For a while, I have been searching for a portable can which would help me with my metal (Death, Tech Death, Black, Post....) listening needs. Due to the speed, complexity and bad recording/mastering techniques prevalent in this genre, it is not exactly suitable for every other headphone. Since, I am from India and headphones are unbelievably expensive, hard to find and headphone sighting are extremely rare, For eg: Senheisser India tells me HD25-1 II costs approximately Rs:22990 ~ $370 (are you f****** serious)
After much deliberation, my sister gifted me a PX 100 - ii (well she asked me what I wanted, and I sent her the online link from which she ordered and gifted me a PX 100 ii) .
Couple of colleagues at my work, think I am nut job. When I tell them prices for HD 800 or 650 in Indian Rupees, they get even more convinced that there is something wrong with me. There is a guy at work to whom I send links to metal videos, mosh pit scenes etc (just for fun). Well his music tastes are quite different and he finds it amusing that there are people on this planet who are willing to listen to people shouting.. A, couple of weeks ago, when I walked past him and noticed, that he had a six year old PX 100 in white. Its worn out, but still in perfect working condition and so I decide to borrow it and do a small comparison from my end.
*** Cowon C2 with equalizer set to Normal was used for this comparison.
*** All tracks used for comparison are FLAC or 320 Kbps Mp3s.
Lets start with a few pictures (please excuse the quality the picture quality; taken with my phone)
WARNING: This is my first attempt at comparison, so if I don't make sense when I explain the technical details of song and its presentation I apologize.
- Both look well built and since, one of them has lasted six years I would like to say PX 100 seems to have a better build quality, compared to PX 100 ii.
- PX 100 has two sided cable and PX 100 ii has a left sided one which I prefer. However, the cable quality of PX 100 ii feels a little worse than the PX 100. Also, the cable length on the PX 100 ii is significantly smaller than the PX 100.
- The folding mechanism on both headphones are the same and quite efficient.
TRACK BY TRACK COMPARISON:
Avial - Ettam Pattu ( Alt/Fusion Rock).
The first thing I notice is, PX 100 is that it sits lightly on my head, so I check the headband and see that its become quite loose due to the age. This track is the first track that I play, when I test a new headphone or speaker. It has been recorded well. All instruments are clearly defined and we are able to hear them as required. At different stages of the song different instruments are highlighted and there is a slightest forward presentation of vocals. Even though, there is a slight emphasis on the mid bass I felt that the emphasis on bass was a little lacking. If i press the drivers slightly towards my head, the bass becomes better defined. I feel, if this was not a 6 year old piece, the headband would have more of its clamping force and it would solve the problem of slight drop in bass. Mids are perfect, vocals shine really well on this track. The overall presentation is quite airy due to the open nature of these headphones.
When I switch to PX 100 ii, there is a clear difference as far as the bass tuning. The mid bass hump, is more apparent but the overall presentation remains the same. I get the feeling that PX 100, PX 100 ii and HD 25 - 1 ii have the same house Sennheiser sound with slight changes. Right now, I can't say if I like PX 100 or PX 100 ii more. The only conclusion, I am able to make is PX 100 ii is a bit darker compared to PX 100
Beyond Creation - Omnipresent Perception (Technical Death Metal)
The primary purpose of me getting a PX 100 ii was because, it supposedly handles Metal music well. I check the PX 100 with this song and it handles, this song quite well. The speed and complexity of the song is clearly defined. The decay in sound of different instruments quite natural and instrument separation is well presented. Only, real problem I see is that bass is not emphasized much. This is not a bad thing, per-se however if your primary concern is bass then I think you should look at alternatives. The PX 100 ii also behaves almost the same. I am still able to notice the Mid bass hump but then again, this is also not an overly bassy can.
Digital Love - Daft Punk (House/ Synth pop)
I am not sure, if PX 100 handles this song properly. The vocals are of course well done, however it sounds a little anemic. During the course of this song, there are multiple places where the bass presentation changes dramatically and that I feel is not handled well. The HD 25 - 1 ii does a better job, I feel. PX 100 ii is a little better for this song, The vocals feel a little more closer and intimate, add that with the mid bass hump and it does just manage to highlight the bass level changes somewhat.
Shakti - India ( Jazz/Fusion/Indian Classical/Instrumental)
Strings sound wonderful and so does the violin. You are able to judge the position of each instrument accurately. This is the first time, I see one of the major differences and it feels that PX 100 is more natural sounding (I could even say flatter) than PX 100 ii. The PX 100 ii on the other hand compensates for this with its musicality and warmth.
Home Invasion - Deadly Remains (Brutal Death Metal).
Now, this a song is a good test to see, if the headphone is able to handle fast/brutal metal efficiently. The problem with this song on most headphones is that, because it is not as well recorded or mastered as Beyond Creation. Due, to emphasis on bass on every other headphone and the bad recording this song becomes a little fatiguing. Also, I think there is a difference in how treble doesn't become abrasive for this song, in both PX 100 and 100 ii compared to HD 25 -1 ii which makes this a pretty good can for metal. For this song, I am unable to really differentiate between the headphones.
I Mind - James Blake ( Electronica/ Post Dub?)
I think, this sound is a good reference for testing a sub woofer> If you hear this song on a good 2.1 speaker system or in a car with subwoofer from exactly at around 36/37 seconds, a deep bass beat is introduced. In both PX 100 and PX 100 ii you are able to identify it however if you have a good subwoofer and you crank up the volume, you will get a drum beating sensation on your chest. This does not happen with both PXs, however HD 25 - 1 ii is able to address it a little better but I fee, only speakers can help you understand the true nature of this song and what I am talking about.
PROS: One of the best for Metal Music, Simple Design, Fold able, Airy presentation.
CONS: Looks fragile, Open design and hence voice leakage, Not a full blown bass can
VERDICT: I feel PX 100 ii is suitable successor(not an upgrade) of PX 100. Purists could argue about PX 100's more natural and flatter presentation compared to PX 100 ii but I feel the difference is in not substantial.
Edited by wrathzombie - 2/25/14 at 8:58am