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Big comparison of chinese headphones

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

This review was done using 'song-on' methodology, where I've listened to diffrent songs on diffrent headphones
and graded them (I've always wanted to do such thing).
The basic idea behind that is to asses how much music (emotions) is transported (or lost) through the equipment (like here you get 90% of potential); I'll go to that in the metodology section.
Beside that I will also put some comments about reviewed headphones, and add some personal preferences.

The introduction itself became too lenghty, so first there are the results

 

 

 

 

  Pop Classic Rock Altern. Rock Metal Hip Hop Trance Avg Bass No Bass
Sennheiser HD560 3 (8.1) 6 (9.2) 5 (8.9) 4 (8.4) 2 (8.0) 3 (8.1) 4 (8.5) 3 (8.1) 5 (8.8)
Sennheiser HD570 3 (8.1) 4 (8.5) 5 (8.8) 4 (8.3) 2 (8.0) 4 (8.5) 4 (8.4) 3 (8.2) 4 (8.5)
Sennheiser HD600 4 (8.6) 6 (9.2) 5 (8.8) 6 (9.0) 4 (8.6) 4 (8.6) 5 (8.8) 4 (8.6) 6 (9.0)
Superlux HD330 1 (7.2) 5 (8.8) 5 (8.9) 6 (9.1) 5 (8.7) 2 (7.9) 4 (8.4) 3 (7.9) 5 (8.9)
Somic MH463 4 (8.5) 5 (8.9) 4 (8.4) 6 (9.0) 4 (8.4) 5 (8.9) 5 (8.7) 4 (8.6) 5 (8.8)
Somic MH489 3 (8.2) 5 (8.7) 4 (8.5) 3 (8.1) 2 (7.9) 6 (9.1) 4 (8.4) 4 (8.4) 4 (8.4)
Takstar HD5500 1 (7.5) 3 (8.1) 5 (8.9) 2 (8.0) 4 (8.4) 5 (8.8) 3 (8.3) 3 (8.2) 3 (8.3)
Takstar HD6000 6 (9.1) 5 (8.9) 5 (8.7) 5 (8.9) 6 (9.2) 6 (9.2) 6 (9.0) 6 (9.2) 5 (8.8)
Technica HPSS1126 4 (8.6) 3 (8.2) 4 (8.3) 1 (7.7) 6 (9.2) 5 (8.8) 4 (8.5) 5 (8.9) 3 (8.1)

 

For how, why and where, please refer to the sections below


For the comments on the headphones please refer to sections in the end of this review

MY HEADPHONE HISTORY

During last 1.5 years I acquiered many chinese headphones (mainly the top models, since they are --cheap-- not expensive) and offer --good-- unbeatable P/V ratio.
Besides (or before) that I've collected a bunch of Sennheiser higher vintage end model + HD600/HD650 duo (never liked the hd5x5/8 combo though).
In that (Sennheiser) meantime I've also bought like three pieces of Tesco Technica HPSS1126, which for 30$ (later on for 20$ or even 15$) complemented Sennheiser equipment firstly by
providing some sub-bass (see description of my musical preferenes), secondly by being a closed pair of headphones (@work); I'll also pleace it in the evaluation
(however I don't think that they are even sold now, since they were for extensive period of time on sell off, and I've never them after).
And in the pre-dawn era of 00s I've listened to cheap heaphones [~10$] of --manufacture-- importer Emmerson (this is some french company; actually I was very excited when a new model came out by them);
at that time they --produced-- imported headphones which were comparable to like hd201/rt161/hp2500 (where you choose what in the heaphones should work badly); those are included in the tests as baseline.
In the meantime I've also moved through some cheaper philips/tdk/panasonic stuff (mainly I, or the surroundings, tend to break headphones)


MY MUSIC HISTORY
I became fan of three music genres
- Trance
- (UK)Hardcore
- Alternative metal (like gothic/symphonic/power metal)
- Trip Hop
I also were fond of
- Hard rock (Linking Park,Korn,Manson) cerca year 2000
- Hip Hop and Urban/aka Nu Soul cerca 1996
I have an interest (which transtates itself to listening to the greatest hits)
- 80's pop sound (synth pop, easy listening, and the late 80 sound)
- alternative rock (brit pop, some grunge etc)
Also with regard to electronic music I ofter stray for short periods of time (1-2 years) to other genres like:
- GOA, Electrohouse, Minimal Techno, Microhouse (whatever seems to be new and popular)
I actually totally don't listen to Jazz; with classical/movie music there are few occurences of listening experience :).

 

METHODOLOGY
There are 6 groups of music genres tested, each of which contains 5 songs (in total 30 songs).
All the 5 songs were listened of after another on one pair of headphones and marked a score from 1 to 9.5
(actually to 10, but there were just 3 10 scores, so I've changed them to 9.5); where 10 corrensponds to
song is fully represented, no complaints whatsoever.
By fully represented I don't mean it in the 'audiophile' way, such as you can 'hear the air between strings' or
the breath of the violinst (why would any one would like to hear that anyway :( ), just a (maybe fast-food) listening experience.
That is, if you would like to get to the audiophilie markings you would have to pass them through some exponent function).
To give you the feeling what they mean, lets say that flac is 10, then 256kb is 9.5; and 128 is 8.

Actually one could argue that numbers are just numbers, and they don't mean anything in the audioworld, nevertheless from my point of view
they have a real meaning: assuming that normal price of song is 1$ and the packet of 5 songs costs 5$ (corresponding to the score of the worst headphone here),
than the score of the heaphone correspond roughtly to the price I'm willing to pay to listen to those songs on those heaphones (that is 10$ on HD600,
and 5$ on the 10$ on noname heaphones)

So the approach is more mass consumer (as well as the headphones) oriented, and not something like "I have this Pink Floyd CD,
which I've listened 1000x times, and I know every detail of it", however there are songs that definitely were heard by me more than 100x times :).

Since the markings might be seen as not having the expresive power due to the fact that, the experience is good just because of the song is good;
and beeing inspired by the Sennheiser booklet headphone evaluation, where they put scores on the headphones from 1 to 6. I did a linear transformation of
the listing score to evaluation score (you can do the math and extract the linear transformation function).

Of course, one more thing (not that it makes any diffrence in this comparsion) the source is Xonar U7, and the music are FLACs
I'll bet that changing the order in which the headphoes were processed
(Emmerson HE255,Sennheiser HD560,Somic MH463,Superlux HD330,Technica,Sennheiser HD570,Takstar HD5500,Somic MH489,Sennheiser HD600,Takstar HD6000)
have bigger impact than any cable, custom mod, or amplifier.
And even with the HD600 (actually here I use the hd650 cable, because the original has breakn itself :O) the volumn was set to be 6-10db below maximum

 

SELECTION OF MUSIC GENRES?GROUPS

There are three aspects here
- my preference
- general popularity
- discriminating power
(with reference to the sennheiser booklet) As I said I don't listen to Jazz, and I'm not that much into classical music to make evaluation of sound
(nor I feel that classical music has sufficient discriminating power, unless you start to be picky about some resonances of the piano)

As I'm into TRANCE, I've certainly put it there, this is almost 100% (not counting vocals) synthetic sound so there is no point of reference,
basically there is small empesasis on the highs, and also the bass can/does not play that hudge role (it makes more like a facet of listening experience: light and airy, or impactueus).
I've tried to add EDM (GOA, minimal, dubstep) but I found that they don't offer that much of differentiation (unless we are taking about bass, but the hip-hop already does that)

The HIP-HOP was added, I don't think that RAP requiers greate sound quality, but I used it here as a mean to evaluate the bass.

ROCK and POP are standards. Actually pop seems to be less demanding, but here it had a better discriminating power, which is due to the fact that songs included here were used by my
for evaluation of headphones during last few ears. As to rock I've splitted it into ALTERNATIVE ROCK an CLASSIC ROCK (with the date of the split beeing cerca 1990) as it is difficult to
asses simultanously performance on Beatles and Disturbed.

The last genre is METAL, which for me is the most demanding genre for speaker/heaphone quality.

I've also included trip-hop, but later on decided to remove it since it sounds good irrespectively of the device used :)

NOT TESTED HEADPHONES

Takstar Pro 80 (similar to hd6000, more neutral, and bigger soundstate); Takstar ts-610 (low SQ); Superlux hd681 and hd668 (I don't have them any more)

RESULTS

 

  Pop Classic Rock Altern. Rock Metal Hip Hop Trance Avg Bass No Bass
Sennheiser HD560 3 (8.1) 6 (9.2) 5 (8.9) 4 (8.4) 2 (8.0) 3 (8.1) 4 (8.5) 3 (8.1) 5 (8.8)
Sennheiser HD570 3 (8.1) 4 (8.5) 5 (8.8) 4 (8.3) 2 (8.0) 4 (8.5) 4 (8.4) 3 (8.2) 4 (8.5)
Sennheiser HD600 4 (8.6) 6 (9.2) 5 (8.8) 6 (9.0) 4 (8.6) 4 (8.6) 5 (8.8) 4 (8.6) 6 (9.0)
Superlux HD330 1 (7.2) 5 (8.8) 5 (8.9) 6 (9.1) 5 (8.7) 2 (7.9) 4 (8.4) 3 (7.9) 5 (8.9)
Somic MH463 4 (8.5) 5 (8.9) 4 (8.4) 6 (9.0) 4 (8.4) 5 (8.9) 5 (8.7) 4 (8.6) 5 (8.8)
Somic MH489 3 (8.2) 5 (8.7) 4 (8.5) 3 (8.1) 2 (7.9) 6 (9.1) 4 (8.4) 4 (8.4) 4 (8.4)
Takstar HD5500 1 (7.5) 3 (8.1) 5 (8.9) 2 (8.0) 4 (8.4) 5 (8.8) 3 (8.3) 3 (8.2) 3 (8.3)
Takstar HD6000 6 (9.1) 5 (8.9) 5 (8.7) 5 (8.9) 6 (9.2) 6 (9.2) 6 (9.0) 6 (9.2)

5 (8.8)

Technica HPSS1126 4 (8.6) 3 (8.2) 4 (8.3) 1 (7.7) 6 (9.2) 5 (8.8) 4 (8.5) 5 (8.9) 3 (8.1)

 

Bassy genres are Hip Hop,Trance and Pop;
not bassy genres are Rock and Metal


HEADPHONES REVIEW

This is review about the chinese headphones, so I'll try limit the comments on the rest.

1)Emmerson HE255

got score cerca 5.5, which is 0 mark; used as refernce; you actually get a good bass from it, and is not painfull to listen to EDM;it easyly gets EQd, upto score 7-7.5?

2) Sennheisers HD560, HD600 (or why the did not get 10/10)
In short HD560 is perfect for music like jazz (I guess), classical and classic (60-70) rock; the HD600 extends the longivity to 80s music (pop than alternative rock).
Generally you can see the process in the scores (I would bet that evaluating them in the context of jazz,clasical or accoustic mussic would rank them higher)
However my biggest complaints are:
- lack of sub-bass; the bass itself is very good, but sometimes it gets lost in the rest, and it is to tight/punctual for electronic muisc/hip-hop (would want here more fluid bass, which is in turn not good for metal,rock);
- the sound (especially vocals) is sometimes too forward (I get a feeling that someone sings me in the ear, or I am siting right next to a piano)
- there is some high mids energy (which gets moved to lower treble on hd570)
- the hd560 has sometimes weird scene, where parts feel far away, but vocals feel forward
- they tend to not have sufficient amount of mass (hd560,hd570) and be slightly too bright (see coments on superlux hd330)
- not spectacular soundstage (comparing to somics)
Yet, they provide most accurate sound, neutral/natural timbre of voice, greate level of detail and spectaculat holography
But they are here only for reference

PS: those headphones provide greate comfort of wearing , and big plus for the L/R balance

3) Technica HPSS1126
My standard headphone (even when I got the Sennheiser HD series, but only till i got the takstarpro 80). Its sound resembles the sound of beats Mixr, and takstar HD6000 seems to be evolutions of it.
Technically one could argue that it is not so good, there is some coloration, the sound is very far away (real veil), the sounds tend to overlap, the holography is more flat, the is a drop in 1xkHz; but:
- The subbass is fantastic, there is peak on 70Hz, and there is no extension below (like superluxes hd681, actually lets call it lower-half-hearing FQ is 30Hz vs 27Hz for hd691,and 35Hz for MH463), and above (like tastars hd5500), it also does not make the headphones dark (like hd330);
it is fluid and emerges from the whole background, and never gets infront of the rest
- Especially strings (natural and synthetic) get a lot of power and aural space
So these are greate for Trance, and bass heavy genres (like Moonabthon, GOA); definetly worst for everything else (maybe classical music is also ok)

4) Superluxes hd330

Those are very popular headphones, especially for metal/hard rock, and for a reason.

They are very dark, which benefits them in Metal, and at the same time is problematic in Pop and Trance.
The bass is tight and can go low, kind of good for rock but they fail in EDM and to lesser extent in hip-hop.
The high extension is good, and they provide some aggresivness into guitars.
I like their soundstage, it is just good...
But I don't like how they feel dry? (similarly to hd5x5/8)

5) Somic MH463
Actually those and MH489 have a greate quality feeling to them, however they are both not supper comfy (the first have flat pads, the second too fluffy).

I said once that they provide wow effect.
The (especially women vocals) mids seem to be great, how ever there is some general coloration (feeling of coldness if this make sense).
The bass is also great (it is between of being tight and too fluid, good for both rock/trance) and can provide good impact.
The soundstage is impressive (very large), however it has some weirdness: some instruments tend to take unproportionally large space, and come from weird directions (shoulders, or pecs);
and feels sometimes incoherent (besides there is a problem with not equal FQ response on the left and right responder).

6) Somic MH489
First problem are the pads, which are large cushions, which gives you the feeling of having head between pillows, and enhence the effect of the recessed mids.
However the scene is fantastic, almost as large as MH463, with no incoherence, the instruments are more punctual, and provides contrabalance to the bas.
The bass is very subwoofer like, and it provides really great impact; the amount of it is too much for bass heavy hip-hop, but in trance it provided the club shaker feeling.
If you don't have much (low)bass in your music than you can appreciate the mids (see the progress in score through movement from metal to the classic rock)
I found hard to evaluate those headphones due to that cushion like feeling on your ears (a litle less problematic flat pads from mh463), I'm betting that there is a little bit of muffled feeling

7) Takstar hd5500
I just recently got those headphones, at first the were really muffled, and had some weird peak on the highs, but after 1-2 hours, they really cleared up;
actually I cannot even say that they are dark (especially compared to superluxes hd330, main diffrence).
But here, large amount of bass adds-up to sub-bass extension, and makes it a little bit fatiguing (especially for pop)
The sound stage is ok, not spectacular, but I don't have any problems with it (compared to for example sennheisers :) )
Generally U-shaped sound, with some imbalance in trable.
Somewhat good isolation is also a plus

8) Takstar HD600 (and somewhat pro 80)
Wow those ones are great, my main complaint is the narrow soundstage, cause you just want the sound in your head to explode further (it feel kind of compressed).
Generally, the best bass is here, having not much in fatigueness in form of darkness (hd330) or too much energy (hd681/hd5500); however these are very closed and very isolating headphones
The mids are very good, and the sound is not that forward as in Sennheisers.
The highs are bit boosted up, nothing aggresive, just a contrbalance for bass.

I would say they are most versatile headphones here, unless you are going mainly for rock, or instrumental.

 

RESULT SANITY CHECK

Ok so here we have on the one hand one of the best dynamic (and still affordable) headphones in the form of Sennheiser HD600 and HD560 Ovation,
and some chinese headphones, but from which just one bet the HD600 (kind of logical the HD6000 must be HD600), and one another bet HD560.
But if you leave only rock/metal the HD600 take the lead however here many of the other headphones scored close.
Even if I complained about lack of bass (actaully sub-bass) in Sennheiser they still scored high (HD600 3rd place), mainly due to level of detail.

In some sence properties of Sennheisers like detail level, spatial accuracy, neutral tone; are lost (less important) in the synthetic (electronic music),
where bass and bodiness (impact) and spatialness (in form of large soundstage or largness of instrumentalization and bass fluidity) is more important, at least for me.

Actaully with Trance (and somewhat with hip-hop) the Sennheisers provide very nice lightwieghted experience, but it is hard to treat it as the main mode of listening.

I'm would say that Pop and alternative rock also don't impose much of technical requierments, and for normal (for fun) listeneing I don't require
great accuracy, but can accept impactness, diffrent bass texture, or aggresivness of guitars of diffrent headphones as benefits depending on the song.


CONCLUSIONS

I will here just anwser the question which of the headphones I would displose of (ignoring their price, but I'll not count in the technica since it is hard to abstract from the 20$ paid :) ):

Superlux hd330 - two dark
Sennheiser hd570 - the detail/neutrality doesn't contrabalance the lack of mass
Somic MH463 - incoherent soundstage
Takstars HD5500 - Too much bass
Sennheisers HD560 - hd600 makes everyghing better (at least for music in which I'm interested in, I know there are fans of classical music/jazz which would opose)

If I was to take some headphones with me that would be
HD6000
HD600
MH489

And the final list: value for the price paid is:
Technica HPSS 20$
Takstar HD6000 100$
Sennheiser HD560 60$


RAW DATA

POP Emmerson HE255 Sennheiser HD560 Somic MH463 Superlux HD330 Technica Sennheiser HD570 Takstar HD5500 Somic MH489 Sennheiser HD600 Takstar HD6000
Avril Lavigne – Let me Go 5 8.5 7.5 7 8 8.5 8 8.5 9.5 9
Anna Maria Jopek – Na Dloni 5.5 8 8 7 9 8 7.5 7.5 8 9.5
Loona – Hiho De La Luna 4 8 8.5 7.5 8.5 9 7.5 8.5 8 9
Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans 5 7.5 9.5 8 8.5 7.5 7.5 8.5 9 9
Britney Spears - Hold It Against Me 6 8.5 9 6.5 9 7.5 7 8 8.5 9
  5.1 8.1 8.5 7.2 8.6 8.1 7.5 8.2 8.6 9.1
                     
ALTERNATIVE ROCK Emmerson HE255 Sennheiser HD560 Somic MH463 Superlux HD330 Technica Sennheiser HD570 Takstar HD5500 Somic MH489 Sennheiser HD600 Takstar HD6000
4 Non Blonds – What's Up 6.5 8.5 8 8.5 8.5 8 9 8.5 9 9.5
Ewelina Lisowska - W Strone Slonca 5.5 9 9 8.5 8 9 9 8.5 9 8.5
Disturbed – Stricken 7 9.5 8 9 8.5 8.5 9 8 9 8.5
Green Day – 21 Guns 6 9 8.5 9.5 8.5 9 8.5 9 8.5 9
Oasis - D'You Know What I Mean 4.5 8.5 8.5 9 8 9.5 9 8.5 8.5 8
  5.9 8.9 8.4 8.9 8.3 8.8 8.9 8.5 8.8 8.7
                     
TRANCE Emmerson HE255 Sennheiser HD560 Somic MH463 Superlux HD330 Technica Sennheiser HD570 Takstar HD5500 Somic MH489 Sennheiser HD600 Takstar HD6000
Martin Roth and Alex Bartlett - Off The World (Super8 & Tab Remix) 7 8.5 9 8 8 9 9 9.5 9 9
Gareth Emery feat Christina Novelli – Concrete Angel 5.5 8.5 9.5 7 8.5 8.5 8.5 9 8.5 9
Binary Finary – 2000 (Jamx + DuMondes Mix) 6.5 8.5 9 8 9 9 9 8.5 9 9
Drax LTD II -Amphetamine 6 6.5 8 8.5 9 7.5 8.5 9.5 7.5 9.5
Matt Darey feat Lucia Martin – Animal (Nu Style Mix) 6.5 8.5 9 8 9.5 8.5 9 9 9 9.5
  6.3 8.1 8.9 7.9 8.8 8.5 8.8 9.1 8.6 9.2
                     
HIP HOP Emmerson HE255 Sennheiser HD560 Somic MH463 Superlux HD330 Technica Sennheiser HD570 Takstar HD5500 Somic MH489 Sennheiser HD600 Takstar HD6000
Beasty Boys – Intergalactic 6 8 8.5 9 9.5 7.5 8 8 8 9
Cypress Hill – Rock Superstar 5.5 7.5 8 8 9 8 8.5 7 8.5 9.5
Missy Elliot – Cop That **** 6.5 8.5 9 9.5 9 8.5 8 8 9 9.5
50 Cent - Many Men (Wish Death) 6.5 8 8 8 9 8 9 8 8.5 9
Eminem - Still Don't Give A **** 7 8 8.5 9 9.5 8 8.5 8.5 9 9
  6.3 8 8.4 8.7 9.2 8 8.4 7.9 8.6 9.2
                     
METAL Emmerson HE255 Sennheiser HD560 Somic MH463 Superlux HD330 Technica Sennheiser HD570 Takstar HD5500 Somic MH489 Sennheiser HD600 Takstar HD6000
Nighwish – Beauty And The Beast 5 8 9 9.5 7.5 8 7.5 9 9 9
Tristania Darkest White 6 8.5 9.5 9 8 9 8 8 9 9
Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast 5 9 8.5 8.5 7.5 8.5 8 7.5 9.5 8
Dragonforce - Where Dragons Rule 4.5 8.5 9 9.5 8 8 8 8 9 9
Metalica – Memory Remains 5.5 8 9 9 7.5 8 8.5 8 8.5 9.5
  5.2 8.4 9 9.1 7.7 8.3 8 8.1 9 8.9
                     
CLASSIC ROCK Emmerson HE255 Sennheiser HD560 Somic MH463 Superlux HD330 Technica Sennheiser HD570 Takstar HD5500 Somic MH489 Sennheiser HD600 Takstar HD6000
Bajm - Rozowa Kula 6.5 9.5 9 8.5 9 8.5 7.5 8.5 9 9
Beatles - Help 5.5 9.5 9 8.5 8 8.5 8 8.5 9.5 9
Led Zeppelin - All My Love 6 9.5 8.5 9.5 7.5 8.5 8 9 9.5 9
Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me 4.5 9 9.5 8 8 9 8.5 8.5 9 9
The Doors - The End 6 8.5 8.5 9.5 8.5 8 8.5 9 9 8.5
  5.7 9.2 8.9 8.8 8.2 8.5 8.1 8.7 9.2 8.9
post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

And since this is a comparsion of chinese headphones with reference to Sennheisers

I  have this anecdote.

 

After giving hd600 to my friend:

- Please, checkout these on of the best headphones ever

He took them, listened to them, and replied

- Wow those Superluxes are really great

(Because) He actually listened to my HD681 before giving a try to the HD600

(I was not a big fan of hd681)

 

Yeah, todays consumers seem to be more bass oriented

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've spent more time with takstar hd5500 listening to pop (I've got them like 2 days before making the review, and the pop was the first think I've tested -> actually I've tested twice);

actually I think I ranked them a little bit too low (1@7.2)

they still are not good for it but i would bet that score such as 2 or 3 (~8.0) would be bettrer

First: after a while, you to some extent get used to the bass.

Secondly: It impress me how they are able to have a feeling of clartity (still mids are recessed, highs are missing something)

post #4 of 9

how are hd5500 behaving now after almost a month?

post #5 of 9

Are HD6000 still your favorite?

post #6 of 9

Whoa. Very cool review!

post #7 of 9
Reviewes regarding sound and music are subjective so there is no place for arguement. But there is one thing I don't agree with in this review - Takstar TS-610 don't have bad SQ to them. They are definitely not a fun sounding headphone and they have some issues with comfortability cause they have huge cups and not enough clamping force to hold them in place but they are very resolving and and together with Superlux HD660 are the best two Chinese headphones made for critical monitoring.
Edited by Hal Rockwell - 1/2/14 at 3:11am
post #8 of 9

this is nice. can you specifically differentiate takstar hd6000 and pro80? which do you prefer?


Edited by lisagorbin - 2/17/14 at 3:43am
post #9 of 9

.


Edited by lisagorbin - 3/7/14 at 12:12am
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