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Bass comparison between 6 cans (M50, HFI 580, WS55, HP700, HD219, CAL!)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all. This is my first review posted on the site, and it came about when a fellow poster, elvergun, asked for my opinions on several cans in my collection.
 
Please don't be too harsh, as I'm only posting this review from the perspective of a basshead. I crave a lot of bass in my headphones, especially mid-bass, and I'm always interested to hear your opinions on various basshead cans.
 
Thanks to elvergun for urging me to post this review. :)
 
Note: I wrote my review in direct comparison to the Audio-Technica M50. I think this serves as a good reference point, since the M50 is a hugely popular can on Head-Fi.
 

 

 

AUDIO-TECHNICA M50
They have decent bass quantity that is clear and punchy when called for. Nevertheless, the bass doesn't always present itself unless the track calls for it. As such, the mid-bass levels are relatively low. There is a slight extension of the bass into the sub-bass levels, but it's not very satisfying. There is some punch with the M50s, but they are alas, quite lacking.
 
The mid-range on the M50s are pretty good for a basshead can. They may be said to be recessed when compared to monitoring cans, but bassheads all know the mid-range is the most sacrificed portion of the sound range. Still, the M50 presents a relatively forward mid-range that allows for an engaging vocal presentation.
 
The highs are decent, but I found them to be a little sibilant at times. Weird, since I never really thought of them as harsh cans. They have some treble sparkle that is quite pleasing.
 
The M50 leaks a little sound - they are about average for cans.
 
AUDIO-TECHNICA WS55
The WS55 has greater bass quantity than the M50, and has quite a lot of impact, especially on EDM tunes. The bass presentation is clear, punchy and has little decay. The mid-bass hump is well extended beyond what the M50 is capable of. In fact, the sub-bass extension is slightly better too. All in all, the bass quality and quantity is superior to the M50.
 
The mid-range is where it suffers - it is quite recessed relative to the M50. Vocals sound quite distant and rock/pop songs inevitably suffer as the overall presentation sounds a bit lifeless. Soundstaging is slightly poorer off than on the M50.
 
The highs are pretty decent, with a little bit of treble sparkle present. It is about on par with the M50 in this regard.
 
Isolation wise, they actually leaked the least sound. This was quite surprising, considering the small cup size.
 
CREATIVE AURVANA LIVE!
The CAL! is a slightly bassy can that produces a beefier low-end than the M50. The bass presentation has a lot of clarity and doesn't distort at high volumes. The mid-bass and sub-bass quantity is greater than the M50, and is more prevalent when listening to EDM tunes. The mid-bass is quite punchy and engaging.
 
Mid-range on the CAL! is about on par with the M50. It can handle vocals on pop/rock songs pretty well. Soundstaging is decent and is overall a comparatively good can for most genres of music.
 
The treble is where it's lacking, as it isn't as well extended as the M50. It is acceptable for those who aren't fans of treble highs.
 
Isolation on the CAL! is where it falls short. It seems to leak more than the other 5 cans in this list.
 
DENON DJ HP700
Bass quantity on the HP700 is quite similar to the M50, with just a slight hint of greater bass presence. It is however, very clear and detailed when presenting the low-end, and this makes for a very enjoyable experience, especially if you're a fan of EDM. The mid-bass hump and sub-bass extension are about the same as the M50, with the HP700 beating it by a hair. The beats are a tad punchier on the Denon DJs, though.
 
The mid-range is a bit more forward than the M50, with slightly better soundstaging. Rock/pop songs sound very fun on the HP700.
 
The highs are about on par with the M50, but I think the latter have a bit more reach, and as a result, sound a bit more sibilant at times.
 
Isolation on the Denon DJs are about on par with the M50, but I think it leaks a little bit more.
 
SENNHEISER HD219
The bass quantity on the HD219 is about average, and doesn't overwhelm t he spectrum. The mid-bass hump is quite modest, with pretty poor sub-bass extension. The bass texture sounds muddy at times, and has the least satisfying bass presentation in this comparison. Punch is present, but is somewhat clouded by the muddy bass that leaks into the mid-range.
 
The mid-range is the most recessed in this list, and vocals sound quite distant. It doesn't sound very absorbing for most genres of music.
 
The treble is quite recessed, and lacks that bit of extension that gives tunes/songs that sparkle and clarity.
 
Isolation is decent on the HD 219, and leaks about as much as the M50.
 
ULTRASONE HFI 580
The bass quantity on the HFI 580 is greater than the M50, and is probably the bassiest can on this list, along with the WS55. The bass presentation is very clear, and the sound doesn't distort at high volumes. The mid-bass hump is quite assertive and the sub-bass extends pretty well into the lower end. Punch and impact is about on par with the WS55, but its better clarity beats it by a bit.
 
The mid-range is engaging, and is the most forward of the cans in this comparison. Vocals are presented well on the HFI 580.
 
The treble is unfortunately, similarly extended on the Utlrasone cans. They can be quite sibilant and harsh, and is the sharpest sounding can here.
 
Isolation is fair, and leaks about as much as the M50.

 


 

I hope to hear your thoughts on my review. Thanks in advance!

 

Regards.

post #2 of 13

Very interested read, it immediatly struck me you probably have had the "basslight" version of M50 as the bassheavy version has very impressive bass extension. Let me show you these two links (the first one measures better besides the FR too besides THD noise):

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50B2012.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50.pdf

 

I didn't either perceive midrange on the M50 to be lacking and found it more forward than the bass in comparision, I think we both heard the more basslight version, I also agree the highs were slightly "edgy"/sharp/harsh.

 

The second thing that struck me was that you said HFI-580 had the most forward midrange out of the bunch? Really? More forward than the very forward midrange on HP700? I've seen quite a lot of people saying the midrange is recessed on HFI-580.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 7/18/12 at 12:58am
post #3 of 13

Great comparison!

 

I urged Malevolent to post his review since there are not many threads that focus mainly on the mid-bass.  A search of this site returns only one relevant thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/439043/which-headphones-have-very-strong-midbass .   This is surprising since there are threads that focus on the bass, treable, midrange and such (The Basshead Club, The Neutral / Balanced Thread, The Treblehead Club, The Midrangehead Club, The Fun/V shaped Club, The Soundstage Head Club). 

 

I thought it would be a good idea to create a thread that focuses mainly on the mid-bass and Malevolent's review is a perfect way to start such a thread.    Many times I've seen posts from new members asking for recommendations for a headphone with good bass (the majority of them are probably looking for punchy mid-bass), yet Headfiers suggest models with excellent sub-bass capabilities.  Many of those new members ask "Where is my bass"  after they receive their brand new headphones.

 

So, in order to help members seeking slam and thump, here are a few headphones (which I own or have owned) with punchy bass :

 

PX100

HD25-1

HD558

TF10

HD650

ATH-CKM500

DT770

ATH-ESW9

MX760

HAS600

x10

UE 350

UE 500

GR06

GR99

GR02


Edited by elvergun - 7/18/12 at 7:45am
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

Very interested read, it immediatly struck me you probably have had the "basslight" version of M50 as the bassheavy version has very impressive bass extension. Let me show you these two links (the first one measures better besides the FR too besides THD noise):

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50B2012.pdf

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHM50.pdf

 

I didn't either perceive midrange on the M50 to be lacking and found it more forward than the bass in comparision, I think we both heard the more basslight version, I also agree the highs were slightly "edgy"/sharp/harsh.

 

The second thing th!t struck me was that you said HFI-580 had the most forward midrange out of the bunch? Really? More forward than the very forward midrange on HP700? I've seen quite a lot of people saying the midrange is recessed on HFI-580.

 

Yeah, sounds like we both have the same version of the M50. It's funny how some classify the M50 as a basshead can. Whilst it can satisfy entry level bassheads coming from neutral cans, they certainly are not engaging at all when compared with proper basshead cans.%2pTo be honest, I think the M50 is a good sounding can, but I don't see what the fuss is all about. IMO, its popularity might be a little overrated.

 

Yeah, the HFI 580 was a little more forward in the mid-range than the HP700. This was something of a surprise to me as well, especially since the HFI 580 is quite V-shaped in its sound presentation. The HP700 was nonetheless, very detailed and sounded more spectacular than the M50. If I do a direct head-to-head between the 2, I might discover more differences between the 2; but from my review of the 6 cans, the Ultrasone sounded a little more "mid-rangey" than the Denon cans.

post #5 of 13

I feel that the ws55 bass is actually a bit less than the m50s... it could just be my odd set, but after about 50hrs of burn in (which I'm hoping is enough :P) I feel that the m50s still have much further bass extension ( further probably isnt the right word, but oh well lol). If anyone else has both the ws55s and m50s I would be interested in how theirs compare.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darknet View Post

I feel that the ws55 bass is actually a bit less than the m50s... it could just be my odd set, but after about 50hrs of burn in (which I'm hoping is enough :P) I feel that the m50s still have much further bass extension ( further probably isnt the right word, but oh well lol). If anyone else has both the ws55s and m50s I would be interested in how theirs compare.

 

Before and after burn-in, the WS55 is bassier than the M50. The WS55 was certainly designed to deliver well with the low-end, and it shows. Bass is detailed and has sufficient impact. You might have an alternative model of the M50 that has elevated bass levels. Check out RPGWiZaRD's post above.

post #7 of 13

V6 has very punchy bass.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzziekiwi View Post

V6 has very punchy bass.

 

I must confess, I have never heard the V6 before. I've always thought it as a monitoring can. How's the punch and quantity compared to other cans you have heard? Thanks. :)

post #9 of 13

Comparable to the bass Porta Pro (maybe a little bit more) but not so sloppy and where it leaks into the mids. It can definitely rumble your ears. I don't have much to compare it to sorry, but it is very thumpy. It has a huge mid-bass hump.


Edited by Fuzziekiwi - 8/26/12 at 10:04am
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malevolent View Post

 

Before and after burn-in, the WS55 is bassier than the M50. The WS55 was certainly designed to deliver well with the low-end, and it shows. Bass is detailed and has sufficient impact. You might have an alternative model of the M50 that has elevated bass levels. Check out RPGWiZaRD's post above.


Ah that's quite interesting, I actually didnt know there was a bassier version of the m50 before thanks for the info

post #11 of 13
The comparison was quite helpful. It is surprising that there were different versions of the m50; everyone is so informed! In comparison to the WS55, I thought the M50 would be superior in all aspects, but you can't judge a book by its cover. My primary focus is on the midrange. Would the WS55 be a poor choice in this aspect, or is it simply average? If it is a rather poor choice, would it be better to opt for a more budget-friendly alternative?
post #12 of 13

"Isolation wise, they actually leaked the least sound. This was quite surprising, considering the small cup size."

 

To my disappointment, my pair of WS55 leaks terribly. I don't think I can call it leak but more of "broadcasting"... i don't know if i was duped for this, punchy bass is ok but not its presence. The bass presence, lets say a low hum of something, you don't really feel it. 

 

I know WS55 is good because it was compared to Sony XB500 for bass in a review, I have the XB300 so I know what's happening but the bass isn't fulfilling as I'm yet to get an amp in at the same time. 

post #13 of 13
.
Edited by Darknet - 10/30/13 at 4:19pm
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