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Pioneer Se-A1000 vs Takstar Hi-2050 (Open Headphones)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm re-making this comparisson to make it more useful for people looking for budget open headphones.
What to expect from each one and how do they compare in terms of sound quality?

 

The setup used is pretty simple:

Laptop (foobar2000) >> Fiio E07K Andes Dac/Amp >> Takstar HI-2050
Laptop (foobar2000) >> Fiio E07K Andes Dac/Amp >> Pioneer Se-A1000

Fiio E07K gain was set at 0 Db and volume between 30 and 45


 

Sub-Bass (20Hz to 60Hz):

 

I've used SinGen 2.1 for this part of the test.

 

Both are really shy in this range of frequencies, you get practically no sound if you try to reproduce any sound below 40Hz with any of this headphones at normal listening levels.

From 40Hz to 60Hz both are shy and similar sounding being the Pioneers slightly more full and clean sounding to my ears.

In both cases, as you go up through the frequencies, the reproduction volume goes up rapidly from 20Hz to 60Hz.


 

Bass:

 

Chesky - Bass resonance test (Volume 38-40)

 

Both again sound quite similar, being the Pioneers just a little bit more full sounding/boomy and the Takstars bass being a little bit  more tight and precise.

The higher frequency details present on this track, that most of the times correspond to the player hitting the strings and the strings bouncing, are clear with both headphones, but sound more realistic with the Pioneers, they sound smoother, and timbres are better to my ears.


 

Midrange:

 

Livingston Taylor - Grandma's hands (Volume 38-40)

 

Here is where this headphones start to show some very important differences. While both sound good, the Pioneers are more airy, smoother and then sound less congested, but quite veiled. On the other side, the Takstars are more forward, and detailed. Its soundstage is smaller and then these are more intimate sounding headphones.


 

Highs:

 

Mike Sheridan (ft. Maya Albana) - Med sma skridt (Volume 35)

 

While I wouldn't reccommend any of this two headphones for this kind of electronic music, the difference between them here is notably.
The Pioneers are usually known for having piercing highs. I think that is not completly true. In my opinion the Pioneers high frequency response is not flat, then tend to acentuate some sounds, but most of the times in a quite smooth way, which I guess make its sound a little bit bright (often a little bit harsh or sibilant, BUT JUST A LITTLE) when you are listening to bright recordings like this. To my ears, they aren't flat, but still natural sounding, i.e., timbres are not hardly afected by this.
On the other side, Takstars are bright, its frequency response is really extended, and then is not suitable for music like this. Timbres are really afected. In this track, voice sounds mettalic (quite harshing), and some high frequency effects sounds on the front and not completely clear. The sound is after all congested, and the mettalic voice reproduction is not that pleasant (IMO)


 

Classical Music:

 

Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons (TELARC) (Volume 45)

 

Such a nice recording! This headphones shows its best here, but they sound really different. It is nice listening to the Pioneers because of its airy sound, nice soundstage and sense of space, but choosing this headphones you loose midrange detail (because this headphones are quite veiled)
Takstars instead, sound really engaging with its forward and detailed sound signature, and sacrifice a little sense of space with its smaller but more precise soundstage.

I prefer Takstars over Pioneers here.


 

Conclusions and final comments.

 

Sub-Bass: HI-2050 = Se-A1000 = shy or not existent

 

Bass quantity: Se-A1000 > Hi-2050
Bass naturalness: Se-A1000 > Hi-2050
Bass detail: Hi-2050 > Se-A1000

 

Midrange:

Takstar Hi-2050: Clear, detailed and forward.
Pioneer Se-A1000: Veiled, smooth sounding.

 

Highs:

Takstar Hi-2050: On the bright side, very extended, not suitable for bad recordings neither for good recordings with a lot of energy over 4kHz (Pop, Electronic music, etc.)

Pioneer Se-A1000: Sweet sounding most of the time, nice detail and timbres, forgiving. Only a little bit sibilant with bright recordings.

 

Soundstage size and sense of space: Se-A1000 > Hi-2050
Soundstage precision: Hi-2050 > Se-A1000


 

PS. On the topic of EQing the Takstar HI 2050 to make them sound more forgiving and better as an all-rounder I've tried EQing my Takstars using Electri-Q, and made those adjustments (suggested by vodkex I think) to get rid of some of the peaks in the highs but while the headphone after EQing sound warmer and often voices sound more realistic, to me, the EQ is not 100% clean (Foobar2000 + VST + ElecriQ posihfopit) and the sound after EQing is less detailed. I think, this equalization is good for those who have this headphone and like listening to those sorts of music with too much energy over 4KHz.



Greetings from Argentina! (And I'm sorry if my english is not perfect)

x3





 


Edited by Me x3 - 11/18/14 at 6:54am
post #2 of 4

Nice write up, thanks!

 

Gives a decent impression of the character of both headphones.

 

My Takstars are coming in a couple of days and if I do eventually get hold of the Pioneers, I'll make sure to do my own comparison. Maybe along with some tips and tricks on how to get a smoother sound out of the HI 2050s through some careful EQing, to mimic the sound of the Pioneers as closely as possible for people who might prefer it's sound signature. Hopefully this could benefit those who cannot get hold of the Pioneers for as low of a price in their part of the world, or those who like the form factor and the comfort of the Takstars but prefer a less analytical sound from their phones.

 

I'll come back and give my own impressions of these Takstars when they arrive, it's quite possible I won't hear them in the same way as Me x3 has described in his post, but coming from a pair of Sennheiser HD555s I'm expecting to notice that extra bit of brightness out of the box.

 

 

 

As an addendum, from the other thread:

 

Here's the two frequency response graphs of each these phones as measured by a Japanese reviewer.

Not sure how accurate they are exactly, but it's interesting to open them in two different tabs and compare them:

 

 

Takstar Hi-2050        ---   http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/hi2050_f.gif
Pioneer Se-A1000   ---   http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/se-a1000_f.gif

 

Referring to this while doing some more fine EQing would make it easier to know what to aim for if you like the Pioneer's sound out of the box.

 

Interestingly the graph would suggest that the Takstar is actually "warmer" from 100Hz and up through the mids. It also has a 2-3KHz boost that is absent in the Pioneer, which may give it a slightly "harsher" sound out of the box. Lastly the Pioneer seems more rolled off in the post 10KHz range than the Takstar, while also being slightly less "bright" overall. All theoretical for now of course :P

 

Cheers!


Edited by Snoozles101 - 8/20/13 at 5:22pm
post #3 of 4

By the way, on the topic of EQing the Takstar HI 2050s, vodkex made some accurate adjustments to get rid of some of the peaks he heard.

 

Both of his posts include a screenshot of his parametric EQ settings, apparently they work very well and make these phones sound more natural:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/585356/the-takstar-technical-pro-gemini-greathon-thread/810#post_9443011

http://www.head-fi.org/t/585356/the-takstar-technical-pro-gemini-greathon-thread/810#post_9446404

 

Will definitely be trying this myself!

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

I've completely remade this comparison to make it more useful.

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