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My "newbie" review of the TBSE1 (special edition Koss ProDJ100)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

     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.

 

 

Background Info 

 

     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.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

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.

post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 

RESERVED FOR MORE THOUGHTS FOR WHEN  I HAVE HAD THE HEADSET LONGER

post #3 of 29

nice little write up. Closed backs are amazing when you get your first good pair am I right? Welcome to head-fi. Stick around so your wallet gets lighter ^_^. I know mine has. 

post #4 of 29
Nice review, and welcome! beerchug.gif

Something interesting to point out: if you need a mic/etc you can always add a ControlTalk cable (if you need that for a phone), V-MODA and others have them available loose (I don't think Koss sells their KTC cable raw, yet). This would replace the cable Koss included with them. If you want more of a headset replacement, there's the AntLion ModMic that you could add to these alternately.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Nice review, and welcome! beerchug.gif
Something interesting to point out: if you need a mic/etc you can always add a ControlTalk cable (if you need that for a phone), V-MODA and others have them available loose (I don't think Koss sells their KTC cable raw, yet). This would replace the cable Koss included with them. If you want more of a headset replacement, there's the AntLion ModMic that you could add to these alternately.

Off topic but everything I see that headphoneus supremus title I get so jelly. 

post #6 of 29

Subbed. 

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KCxSmacker View Post

nice little write up. Closed backs are amazing when you get your first good pair am I right? Welcome to head-fi. Stick around so your wallet gets lighter ^_^. I know mine has. 

 

   Thanks I tried to do be as helpful as I could, especially for someone like me who is new to all of this.  Yeah the difference is nothing less than amazing. I hear you about the wallet I already have my eyes on a pair of V-Moda's that I might splurge on in a few months.


Edited by WickedZen - 10/12/12 at 8:16pm
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Nice review, and welcome! beerchug.gif
Something interesting to point out: if you need a mic/etc you can always add a ControlTalk cable (if you need that for a phone), V-MODA and others have them available loose (I don't think Koss sells their KTC cable raw, yet). This would replace the cable Koss included with them. If you want more of a headset replacement, there's the AntLion ModMic that you could add to these alternately.

 

    Thank you I appreciate it.I know it pales in comparison to many of the reviews but as I had gotten so much help and information here I just wanted to try and do my part. I will check out that cable, I had already been considering replacing the cord. The current one is a little heavy and if I am not careful will pull the jack a little of out my laptop audio plug. I have had my eye on the AntLion Modmic but it has been not available for a while now, but I will keep my eye on it. Ultimately I would like to try my hand at doing a mod and custom cord, but I need a little more know-how for that.

post #9 of 29

I heard the Koss ProDJ100 at Best Buy's display and was really disappointed, but after reading a ton of reviews, I'm really starting to think that they completely messed up the cabling or something on all the headphone displays. Even with my own source going into their plug, and into the headphones, the ProDJ100 sounded really grainy and anemic. But so did about 50% of the headphones on the display (Sennheiser HD280, etc)

 

I'm glad they've set up a headphone tryout station (two, actually) at my local Best Buy, but I'm afraid I'm getting the wrong impression of each headphone I try there. Argh! mad.gif

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedZen View Post

    Thank you I appreciate it.I know it pales in comparison to many of the reviews but as I had gotten so much help and information here I just wanted to try and do my part. I will check out that cable, I had already been considering replacing the cord. The current one is a little heavy and if I am not careful will pull the jack a little of out my laptop audio plug. I have had my eye on the AntLion Modmic but it has been not available for a while now, but I will keep my eye on it. Ultimately I would like to try my hand at doing a mod and custom cord, but I need a little more know-how for that.

http://v-moda.com/3-button-speakeasy-cable-replacement/ and http://v-moda.com/voip-adapter/

And yeah I know we're talking half the sale price on the TBSE, but hey, it's a mic. redface.gif



Quote:
Originally Posted by xx0xx View Post

I heard the Koss ProDJ100 at Best Buy's display and was really disappointed, but after reading a ton of reviews, I'm really starting to think that they completely messed up the cabling or something on all the headphone displays. Even with my own source going into their plug, and into the headphones, the ProDJ100 sounded really grainy and anemic. But so did about 50% of the headphones on the display (Sennheiser HD280, etc)

I'm glad they've set up a headphone tryout station (two, actually) at my local Best Buy, but I'm afraid I'm getting the wrong impression of each headphone I try there. Argh! mad.gif

When I tried DJ100 at BB I hated it too. But I really like the TBSE. I don't know if there's a difference between the two (I know a lot of people who have looked at pictures claim there isn't), or if the BB demo sucks, or if the BB demo pair was locked into "Mono" - but fwiw I think these are worth giving a shot if you want a nice, easy listening closed headphone. Grainy they are not, anemic I think depends on your frame of reference - I notice a lot of people these days expect headache inducing bass slam. They certainly won't deliver that, but they aren't completely limp.
post #11 of 29

Hrm. Yeah I've been wanting to get a decent mid-priced headphone ($50-$100) range, and so far I've narrowed down the field to the ProDJ100 and Sony ZX700, but have been considering others as well. This seems to be one of the absolute top-liked headphones at its price range. Once I can sell some of my existing headphones, I might just give the ProDJ100 a good few days to try at home and see how it goes. I can always return them I suppose!

 

I am planning on springing for a used set of the Sennheiser HD428. I was pleasantly surprised by their sound (other than grainy treble, which yet again could be a Best Buy issue).

 

Not to mention I have a pair of HD 238's that I LOVE, but the cable shorted on me. Do you know of anyone (or place) I could pay to re-cable them? I'm planning on doing a DIY fix for now (splicing/new tip/etc) but would prefer a professional recabling of them.


Edited by xx0xx - 10/12/12 at 8:48pm
post #12 of 29

WickedZen, where were you able to get these for $50? Were they new as well? I might jump on them immediately at that price. Around here they've been going for $70-80.

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by xx0xx View Post

WickedZen, where were you able to get these for $50? Were they new as well? I might jump on them immediately at that price. Around here they've been going for $70-80.

As has been posted about a bazillion times (I'm just surprised that basically NOBODY picks up on this, even when it's posted, they just ignore it and go straight to Amazon):
http://www.tuesdaymorning.com/tony-bennett-signature-edition-stereophones/1255982.jsp

The fact that they're still up, 10 days out, should tell you everything you need to know about how well people actually read. This was posted in the deals thread, has been posted in other threads, tdockweiler has mentioned it a few times, I've pasted it a few places, etc - and people just go right on spending $90 for them. rolleyes.gif

This isn't meant to attack you by the way, I'm just completely baffled how this deal has gone absolutely un-noticed, and it isn't like "we" are keeping it some big secret.

Regarding the rest: there are places that will do a recable, but you won't like the prices. Especially for an HD 238. I'd either hack it at home, or junk'em. I think they're a great candidate in the sub-$200 range, open or closed, just overall they're a very well rounded pair of cans. I also think they're discontinued. But the DJ100 and DJ200 are not (DJ200 gets you the removable cable and KTC), so that's neat. I don't know what, if any, sonic differences exist.
post #14 of 29

Nice review. I think it's safe to say that most people might not have a problem with the stock pads. Maybe my ears are shaped funny. I got used to them, but sometimes the tips of my ears would touch the padding too much.

M50/M40 pads are worthwhile for those that have comfort issues. They're also a nice upgrade somewhat in sound (IMO). Of course some may not like the differences.

 

I tried the DJ200 at Best Buy and it sounded very good. I'm can say they had this pair nearly at it's best. I remember one day listening to all those headphones there for like 45 minutes (I'm weird).

I actually felt the DJ200, HDJ-2000 and HD-380 sounded the best. HDJ-2000 was crystal clear, but seemed to kind of lack lower bass somewhat. I hated the pads too.

 

The HD-380 looked cheaply built for $200. For a while week I was tempted to give the HD-280 a try but then later on I liked it a bit less.

 

For anyone that cares, there is one tiny internal difference I found between my DJ100 and Tony Bennett. My TB has the holes in the back of the inside cup drilled down to the metal. On my DJ100 it's just to plastic.

Would this change the sort in any way? Who knows. I wonder what the TB would sound like if you totally exposed the inside aluminum? I don't remember how many holes it had, but maybe a dozen.

 

I don't know if this is just some random manufacturing variation or what. I just know that none of my DJ100s has the holes drilled straight down. Maybe they are now. Maybe this means nothing.

 

BTW I don't think i've ever found the DJ100 grainy. My HD-598 was for awhile. The DJ100 for me has always been crystal clear especially with M50 pads. Some new pairs can sound muffled, but it goes away with some hours of use.

Koss told me it uses a Titanium driver like the Pro4AAAT and KSC75.

post #15 of 29
On the comfort thing, I find if I put the headphones on "cold" (like if they've set out at night when it's 60* F in my house), they don't fit very well, and fidgeting with them makes it worse. But if I just ignore it for a few minutes and the pads warm up, they seem to "adjust" and fit perfectly well for hours. It's really quite bizarre. I hated the M50's pads on the M50, so I can't imagine them on these. confused_face.gif
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