So I was walking by the computer store down at my block (I live in Hong Kong) and I these headphones showed up at their display out of nowhere:
SOMiC MH463 (link to Focalprice selling them: http://www.focalprice.com/EP0109B/SOMIC_MH463_35_mm_8__30000_Hz_Wired_Dynamic_Headphone_Black.html) (I'm not affiliated with Focalprice, just showing an international site selling these if you guys want to grab one. Like I said, I bought mine locally)
edit: see this latest post for a place where you can apparently buy them for $31.35 http://www.head-fi.org/t/637699/50mm-driver-open-air-full-size-cans-pop-out-of-nowhere-sound-amazing#post_8902214
Three specifications caught my eye:
1. Open back (for open back soundstage)
2. 50mm drivers (about as big as they get)
3. The price: $69 (edit: see this post for a place where you can get them for $31.35 http://www.head-fi.org/t/637699/50mm-driver-open-air-full-size-cans-pop-out-of-nowhere-sound-amazing#post_8902214)
I bought them on impulse and boy am I glad that I did.
I don't have much experience with full size headphones (IEMs are my mainstay) but these may be the first cans to wow me over from IEMs. I used to have a pair of Sennheiser HD580 but they collected dust and finally disappeared for good after my Etymotic ER-4P arrived. Well my 4P have long since bitten the dust and I've found other phones that are more enjoyable, some of which are in my fledgling IEM review thread
But these SOMiC are something else. I wouldn't say these sound better than the HD580, but it is like revisiting high end open air headphones of that caliber after 10 years and finding it surprisingly to my liking. In these ten years much has changed; I've recently acquired a much better DAC+amp in the Fiio E17, and I've learned to make use of parametric EQ based on PiccoloNamek's EQ tutorial to shape phones to my liking
Here's an FR curve of these SOMiC I drew based on listening to sine sweeps through an equal loudness EQ as outlined here:
Take note that the "FR curve" only serves to show the phone's deviations from my personal tastes and illustrate some of the high frequency peaks I've found.
These have a not unpleasant warmth in the bass but I prefer my bass leaner but with more subbass punch, and the phones take to bass EQ very well with their large 50mm drivers; despite the rolloff these reach down to 15Hz with real bass, not harmonic distortion so they will take to EQing up the subbass very well. The highs are actually more linear than most phones I've heard but can be improved by tweaking the EQ to remove the peak I hear at 7700Hz (may not be the same for everybody), removing a bit of metallic taste.
The soundstage is expansive and may be what is drawing me to these phones the most. Combined with their sonic quality, I am finding myself preferring these over my speakers even when I have the rare chance to use the latter. These are one of the highest resolving cans I've heard.
As usual my introduction to phones can come across as sounding like these don't sound any good without EQing. It's just that I'm too used to hearing my IEMs transform into sonic gems with EQ. But less so with cans. Until now--these phones sound great to start with and EQ like champs, making me prefer cans over IEMs for what may be the first time.
Sound without EQ: 8.5/10
Sound with EQ: 19/20
A few choice impressions from those who have got them so far:
Just got mine. Opened them up. Nothing too fancy. Played some incubus through my odac/c421 setup and i am blown away! the quality for this price is just unheard of. The detailing,instrument separation, and soundstage is amazing. These are kind of fast. To be honest, i prefer them over the hd650. A little less bass but clearer. Time for some burn in!
They're about 18mm deep.
Just got my MH463 today, and I have to say... very impressive for a $45 headphone
The pads are removable, but I'm not sure where you'd get better replacement pads.
You could ofcourse make your own if you've got some sewing skills, a sewing machine and some fabric (like I do )
Some pics for those curious minds: (bye-bye warranty.....)
-Absolutely great looking aesthetically
-soft plush padding around ears and on the headband
-adjustments + cans themselves are metal and aren't too heavy, nor too light. (there are adjustment clicks + levels to see if you're OCD on that)
-fairly flat response for these cans (for people who enjoy that)
-a very thick and very long cable + 3.5 to quarter inch gold plated adapter (which i must say looks really good for what you're paying for)
-great movement on the ear cups and will adjust accordingly
-nice open air design to keep your ears "nice n fresh"
-sound leakage for these cans remind me of sennheisers - and does not leak as much as AKG Q701 / K701-702's
* over all great build quality for 50ish bucks -
-moving my head left and right i hear some minor clickyness
-band is currently tight on the head which might cause minor discomfort until weakened (presumably)
-still contains factory smell
-feels a little quick for my taste (biased)
-minor peaks at higher frequency
these are only the current things ive noticed given 30 minutes after i opened them and took the pictures posted before.
As already mentioned in the beginning of this forum post, its fairly flat and definitely not really a "super heavy" bass headphone, but it is there.
*Note, im currently using an E9 + E7 dac and amp combination for these"
the soundstage is fairly well presented and for 50 dollars i definitely have to say its worth the purchase.
i will continue to post more responses for these cans as soon as i can and feel free to leave any suggests/questions for me to answer - that is if i can.
Overall as an initial impression through-out, i'm impressed, 9/10 + i don't regret my purchase 1 bit.
Some notes and quick comparisons against other phones (Technical Pro HPT990 and Koss Portapro), the Somics have maybe 20-30 hrs on them (burn+actual listening time) -
- There isn't much else I can add on to Joe's impressions as he pretty much hits the nail on the head in terms of how they sound =). Theyre warm, slightly bassy (not basshead bassy as mentioned, just above flat), with a fairly smooth top end and a nice amount of sparkle. They sound somewhat thick with the bit of midbass warmth they have going on. Midrange is forward and vocals are intimate but can sound a little bit "boxed in" on some tracks, despite the large soundstage.
- Immediate differences noticed when switching back and forth with the HPT990 - a competitor in terms of price, though it looks like theyre abit more expensive than the MH463 right now - The 990s have more of a upper mid to lower treble emphasis with a slightly recessed midrange compared to the 463, making them sound seemingly airier and abit more detailed. They both have some midbass warmth to them but to me the 463s warmth is more pronounced, which is probably why mids/vocals sound more forward, thick and intimate. Bass on the 990 extends down deeper into the sub-bass than the 463. The 990s sound like they have a wider soundstage despite them being semi-open vs the open 463; it must be the velour pads and airiness added on from the slightly more emphasized top end. The 463 is better with depth though and beats the 990 out in terms of forward projection. Both have fairly good imaging and separation. Both make for some solid gaming cans. I actually spent a lot of yesterday playing ACIII using the Somics and it was a great experience.
- I think the closest other headphone I have with a similar signature is the Koss Portapro. Mine is modded with KCS75 clips and "quarter-modded" foams, and they sound fairly close in terms of signature, but IMO the MH463 is technically superior; better detail, and larger spatial presentation. The Portapros also sound abit darker, and the bass is slower.
- On construction, its been mentioned already but the pads are pretty shallow and my big ears do tend to press on the pad lining, causing discomfort after a few hours of wearing them. A quick remedy to that could be to remove the red+black pad lining and inserting a more comfortable foam lining, or to stuff the undersides of the pads so they arent so shallow.
MDR-7506/V6 pleathers, Beyer, or Pearstone velours could fit, they look about the same size fwir. Shure SRH840 pads might be a possibility as well, I would try mine but theyre stretched out to heck thanks to my T50RPs .
Also, there are some creaky points on the headphone, mainly where the cables go into the cups and where the plastic yoke goes in to the cups. Maybe a bit of graphite lube can fix that?
Came home from work to find a package from Hong Kong.
Packaging of the 463s is so-so. Looks kinda nice, feels kinda cheap, only accessories to speak of is a plug adapter. Whatever, I'm not buying packaging so this doesn't bother or disappoint me.
Build quality is nice. Heavier than the SR850s and Uptowns. Cable is much better than the Uptowns'. I like that the cups swivel to lay flat, but as these are open phones I probably won't be traveling much with them.
Sound quality straight out of the box... holy crap. First song is Crossfade's acoustic of "Falling Away" side-to-side with the Philips Uptowns, and I'm a little stunned. I now definitely understand what people have said about closed headphones sounding 'closed in' compared to open headphones, but even so I actually like the Somic's sound more (I've been loving my Uptowns, so this is a surprise that a less-expensive pair of headphones sounds notably better). Very good first impression for sound! Bill Withers' "Use Me" (one of my all-time favorites) doesn't sound quite as open, but I think it's the recording; the Uptowns suited that song a little better (made it more intimate, I guess). Bass is more or less comparable with the Uptowns with maybe a little less punch. Gonna need to compare with some 5FDP for that. "Breath of Life" by Florence + Machine goes to the 463's, no contest: the openness adds this epic quality to the song that was meant to be there, but doesn't quite show with the Uptowns. On DJ Fresh's "Louder" (the one, the only, Doctor P & Flux P remix), the closed Uptowns definitely have more impact and sound a little better, even though they lose a little detail to the 463's.
Comfort: first impression is cramped ears. The ear pads definitely need to be thicker and deeper. Gonna find a way to make this happen. The Uptowns are orders of magnitude better for comfort, and I actually know the meaning of that phrase!
Overall, I'm really liking what I hear. Big thanks to Joe (and 3AM insomnia) for introducing me to these bad boys.
Edited by Joe Bloggs - 12/20/12 at 9:14am