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Compact Portable Headphone Roundup (16 Phones including PortaPro, PX-100 II, V-Jays, Tracks,... - Page 3

post #31 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post
I do think any respectable Head-Fi'er should own at least one set of compact portables that meets their tastes. They're fairly inexpensive, fun, lightweight, and portable! I would never take my better full-size phones with me when I'm out and about or traveling.

 

Being a non-respectable head-fi'er, and having only just recently become serious about headphones, I am currently very happy with my Koss KSC75's (on cheapo headband) that I have had for approx 3 weeks. And, I am suspecting that I will be elated with the PX100-II's once I get them. It was a semi-stressful affair settling on those two pairs - I can get a bit obsessive, and was relieved once I made up my mind. What I am afraid of now though is the thought of "better full-size phones". Sounds stressful! Do I really need them? I think that I will keep my expectations low enough so that these portables will keep me happy. Wish me luck!

post #32 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by WAYNENUMM View Post

 

Being a non-respectable head-fi'er, and having only just recently become serious about headphones, I am currently very happy with my Koss KSC75's (on cheapo headband) that I have had for approx 3 weeks.

 

Was that KSC75 combo a recommendation from Head-Fiers?  Lol, I think I remember actually reading that thread a while back.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WAYNENUMM View Post

 

I think that I will keep my expectations low enough so that these portables will keep me happy. Wish me luck!

 

Haha, I don't think that will be possible.  The very fact that you know there is better out there will gnaw at you.  Its even worse when you haven't heard them because you have no idea how much better.  If you hear them, at least you'll be able to do an improvement vs cost analysis.  But without hearing them - who knows - they could sound like a kajillion times better in your mind!  And you'll know that deep down in your soul, you were MEANT to have them!

post #33 of 201
Why is the Portapro so popular? Imo it is not worth around $40. The Sportapro at around $20 is almost exactly the same thing(but looks different). At around $20 the Sportapro seems like a much better value than the Portapro, although it comes nowhere near the value of the $13 JVC HA-S160. I guess the main difference though is that the HA-S160 is closed and the Portapro/Sportapro are open. I am trying to find foam earpads that will fit the HA-S160.
post #34 of 201

And in a related question, why is the KTXPro1 so cheap?  From what I gather, its supposed to use a premium version of the Portapro's driver.  Logic would dictate that it should cost more, and yet it seems like its perpetually $15 over at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00007056H/

post #35 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

From my point of view, the PX 200-II is fairly well-balanced in terms of its overall presentation, in the sense that I would not characterize it as swinging either dark or bright.  I also wouldn't call it full or lush.  Seems that there are certain recesses in the transition from mid-bass to mids, and in the transition from mids-to-highs as well.  I would assume that this is why Mike detected the "forward upper mids".  I find the mids to be neither forward nor laid back - just slightly accentuated by virtue of being well-bracketed by recesses.

 

I certainly agree with him in that these are not bright (not at all as per my tastes).  I think he's spot on there.  So while I'm fine with this unit for many genres, I wouldn't grab this on the way out on those days that I pine for something acoustic.  And because of this, I don't find them particularly lively or engaging - certainly not enough to say that they've got the "perfect amount of liveliness".  They are what they are, a very even keel pair of ultra portables that have clearly inherited the Sennheiser legacy of balanced presentation. 

 

Thanks for the impressions.

 

After nearly a year of listening to the PX100-II, going to the PX200-II was a very difficult task; all the while, going to something like the SRH1440 was easy -- even welcomed. PX200-II just doesn't have a direct enough sound. Everything in the sound sounds like it's got the bare minimal thickness to even be considered a sound, if you know what I mean. Most headphones have a thickness to the note presentation that makes it feel like a specific segment has actually weight and presence, while the PX200-II does not. As mentioned, seriously twisting the EQ bring it up to something "technically" more neutral to my ears, but still lacks musicality. Stock, I find the presentation very, very far from a neutral and balanced sound; although the spectrum is sorta balanced among itself, but the presentation of the spectrum makes the whole balanced/neutral thing non-existent. Not a fun way to listen to music IMO, and I can't name a single genre I'd like it on. Which is definitely too bad, because a similar PX100-II with a slightly different approach to the sound (more neutral) would have been a great alternative.

 

Not arguing with your impressions or anything, those are just my personal ones. smile.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

I haven't heard the PX-200 II so I can't comment, but Katun's impression is something I haven't heard much. Most people have given them at least a favorable review. But I'm intrigued because I know he is a big fan of the PX-100 II. Have you read this one?:

 

http://www.headfonia.com/ultra-portable-shootout-px100-px200-portapro-k404-v-jays-tracks-oldskool-and-hd238/

 

Mike's review is pretty well-done (although his English is not the best, I think he's from Singapore) and he compares the two Senns. I'm inclined to differ with him overall in regards to his shootout. He rated the V-Jays as the best, over the PX-100 II and AIAIAI Tracks, and seems to prefer the PX-200II over the PX-100II. It's a good review though and he did some nice photos.

 

Mike's review is the reason I bought the V-Jays. I was hoping for an upgraded portable that could finally take down the PX100-II...

 

Haha, nope. Not even close.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

I don't know about you guys, but I find myself automatically lowering my expectations when listening to portables - especially compact portables.

 

I used to think that way, especially when listening to IEMs. But after my PX100-II, HD598, HD600, HD650 shootout, I've had unusually high expectations for portables.

 

Perhaps the PX100-II is a one time exception, though...

post #36 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

Thanks for the impressions.

 

Not arguing with your impressions or anything, those are just my personal ones. smile.gif

 

You're welcome of course!  One of the best things about Head-Fi is the sharing of impressions.  Sometimes we reach consensus, sometimes we don't, but we'll always get a better idea of what we're listening to/through.  And that is a good thing!  Actually, it seems like we agree in some key areas.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

Everything in the sound sounds like it's got the bare minimal thickness to even be considered a sound, if you know what I mean. Most headphones have a thickness to the note presentation that makes it feel like a specific segment has actually weight and presence, while the PX200-II does not.

 

Sure, that's what I was trying to describe when I said that it wasn't full or lush.  The PX 200-II can sound very clean and precise - which is more or less what I expect from Senns - but at the expense of being robust.  I've actually read that the PX 100-II tends to sound more like a classic AKG as opposed to a Sennheiser (a fun presence, weighted a bit heavier in the low end, etc.).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

Stock, I find the presentation very, very far from a neutral and balanced sound; although the spectrum is sorta balanced among itself, but the presentation of the spectrum makes the whole balanced/neutral thing non-existent.

 

Oh no, I wouldn't say neutral per se.  Like I was saying with the recesses, there do seem to be some dry/sparse spots that I feel should be there.  Were it truly neutral, I don't think I'd perceive those holes.  But being balanced in terms of overall spectrum, in the sense that it is not a bassy/muddy mess or a bright/sibilant shrill, yes I would definitely say that.  When compared to the K422s, the PX 200-II can sound somewhat "clinical".  And while I don't necessarily favor that, I can definitely appreciate it on a certain level.  It works well for 80s/90s technopop (when people were making the transition from analog synths to digital synthesis and sampling, but the digital synthesis and sampling weren't that good back if you know what I mean).

post #37 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

Oh no, I wouldn't say neutral per se.  Like I was saying with the recesses, there do seem to be some dry/sparse spots that I feel should be there.  Were it truly neutral, I don't think I'd perceive those holes.  But being balanced in terms of overall spectrum, in the sense that it is not a bassy/muddy mess or a bright/sibilant shrill, yes I would definitely say that.  When compared to the K422s, the PX 200-II can sound somewhat "clinical".  And while I don't necessarily favor that, I can definitely appreciate it on a certain level.  It works well for 80s/90s technopop (when people were making the transition from analog synths to digital synthesis and sampling, but the digital synthesis and sampling weren't that good back if you know what I mean).

 

Yeah, I was referring more in regards to "overall spectrum" and not as a benchmark in the industry. The sound is balanced amongst itself pretty decently, but the presentation throws the concept of "sounding right" out the window. I do find the bass is the most lacking aspect in the spectrum, as well. While at times, I even find the PX100-II as slightly bass light, even though it had a touch more than the HD600. Overall though, bass and midrange is definitely what I would consider "better" on the PX100-II. Treble is more prominent on the PX200-II, but that may be partially based on recessed midrange and bass. However, I really like the smooth treble of the PX100-II, but occasionally finding myself boosting that region around 2-3db.

 

Interesting though, I swapped pads between them. NOT a good idea! The PX200-II sounded about a bazillion times worse, haha. biggrin.gif

post #38 of 201
Thread Starter 

warrenpchi:

 

Thanks a lot for your very detailed answers about the K422. The mesh earpads do sound like a much better alternative than the pleather on the K430. I'm still seeing the K422 for around $30 online and that seems like a great deal. Had I paid close to $100 for the K430's I would have been very disappointed because of the comfort issues. Many people think the sound is drastically different between the open K420/K422 and the closed K430. I may pick up a pair of them for review based on your impressions.

post #39 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WAYNENUMM View Post

 

Being a non-respectable head-fi'er, and having only just recently become serious about headphones, I am currently very happy with my Koss KSC75's (on cheapo headband) that I have had for approx 3 weeks. And, I am suspecting that I will be elated with the PX100-II's once I get them. It was a semi-stressful affair settling on those two pairs - I can get a bit obsessive, and was relieved once I made up my mind. What I am afraid of now though is the thought of "better full-size phones". Sounds stressful! Do I really need them? I think that I will keep my expectations low enough so that these portables will keep me happy. Wish me luck!

 

Well, there are worse things to stress and obsess about! You should have a pretty satisfying time with the PX-100 II's and they really are a great value for what you paid. As far as the full-size cans...it's worth looking to see if you can find a great deal on something. I like having those around when I'm at home and want to do some late night listening etc. Everyone is different. For some of us, we get GASsed (Gear Aquisistion Syndrome) about stuff and we end up with a big collection that would seem frivolous to a lot of people. But it is true that phones like the PX-100 II and even the PortaPro are "gateways" into Head-Fi. Just enjoy yourself and be sure to post your impressions. smily_headphones1.gif

post #40 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JK1 View Post

Why is the Portapro so popular? Imo it is not worth around $40. The Sportapro at around $20 is almost exactly the same thing(but looks different). At around $20 the Sportapro seems like a much better value than the Portapro, although it comes nowhere near the value of the $13 JVC HA-S160. I guess the main difference though is that the HA-S160 is closed and the Portapro/Sportapro are open. I am trying to find foam earpads that will fit the HA-S160.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

And in a related question, why is the KTXPro1 so cheap?  From what I gather, its supposed to use a premium version of the Portapro's driver.  Logic would dictate that it should cost more, and yet it seems like its perpetually $15 over at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00007056H/

I guess the PortaPro is just one of those iconic products. I still think it sounds really good. You can imagine how it blew people away 25 years ago and it really had no real competition until the first PX-100 came out. I haven't heard the SportaPro but just because they have the same drivers doesn't mean they will sound identical.

 

I'm pretty keen to check out the HA-S160 because of what I've read from you and many others. And I did really like the HA-S650. But, for $13 there have to be some drawbacks...we''ll see. I may review them soon.

 

As for the KTXPro1...my understanding is that it uses the upgraded PortaPro driver which employs a Titanium coating. It's the same one that is used on the KSC75, which is pretty legendary especially with the headband mod (another I will likely check out). But man, I'm sorry...the KTXPro1 is really dorky and cheap looking. I'm actually not usually that concerned about aesthetics, but I'm not sure I'd want to be seen in those. They look like a cross between an AARP free gift and a Fischer-Price toy. Sorry Koss... 

post #41 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatunView Post

 

 

Mike's review is the reason I bought the V-Jays. I was hoping for an upgraded portable that could finally take down the PX100-II...

 

Haha, nope. Not even close.

 

 

I agree totally. I still think the V-Jays are a nice phone, but just find them too shrill and tiring. I've found them to be suitable for certain kinds of music though. But I couldn't champion them as a "Best All-Rounder". I definitely put the PX-100 II and the AIAIAI Tracks ahead of the V-Jays. As far as his inclusion of the HD 238 in that shootout, I agree that it was odd, but also interesting in that he really didn't have much of anything good say about it. It also seems strange that he chose to review the AKG K404 instead of the K420/K422/K430.

 

But I won't fault a guy for really loving a particular headphone. It's just so subjective. People need to keep that in mind before they go out and buy something and find it disappointing and then think "Oh, man! I never should have listened to so-and-so!" A good example of that here on Head-Fi is the Meelec HT-21. ljokerl and many others whom I definitely respect really seem to love it. I hated it, even for $20...oh well.


Edited by postrock - 7/9/12 at 2:15pm
post #42 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

Interesting though, I swapped pads between them. NOT a good idea! The PX200-II sounded about a bazillion times worse, haha. biggrin.gif

 

Yeah it's funny how that works.  I've heard cases where even a minor change in pad thickness (same materials otherwise) will just kill a pair of cans dead.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

warrenpchi:

 

Thanks a lot for your very detailed answers about the K422. The mesh earpads do sound like a much better alternative than the pleather on the K430. I'm still seeing the K422 for around $30 online and that seems like a great deal. Had I paid close to $100 for the K430's I would have been very disappointed because of the comfort issues. Many people think the sound is drastically different between the open K420/K422 and the closed K430. I may pick up a pair of them for review based on your impressions.

 

Sure, no prob.  I am a big fan of these pads and I hope AKG uses them more often (or makes them available for special order at the very least).  i know some of the people that took advantage of the deal aren't thrilled with them so there are some floating around in the classifieds here for nearly what they paid.  Can probably invoke the no-flipping rule to bring that down a little more.  I honestly did not think that I would like them NEARLY as much as I do.  They're a "fun" (sound-wise) pair of open portables in the best tradition of that special AKG-fun-sound if you know what I mean.  And at first I kind of lamented the semi-open backness of it, but then I tried covering the vents with my hands... BIG MISTAKE!  I'm not sure what the audiophile term is, but I would describe the resulting sound as dookie.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

As for the KTXPro1...my understanding is that it uses the upgraded PortaPro driver which employs a Titanium coating. It's the same one that is used on the KSC75, which is pretty legendary especially with the headband mod (another I will likely check out). But man, I'm sorry...the KTXPro1 is really dorky and cheap looking. I'm actually not usually that concerned about aesthetics, but I'm not sure I'd want to be seen in those. They look like a cross between an AARP free gift and a Fischer-Price toy. Sorry Koss... 

 

Oh don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the toy-like appearance.  If I ever get those, first chance I get I'm taking a can of Krylon to it.  But if the drivers are the same as the KSC75, and that price holds, I just don't know if its possible to get cheaper goodness (even with KSC75 + cheapo headband).  smile.gif  I'm slightly curious so I may pick one up, but honestly I'm having too much fun exploring my new K422 and HD 238 (picked that up couple of days ago as well).

post #43 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

People need to keep that in mind before they go out and buy something and find it disappointing and then think "Oh, man! I never should have listened to so-and-so!" A good example of that here on Head-Fi is the Meelec HT-21. ljokerl and many others whom I definitely respect really seem to love it. I hated it, even for $20...oh well.

 

+1.  I now find myself in the habit of remembering what genres people like and why.  It helps me to put their recommedations in perspective.  It also makes me think twice about making a certain recommendation to others.  For the record guys, I listen to pretty much everything with the exception of the following four genres (and their variants):  Metal, Hip Hop, Experimental (eg. Phillip Glass, etc.), and Chinese Opera.  Nothing against them, just not my cup of tea.  Now that I think about it, bunch of my friends think I'm kinda strange for not liking Hip Hop, and even stranger being an Asian American in Los Angeles listening to Country.  Whatevs.  Right now I'm alternating between Brostep and Bossa Nova.  But more importantly, I seemed to have wandered WAY off topic.

post #44 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

+1.  I now find myself in the habit of remembering what genres people like and why.  It helps me to put their recommedations in perspective.  It also makes me think twice about making a certain recommendation to others.  For the record guys, I listen to pretty much everything with the exception of the following four genres (and their variants):  Metal, Hip Hop, Experimental (eg. Phillip Glass, etc.), and Chinese Opera.  Nothing against them, just not my cup of tea.  Now that I think about it, bunch of my friends think I'm kinda strange for not liking Hip Hop, and even stranger being an Asian American in Los Angeles listening to Country.  Whatevs.  Right now I'm alternating between Brostep and Bossa Nova.  But more importantly, I seemed to have wandered WAY off topic.

That's a great point actually. I guess I would be remiss if I didn't give the readers of this review some idea of what I listen to. As my moniker suggests, I do listen to a lot of "postrock". For those that are not familiar with this genre it includes artists such as Stereolab, Tortoise, Jaga Jazzist, etc. I also listen to some alternative (Radiohead, Bjork, Deerhoof, Field Music, PJ Harvey, etc.), electronica (Boards of Canada, Bonobo, Blondes, Kate Simko), classic jazz, occasional classic rock, some classical.

 

I do not listen to metal, Top 40, or rap. And I rarely listen to 80's music.

 

Love that you mentioned Bossa Nova. There are some great analog stereo recordings from the late 50's/early 60's that have terrific warmth and depth that you don't often hear these days. Most were made in the very early years of the Hi-Fi age. Even some contemporary Bossa Nova is quite good. In fact, one of my reference recordings in evaluating these headphones is "August Day Song" from Bebel Gilberto's "Tanto Tempo" album. This song features her singing a duet (with very pronounced left/right panning) with Nina Miranda. Both vocalists sound amazing and the other instruments, basically nylon-string guitar and percussion are beautifully recorded. This recording can be very revealing and will bring out the strengths and weaknesses of any headphone and is a good reference for sounstaging as well. I said in my introduction that I wasn't going to reference any specific music, but I just thought I would share.

post #45 of 201
Quote:
For those that are not familiar with this genre it includes artists such as Stereolab, Tortoise, Jaga Jazzist, etc. I also listen to some alternative (Radiohead, Bjork, Deerhoof, Field Music, PJ Harvey, etc.), electronica (Boards of Canada, Bonobo, Blondes, Kate Simko), classic jazz, occasional classic rock, some classical.

 

Looks like I have some listening to do! The only band above that I am familar with is Radiohead (well, "familiar" isn't quite correct.. "addicted to" might be more appropriate lol!).

 

 

Quote:
Even some contemporary Bossa Nova is quite good. In fact, one of my reference recordings in evaluating these headphones is "August Day Song" from Bebel Gilberto's "Tanto Tempo" album. This song features her singing a duet (with very pronounced left/right panning) with Nina Miranda. Both vocalists sound amazing and the other instruments, basically nylon-string guitar and percussion are beautifully recorded. This recording can be very revealing and will bring out the strengths and weaknesses of any headphone and is a good reference for sounstaging as well. I said in my introduction that I wasn't going to reference any specific music, but I just thought I would share.

 

I love Tanto Tempo! I didn't realize that it is Bossa Nova (I didn't even know what that was!), but yes, that album, and August Day Song in particular, is gorgeous - even on my cheapo KSC75's! (don't have my PX100-II's yet).  wink_face.gif

 

Anyway, thanks for mentioning those other artists - I'll be checking them out.

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