I received my TBSE1 yesterday. Just in case someone finds their way here that doesn't know, these are basically the Koss ProDJ100 but they can with Tony Bennett’s signature, a free download of some of his music, a hard shell case as well as a detachable cable-which was the main draw for me. When I first started looking to replace my gaming headset one of the features I wanted was a detachable cable as my last headset, and most of the others, had to be junked for various cord issues.
I will try to do a more in depth “review” of these headphones after I have had them a while but wanted to give my initial thoughts. There are two parts, first is background as to what I was looking for in headphones and explaining my “experience” level. The second part is the actual review, for those that just want to skip to that. As a “newbie” this is likely not too helpful for audiophiles but hopefully if there are others like me, this can help them in their own search, as so many here helped me.
I had been considering the DJ100's based on a lot of research and tdockweiler's reviews on here and Amazon. I needed something that would do well with gaming. Some of the other features I was looking for was; detachable cable, comfort, durability and isolation. Isolation was particularly important for two reasons – late night gaming and working on my writing and college course work in a busy, full, loud house. I needed to keep the “outside” noise out, and my noise in.
I am probably the least knowledgeable person regarding audio on Head-Fi. My previous headset, which I used for not just gaming, but music and movies as well, was a Creative Fatality headset that I bought 2-3 years ago. I also have a pair of Skullcandy Hesh that I would use on occasion; I bought these 2-3 years ago as well from my college bookstore as I had some classes requiring headphones -so my experience is pretty limited as well. All that being said I thought it important to do my best to give a review of these headphones as Head-fi has been such a great resource for me in deciding on which headphones to purchase.
Review - First Look
Looks: Very sharp. I like the simplistic black and chrome. Would have preferred that there was no Koss logo or signature but has not a deal breaker and I may do something about that in the future.
Durability: My previous headset was like 99.9999% plastic. My Skullcandy Hesh is a lot smaller, on the ear and it had more heft and more solid construction than my headset did. The TBSE1 has more heft to them in my hand, and seem much more solid and durable. Time will tell on this one.
Comfort: I had seen some other reviews talking about the comfort of these headsets. Most thought they were very comfortable but it was recommended to change the ear pads. Comfort was important because between gaming, college and my writing I could be stuck in front of my laptop for hours at a time. I have not even had them twenty four hours so keep this in mind when I say.. I found these to be very comfortable. I am honestly not sure if it was merely my expectation of the ear pads giving me problems, but from the get go they seemed to be a little uncomfortable. However, once I kind of got into my gaming and later listening to music, I totally forgot about this and wore them for hours without really noticing. Even with the higher durability, and being more solid and heavy than my headset, I did not really notice a significant difference in comfort when wearing them. I will just have to wear them some more and see what happens but for now I can see wearing these for hours at a time without any problems.
Sound: For perspective, as I have mentioned, my previous audio equipment is a Skull Candy Hesh, on the ear, headphone, and a Creative Fatality, over the ear, gaming headset. I was happy with my Fatalities and only looked to replace them after already doing numerous cord repairs and now the headphone jack going bad, causing me to have to toy with it a lot to get it to work. When I didn’t need the mic for communication, and really wanted to enjoy the sound I would wear my Hesh’s which had better sound than my headset, but I used them sparingly as they were on the ear rather than over-not only was there not much isolation but they would hurt my ears after a short time. Sometimes it was not an issue but at best it was usually a distraction. I did a couple of comparisons in a game and with a couple different types of music, first listening with my Hesh, then with the TBSE1. I immediately noticed a lot more detail with the TBSE1 and the sound was much fuller, best described from my research, as soundstage. I was very impressed how much better my audio experience was-I wish I could go into more detail but it’s the best I can do at the moment. I had seen various opinions on these headphones about the bass so that was one of the first things I test when I got to the music. Again, in my limited experience and knowledge, I have to say I was impressed. I was worried bass would be an issue, kind of expected to be disappointed about the bass but that just was not the case.
Isolation: This was the reason I was looking for a closed, over the ear headphone. After taking them out of the box and giving them a once over I put them on. I noticed the difference immediately. The best way I can describe it was like being underwater. The outside world was muffled. The real test came when I was busy on my laptop and the kids got home from school. Even with no significant sound playing I would have to remove the headphones to interact verbally. Once I was gaming or listening to music it was even better. Even if they were standing right by me talking, I could hear just enough to know they were talking but it was so muffled that if I had wanted I could have easily dismissed the distraction and continued playing my game or writing with no distraction.
I spent weeks researching my options for replacing my headset. Early on I decided to go with getting a headphone and modding for a mic. (Which I still need to figure out how to do. I am interested in doing my own cable as well but need to do a lot more research on that.) At one point I considered just saying screw it, and getting another Creative Fatality because I was having trouble getting what I wanted in the price range I had to work with. My time and patience paid off and I got a great deal on what is the best set of headphones I have had. I KNOW there is much better out there; I have my eyes on some when I get more of a budget, but for what I wanted I do not think I could not have gotten a better headphone for the price of $49.99.