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Review: NAD Viso HP50

post #1 of 138
Thread Starter 

 

I have heard a wide array of headphones and IEM's. I find this to be a very fun hobby to fuel my love my music. Generally, there is the mindset that the more you spend, the better it is. Well, that is true to an extent. The reason I'm saying this is because I honestly think the HP50 is one of the best headphones that my ears have had the pleasure of listening to. I've heard the Sennheiser HD 800, HD 650, JH13 Pro, Westone ES5 and a few other top tier headphones or IEM's and though they all sounded draw droppingly amazing; they don't incorporate all of the traits and characteristics that the HP50 possesses.

 

The Sennheiser HD 800 and HD 650 are both power hungry beasts that require a beefy amplifier. Also, they're not ideal for portable use because of their open back nature and required power output. The JH13 Pro and Westone ES5 are both highly portable and block out a ton of noise but their sound is not as coherent and spacious as the HP50 which is also a portable headphone. The HP50 to my ears are just as strikingly clear and accurate as the top headphones that I have heard. Unless you need a super expansive soundstage, then there isn't much more those headphones have to offer other than costing more money to maintain.

 

Comfort wise, these are great. Zero comfort issues for me. My ears are small anyways and actually found them able to fit inside the Sennheiser Momentum without any comfort issues. The V-Moda Crossfade M-100 with stock pads however was highly uncomfortable for me until I threw on the XL pads. The HP50 is a very light headphone with a premium finish and look. I am very happy with the physical construction of this headphone.

 

To dive further into the sound characteristics of the HP50 I'll start it off with the bass. When I first heard these headphones coming from the Momentum and M-100, my expectations were severely skewed. I thought the HP50 were bass light. However as I continued to listen and analyze how the sound proportion in relation to the surrounding instruments of any bass instrument was conveyed through the HP50, I began to realize the HP50 was just accurately presenting the bass. There was no added boom or rumble that would please the general and naive population. The HP50's bass extends deep and it's incredibly controlled and textured.

 

Midrange is the most important frequency in my opinion and if that isn't rendered well I don't want anything to do with the headphone. Here, the HP 50's offers this in spades giving a well-proportioned, exceptionally balanced and crystal clear presentation. Also, it takes it further because of its spatial presentation being so expansive, the vocalists sound as if they are actually in front of you, personally singing to you. It's a sort of like euphoric 3D experience that you have to hear in order to understand. The RoomFeel tech is no gimmick.

 

I hate treble that is too prominent resulting in a harsh experience or treble that has packed its bags and left on a vacation resulting in a dull and boring experience. Transitioning its excellent performance from the bass and mids, the HP50 continues to deliver grade A performance in this frequency. The treble is well articulate with a hint of roll off to give a natural presentation and reduce listening fatigue. This is the treble that I personally lust for. It's there and present when needed and doesn't induce vocal sibilance or harsh transients. I can't fault anything here, honestly.

 

Soundstage and detail is what transforms the experience into almost being there. If the headphone doesn't render those two attributes well; it just sounds like a pair of headphones. The HP50 handles them excellently. The soundstage size as well as the instrument separation of the HP50 is not something that is normally associated with a closed back headphone. It really sounds like a open back headphone with a presentation that is completely out of my head and very coherent; sort of 3D like. Detail rendition is also exceptional capturing the subtle textures and cues to really make the instruments and musical environment sound as if it is actually in front of you.

 

For $300, these headphones are a steal.

 

Pro's

- Incredible Sound

- BANG FOR BUCK

- Comfortable

- Well built

- Looks very nice

- Wealthy amount of accessories that is included

 

Con's

- It may make you realize that you have spent too much on your more expensive headphones.

 


Edited by SonusAudio - 1/4/14 at 9:45pm
post #2 of 138

Nice review! I pretty much agree with all of it, although with larger than average sized ears, the earpads could be bigger.

post #3 of 138
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I think NAD wanted a strike a balance between a smaller size for portability and being able to fit a majority of ear shapes when developing the ear cups. :)

post #4 of 138
I finally got a chance to demo the HP50s today and it was an eye-opening experience (or ear opening). I just bought the T90s and had a few occasions during the day to return it and just go with the HP50s. I haven't yet, but wow, did it ever sound good with everything I threw at them. I believe the one I demo'd was right out of the box too, so I can only imagine what these would be like after ample burn in.
post #5 of 138

Having more listening time, it seems that the HP50 has a pretty aggressive bass, a big change compared to my old Q40 with its more subtle bass. 

post #6 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karnoffel View Post
 

Having more listening time, it seems that the HP50 has a pretty aggressive bass, a big change compared to my old Q40 with its more subtle bass. 

Aggressive in terms of attack and tightness or quantity?

post #7 of 138

Aggressive in attack, seems to be more in your face kind of bass but I didn't hear any mudding of the other frequencies so it's much better at songs with fast bass than the Q40 IMO.

post #8 of 138
Thread Starter 

Yea, it's very tight and impactful. I like this. Gives a good sense of speed.

post #9 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deltasun View Post

I finally got a chance to demo the HP50s today and it was an eye-opening experience (or ear opening). I just bought the T90s and had a few occasions during the day to return it and just go with the HP50s. I haven't yet, but wow, did it ever sound good with everything I threw at them. I believe the one I demo'd was right out of the box too, so I can only imagine what these would be like after ample burn in.

Even though they sounded great out of the box, with burn in, everything smooths out. Completely soothing experience that doesn't disregard clarity.

post #10 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonusAudio View Post
 

Even though they sounded great out of the box, with burn in, everything smooths out. Completely soothing experience that doesn't disregard clarity.

I also gave them a night of burn in, they sounded good out of the box, but burn in did smooth them out.

 

I agree with everything in the review.

On some recording I wish there was 10-20% less bass, but I'm not a bass head to start with and those kind of music is not my daily staple. I had not think I'd find anything close to AKG K702 experience in a closed headphone, but they proved me wrong! Soundstage is there!

I'd been using them daily for over a month and will not exchange them for anything :D

The do not need and amp to sound their best, if you have it good, if you don't nothing will be missed. iPhone/iPad drives them great at ~ 50-60% of volume, I do not need to blast the sound all the way up to hear nuances - this is a trait of hi-fi equipment in general, that even lower volumes provide details and enjoyment. 

Some think they look weird to wear outside - I's say - my ears are more important then what others think of how I look.

post #11 of 138
Thread Starter 
Yea, man, these just continue to amaze me.
 
Also, funny that you say that your ears are more important. NAD actually placed this on their box. "We don't care about your lifestyle. We care about your ears".
 
:dt880smile:
post #12 of 138

Great review!, very informative, i was expecting for more opinions to go for this cans. I wonder if the HP 50 will have some improvement with an amp. Do you think they will pair well with Fiio X3 in high gain?

post #13 of 138
Thread Starter 

Thanks and that's the exact source that I use with the HP50. You won't need high gain, low gain will get these playing VERY loudly easily.

post #14 of 138

I am just two day in but haven´t seen much of a difference with dedicated headphone amps on it. I do find it on the warm side and the bass could be tighter but yes it´s very easy listen it´s seldom the best but I can play anything on it and the laid back signature should mean marathon listens would go down well.

 

I compared it a bit with my Audeze LCD-2, JVC DX 1000, Sony CD 3000. Yamaha EPH-100 is what it generally competes with. It has so far not really compared favourly to the first trio but that is much to ask. Good enough to be ignorant though very easy listen. The DX 1000 is modded too btw fyi.

 

As for Yamaha EPH-100 the Yamaha has a more lively sound and the bass really kicks harder and is a bit tighter. Both these headphones are coloured as I feel it in one way or another. The lively sound of the EPH-100 do make for a great first impression but fatigue over time will certainly be more then the NADs . IEMS is never any long term comfort kings though so that don´t matter to much I recon can always use the volume controller... I just made my portal life much more complex I have to say but if I am going to listen for hours no brainer would go for the bit more laid back presentation it still has drive when called for. Well I could always keep the iems on the side since they don´t take up any space but having options can be stressful ;)

 

But the great thing with the NAD is that they have so far never ever annoyed me on my Note 2 or solid state amps. It did just get a bit to warm on my tube amp. So far the brighter the amp the better for it. Thus I preferr it more on my Ipod touch 3G then my Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Now I feel the Ipad touch 3Gs DAC is a bit better too so that was not that unexpected.

 

It´s kind of hard to compare headphones though. The better they isolate the more closed they generally do sound so considering the isolation they are really great. The EPH-100 do have the NADS beat in that arena though as you would expect. I do find both these have quite impressive soundstage with that considered :)

 

As for design they do remind a bit of the jecklin floats? I suppose that comment may scare away a lot but yes I don´t really care to much.

post #15 of 138

Well, thanks for the answer, i think i'll go for the HP 50 next month. They're $ 290 (U.S. Dollars) here in Perú with an authorized dealer, total bargain (considering shipping, taxes, etc).

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