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Headphones item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - speed, detail
Cons - no sub bass, very bright
These headphones are enjoying a period of popularity. I suspect that it is due to them being discontinued. But be warned... they are not for everyone.
These headphones are by far the most revealing headphone I have listened to. It's unnaturally revealing, and while far from neutral (slight V shaped, but with rolled off bass), the midrange isn't recessed, it's very clear but the mid bass and treble is quite pronounced.
Speed, or perceived speed is the best I have heard in any full sized headphone and I've heard the HD800, T1, K701. They just can't compete.
The detail is amazing, you will hear things you have never heard, even if you listen to revealing cans. To understand the detail, you really need to spend time with the SA5000. When compared with the HD800, it is quite a bit more detailed, but it would not seem so due the the HD800's superior instrument separation, which makes picking the details easier.
The SA5000 is what I would call the ultimate technical headphone, and it may not be very musical, some like to pair it with tube amps to achieve musicality.
The soundstage is not wide, but not small either, I would rate it average for those of you concerned with it.
Onto the cons, the brightness of the treble can be sibilant at times, or just plain fatiguing. The cable is microphonic (the first time I have experienced this on a full sized headphone). And I have read reports of many having build quality issues. I have never had problems with mine. There is also very little sub-bass. Mid-bass is very fine though.
On amping, they are easy to drive and the budget Fiio amps work well, but they deserve something cleaner such as the O2.
They work well for fast musical genres that isn't bass heavy, namely metal and techno.
Oh and they come with the best headphone stand ever.
Pros - Great dynamic range. Great bass extension. High sense of clarity. Stat like speed & detail. Angled drivers. solid comfort. Excellent transparency
Cons - Very hot treble. Clinical sounding. Can sound harsh to some with pericing highs. Can be perceived as bass light. Awful cable desgin. Polarizing.
The SA5000 are a great technical achievement in many regards. Speed. Clarity. Detail. All 3 shine through greatly. Extreme high detail in the upper frequencies due to the treble emphasis. This headphone is for treble lovers. Can sound harsh to others.. Treble isn't the smoothest & can be offensive. to some.
Detail & transparency is 2nd only to the DT48 out of the headphones I owned. The SA5000 does a magnificent job at spot lighting detail, maybe in a un natural way. The DT880 has almost the same type of detail, but doesn't derail the music just to show you it. It can be a hinders to some & a blessing to others. They are very good at being the chameleon, & upgrade nicely to better components.
I would label them 'neutral', but feel the DT880/DT48/K1000 are more worthy of that title.. Tonality is really a hit or miss with the SA5000. I find them too lean in general, which is un realistic, & some instruments sound synthetic. But IMO they get the bass, impact, & weight of the kick drum just right. If you think these lacking in bass you probably are a bass head.. The bass is fine & extends deep with pretty good texture, better with tubes..
Their sound sig is pretty cold & sterile with a wonky mid range that reminds me of a old car that you need to kick to start.. Someone they are on, other times the mids are not.. In any case, the mids are far from the worst I heard, & are more then adequate.
Speed is controversial. Some claim it's due to the 'lite bass' & leanness.. To my ears they are fast, but a bit artificially fast compared to my reference DT48..
Sound stage is small compared to other open Audiophile headphones in their price range.. But I find them fine. Stereo imaging is very good, but won't make you forget about the CD3000 in that regard. Separation of instruments is very crisp & clean.. No blurring or smearing.. For dynamics, they are exceptional in that regard.
The cabling is utterly worthless.. & worst out of any headphone priced at 700.. In a yr or two one channel will go dead due to the faulty wiring.. This is a fact..
In the end this is a great headphone for those looking for technical achievement over a fun & forgiving headphone.