Look and Feel
Of course there's a lot of plastic involved in assembling these headphones but there are few optical and well worked out highlights as well. You'll find a brushed aluminium emblem on the backside of the ear cups, embedded into the outer side of the pull-out mechanism and at the joints of the folding mechanism as well.
The inner frame's dark grey plastic doesn't look cheap at all, neither do the soft black ear cushions, the dark grey pseudo leather headband or the glossy paint finish.
All in all - well done, good looking, no obvious weakness.
I'm a little CAL fanboy, so I wanted to see how other praised budget headphones would perform. I have quite a fixed set of "test" songs, no measuring instruments involved.
All by itself, the Noontec Zero doesn't do bad at all - it delivers a good amount of detail without obvious shortcomings or artificial emphasis over the entire spectrum. But compared to the CAL, the Noontec Zero is missing some depth - for my taste, it's sounds very much "in the face" and songs like Rupert Holmes "Escape" (yey, the infamous Pina Colada song lose the biggest part of their dynamics. I'm not sure if this is related to the drivers' low impedance of 16 Ohms but others here in the forum can surely say more about such correlations (or causation for that matter).
The Noontec Zero delivers a tight sound and audibly tighter than the CAL when it comes to frequencies in the kick bass area. I couldn't find anything that sounded "washed out" with these headphones, not synthetic stuff, not classical instruments and voices neither. With my X-FI HD USB DAC, I could easily push the headphone's sensitive drivers to unbearable volumes, so I guess it will be just perfect for low-output mobile devices.
For one, drum instruments like cymbals and hi-hats, as well as hissing noises do sound quite aggressive, actually so much that I'd say that you couldn't listen to these things at medium levels for too long - at some (early) point, you will feel some sort of "exhaustion".
The other thing is the deep bass. I love wobbling around on my chair when listening to deep DnB bass lines - something the Noontecs just don't deliver - at least not when they're fresh out of the box like mine.
Remembering Tyll's review and his measurements, the volume was very slowly degrading when approaching the deeper frequencies - but in my case, it feels as if they're almost abruptly cut off - I found that to be a bit strange :ß
Oh, one more thing: I couldn't really put my finger on it but when it comes to some synthetic sounds and fine instruments, I have a slight sensation that the last bit of "clarity" is missing... but as I said: I couldn't put my finger on it.
Not bad at all. The Noontec Zero Professionals do lots of things right, but they also do some things wrong. I'm touchy when it comes to harsh treble and I'm quickly disappointed when a headphone doesn't deliver a deep bass worthy of its name. So at the moment, the Noontec Zeros are somewhat uncomfy and unsatisfying to listen to :ß
I will spend the next 24h pushing some high volume pink noise to the phones and if tomorrow I can sense a tendency of change, I will update this report - if not, then not :-)
TrekStor Noontec Zoro Professional (Amazon) @ Creative X-FI HD USB DAC
My test songs
Arne Domnerus - Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
Big Bud - Chill
Chris Rea - I Can Hear Your Heartbeat
Dire Straits - Telegraph Road
Esther Ofarim - La Vecina Catina
George Michael - Precious Box
Gil Shaham (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) - Kreisler Concerto In C-1
Luis Miguel - La ultima noche
Matrix & Futurebound - Coast To Coast
Men at Work - Overkill
Noa & Pat Metheney - Child of Man
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
Rupert Holmes - Escape
Sade - Smooth Operator
Tony Roel Trio - Tango Jalousie
Edited by TStarGermany - 8/15/12 at 11:06am