Wanted to weigh in on PS500 and particularly bass performance. After reading reviews extensively, I purchased my PS500 headphones a few months ago. I've had 225s for years, and with the promise of more bass and less of the sometimes too-thick high-mids and highs of the 225s, figured the 500s would be perfect for most music. (And they are, although I kept my 225s because I think they're superior for some classical and jazz recordings. Makes me wonder what the RS1 and GS1000 must be like.)
Here are a few comments I wanted to write down because in many months of researching reviews and opinions, no one seemed to mention ...
PS500 bass disappoints, but let me explain. Yes, it's far stronger than the 225's and indeed, very well-rounded for many recordings. But here's what happened ... I needed a set of enclosed cans for those times either I or the people around me seek solitude. This isn't usual, so I went rather low-budget with a pair of Bose AE2s thinking that all closed-back cans were a compromise anyway. Then I started noticing, on some tracks, bass on the AE2s I wasn't even getting on the Grados. Some of my girlfriend's music got sync'ed to my iPod (and a headphone amp) and I caught a song called Never Ever by Ciara, which I'd never heard before, and the bass is addictive when played through the Bose. Not muddy and over-bearing like a pair of Beats, just balanced and pleasant. On this track and a others like it (Michael McDonald's "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" is another example) a lowly pair of Bose cans imo outshine a relatively high-end pair of audiophile cans, a comparison that'll get laughed at in most headphone forums ... it's a contest between hearing most of the spectrum delivered fairly well, versus hearing part of it delivered very well and other parts poorly.
I see in some posts mention that the PS500's lack "thumping bass" but I'm not talking about thumping ... just solid reproduction of the 10-30hz range, which is a defining aspect in only one of perhaps 50 tracks I own but very satisfying when present. I began to listen closely to applicable tracks and frequency tests on the PS500s. The low stuff's there, but it's almost non-existent. It certainly doesn't hit you in that same satisfying way. Looking at frequency response charts, the PS500s do fall off under 50hz but not nearly like the 225/325 series.
So here I am with a set PS500s, happy with them for much of the music I play, but find myself using Bose AE2s, even when privacy's not needed, to experience that extra range. Doesn't seem right. Make no mistake, the PS500s flat out crush the AE2s in many respects such as the clarity of mids, voice and detail. Quite amazing in that respect. However, I wonder if I should be disappointed that I have a set of $600 cans that won't reproduce the complete audible frequency with sufficient authority. It seems ironic to say that Grados, which I've come to expect to provide detail other phones lack, also miss details that lesser phones deliver.
Maybe this is all to be expected? Designs are tradeoffs and one can't do it all? One needs a basic pair of closed-back cans to complete the collection? Are open-back cans, by design, even capable of delivering those ultra-low frequencies? Can any open-back cans do so while providing the lush qualities attained elsewhere? A pair of PS500s that had the 10-30hz response of the Bose AE2s would, right now, be my absolute choice. I notice the PS500's response from 10 - 1000hz is about identical to the PS1000's (a model deemed top end by many) so I assume the PS1000s have the same shortcoming ... and I believe my present emotion would be alot more unhappy had I experienced this epiphany for myself on a pair of $1700 PS1000s.
Edited by desmo9 - 4/1/13 at 6:46pm