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Compact Portable Headphone Roundup (16 Phones including PortaPro, PX-100 II, V-Jays, Tracks,... - Page 12

post #166 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Wow, I'm really glad someone finally grabbed those at that price. They had some (in Red) on Amazon a few days ago for $13 and I posted that in the deal alert thread, but they're gone. Right now there are a few there in White for about $20 + S/H. It really is an underrated headphone and will probably never have the following of something like the JVC HA-S160 because of the obscure brand name and relative lack of availability. Also, I've found the other models from Eskuche to be very mediocre, so it's a nice surprise that their entry-level model is so good. I can't say that it's better than the PX-100 II in any regard, but it's certainly right up there with the PortaPro.

 

 

Agree. I never heard about them until I read your review. Plus, that ridiculous cheap price really helped; I would not even give them chance if I was not able to get them for such a low price.

 

 

 

Quote:

Also, I've found the other models from Eskuche to be very mediocre, so it's a nice surprise that their entry-level model is so good. I can't say that it's better than the PX-100 II in any regard, but it's certainly right up there with the PortaPro.

 

 

 

That sucks! I was hoping that Eskuche 33i will be another sleepers, I really like they looks. Oh well…

 

 

 

 

Quote:
In what ways do you find them "better" than the Koss or Sennheiser? I'd love to know...

 

Well out of the box they have somewhat slightly distorted treble, but after initial burn in they sound a little bit clearer to me than Koss or Sennheiser. Probably because of slight V curve( as you said) while PX100-ii had more mids; it sounds to me like Kassette have blacker background.

Also, the bass (and maybe mid-bass) on Kassette feels more solid and impactful than on other two pairs.

And they have much better cable than either Koss or Sennheiser, especially Sennheiser.

 

 

 

Quote:
By the way, the new roundup is still a few weeks away at best (see post below)

 

I know that is the quite hard to get all those headphones for review, but do you have a possibility to review new JVC HA-S500 in the next roundup? Apparently they are quite popular in the forum at the moment, and after having pleasure to listen to JVC S650 for the last week I think I am becoming a big JVC fan. 


Edited by panteraMetal - 8/22/12 at 2:30pm
post #167 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by panteraMetal View Post

RE: Eskuche Kassette

 

Agree. I never heard about them until I read your review. Plus, that ridiculous cheap price really helped; I would not even give them chance if I was not able to get them for such a low price.

 

Well out of the box they have somewhat slightly distorted treble, but after initial burn in they sound a little bit clearer to me than Koss or Sennheiser. Probably because of slight V curve( as you said) while PX100-ii had more mids; it sounds to me like Kassette have blacker background.

Also, the bass (and maybe mid-bass) on Kassette feels more solid and impactful than on other two pairs.

And they have much better cable than either Koss or Sennheiser, especially Sennheiser.

 

Interesting. I agree the bass response is very tight compared to those two, but they each have their strengths. Koss fans will argue that the PortaPro is more lively. And for me the PX-100 II just has a more sophisticated driver and has better build quality, cable not withstanding (I was surprised to find the cable on the HD229 and HD239 I'm currently reviewing is not even as nice as the PX-100 II).

 

I know that is the quite hard to get all those headphones for review, but do you have a possibility to review new JVC HA-S500 in the next roundup? Apparently they are quite popular in the forum at the moment, and after having pleasure to listen to JVC S650 for the last week I think I am becoming a big JVC fan. 

 

I would love to review the HA-S500, but as of now it hasn't been released in the U.S. and my contact was not able to get any review samples. I've seen a lot about them in the forums but I assume those people that got their hands on one are overseas. I agree that the HA-S650 is a great headphone once you get used to the warm sound signature. I currently have the HA-S600 and HA-M750 but so far they haven't impressed me as much as the S650. But sooner or later I hope to review the nanotube S500.


Edited by postrock - 8/22/12 at 3:58pm
post #168 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post
 

I totally agree with you on all those observations, I would not be able to describe them better using the one  single word for each set.

 

Koss are really the most lively headphones among the small on-ear headphones, and PX100-ii indeed have the most sophisticated (detailed) drivers.

As I said Kassette are better IMO in bass and clarity, but I enjoy all of them.

 

Regarding JVC S650, it is actually funny that I like them. All my life I thought that I am treble head. In my mind Heavy Metal music was all about upper mids and treble. I also thought that only treble can bring out the music details and aggressiveness of this particular music genre.

It is also interesting that although I always have been interested in audio and video quality, I never cared about good headphone set until three years ago. Now, after years of reading online resources, and so many treble biased headphones I finally found out that I like headphones with warmer sound signature.  Thanks to PortaPro, PX100, Kassette, and S650.

 

Yeah, it is a shame that at the time S500 are only available through the import from Japan.  From the reviews on the forum it seems that they have identical sound signature to S650 which I really like. Having the bigger driver and newer technology (nanotube instead carbon fiber), I am hoping that they will have the same sound but be even more detailed than S650.


Edited by panteraMetal - 8/22/12 at 5:13pm
post #169 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

I have never heard the HA-S160, only the S650 (which is super warm) and some of the bigger models. But others say that the Flats are rather neutral sounding. The Kassette is not, it's more of a v-shaped "fun" signature but not too bass-heavy or bright. It's pretty well balanced. I recommend highly if you can get a great price (see posts below).


Thanks for the info (and all your reviews). I'll keep looking to see if the Kassette drops to the $13 range again.

post #170 of 201
Thread Starter 

Any suggestions for my next roundup? What do you guys think of the format? Anything I have left out that you would like me to discuss? I should be posting the new reviews very soon...

post #171 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Any suggestions for my next roundup? What do you guys think of the format? Anything I have left out that you would like me to discuss? I should be posting the new reviews very soon...

 

Nope, I kind of like the format the way it is.  Although...

 

I know you loathe putting in info about specific tracks, but if there's anyway you could work in one example track that'd be great.  Because then, not only would we know how that example track varies from unit-to-unit within the round-up, but we'd also be able to get a sense of how the cans we already own would stack up vs. the ones reviewed by listening to that same track.  Just a humble suggestion.  redface.gif

post #172 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Any suggestions for my next roundup? What do you guys think of the format? Anything I have left out that you would like me to discuss? I should be posting the new reviews very soon...

 

What about the PX200-II? That's one of the more common portables today.

 

Hope you don't get as much of a laugh out of it as I did. biggrin.gif

post #173 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

What about the PX200-II? That's one of the more common portables today.

 

Hope you don't get as much of a laugh out of it as I did. biggrin.gif

 

Hey there now...  LOL!  Although I did return mine, it wasn't for SQ reasons.

post #174 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

What about the PX200-II? That's one of the more common portables today.

 

Hope you don't get as much of a laugh out of it as I did. biggrin.gif

Actually I'm already set on the headphones for the next roundup. I'm reviewing the HD229 and HD239 but not the PX-200 II. I do hope to check out the PX-200 II eventually.

post #175 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

Nope, I kind of like the format the way it is.  Although...

 

I know you loathe putting in info about specific tracks, but if there's anyway you could work in one example track that'd be great.  Because then, not only would we know how that example track varies from unit-to-unit within the round-up, but we'd also be able to get a sense of how the cans we already own would stack up vs. the ones reviewed by listening to that same track.  Just a humble suggestion.  redface.gif

Actually I don't "loathe" giving info on specific music used for evaluating. I really liked how you did that in your review of the HD215. Especially since I am familair with some of the music you mentioned. Some other reviewers are always referencing music that I either don't know or don't like and I usually end up skipping over that. But since I have so many different headphones to review in roundup (it might be 22 this time!) it means even more writing to do and it gets overwhelming. But I may point out a few reference tracks in the introduction or summary this time.

post #176 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Actually I'm already set on the headphones for the next roundup. I'm reviewing the HD229 and HD239 but not the PX-200 II. I do hope to check out the PX-200 II eventually.

 

Yeah, I'm curious to see how the newer versions stack up.  I've got the 218i, 228, and 238, with a rather specific preference/order for them.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Actually I don't "loathe" giving info on specific music used for evaluating. I really liked how you did that in your review of the HD215. Especially since I am familair with some of the music you mentioned. Some other reviewers are always referencing music that I either don't know or don't like and I usually end up skipping over that. But since I have so many different headphones to review in roundup (it might be 22 this time!) it means even more writing to do and it gets overwhelming. But I may point out a few reference tracks in the introduction or summary this time.

 

Oh okay, just thought you were a little against the whole listing tracks thing.  Thanks for the nods on the HD 215 review.  I actually went a little overboard on that one...  wink.gif

 

But as for the track thing, it wouldn't have to be many of them at all.  In fact, one general track would just about do it.  We're basically looking for a common thread that ties them all together right?

post #177 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

Yeah, I'm curious to see how the newer versions stack up.  I've got the 218i, 228, and 238, with a rather specific preference/order for them.

 

 

Which of them do you like the most and why? From what I understand these have only been restyled and have the same drivers and sounds. (I haven't hear the 218/219)

 

And how you think they compare to the PX-100 II?

post #178 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Which of them do you like the most and why? From what I understand these have only been restyled and have the same drivers and sounds. (I haven't hear the 218/219)

 

And how you think they compare to the PX-100 II?

 

Well, the order in which I like them would be:  HD 238, then HD 218, and finally the HD 228.

 

The HD 238 is a great little portable that's very even and well-balanced in my book.  While the mids aren't recessed per se, I would definitely say that they are somewhat veiled.  I particularly like the anount of clarity and detail that it can pull off without being overly bright or sibilant.  LF response is nicely controlled and not overly bassy, though I personally wouldn't mind a bit more extension.  And for a portable, the presence of a soundstage (however small) is a welcome experience.  Of course, the main flaw of the HD 238 is that it is open (or semi-open).  So as a portable, it doesn't do so well in the isolation/leakage departments.

 

The HD 218 sounds very much like a closed version of the HD 238, and all that such a thing would entail.  LF response is more prominent, pushing both the mids and the highs a bit farther back.  In addition, there is a bit more warmth and less brightness in the overall signature.  Different enough from the HD 238 as to be very noticeable right off the bat, but not necessarily worse.  Depending on what genre I happen to into for the day, I sometimes prefer it to the HD 218.

 

In comparison to both of the above, the HD 228 sounds heavily veiled across the entire spectrum, and darker overall.  The most annoying thing is that the highs - while present - clearly take a backseat here in both levels and clarity.  For the record, my particular HD 228 has been recabled with an A-T mic cable and a Neutrik terminator, but if anything that should make it sound better, not worse.  Still, given the choice, I would probably not purchase this again.  And had I picked it up for more than I did ($15 used) I might be a little irked.

 

I'd love to compare them to a PX 100-II, but I just can't.  The only PX 100-II I've had a decent amount of ear time with just happens to be the fake that Katun and I got.  However, I can tell you that the PX 200-II sounds like it lies between the HD 218 and the HD 228 (though far closer to the HD 218 if they were all to be put on a number line).

 

Not to spoil your upcoming round-up, but would you say that the above is somewhat close to your impressions so far?

post #179 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

Not to spoil your upcoming round-up, but would you say that the above is somewhat close to your impressions so far?

For the most part, yes. The HD239 is a very impressive headphone. The clarity and detail is great and the soundstage is very good even though it is not necessarily airy. Perhaps there is a slight lack of richness in the mids as well. I find the HD229 to sound quite similar but with less imaging and soundstage and a less pronounced low end. I'm wondering if the recabling that was done on yours has affected the sound. Using a "mic" cable is probably not a good match for the headphone, even if it is a better quality. Cables do have a very important part in the way a headphone sounds. I actually find it odd that both the HD229 and HD239 have a rather thin and flimsy cable even compared to the PX-100 II. But it could be that there are certain properties to that specific wire that just work best with those drivers. I have to think that Senn must know what they're doing. (For the record, there are quite a few headphones in my current roundup that have detachable cables and I wish more manufacturers would do that).

 

I will also give the HD229/239 very high marks for comfort. Those pads are very unique and I tend to be more critical of comfort and fit since I wear glasses. I can wear either for a long time with no problems.

 

I forgot that you and Katun ended up with fake PX-100 II's. Sorry to hear about that. The HD229/239 are much brigher than the PX-100 II and the HD239 has a tighter bass. They really are just totally different and if you were to spend a lot of time with the HD239 (or 238) and then put on the PX-100 II you would find it dark and veiled in comparison. Having said that the PX-100 II has better mids and would be less fatiguing (as far as sound) for long periods.

 

So, I do like both of these Sennheisers a lot. But they are a bit on the pricey side for what you are getting. There is some very strong competition in that price bracket and I've been extremely impressed with some others that will be in the roundup review; such as the new Beyerdynamic DTX-501p, the Ultrasone HFI-15G, and even the Noontec Zoro. All of those are worthy competitors and come in at a slightly lower price than the HD239. A lot of people would argue for the entry level Grados as a great choice as well. I have had the Alessandro MS-1 for many years and while I do like them a lot, I just can't wear them for more than an hour. And that cable just doesn't work for portable use.

post #180 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

For the most part, yes. The HD239 is a very impressive headphone. The clarity and detail is great and the soundstage is very good even though it is not necessarily airy. Perhaps there is a slight lack of richness in the mids as well. I find the HD229 to sound quite similar but with less imaging and soundstage and a less pronounced low end. I'm wondering if the recabling that was done on yours has affected the sound. Using a "mic" cable is probably not a good match for the headphone, even if it is a better quality. Cables do have a very important part in the way a headphone sounds. I actually find it odd that both the HD229 and HD239 have a rather thin and flimsy cable even compared to the PX-100 II. But it could be that there are certain properties to that specific wire that just work best with those drivers. I have to think that Senn must know what they're doing. (For the record, there are quite a few headphones in my current roundup that have detachable cables and I wish more manufacturers would do that).

 

Well, the unit (being used) came in it's current recabled state.  I had thought of doing my own recable (simple Litz braid, nothing fancy) but I've just been too darn busy and lazy to get around to it.  In general, I am not opposed to thin cabling, but I do think that Sennheiser could have chosen to be a bit more thoughtful here.  Even if the thin cable is preferable from an SQ persepctive, I certainly would not have minded if they braided it for better durability.  I am wholly with you on the detachable cables thing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

I will also give the HD229/239 very high marks for comfort. Those pads are very unique and I tend to be more critical of comfort and fit since I wear glasses. I can wear either for a long time with no problems.

 

I concur as I definitely dig those pads.  I don't know if this holds true for the updated versions, but there was a slight difference in the HD 2X8 pads.  Both the HD 218 and the HD 228 have fully pleather pads (with the exception of the mesh ear port).  By contrast, the HD 238 had a felt/velvety cloth pad covering with just a bit of pleather on the face of the pad (again, with the exception of the mesh ear port).  i'm not sure if this had a significant impact on sound, but I did find the HD 238 a bit more comfortable.

 

Also, fun fact, did you know that the mesh ear port does NOT line up with the driver (at least not in the HD 228)?  The center of the driver is slightly below the centerline of the cup.  But the other (interior) side of the ear pad has it's opening at the top of the oval so that it doesn't line up with the driver.  Somewhere inside the pad, that channel snakes down so that the exit is at the bottom of the oval by the time it reaches the outside of the pad.  Not sure what that's about but those wild and wacky Germans must have their reasons.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

I forgot that you and Katun ended up with fake PX-100 II's. Sorry to hear about that. The HD229/239 are much brigher than the PX-100 II and the HD239 has a tighter bass. They really are just totally different and if you were to spend a lot of time with the HD239 (or 238) and then put on the PX-100 II you would find it dark and veiled in comparison. Having said that the PX-100 II has better mids and would be less fatiguing (as far as sound) for long periods.

 

Yeah, we got faked out big time.  Having said that, both Katun and I agree that the fakes weren't that bad SQ wise.  But they were still fakes and are thus hellspawn by nature.  It's actually funny as Katun and I share impressions all the time... but to date the only unit that we've both heard is the fake PX 100-II.  We both had the exact same impressions of that unit though, so I'd trust a blind rec from Katun.  Well actually, we did kind of disagree somewhat on the HD 215 (which is why he never posted a review for that as it would not have been glowing - not to say that mine was).

 

I can totally picture the contrast you're painting between the HD 239 and the PX 100-II there.  They (Sennheiser) weren't kidding when they were prattling on and on about that whole precision and clarity thing in the HD 238.  Perhaps a bit dry sounding at times, but still very fast and tight in an age where loosy goosy low ends seem to dominate the landscape.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

So, I do like both of these Sennheisers a lot. But they are a bit on the pricey side for what you are getting.

 

Well on that note, I got a particularly good deal.  As I bought the HD 218i, HD 228, and HD 238 used, I only paid $60 for all three.  Beat that with a stick, LOL!  BTW, in case anyone is looking for a good deal on used Senns (of all types), there's a fellow Head-Fier here who is liquidating a large part of his collection.  FearSC549 is his member name, and I believe he even has an open classified somewhere around here.  I found him on Craigslist (of all places).  I thought he was just selling refurbed Senns or something, but as I'm talking to him (during the transaction), he starts talking about Neutrik connectors, Audez'es and psychoacoustics.  So then I ask if he's ever heard of Head-Fi, and it turns out he was a member.  What a weird way to meet a fellow Head-Fier IRL...

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