Audiophile-grade for Over 40 YearsNAD VISO is the culmination of more than 40 years of dedicated...

NAD Electronics VISO HP50 Noise-Isolating Over-Ear Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.36364/5,
  • Audiophile-grade for Over 40 YearsNAD VISO is the culmination of more than 40 years of dedicated audio innovation. Designed and driven by audiophiles, the NAD VISO HP50 Over-Ear Headphones are made specifically for digital natives who understand the difference that clean, crisp sound makes to music lovers. Because we don't care about your lifestyle. We care about your ears.RoomFeelTMCreated to translate the warm, open sound of live performance directly into your private headphone experience. Countless hours were spent in one of North America's most sophisticated audio labs in the research and development of RoomFeelTM technology, discovering a way to add back to the recording without altering the audio signal. The result is true headphone innovation that lets you sense the music around you, feel every beat, and hear a more open soundstage.Apple ControlTake full control of your music with a simple touch of the 3-button multi-click remote. Compatible with all devices' headphone output, iTunes music and full-featured call functionality is also right at your fingertips; play/pause, skip track, previous track, fast-forward, pause, skip, make and answer calls. It also includes a high quality inline mic for crystal-clear voice-calling and device control with Siri-compatible devices.Science-Driven SoundFine-tuned with precision inside one of the quietest places on earth, with an expert team of sound scientists, the HP50s deliver the most advanced headphone technology for today's detai

Recent User Reviews

  1. Audioholic123
    4.5/5,
    "Very crisp,clear accurate sound. Possibly the best in it's price class. "
    Pros - Sound Quality. Very pretty, comes in nice box with accessories.
    Cons - Comfort.
    It's been over a year since I last wrote a review here on Head-Fi. This is because few headphones that i've owned since then have impressed me lol. I had my eyes on the NAD HP50's for a couple of years now and finally decided to purchase a pair this november (2016).  I was aware that NAD made higher-end audio equipment and it's safe to say that the HP50's reflect this. I always use the excellent Oehlbach XXL DAC ULTRA headphone amp to test new headphones with and that is what I used for the HP50's. I gotta say they are terrific value for money!... clean, crisp highs, smooth mids and very accurate bass. Maybe too accurate bass!..upon my first listen I thought - "where is the bass"...but after a while I realised that it was recording-dependant. Which I like...but if you are a basshead then you will probably hate these headphones. If I where to compare them to another headphone in the same price category i'd say they where quite similar to B&O H6's. They have a similar sound signature except the  H6's have a bit more bass. The HP50's are better value and they sound better, overall IMO. The only negative thing about the HP50's is the comfort. The earpads are too small! and I don't have large ears...I'm not the only one who has comfort issues with these headphones, many people do. However, It's the only negative thing. The HP50's are exceptional headphones. 9/10 for me!
  2. Kerry56
    3.5/5,
    "NAD VISO HP50: Great sound, but nothing else"
    Pros - Wonderful mids, decent bass and non-fatiguing highs. Sound output from these is hard to fault.
    Cons - Awkward looks, small opening in the pads, cheap looking plastic cups, noise from adjustment mechanism
    The NAD VISO HP50 could have been a truly outstanding headphone.  They produced a set with great sound, with a marvelous midrange, bass when it is called for in the music and highs that do not sound shrill, glaring or in any way harsh to the ear.  And for a closed back headphone, it has decent sound stage, though I don't think the "Room Sound" technology is superior to that of open back headphones I've tried in the same price range, or even some open backed headphones that are much less expensive.
     
    If anyone has seen the review from the Wirecutter that said these headphones couldn't reproduce sound under 90hz, I can tell you that is a load of horse****.  Going to the online tone generator, I was able to hear tones from 90hz on down to 20hz, though with the 20hz tone, you feel it as much as hear it with these headphones.
     
    No, the problems with the VISO HP50 is its physical design, and choice of materials.  The plastic cups look and feel cheap, and their glossy surface does nothing to dispel this impression.  The hinge on the cups has horizontal slop that I'm afraid will only get worse with use.  Though the headband adjustment stays in place where you put it, it also has slight popping or creaking noises that transmit directly into the cup and will annoy you if you move around very much. 
     
    And now on to the pads.  There is no space within the pads for average to larger than average sized ears, so these headphones are more like an on-ear design for me.  The material used in the pads is soft and makes a good seal, there is very good isolation with these headphones, but the pads squash down with use and you'll be pressed against the material covering the driver in no time, since there isn't much space in there.
     
    I left the worst part for the end, the look of the headphone.  While its on a stand, its tolerable.  While being worn, it looks ridiculous.  Truly, you look like you've attached a handle to the top of your head.
     
    I have a difficult time recommending these to anyone, just because of the deficiencies in the build, but I have no issues with their sound, and use them when I want a more discerning presentation than my other sets.
  3. Dizzily
    4.0/5,
    "Great closed headphones for work and travel"
    Pros - Lightweight, balanced and neutral sound, reasonable isolation, does everything well
    Cons - Headband not comfortable for everyone, plasticky build, lightly veiled sound
    I've tested these HP50s through both an Audioquest Dragonfly Red and an Aune X1S. Both are more than powerful enough for all of the cans I own, the others being the Sennheiser HD595, Bose QC25, and Philips Fidelio X2. 
     
    Tl;dr: The HP50s rate second-best in that collection, but are the pair I choose for work and commuting, because they're closed and lightweight.
     
    In comparison to the HD595s, the HP50 is reasonably similar in regards to the quantity and quality of the trebles and mids. However, HP50s have decent bass, whereas the HD595s are lacking in both the quantity and impact of that bass. I've read that many people think that the HP50s have a reasonable soundstage, but I could argue that only in the context of other closed headphones. The open HD595s have a larger soundstage. The HP50s are superior for detail retrieval, but it's not as big a difference as you might think.
     
    Compared to the Bose QC25s, the HP50s possess more detail all around and suffer less sound leakage. (Of course, the QC25s isolate you more from the outside world, but the HP50s are reasonable given they don't have any active noise cancelling.) The QC25s have one strength--they handle sibilance better than most headphones. While the bass is a little greater on the QC25s, it doesn't kick as sharply, nor does it possess as much resolution. The QC25s are a little dull in their presentation overall in comparison--ever so slightly muffled and veiled. The QC25s are about US$300 now. What you get for that is about the equivalent of a $150 headphone (for sonic quality) with $150 of fancy noise cancelling added in. One other strength of the QC25s is that they are fantastically comfortable.
     
    The Fidelio X2s best the HP50s in every way with regards to sound quality, with their downside being that they're very, very open and leak sound everywhere and don't isolate at all. Basically, if I could use my Fidelio X2s while commuting and in the office at work, I would choose them over the HP50s without a question. The X2s are more detailed, have a wider and deeper soundstage, separate instruments more/ are less congested, and sound more forward. I love the sound from the X2s. They make even bad music sound good, whereas the HP50s don't give me the same level of pleasure from a song. The X2s are slightly darker in presentation overall--the HP50s are certainly the more neutral sound. 
     
    The HP50s do have some other characteristics worth discussing. The sound--particularly the treble and the high mids--is just slightly veiled, but it's hard to describe this. I've heard it described that it's like you're listening through some cotton balls. But that doesn't quite capture it. The funny thing about this veiled sound is that it's different to the muffled veil of the QC25s or other cheaper-sounding headphones. It does give you the *slightest* sense of what NAD is marketing as RoomFeel technology, which is to say that these headphones give you a *little* hint of sounding more like listening to speakers than some headphones. But what others hear as 'RoomFeel', I initially heard as something like a recession of instruments in the soundstage. I notice it most with vocals. Again, I need to emphasise that this veil is not killing details in the sound, so it's not muffled in the traditional sense.
     
    You could argue this as a strength or weakness depending on your preferences. I know that Tyll from Inner Fidelity loved these headphones, and that Zeos from Z Reviews was bothered by that aspect of the sound. Regardless, the effect of this is that the HP50s just present in a very fatigue-free way compared to most headphones. For work, where I want my concentration to be elsewhere and don't want background music fatiguing me, they are a perfect match. However, as mentioned, I just don't get quite the same listening pleasure or excitement from my music that the X2s give. However, the HP50s still rate as the best closed-back headphones I've owned, and you can wear them for hours without listening fatigue.
     
    If I had to summarise, it's that the funny thing about the HP50s is that they don't do anything wrong, but they don't do anything that excites you either. Okay, they're more exciting than the QC25s and I can't be bothered with the HD595s any more because of the lack of bass. But that impression of not being exciting would seem to match Marco Arment's thoughts on this headphone as well as Zeo's group review of closed headphones that includes the HP50s.  
     
    In terms of comfort and build, the HP50s are reasonably comfortable. The cups fit my average-sized ears, but might not fit larger ears. The centre of the headband can push down on the top of my skull in an uncomfortable way unless I take care to position them right when putting them on. The build is very, very plasticky. That doesn't mean they're not durable or poorly built, but they don't feel expensive in the hand, nor do they instil confidence the way that the metal construction of the X2s does. And while the HP50s look okay from the side, the squarish headband is odd. 
     
    They also come with a decent soft case, two cables, a 1/4" jack adaptor, a plane adaptor, and a nice little container to fit these odds and ends.
     
    Quality Assurance could be an issue. Mine came with one cup that doesn't rotate in as it should, and the cable with the mic has just awful volume buttons that don't seem to click properly and don't work with Android phones. (Okay, NAD admits upfront that the cable is only Apple-compatible, but it's an oversight nevertheless.) I've also read other accounts of issues with the cables. However, as the cables are standard 3.5mm and replaceable, this isn't a deal-breaker. 
     
    Despite these issues, I don't know of any other portable, closed headphones for USD$220 that could compete with the HP50s, particularly with regards to sound quality. (Marco Arment thinks the second-gen B&O H6s are better, but those are significantly more money.) And if I'd never owned the X2s, I would have been perfectly happy with the HP50s. They are good headphones that do nothing wrong, and I think that if you want a closed set of headphones for work and commuting, it really is hard to do better for this price. 
     
    Based on sound quality when keeping the price in mind, then they score a 4.5 / 5 from me. But the issues with comfort and quality and design dip the final score from me to 4 / 5. And if NAD ever offers a HP60 or HP70 with a less-plasticky construction, I would certainly be interested and curious.

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