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Mystery Unclosed: Modern Closed Headphones Compared + Sennheiser HD598 UPDATE: PSB M4U2 Added 7/5/13

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 

Introduction:


Hello all! Recently, I have been seeing a lot of people in this forum, as well as, the others are talking about all these wonderful headphones a lot! Since I have this great opportunity to give all those headphones a listen, I thought why not make a comparison?

Without any further move, here we go. 


Ultimate Ears UE6000:

 

LogitechUE6000.jpg

 

Build Quality:
These are mostly made of plastic. Headband are coated with rubber. This is what you would aspect from these days headphones to minimize cost per unit and weight in general. It's earpads and headband cushion are made of soft leather to maximize comfort and help with passive isolation; One of the top propriety while sitting in public transport or walking on the street.

Comfort:
Earpads has surprisingly thick cushion to avoid your ears from touching the drivers on each side of the ear cups to so your ear will suffer less from clamping force and pains after long term of wearing. Deep cushion are not enough for users with L-size ears. These have a great sense of width that will fit users with L-size ears and headband cushion is no exception too. As earpads and headband cushion are made of pleather, it does get sweaty and warm after a while under hot environment thought it's somewhat less worse than leather.

Style:
Something that modern people are looking for. These satisfy most people who are looking for great style while on the public. Nothing much to say but excellent. It has 2 color choices that you can choose from that is white or black. Both have a blue color in it. All and all fantastic job with color choice.

Features:
In the package, straight out of the box, you get a detachable cable with remote and mic in it. I think this is a nice add as most of the weakness of most headphones are cable. Once it got tangled badly, it will no longer transmit sound to the drivers anymore. Without detachable cable function, you would have to pay the price of new headphone instead of a less than $10 cable. Foldable design for easy portability and easily sits inside a pouch that is provided in the box. Active Noise Canceling that uses battery cells to power and it does cancel out plenty of noise. No worries! Ran out of battery? You can still run in passive mode. Excellent isn't it? You don't have to worry about power, tangled cable or not enough storage place in your bag. Great for modern lifestyle.

Sound Quality:
The main reason you purchase a pair of good headphone. UE6000 for example. Personally, I think these are designed for modern lifestyles from build quality to features and sound quality are no exception. It has a V-shape frequency curve. Bass are well extended and Basshead need not apply. Well extended yet controlled is the reason why UE6000 got popular. Stepping up to the mids, like it or not, it is recessed. As it goes higher and closer to the highs,  it gets more recessed. The UE6000 do have a rolled off highs. There's very little grain in sound but it is still there. Soundstage is what you aspect from a closed headphone. Details are similar to UE4000. When in Active Noise Canceling, the soundstage narrowed down. Overall, it's a good headphone for the modern lifestyle and music but the vocals are nowhere near natural. It have a rather artificial sound to it.


Sennheiser Momentum:

 

 

xl_Sennheiser_MOMENTUM_angle_6.jpg

 

 

Build Quality:
Sennheiser Momentum is one of the best build quality headphone in its price range. It's as if you are in a Bentley car. The headband and earpads cushion are made of real leather. This is something rare especially at this price. The adjustable headband is made of well finished stainless steel. I am really surprised when I first see these headphones. First sight in love I must say. 

Comfort:
Some might like these comfort while some does not. I'm in the middle of both. If you have a  smaller ears, you might like it. People with larger-size ears might find these as Full-size Supra headphone. You might like to try before you buy if you think you have larger size ears. Hopefully, someone who is brilliant from Head-Fi can introduce us a mod to widen the earcups. That's all about width. Now the depth, which I find it deep enough to prevent your ears from touching the drivers inside. Like most closed headphones, your ears might get sweaty or/and warm after some times of listening music with it.

Style:
For those people who love luxury design, these are great! It comes with two color choices. Brown or black with red colored cable. The black/red color version was just recently introduced during the CES 2013. The build quality remains the same as the brown color version. 

Features:
These canes pack with a handful of features. Detachable cable, hard carrying case and it comes with 2 types of cable; one with mic and remote the other without mic and remote. The star of these headphone features is it's headphone jack. You can twist it to the right angle that you like. From 180 degrees to 90 degrees. You can even stop at 45 degrees that is best of both worlds. You no longer have to worry anything else about the cable. Well done Sennheiser!

Sound Quality:
Did I mention that these are one of my favorite closed headphone? If not, now I will share with you. As always, I would love to start from the lows. It's well extended and satisfies basshead who is looking for good balance too. The loss could have been fantastic if Sennheiser is willing to put in better control to it and it does bleeds a little. Mids are warm like most Sennheiser headphones. The highs are great with good sense of sparkle. Nothing sound abnormal overall. A very little grains sound was heard during my entire audition unlike most of the older Sennheiser headphones. Details are good and soundstage can be lacking in classical music. For Pops, it is more than enough. Overall, I find this a very easy to listen type of headphone. Other than that, Sennheiser Momentum has some excellent timbre and everything sound so true to my ears.


Sony MDR-1R:

 

 

sony_mdr1r_main.jpg

 

 

Build Quality:
At first, I thought these were made of aluminum but after a few good number of research, I realized these are mostly made of plastic. It has however a good finish that looks like aluminum. Headband and earpads cushion are made of pleather. Which I find it nice and comfy. Headband are easily adjusted.

Comfort:
These have one of the best closed comfort headphone I ever tried. Wide earcups with a good sense of depth that prevent your ears from touch those exposed drivers inside although mine touch a little. The cushions are soft. With wide rooms for air, these do not get warm or sweaty that badly after long term listening. 

Style:
 I prefer these awesome look over Sennheiser Momentum. It is however personal preference. One has luxury style the other has urban style design to it. Depends on what you like but I really like this style. 

Features:
When it comes to features, the biggest concern here is portability and durability. This has no exception. It comes with a carrying pouch. It folds flat for easy storage and the cable is detachable. Cables are not easily tangled too. Overall, fantastic features.

Sound:
It will not make my cup of tea if a pair of headphone look good but don't sound good. Sony MDR-1R fortunately, didn't disappoint me. I would describe this sound as warm and neutral. The lows are less in quantity comparing to Momentum but better in quality. Mids are warm and detailed although not as detailed as the UE6000. Highs are very responsible and not at all aggressive. Grains are at its minimum volume causing great clarity throughout my audition. Details and soundstage are second best in this comparison. These are mainly designed for modern music, therefore I don't really like it with Classical music, I find it lacking in some point that I don't know why. All and all, it is very smooth sounding.


AKG K550:

 

 

AKG+K550-B.jpg

 

 

Build Quality:
Never did I heard any build quality problem from these headphones. It's mostly metal and very little plastic. There's a large word labeling "L" & "R" inside the earcups. Talking about earcups, headband and earcups cushion both using pleather. Fairly good quality ones again it don't look like it's going to break anytime soon.

Comfort:
Comfort is my second concern that comes right after sound. AKG really didn't an excellent job on designing the headphone comfort. It seals my ears without having any trouble. It has a good sense of depth and width that I have nothing to argue about. One thing that you might want to take note of if you are looking forward to use these for portable. It is massive! It does not come with any portable pouch. If it does not seal your head well, you might find it lack of bass and lows detail.

Features:
These fold flat for easy storage. Other than that, I have nothing much to say or find anything lacking except for detachable cable as these already has a strong build which does not need anything extra specially when it is meant to use at home.

Style:
Once again, these are meant for reference but this actually has some fashion. Very nice polish on the earcups and nice brush on the headband. Although the cable is not detachable, they place it at a very nice point that does not affect the style. 

Sound:
These are one of my favorite sounding headphone at this price range! Lows are punchy and well controlled with good sense of warmness at the upper lows and lower mids. That being said, these actually have smooth and detailed mids. Highs might be a little artificial but not as much as UE4000. I can't hear any grains on these. It's very clean sounding. Details and soundstage is what earns the point most specially for a closed headphone. I don't think I had ever heard headphone that sound so clean before. Even the HD800 don't come close when it comes to "clean" to me. 

 

 

Shure SRH 840:

 

 Build Quality:

Not the best nor the worst. Wasn't all that happy with the build quality for the price. The plastic feels thin and the earpads feels cheap. Exposed cable on the headband look flimsy. I hope Shure is willing to upgrade these lines as I find it all have build quality issue and slight comfort issue.

 

Comfort:

For friends with L-size ears might find ears touching the drivers. It can be fixed with a few mods. The earpads are soft, really soft and a good sense of width. If you dislike strong clamping force, this headphone might not be for you as I find the clamping force on these pretty strong. Comfort in comparison to ATH-M50, the ATH-M50 have thicker earpads but fairly similar in quality. ATH-M50 earpads are slightly harder. Overall, I prefer ATH-M50 comfort over SRH 840 with deeper earpads.

 

Features:

If you are coming from ATH-M50, it does the similar things such as folding. Cables are detachable where as ATH-M50 are not. It fits in well with third party cable in case you dislike the coiled cable for portable use. I really like the cables as it is thicker than most stock detachable cable that I had come across. A nice soft pleather carrying pouch are included to keep your headphones safe inside. 

 

Style:

These are not designed for friends who are looking for great style as these are not designed to be stylish. Not much to speak here but the ATH-M50 does look better to me.

 

Sound Quality:

It does not matter if it doesn't build good, look great if it sound excellent. Although it does not sound best in this comparison but it sounds great for the price given. There's a peak at around 100Hz which is the midbass in short causing slight harsh in the bass department and slight roll-off are there at the lows. Climbing up to the mids that Shures are well known for and SRH840 do not disappoint. It's smooth  and very easy to listen. Highs are clear and not much sibilants here. Details are great but the soundstage fall short but wider than ATH-M50. In comparison, I prefer these over ATH-M50 at most aspects. 

 

AKG K167:

 

 Build Quality:

Much better than most headphones here although still made of plastic mostly. Plastic are pretty thick. 

 

Comfort:

Love it. Velour, isolate plenty of noise and most importantly, ultra comfortable! Good sense of depth and I don't remember my ears touching the drivers. Very good width dimension. The headband cushion on the other hand are made of velour to slightly thinner but it is still comfortable overall and does not trap hairs at all. Overall, very comfortable.

 

Features:

Foldable design and the earcups are turnable to ease most DJs. Folds flat for portable design. I do wish AKG could include a carrying case.

 

Style:

One word. "AWESOME!" Really like the little tiny spot on the headband and the awesome logo on the earcups. Black color mostly and it really makes those tiny spots shine. Very cool looking in a dark room with a little light. 

 

Sound Quality:

AKG specially designed it for DJs but to me, it actually plays well with most genres of music. Take the Sennheiser HD598 with more bass. The bass is tight and punchy but it carries out slightly harsh sound after each bass ended. The mids and highs are forward to me similar to HD598 but not as forward which means, less sibilants at 6KHz to 8KHz.  Pretty clear at the top and turning down the bass with EQ will help improving clarity. Soundstage is great for closed headphones and details are pretty good. 
 

 

Sennheiser HD598:
 
Build Quality:
Somehow, I am very happy and very sad at the same time when I see these showing up in front of me. The build quality looks flimsy to me. The wood-like thingy on the headband look awesome but remember, "wood-like." I am however, not certain if it is fake wood but I am pretty sure. Other than that, I have absolutely no other comment on the build quality of these. 
 
Comfort:
Here comes the K550 killer. In terms of comfort. The pads on either of the headband and the ear cushion are superior! It is thick, plenty of room for your skins to breather and most importantly, it is very plush. Such result is archived by Sennheiser's very well known velour earpads which can be found on higher-end headphones of their line if I am not mistaken. Last but not least, I have no issue with burning ears or head with these. Definitely the best I had ever experienced.
 
Feature:
Does lacks one or two ingredients for the tea to really taste excellent! It comes with a detachable 3m long cable for home use and a 6.5mm to 3.5mm jack. I hope Sennheiser is willing to ship along a portable carrying case for storage, and a 3.5mm jack instead of 6.5mm. I do appreciate Sennheiser drop in a jack converter in the box. This does not fold flat and leak sound. Definitely not an idea for portable use but it is a great set of headphone for home use.
 
Style:
Now, take this with a pinch of salt. The style really caught my eye. There's not much headphones that I came across that look so classy and so nicely colored. However, the attractive MDR-1R remains the best looking headphone in my heart. 
 
Sound Quality:
I find myself loving these more than the AKG K550 at most aspects. The style, comfort... And now the biggest challenge of all, the sound quality. Definitely, my cup of tea. This time, I would like to start from the mids. Everything here is pushed forward and warm sounding. Below it is the bass, if you read most of my reviews, I am not a fan of big bass. This does not disappoint me. It has just the sweet amount of bass that I wanted, and it is pretty well controlled. Slide roll off are there at the top but it's not a big deal for me. As a midrange head, I really like how it sounds. Soundstage is wide! Not sure how it compares to AKG K550 as it is quite a big gap between the day I listen to these and the AKG K550. Details are good. Everything seems great to me in terms of sound quality of these but there's really just this last bit of dust here which is sibilants. I managed to hear little background noise with some specific songs but I am finding that it only happens with .MP3 file, if not turning down the upper mids or 16KHz would really help. An amp is not necessary but will benefit from one. All and all, I enjoy these more than AKG K550 although I like how both sound. To be fair and square for different tastes, I will put these two as part. One is closed and the other is open really not a fair competitor. 
 
Another thing to note about these HD598 is the HD600. It is just 2 digits different. Some might wonder, how will these 2 digit affect the sound. Personally, I happened to audition the RS220. I would say, they are both very different animals. The RS220 (I was told that it sounds similar to HD600?), have more kicks at the bass than the HD598 do, warmer and darker. The RS220 also have wider soundstage, more refined and the bass are looser. If I were asked to choose either one of those two, I will stick with HD598 not because of its sound quality are better (again, they are different animals) but the RS220 really requires a better signal to my opinion. During my audition, the music cuts every roughly 10 Sec for 2 Sec and then back again which I find it very annoying. 
 
PSB M4U2:
 
Build Quality:
The build on these are average. There is more plastic than metals but fortunately, the hinges are made of metals, thus preventing cracks when folding it flat. The cables are not too thick not too thin, just the right size for portable use or traveling.
 
Comfort:
It fits my L-Size ears in nicely with some spaces for my ears to breathe. Very comfortable for long-term listening unless you are sitting under the hot sun. Yep, these are made of pleather! Headband and earpads. Really soft and comfortable. Don't seem to get "old" anytime soon thanks to it's great quality materials. After all, it's a little bit on the bulky and I can feel the weight on my head.
 
Features:
It covers the similar package as UE6000. There are, Active NC, hard carrying case, detachable 1.5mm cable, a 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter, airplane adapter, cleaning tools and an extra pair of earpads. As you can see, these are designed more for travelers and the very interesting  about it is it's  airplane adapter! Very cool! However, while it offers handfuls of functions and features, it does one thing bad, and that is the Active NC. It is somehow a little worse than UE6000 I have to say; meaning, it isolates less noise than UE6000 at active NC mode. 
 
Style:
Heh! To be truthful, I really like the "Monza Red" color! Really attractive and glossy design!
 
Sound:
As good as it look! Before I get started, these boys, really hold its ground when comparable to my favorite closed reference headphone, the AKG K550! I will be adding direct comparison between these two here as far as I remember. Will start it off with the lowest frequency, the bass. AKG K550 offers deeper sub-bass than PSB M4U2. It is not my any means, the PSB have bad sub-bass it is there but it does not extend as deep. PSB M4U2 offer stronger punch yet controlled. The mids here are clear. Very clear and I could hear the instruments clearly and nicely. It is indeed, a little bit forward yet, maintain the softness. The highs are clear and crisp. Not too bright nor dark to me. Soundstage is clearly smaller than AKG K550 but the imaging ad instrument separations, are excellent! When the Active NC is on, it does not sound as good as passive. It's harsh sounding to me and the "softness" just got "harden". Anyway, I heard PSB too released M4U1, the same thing as M4U2 but without Active NC at $100 less, for that, I would definitely prefer M4U1 as it is lighter meaning, more comfortable and cheaper for the same SQ. In addition, I do not need Active NC all that much. Overall, these remind me of the AKG K550 clarity. Very clear sounding with minimum sibilants.
 

Comparison:
Still can't make up your mind after reading 4 of the above reviews? Here's a direct comparison towards each other. To make it short, I will just make it simple. So here we go!

Build Quality:
AKG K550 = Sennheiser Momentum > AKG K167 > Sony MDR-1R > Sennheiser HD598 > Ultimate Ears UE6000 > > PSB M4U2 > Shure SRH 840

Sennheiser is really throwing in some real leather to Momentum's headband and earcups cushion. Headband adjuster there are made of stainless steel with  nice finish. Really impressive. AKG K550 on the other hand are really sturdy. Mostly made of metal and very little plastic. Shure on the other hand plastic are too thin. The UE6000 feels sturdier with it's rubber coated design and thicker plastic also harder.

Comfort:
Sennheiser HD598 = AKG K550 > PSB M4U2 > Sony MDR-1R > Ultimate Ears UE6000 > AKG K167 > Sennheiser Momentum > Shure SRH 840

Although Sennheiser Momentum is full-size circumference, it does not cover my ears entirely and it feels more like full-size supra. Ultimate Ears has bigger and longer earcups compared to Sennheiser Momentum but it gets steamy quickly to me. It just fit in nicely with no extra space for larger ears. Shure on the other hand could have won Sennheiser Momentum if the cushions are thicker.

Features:
Ultimate Ears UE6000 > PSB M4U2 > Sony MDR-1R > Sennheiser Momentum > Shure SRH 840 > AKG K167 > Sennheiser HD598 > AKG K550

Sennheiser Momentum might have won Sony MDR-1R if it folds flat. Where as AKG K550 lacks a detachable cable which is quite disappointing to me. I think UE6000 won this category as active noise canceling is what modern lifestyle really need specially while in public transport. HD598 on the other hand, have a detachable cable compared to K550. 

 

You may argue that, the M4U2 offer better features than UE6000 but for the big price differences, I actually aspect more on the Active NC.  


Style:

Sony MDR-1R > Sennheiser Momentum = Ultimate Ears UE6000 = PSB M4U2 > AKG k167 > Sennheiser HD598 > AKG K550 > Shure SRH 840

Sennheiser Momentum and Ultimate Ears UE6000 both look good but in very different ways. Momentum looks luxury with it's brown color leather finish. UE6000 on the other hand look fancy with its glossy and reflective color & this is what most teenagers will be looking for. The PSB M4U2 and UE6000 style are quite comparable to me but hey! I like UE6000 white and blue color! Just a personal preference.

Sound:
AKG K550 = PSB M4U2 > Sennheiser HD598 > Sony MDR-1R > Sennheiser Momentum > AKG K167> Shure SRH 840>Ultimate Ears UE6000.

Sony & Sennheiser are all about personal preference. One might prefer Sennheiser Momentum over Sony MDR-1R but to me, I find Sony MDR-1R has wider soundstage and ted better details with better controlled lows. Ultimate Ears did pretty good in all categories but the limited soundstage and recessed mids left nothing much to compare. It is however, the headphone with lowest price in this review and offers one of the most features. Sennheiser HD598 and K550 are off different animals and I find both are nice but HD598 carries some sibilants. 

 

I ones find the AKG K550 are equal to Sennheiser HD598 but after having to audition the PSB M4U2 again, because of the extra sibilants the HD598 carries, it got moved down to 2nd place in my mind. Please don't get me wrong! I still love them as a open headphone! 

 

Billson smily_headphones1.gif

 

Do share with me on which headphone you prefer the most out of all these headphones! Ones again, sound is very subjective and not everyone has the same taste. 


Edited by BillsonChang007 - 9/16/13 at 4:51am
post #2 of 104

A really fantastic set of impressions and comparisons! I'm sure many will find your post a great asset! 

post #3 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzjin View Post

A really fantastic set of impressions and comparisons! I'm sure many will find your post a great asset! 

Hi! 

 

Thank you for your compliment! smily_headphones1.gif

post #4 of 104

Nice comparison,thank you! 

 

Here are some impressions between AKG K550 and SONY MDR 1R.

 

I've owned AKG K550 for two days but returned them back,and I own MDR 1R for some months now...

 

I returned AKG K550 because of the following reasons: 

 

1) I had two small build quality issues with my pair. The headband pad was not so well glued to the metal headband,and I could see some little gaps between the pad and the headband,especially at the two edges,where I could also notice some glue in these gaps,if I looked closely. I thought it could get worse with time,and that wouldn't be a good thing,since some kind of cabling passes through there.

Also,the left adjustement scale didn't click to the numbers properly,as the right one.These two small build quality issues dissapointed me a bit,because I expected a perfect built product from what I've read here. Otherwise,the build quality was very good and very sturdy though.(although the pleather pads looked a bit cheaper than they look in pictures to be honest)

 

2)The second reason I returned them and kept the 1R,was because of the comfort.They were not bad by any means,but my ear touched a bit in the inside plastic covering the driver,causing me a bit discomfort.Also,at the position where I had good seal in order to get proper sound,the headband pressed my head on the top and caused me a bit discomfort there.If I changed the positioning to make them more comfortable,I couldn't get a proper seal and the sound was not right.I guess these two comfort issues could be just me,because I usually read good thing about their comfort.Same goes to build quality,although a member here also mentioned the issue with the headband pad to be not perfectly glued to the headband.

 

The Sony has a very good comfort level for me,but I can imagine that some people with ears that extends out a bit too much will have problem,their ears may touch the drivers inside.Otherwise the sony fits very nicely and are comfortable and safe on the head.The pads are soft and feel nicely made,almost like real leather.No problem with the headband pressing my head.

The build quality of the sony's is also nice,with good quality feeling from the materials used,and the headband adjustement clicked perfectly at all the positions.My only complain is that cable is a little loose where it connects to the headphones,although it's not something I care too much to be honest,since it seems secure,sometimes I accidentally pulled it and it remained connected to the headphones. Oh,and the biggest downside regarding build quality is that when it's windy outside,the wind passes through the holes on the top of the ear cups,creating annoying sound that ruins the music for me...That's a really big fault for a headphone that is designed for portable use.

 

Last thing about the features/packaging etc about the two headphones,sony comes with a nice box/case and a nice carrying pouch,but akg not.Akg box is not bad for storing them,but someone would expect something more at this price.

Sony also have detachable cables which is good,but I believe that the non ipod/mic cable on the sonys could be longer.Both cables that come with sony are small for use with desktop amps.

There is also no 6.3mm adaptor with the sonys in the box.

 

Sound Quality:

 

AKG K550 :  I only had them for two days,and maybe they could get even better with burn in,but I listened to them quite extensively these two days straight from my ipod nano 5g,with various music from pop,rock,disco,electronic music,ballads/vocals,house/dance,classical music.Most of them in apple lossless format. I found them to be very good balanced from lows through mids and highs,with a small exception that somewhere in the highs there was an emphasis which sounded a bit odd to my ears,compared to the whole sound of them,which was well balanced.This emphasis didn't make them treble heavy to my ears,it just added a bit of harshness to some passages of some songs,and also making them a bit sibilant in higher volumes sometimes,although not in a fatiguing way to be honest.

The lower and upper bass was well balanced and defined,and mids in general nice and musical,with good clarity and timbre.Upper midrange was fine to my ears,I didn't find it to be fatiguing like some other members mention here.Maybe they are a bit bright there,but I personally didn't found them to be hard to my ears.(this is a bit of a problem with the 1R for me as you'll read later)

I have to say that I enjoyed their sound quite a bit,they were very musical,imaging accuracy and depth was pretty good too,and the sound had good sense of air.I also didn't found the closed design to cause strange colorations/reverbations/tonality to the sound.

 

SONY MDR 1R: At first I didn't like them so much,because they sounded veiled and too coloured/warm in the midrange,with reduced sense of air (not detail)

Now after many many hours of burn in (more than 300 hours),they are quite neutral to my ears,with just a bit more coloured/forward midrange in general than I would probably prefer,and very good level of detail with treble that is grain free and not emphasized,but well extended and refined.Bass is not hitting hard but is well defined in general to my ears.Midbass is warm,making music attractive.The midrange is also warm,and a bit fuller sometimes than I prefer.I noticed that some frequnsies sometimes somewhere at the mids to mid highs are a bit strong,and a bit annoying to my ears even at not so high volumes.This forward and full midrange is my only complain now about the sound quality.Maybe it's more true to the music,I don't know,but I just want these frequensies a bit less pronounced in my headphones to be honest.Maybe it's just me though...

Soundstage and the sense of airy sound is ok for a closed can at this price,and colorations and reverbations from the closed cups don't seem to be a problem.I found that the imaging accuracy and depth are pretty good,and along with the very good level of detail and warm sound,makes for an attractive listening experiense.I enjoy them very much lately at lower volumes when listening home at a quiet environment.

Positioning of sounds and detail is very good with these headphones,even if there is an impression of lower detail due to the treble presantation which is not emphasized.I also like how the sounds,start and fade naturally and clean.Timbre is also good to my ears,even if I find the midrange to be just a bit colored.

 

Between the two (550 - 1R) I'm not really sure now which I would prefer eventually most for sound quality,because I had 550 for only two days.

 

I think the k550 may be a bit more balanced in general,and with a bit more sense of clarity and transparensy to it's sound,with the downside the treble emphasis in some high frequensies I mentioned before,which I have a doubt though that was a burn in issue maybe,but then again it was not something so annoying to cause me ear fatigue to be honest,or to make them too bright.

 

The Sony's sound somewhat beautifully coloured and smooth compared to the akg (although akg sounded smooth and silky to my ears too,they had good quality drivers for sure),and the detail is not worse compared to the akg's.The sony sound signature is not bad at all,I find it to have an overal very good and serious quality sound,it's attractive because of the good imaging and detail of sounds in the soundscape it creates.There are also quite musical headphones and a good all arounder for me.Only complain their midrange/upper midrange that sometimes is a bit stronger to my ear than I would like it to be,but I say again that it may be just my ears,as I see that many people find it to be a problem with 550's,and I didn't find it to be a problem with akg's,but with sony.So everyone may percieve sound a bit different I guess.

post #5 of 104

Nice comparisons, agree on most of it. beerchug.gif

post #6 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonarfd View Post

Nice comparisons, agree on most of it. beerchug.gif

Thanks! smily_headphones1.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by john53 View Post

Nice comparison,thank you! 

 

Here are some impressions between AKG K550 and SONY MDR 1R.

 

I've owned AKG K550 for two days but returned them back,and I own MDR 1R for some months now...

 

I returned AKG K550 because of the following reasons: 

 

1) I had two small build quality issues with my pair. The headband pad was not so well glued to the metal headband,and I could see some little gaps between the pad and the headband,especially at the two edges,where I could also notice some glue in these gaps,if I looked closely. I thought it could get worse with time,and that wouldn't be a good thing,since some kind of cabling passes through there.

Also,the left adjustement scale didn't click to the numbers properly,as the right one.These two small build quality issues dissapointed me a bit,because I expected a perfect built product from what I've read here. Otherwise,the build quality was very good and very sturdy though.(although the pleather pads looked a bit cheaper than they look in pictures to be honest)

 

2)The second reason I returned them and kept the 1R,was because of the comfort.They were not bad by any means,but my ear touched a bit in the inside plastic covering the driver,causing me a bit discomfort.Also,at the position where I had good seal in order to get proper sound,the headband pressed my head on the top and caused me a bit discomfort there.If I changed the positioning to make them more comfortable,I couldn't get a proper seal and the sound was not right.I guess these two comfort issues could be just me,because I usually read good thing about their comfort.Same goes to build quality,although a member here also mentioned the issue with the headband pad to be not perfectly glued to the headband.

 

The Sony has a very good comfort level for me,but I can imagine that some people with ears that extends out a bit too much will have problem,their ears may touch the drivers inside.Otherwise the sony fits very nicely and are comfortable and safe on the head.The pads are soft and feel nicely made,almost like real leather.No problem with the headband pressing my head.

The build quality of the sony's is also nice,with good quality feeling from the materials used,and the headband adjustement clicked perfectly at all the positions.My only complain is that cable is a little loose where it connects to the headphones,although it's not something I care too much to be honest,since it seems secure,sometimes I accidentally pulled it and it remained connected to the headphones. Oh,and the biggest downside regarding build quality is that when it's windy outside,the wind passes through the holes on the top of the ear cups,creating annoying sound that ruins the music for me...That's a really big fault for a headphone that is designed for portable use.

 

Last thing about the features/packaging etc about the two headphones,sony comes with a nice box/case and a nice carrying pouch,but akg not.Akg box is not bad for storing them,but someone would expect something more at this price.

Sony also have detachable cables which is good,but I believe that the non ipod/mic cable on the sonys could be longer.Both cables that come with sony are small for use with desktop amps.

There is also no 6.3mm adaptor with the sonys in the box.

 

Sound Quality:

 

AKG K550 :  I only had them for two days,and maybe they could get even better with burn in,but I listened to them quite extensively these two days straight from my ipod nano 5g,with various music from pop,rock,disco,electronic music,ballads/vocals,house/dance,classical music.Most of them in apple lossless format. I found them to be very good balanced from lows through mids and highs,with a small exception that somewhere in the highs there was an emphasis which sounded a bit odd to my ears,compared to the whole sound of them,which was well balanced.This emphasis didn't make them treble heavy to my ears,it just added a bit of harshness to some passages of some songs,and also making them a bit sibilant in higher volumes sometimes,although not in a fatiguing way to be honest.

The lower and upper bass was well balanced and defined,and mids in general nice and musical,with good clarity and timbre.Upper midrange was fine to my ears,I didn't find it to be fatiguing like some other members mention here.Maybe they are a bit bright there,but I personally didn't found them to be hard to my ears.(this is a bit of a problem with the 1R for me as you'll read later)

I have to say that I enjoyed their sound quite a bit,they were very musical,imaging accuracy and depth was pretty good too,and the sound had good sense of air.I also didn't found the closed design to cause strange colorations/reverbations/tonality to the sound.

 

SONY MDR 1R: At first I didn't like them so much,because they sounded veiled and too coloured/warm in the midrange,with reduced sense of air (not detail)

Now after many many hours of burn in (more than 300 hours),they are quite neutral to my ears,with just a bit more coloured/forward midrange in general than I would probably prefer,and very good level of detail with treble that is grain free and not emphasized,but well extended and refined.Bass is not hitting hard but is well defined in general to my ears.Midbass is warm,making music attractive.The midrange is also warm,and a bit fuller sometimes than I prefer.I noticed that some frequnsies sometimes somewhere at the mids to mid highs are a bit strong,and a bit annoying to my ears even at not so high volumes.This forward and full midrange is my only complain now about the sound quality.Maybe it's more true to the music,I don't know,but I just want these frequensies a bit less pronounced in my headphones to be honest.Maybe it's just me though...

Soundstage and the sense of airy sound is ok for a closed can at this price,and colorations and reverbations from the closed cups don't seem to be a problem.I found that the imaging accuracy and depth are pretty good,and along with the very good level of detail and warm sound,makes for an attractive listening experiense.I enjoy them very much lately at lower volumes when listening home at a quiet environment.

Positioning of sounds and detail is very good with these headphones,even if there is an impression of lower detail due to the treble presantation which is not emphasized.I also like how the sounds,start and fade naturally and clean.Timbre is also good to my ears,even if I find the midrange to be just a bit colored.

 

Between the two (550 - 1R) I'm not really sure now which I would prefer eventually most for sound quality,because I had 550 for only two days.

 

I think the k550 may be a bit more balanced in general,and with a bit more sense of clarity and transparensy to it's sound,with the downside the treble emphasis in some high frequensies I mentioned before,which I have a doubt though that was a burn in issue maybe,but then again it was not something so annoying to cause me ear fatigue to be honest,or to make them too bright.

 

The Sony's sound somewhat beautifully coloured and smooth compared to the akg (although akg sounded smooth and silky to my ears too,they had good quality drivers for sure),and the detail is not worse compared to the akg's.The sony sound signature is not bad at all,I find it to have an overal very good and serious quality sound,it's attractive because of the good imaging and detail of sounds in the soundscape it creates.There are also quite musical headphones and a good all arounder for me.Only complain their midrange/upper midrange that sometimes is a bit stronger to my ear than I would like it to be,but I say again that it may be just my ears,as I see that many people find it to be a problem with 550's,and I didn't find it to be a problem with akg's,but with sony.So everyone may percieve sound a bit different I guess.

Treble emphasis for K550? Don't think so throughout my test but I am quite a fan of forward mids and highs. Well, I tried all of them in a shop and they are kind enough to let me audition headphones in there for 3 hours they were all very generous and the supervisor there personally attempt to me xD

post #7 of 104
Quote:


Build Quality:
AKG K550 = Sennheiser Momentum > Sony MDR-1R > Ultimate Ears UE6000

 

I'm not so pleased with the build quality of MDR-1R at all, the UE6000 must be pretty bad then.

 

Comfort:

Sony MDR-1R > AKG K550 > Ultimate Ears UE6000 > Sennheiser Momentum
 

 

I usually hate on-ears, but I found the momentum very comfortable.

post #8 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by McNuggetsPie View Post

I'm not so pleased with the build quality of MDR-1R at all, the UE6000 must be pretty bad then.

 

 

I usually hate on-ears, but I found the momentum very comfortable.

Will UE6000 feels like plastic and there's no where I'm buying it unless for urban design. 

 

Momentums are more like on-ear but it do have soft ear pads however, it is somewhat uncomfortable to me. smily_headphones1.gif

post #9 of 104

nice write up! makes me want to give the k550 another chance, although last time they had no chance in any aspect against the srh940. not even in soundstage.

post #10 of 104

Very nice review! I don't know the UE6000, but am familiar with the other three headphones. While I agree with many of your points, personally for me the order of the sound quality is reversed. I like the Momentum the best, followed closely by the MDR-1R, with the K550 a distant third. The main reason are the highs in the K550, which you call artificial and for me are completely grating. As an test I took a string orchestra recording that I know very well (I was present at the recording), and the K550 produces highs that were not there at the recording session. The violins sound shrill and almost nasty to my ears. I don't have this problem with the highs listening to the two others headphones (but e.g. also with the AKG K701). I know that these exaggerated highs are often perceived as providing additional clarity and resolution, but to me it is a coloration that I very much dislike. Other than the highs, the K550 is a perfectly fine headphone, but I just can't listen to it for an extended period. 

 

I also have fairly small ears, to the Momentums are nearly over ear for me and the comfort is fine but not great (both the K550 and the Sony are better in this regard).

post #11 of 104

A very interesting read, especially as it was these 4 headphones that I was personally looking at a few months ago, then I decided to go with the Momentum.

 

My order of preference (with reasons) was:

Momentum      -  Smooth easy listening sound does EVERY genre effortlessly + brown leather is EXACTLY my style.

Sony MDR-R1 - I love the exciting sound, but it's not my style and it's more money than the Momentum.

AKG K550       - Too big for outdoors, and for sound I even prefer my vintage K241; it just sounded a bit thin to me especially in the mids.

UE6000           - Too many small colourations in the sound - also had the most 'closed' sound.

post #12 of 104

huh? momentum is 300 eur, 1r is 200 eur? do you know a cheaper place for momentum?

post #13 of 104

Thank you for your input guys!  I'm debating between keeping my K550, the 1R and the Momentum (Although I have fairly big ears so this might be out).

 

I've read that these cans can benefit from amping; do you guys have any suggestions?

 

Thanks!

post #14 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofastreamer View Post

huh? momentum is 300 eur, 1r is 200 eur? do you know a cheaper place for momentum?

 

Around November at the time of my search, the shops in Frankfurt were selling the MDR-R1 for around 350 euros (same price as Sony website), now prices have dropped everywhere.

post #15 of 104

ah, ok. hope momentum prices will drop soon also.

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