The review of the JVC SZ2000 was conducted using the following:
HouseRockerz-Herzrasen. 320kbps mp3 16/44.
Digimax & Javiera Mena - Complejo de Amor. WAV 16/44.
Hammer & Bennett – Lost. FLAC 16/44.
Rockwell feat Beatfreakz-Somebodys Watching Me. 320 kbps mp3 16/44.
Zazie-Larsen. 320 kbps mp3 16/44.
Ayla - Ayla (Taucher Remix). WAV 16/44.
Kraftwerk-Das Model. WAV 16/44.
Bob Marley-Jamming. WAV 16/44
Wippenberg-Phoenix. WAV 16/44.
Berliner Philharmoniker-Herbert von Karajan-Beethoven - Sinfonie Nr. 9. FLAC 16/44.
The amplifiers used were:
iBasso PB2 with BUF634W/LME49990.
Headstage Arrow 4G.
Epiphany Acoustics O2.
Sherwood AD2220 CP.
Sources used were:
Homebrew PC with Optical out.
Sharp MT66 minidisc player.
Sony CD Player,
Competitors in the arena:
Audio Technica WS99.
iBasso DB2 with LT1678.
The JVC trinity:
The test kicked off with the headphones being powered by the Sherwood amp and no equalizer. The DB2 was connected to the Sherwood Aux in from my PC.The JVC bring the bass home at the stock settings and if the bass was increased on the amp, they would go into stupid bass territory. The mids and highs would recess a bit but still be very listenable. The WS99 would simply give up and so would the XB900. The drivers would start distorting badly while the JVC would still hold up properly. The JVC were the clear winners and the only one that would make you quit before they did.
The next was the Sharp MT66 with a SP recorded minidisc connected to the O2 and this was my favourite portable combo. The bass again takes prominence on the Trance tracks but the JVC can still handle vocals very competently. The track by Rockwell managed the bassline well while the highs shimmered and the vocals were clean and clear. No midbass intrusion and just a faint veil. These CNT drivers need more burn-in as this seemed to be the case with the S500 too.
The next was the MT66 with the Arrow 4G and this combo made the setup very warm and recessed the mids and took the edge off the highs. It was very easy to manage the output with the O2 but the 4G needs work to find the sweet spot for these to perform at their best. Not the best combo for the SZ2000 and better suited to the WS99 as it would keep the mids and treble clean and not let them merge into the lower frequencies.
This was followed by an all in bass test to hear which hits the lowest and the deepest before giving up.
It was pretty straight forward here as the winner was the SZ2000 followed by the WS99 and the XB900 rounding out the lineup. The 55mm JVC simply cant be touched as the stiff carbon nanotube diaphragm can take a lot of punishment before giving up as long as you feed it well. The driver was simply struggling on the Arrow 4G due to a lack of power and mind you, this is the first time I have seen the Arrow struggle.
The PB2/HD5 is a very good combo as it tames the JVC with a rope around its neck and makes it behave with a very smooth midrange and controlled highs. The bass punches away with authority while keeping a very balanced sound all across. The JVC is very sensitive to amps and EQ and can be made to behave very differently with different combos and different sound preferences. The power of the PB2 finally tames the beastly SZ2000 and highly recommended amp for them whether portable or home usage.
The Onkyo 606 isnt worth a mention, dull with no body or power to the sound. Pretty poor HP out in the Onkyo. The EQ200 equalizer on the other hand was very effective at all frequencies and showed how effortlessly the JVC respond to EQ. I would highly recommend anyone buying these to EQ liberally and see how they change character to suit your taste.
For musicality, the various tracks tested well with the vocals on the HouseRockerz track a bit recessed but not veiled. The beat was again very smooth and punchy. The vocals on the Digimax track were well rendered and not as recessed and overall brighter than the previous track.Hammer&Bennett was fast,punchy and the treble was sparkling as the drivers were getting burnt in and opening up. Larsen by Zazie which is a very vocal based track had the vocals rendered pretty well but just a little soft, lacking just that very last bit of body as if something was holding them back.Kraftwerk was great and needed no improvement as the vocals of the track were very forward and just the highs were a bit recessed, lacking the shimmer but otherwise keeping the tune tight and a huge soundstage to render all the instruments in the track properly. Jamming by Marley sounded a bit recessed in the highs again but the vocals and bass were tight and smooth, Marley,s voice just flowing effortlessly, the bass in the background rumbling away without intruding in the vocals or highs. Phoenix by Wippenberg is a nightclub on your head experience with the highs shimmering, the bass pumping and the middle frequencies punching away in an orderly manner, not a thing out of place as if the headphones were built for this track, The bass had that "in your brain" effect and it was fun washing the dishes with this track playing. No sibilance, no veil, no recession of any frequency just a club in your brain.
Beethoven by Karajan had a veil effect and the highs were definitely affected with no sparkle or shimmer and a very warm sound.Comfortable to listen to but should improve with more burnin.
Comfortwise they were alright, despite the heft. I could wear them for a couple of hours before hurting and they could use deeper pads for a bit of relief. My neck wasnt hurting much just the overall experience was a bit tiring after extended listenung.
In the end, I would pair the JVC with a slightly warm source as the vocals and mids eventually start cleaning up and showing the true character of the headphones. The JVC will slaughter the M100 hands down, judging from my limited experience with the M100 when it comes to bass and depth, however with mids and vocals I would reserve my verdict as the CNT drivers need more burn in and I can already feel the drivers opening up and with a bit more burn in they should get even better.
Kudos to JVC for not using audiphoolery to charge us higher prices with the twin CNT driver technology and they will always have my respect for that, something a lot of manufacturers struggle to achieve in my opinion. No magic mumbo jumbo or ultramegasuper components, just good engineering.
PROS: Dat BASS!!, well priced for the technology used and the materials employed, good construction and solid feel, very scalable and EQ friendly and can be run off a phone/portable amp/desktop amp with increasing scalability.
CONS: Pretty heavy, pads could be just a few mm deeper, need heaps of burnin before they start clearing up, CNT just might kill you.