I just bought HP50 today after auditioned twice at the local audio store. The first time I found HP50 totally lack of bass. The mid and treble were great. The vocals stood out for me and not too bright. I was comparing it with Momentum (over ear) at the time. The lack of bass was a minus for me. Weeks later (today) I tried again but this time I didn't listen to any headphones before trying the HP50. With the same music as last time, I found there was very good bass. I was very surprised. When I took it home and tested it with my own music (Natalie Merchant's But Not for Me), the bass was present, not strong but very realistic, the sound stage was nice. I then compared it with Momentum (on ear), the bass was definitely stronger with the MOE. I switched back HP50, I found the bass and sound stage were lost. My theory is our ears get used to strong bass and become less sensitive to detailed sound. Has anyone come across this?
Before buying HP50, I have compared it with a few headphones both at store and my own. Here are my thoughts:
Momentum over ear: Very good sound for all range of frequencies, crisp, excellent bass. Ear pad is more like on ear to me but clamping pressure is very low so it is still very comfortable. Good for all kinds of music, classical, jazz, pop, rock, instrumentals.
P7: Very crisp, bright sound. Bass not as strong as Momentum but present. It has a very different sound that you have to listen. Somewhat expensive but build quality is excellent. Good for jazz, vocal, instrumentals.
Sennheiser 558: Open/semi-open sound. You could hear details that you missed with other closed back phone. Bass is present but not strong. Sound not as crisp as HP50, Momentum, P7. Good for classical, jazz, live music. Kind of heavy weight wise.
Grado 80i: Treble very strong, almost too bright. Very little bass. The open sound is very different from any headphones I owned. Good for instrumentals, vocals, music with little bass.
Momentum on ear: Very good bass and treble. Mid can be a bit lost sometimes depending on your music. Very crisp without being bright. Not as balance as over ear version. A little less comfortable but very light. Good for pop, rock, music that have punchy bass.
Sony MDR-V500: One of my first headphone. It seems to get better with age. At first I found the bass is lacking and treble a bit tinny. Now, it is has a very warm sound. The sound is just a bit less crisp than MOE. At less than $100, it is very good buy although the earpad can get uncomfortable after awhile.
Sennheiser 495: Very light. It is on ear but it has very soft earpad and put very little pressure on the ear. Good for watching movies. Can wear them for hours without getting hot or pain. You forget you are wearing them.
Sony XB-500: Way too much bass that don't sounded very realistic. Good for electronic music.
I picked HP50 because it has a very crisp sound that is not too bright (better than P7). It has realistic bass (although less than Momentum). It has good sound stage (similar to 558). I also like Momentum over ear very much. It was a real toss up between HP50 and Momentum over ear. It all depends on you taste of music and sound you like. I may eventually get Momentum over ear when it goes on sale.