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Compact Portable Headphone Roundup (16 Phones including PortaPro, PX-100 II, V-Jays, Tracks,... - Page 7

post #91 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Another shootout/roundup coming soon!

 

I will be writing another set of reviews in the next few weeks. It will feature "Mid-sized" headphones, some Supra-aural and some Circumnaural. This time around I definitely do not have the resources to acquire my own review samples so several manufacturers have been kind enough to send them to me. And I am waiting to hear back from others. I will probably use the Denon AH-D1001 as my benchmark, even though they are discontinued (although readers should get some insight as to the SQ of the CAL! since they share the same drivers). I will also include in the review my Fischer Audio FA-004 even though I have had them for a while (this will also help readers who may be looking at the Incipio F38 or Brainwavz HM-3). I will also include the Eskuche 33i, even though I much prefer the ultra-compact Kassette model from my last review. In addition to those three, I will be receiving review samples of the following:

 

Sennheiser HD229

Sennheiser HD239

JVC HA-S600

JVC HA-M750

German Maestro GMP 160

KRK KNS-6400

AIAIAI Capital

 

I am still awaiting word from at least a dozen or so other manufacturers to see if they are willing to participate.

 

You can be sure I will continue to be objective and unbiased in my reviews. I feel strongly that comparison reviews are the most valuable. Many stand-alone reviews, while useful, seem more like advertisements for the manufacturer.

 

So, does anyone have other recommendations for headphones that should be included in this review? My only criteria are:

 

Mid-sized

Reasonably portable

Easily driven

Less than $200.00 MSRP

 

I would aprreciate your input/suggestions!

 

Thanks...

Update - Added to list of headphones which will be reviewed:

 

Incase Sonic

Incase Reflex

post #92 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Thanks...haven't heard back from A-T but I did inquire about that model. How do you like it vs. the FC700A?

 

Sound-wise, it's got a much more substantial low end to the sound than the FC700A, and as you might expect, it has a more laid-back, less bright feel to it. I do a little bit of EQ adjustment with them,  a bump in the upper mids, and that combined with the beefier low end makes for an enjoyable sound. Is it a reference, studio-monitor type sound? No....but it is fun. 

Both are easily driven by my Sansa Clip Zip, even with my files ReplayGained. 

post #93 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead View Post

 

Sound-wise, it's got a much more substantial low end to the sound than the FC700A, and as you might expect, it has a more laid-back, less bright feel to it. I do a little bit of EQ adjustment with them,  a bump in the upper mids, and that combined with the beefier low end makes for an enjoyable sound. Is it a reference, studio-monitor type sound? No....but it is fun. 

Both are easily driven by my Sansa Clip Zip, even with my files ReplayGained. 

Thanks, I hope I get to try them!

post #94 of 201
Thread Starter 

Subjective Ranking (in Compact Portable Roundup)

 

As mentioned in my summary, sometimes a scoring system can be flawed and the finals score of all the headphones in the review should be viewed as purely analytical. It goes without saying that a headphone with many great attributes but also one major flaw is not going to get a lot of use and enjoyment. A great sounding headphone that is uncomfortable is the most common example of this.  In fact, something that manages to do all things satisfactorily (if not amazingly) can be a better choice. So, with consideration to SQ, comfort, value, and build quality/design I have ranked all the headphones purely by my own level of enjoyment and satisfaction. Those near the top of the list are always out and probably listened to at least every few days and also shared with friends and colleagues. Those in the middle are taken out and used on a somewhat regular basis for variety. The ones at the very bottom will gather dust in a drawer somewhere.

 

1. Sennheiser PX-100 II

Still tops in SQ, comfort

2. AIAIAI Tracks

Just so engaging and dynamic; I’m always impressed when I put them on. They are, for brighter sounding headphones, what the PX-100 II is for "warmer" sounding phones

3. JVC HA-S650

The comfort factor is a huge plus, “darkish” sound is not hard to get used to

4. Audio-Technica ATH-FC700A

I reach for these when I want great SQ and decent isolation

5. Incase Pivot

Terrific all-rounder and has grown on me quite a bit

6. Koss PortaPro

Comfy and fat sounding and is great for certain genres

7. AKG K430

Outstanding SQ makes the minor comfort issues excusable

8. Jays V-Jays

I still like them but comfort and fatigue are minuses

9. Eskuche Kassette

Simple, inexpensive, fun, and enjoyable

10. Denon AH-P372

I love the sound of these, but comfort and build quality disappoint

11. Cresyn C550S

Does everything well, nothing spectacular

12. Fischer Audio Oldskool ‘70’s

Weak bass is almost always a letdown with these

13. Pioneer SE-MJ21

Not too bad for a bass-heavy headphone

14. Soundmagic P20

Decent drivers are wasted in this design

15. Urbanears Tanto

Flawed design and flimsy feeling

16. Meelec HT-21

The worst for those who do not like forward upper mids - I can’t tolerate them for more than a few songs

 

There you have it. gs1000.gif


Edited by postrock - 7/26/12 at 10:57am
post #95 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock 

 

Well, it looks like I will be reviewing the HD229 and HD239 very soon. Sennheiser is sending me review samples. See next post...

 

Awesome!  I'm rapidly becoming a fan of the HD 238 so it'd be nice to see if anything has changed significantly.  

 

I also picked up an HD 218i the other day as I wanted something like my HD 238, only closed.  Short on time at the moment, but lemme just say that while it is closed, it doesn't come close.  Pity...

post #96 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Another shootout/roundup coming soon!

 

I will be writing another set of reviews in the next few weeks. It will feature "Mid-sized" headphones, some Supra-aural and some Circumnaural. This time around I definitely do not have the resources to acquire my own review samples so several manufacturers have been kind enough to send them to me. And I am waiting to hear back from others. I will probably use the Denon AH-D1001 as my benchmark, even though they are discontinued (although readers should get some insight as to the SQ of the CAL! since they share the same drivers). I will also include in the review my Fischer Audio FA-004 even though I have had them for a while (this will also help readers who may be looking at the Incipio F38 or Brainwavz HM-3). I will also include the Eskuche 33i, even though I much prefer the ultra-compact Kassette model from my last review. In addition to those three, I will be receiving review samples of the following:

 

Sennheiser HD229

Sennheiser HD239

JVC HA-S600

JVC HA-M750

German Maestro GMP 160

KRK KNS-6400

AIAIAI Capital

 

I am still awaiting word from at least a dozen or so other manufacturers to see if they are willing to participate.

 

You can be sure I will continue to be objective and unbiased in my reviews. I feel strongly that comparison reviews are the most valuable. Many stand-alone reviews, while useful, seem more like advertisements for the manufacturer.

 

So, does anyone have other recommendations for headphones that should be included in this review? My only criteria are:

 

Mid-sized

Reasonably portable

Easily driven

Less than $200.00 MSRP

 

I would aprreciate your input/suggestions!

 

Thanks...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Update - Added to list of headphones which will be reviewed:

 

Incase Sonic

Incase Reflex

Update: The review will now also include:

 

Superlux HD661

Superlux HD631

post #97 of 201

How about the cheap hd202 mkII  and also hd439 (to include closed headphone that use velour instead of pleather for those who like velour more than pleather)

post #98 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by tendou View Post

How about the cheap hd202 mkII  and also hd439 (to include closed headphone that use velour instead of pleather for those who like velour more than pleather)

 

Well, I think that if postrock did that, he would be single-handedly redefining "compact portable"... and not necessarily in a cool and revolutionary paradigm-shift kind of way.  smile.gif

post #99 of 201

what do you mean?
 

post #100 of 201

How about including the B&W P3? 

 

It's at the very top of your price range though - I've seen it at $199.99 direct

post #101 of 201

$200 is rather high for a price cutoff. Is it fair to compare headphones that are $30 or $40 to $200 ones? Imo the price limit should be $100, and headphones that are over $100 should be in a different category. Keep in mind that 72% of headphone sales in dollars is for headphones under $25, and 22% of sales in dollars is for headphones $25-100. That leaves only 6% of headphone sales in dollars over $100. In terms of units, headphones over $100 might even be less than 2% of headphones sold in the US(and probably even less than this in poorer countries).

 

http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-02-24/industries/31094075_1_headphone-market-bob-marley-marley-family/2

post #102 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tendou View Post

How about the cheap hd202 mkII  and also hd439 (to include closed headphone that use velour instead of pleather for those who like velour more than pleather)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

Well, I think that if postrock did that, he would be single-handedly redefining "compact portable"... and not necessarily in a cool and revolutionary paradigm-shift kind of way.  smile.gif

Thanks for the suggestions. Just to clarify a few things:

 

I chose to evaluate the HD229 and HD239 because they are similar looking but the HD229 is closed and has pleather earpads and the HD239 is open and uses velour. My contact at Sennheiser was kind enough to send me those two for review and I don't want to get overwhelmed with too many Senns. But I can always think about testing other models in th future.

 

Also, I think what warrenpchi is saying is that the HD439 is not what most people would consider a portable.

 

However, this next roundup is not going to include true compact portables. They are mostly mid-sized cans and some are even full-sized "monitor" style. But just as in my last review, I will try to put them into groups so they are fairly compared.

post #103 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post

How about including the B&W P3? 

 

It's at the very top of your price range though - I've seen it at $199.99 direct

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK1 View Post

$200 is rather high for a price cutoff. Is it fair to compare headphones that are $30 or $40 to $200 ones? Imo the price limit should be $100, and headphones that are over $100 should be in a different category. Keep in mind that 72% of headphone sales in dollars is for headphones under $25, and 22% of sales in dollars is for headphones $25-100. That leaves only 6% of headphone sales in dollars over $100. In terms of units, headphones over $100 might even be less than 2% of headphones sold in the US(and probably even less than this in poorer countries).

 

http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-02-24/industries/31094075_1_headphone-market-bob-marley-marley-family/2

I would love to check out the B & W phones but haven't heard anything back from them. But JK1 makes a very good point.

 

I first posted that $200 cutoff because I put out so many requests for review samples and I still don't know what I may or may not be able to include. It's looking like most of the headphones are going to be in the $50-$100 range, whereas the 16 models in my Compact Roundup ranged from $20-$70 (street price). But just as before, I will consider the price strongly in term of value for the money.

 

And, while there were some notable exceptions to the group in my first roundup, I feel that it was a pretty good selection of low-priced cans.

 

So, for now, I don't think you'll be seeing any $200 headphones in my next review.

 

Thanks also JK1 for posting the article. It's so true that there is now a huge market for step-up headphones and IEM's for portable devices. What really gets me though is that SO many consumers are sucked into the celebrity endorsed "fashion" phones such as the Beats, Soul, Fanny Wang, and even the high-end Marley's. I feel the same way about Bose, even though they are not a fashion brand. Most of those are well over $100 and I see them EVERYWHERE when I'm out and about. I don't know how the huge sales of those headphones can account for only 2% of total headphone sales in the U.S.. Some of them may have some good qualities but by and large they are all style and no substance and represent poor value.

post #104 of 201

I guess they probably include in the term headphones earphones as well. There are huge numbers of eabuds and IEMs under $10 being sold. There are even very usable IEMs under $10 such as the JVC Riptidz. There are a number of IEMs under $20 that sound quite decent. As far as actual headphones though, the only decent one under $20 I have found is the JVC HA-S160. I still say you should review this, as it is imo quite unique.

post #105 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by tendou View Post

what do you mean?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by postrock View Post

Also, I think what warrenpchi is saying is that the HD439 is not what most people would consider a portable.

 

Bingo!  smile.gif

 

I have a rather simplistic (and subjective) way of determining if a pair of cans are compact portables.  I have a standard laptop bag that holds my laptop, tablet, cables, miscellaneous crap and whatnot.  If I can shove a pair of cans into it after all that - without making the bag look like it's got a horrible growth that a doctor should check out - then its compact enough and portable enough for me. 

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