them for $79, this was back in July).

 

To be fair, I'm not impressed at the Uptowns either considering the glowing reviews it's getting everywhere, but it's a solid can. I'm wearing them daily on my way to classes and it's not making me miss my K701's.

post #143 of 366

I definitely like the Uptowns better than the Downtowns, but I can't say either one impressed me too much. Of the three bargain sets I've gotten recently (Uptown, Sony DR-ZX701IP, and InCase Sonic) it's my third favorite for sound. But as viralcow said, they're still solid headphones.

post #144 of 366

Oh, crap. Turns out sub-bass around the 35 Hz region is also imbalanced, again in favor of the right driver. It's been burning in for a good 5 hours, too, while I was at work. There are probably even more notches I can find on the left side if I play around with SineGen a little more.

 

I'm getting concerned that this might be a defective set because this imbalance is, again, consistent throughout the volume slider's range. Does anyone else here have such issues, regardless of the volume slider adjustment?

post #145 of 366

Bummer.  It sounds like you got a bad pair and should send them back for a refund or an exchange. 

post #146 of 366

*thinks to throw all the other headphones into more careful testing, and on different sources*

 

...Oh, crap. Either the version of SineGen I'm using has some sort of imbalance bug at certain points in the spectrum, or...I hope it's not actually this, but my left ear has notches in its frequency response that my right ear doesn't. It happens on both my desktop and my notebook, and it happens with all three of my headphones.

 

I knew that high treble tends to go first (can't really hear anything above 15 KHz), but not being able to hear 35 Hz bass notes in one ear? WTF? Haven't heard of human hearing losing sensitivity on the low end before!

 

I need to visit an audiologist.

post #147 of 366
Thread Starter 

"Solid" is a very good way to describe these. By memory, they don't really sound as "hifi" through the mids and treble as the DT770s I have right now do (once their giant mud hump of doom has been EQ'd), but like I and someone else just said, they don't make me miss my main pair of headphones at home. Still think the bass was fantastic regardless though. By memory, I'd take it over the bass of the DT770, HE-300, HM5, SRH440. Any day. Soundstage too. Overall, they do very little wrong to my ears (my only minor fault would be a suspected ~9kHz peak, but it's not as bad as others I've heard and is easy to EQ). They do virtually nothing wrong for me in fact, compared to the awful mess of 90% of the other headphones I've tried. Mostly just personal preferences talking here of course...

post #148 of 366
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

*thinks to throw all the other headphones into more careful testing, and on different sources*

 

...Oh, crap. Either the version of SineGen I'm using has some sort of imbalance bug at certain points in the spectrum, or...I hope it's not actually this, but my left ear has notches in its frequency response that my right ear doesn't. It happens on both my desktop and my notebook, and it happens with all three of my headphones.

 

I knew that high treble tends to go first (can't really hear anything above 15 KHz), but not being able to hear 35 Hz bass notes in one ear? WTF? Haven't heard of human hearing losing sensitivity on the low end before!

 

I need to visit an audiologist.

 

:(

 

Sorry to hear that, hope it all gets sorted out. I had a scare where for a time I had some really bad tinnitus, so I think I can imagine how you're feeling.

post #149 of 366

Well, one thing's for sure: it highlighted the imbalances more than my other headphones did, for some reason.

 

Other things I've found out or need to correct myself on:

 

-The earpads are actually about the same size as the HTF600's now that I think to actually look at them side-by-side, but they sure don't feel that way, probably because of the softer material. Too bad this one's the non-removable-earpad version.

-The Uptown just does not bring out Dolby Headphone directional cues very well. I'm not holding out much hope that it'll do any better with CMSS-3D Headphone. I have a feeling that this is because of the small soundstage; it can't touch the semi-open HTF600, let alone the fully-open AD700 and Stax Lambda series. Said soundstage deficiency is less noticeable when listening to music, though.

-The strange thing I've found, now that I've thought to just reverse the headphones on my head while playing with SineGen, was that it doesn't always sound the same in backwards orientation. Sometimes, it even sounds more balanced to my ears. I wonder if the angling of the drivers has anything to do with that...

 

Overall, my first impressions are...mixed. I'm sure it would make a nice portable headphone for when I don't want to annoy other people with sound leakage, but in terms of comfort and sound presentation for cheap dynamics I can use where electrostatics are impractical, I'm leaning toward the HTF600. Don't be too surprised if I put my Uptown up for sale soon.

 

EDIT: The DH positional cues are certainly there if I listen for them, but they just don't jump out as much compared to other headphones for some reason. Come to think of it, a lot of sounds almost get overriden in heated moments with guns blazing everywhere. It also seems like their soundstage is a bit more oval than circular, with the short sides being front and rear.

 

Also, the bass really isn't that pronounced after all, at least not like the HTF600 does it.

 

Again, none of this really detracts from its capabilities as a music headphone, for which it can hold its own.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 10/4/12 at 1:48am
post #150 of 366

After a couple days now of continuous burn-in, the only thing I can say with confidence is that it sounds less tinny and bass is a little more pronounced. The cable still annoys me but otherwise I like the headphones just fine. I'm surprised how much of a difference even a slight break in seal makes on SQ though; definitely not a pair to use when doing a ton of moving.

 

Regarding positional cues, in a FPS it's definitely better than the SR850s. The Samsons pick direction out very well, but give zero sense of distance.


Edited by BBEG - 10/4/12 at 10:38am
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