Allen & Heath XONE:XD-53 Professional Monitoring Headphones

General Information

The new Xone XD-53 professional monitoring headphones have been developed to complete any professional DJ set up, and complements perfectly the Xone DJ mixer range. The XD-53 incorporates a circumaural design, providing excellent isolation from ambient noise, making them the ideal headphone solution for DJs working in loud environments. The XD-53 is also the perfect headphone for studio monitoring applications. Specifications: • Type: Closed-back Dynamic (circumaural isolation design) • Frequency Response: 5-33,000 Hz • Maximum Input Power: 3,500 mW • Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW at 1 kHz • Impedance: 36 ohms • Cable: 1.2 m (Coiled)/3.0 m max (OFC).

Latest reviews

Pros: Bomb proof, very strong cable, good noise isolation, clear at all volumes, "immersive", musical signature.
Cons: comfort at first for me was fairly bad, musical signature, not as revealing as other headphones.
These are my first headphones that are worth something over 100 dollars.
Have nothing to really compare them to, but I am getting a pair of EarWerkz EP-2 CIEMs. So I will update this once I can compare.
I listen to a range of music, Electronic, Jazz/ Blues, Classical, Soundtracks (Elders Scrolls), Country, Rock, Alternative, Hip Hop.
From the research I've done, these are similar or identical to the Audio Technica ATH-M50's, but with larger, 53mm, drivers.
I wouldn't base your opinion off this review, as it is formulated on my naive ear drums. Look at some other reviews first.

Build Quality:
These things have gone through hell living with me. I goto bed with these regularly on because 1) I love to fall to sleep with music 2) I don't own any IEMs. From all the times I've waken up lying on top of these things I'm surprised they haven't fallen to pieces. To add to this, I probably drop, chuck and step on these things twice a day for almost 3 years now. When I was buying them I knew were known for being durable, but not that durable.
They are housed in a well made plastic with a metal headband giving them a solid feel. I've noticed some wear on the head bands leather but that's about it, which amazes me due to the way I handle them.
The audio cable is thick and feels very durable, which I'm glad for, as I've broken several audio cables in the past. The added coil that probably takes up a quarter of the entire cable length, has served me very well when needing to extend them.
None of the hinges are yet to break or even seem like breaking.

The XD-53's aren't the most comfortable headphones I've used. For me the ear pads lay on my ear which I believe is due to the slim profiled padding. After a couple hours (or possibly less), this started to agitate my outer ears, mainly the top part. Since I've wore these daily I've gotten used to this, but when I tried on some Audio Technica ATH-M50's I was amazed how uncomfortable the XD-53's were. The Audio Technica's ear pads fit my entire ear inside of them and had thick enough padding so that my ear didn't rub against the driver.
I'm not sure if there is any solution for this, I have briefly looked, but by he looks of it, replacing them looks pretty finicky.
Th clamping force on my head is very little. This is both great and not so great. The only downside to this is them sliding off my head when I lean over and sneeze (quite viciously).
The padding on the headband probably isn't enough for my tastes, after a while you can start to feel the weight of the headphones on your skull. To fix this I often just reposition them to change the point of contact or put some cushioning under the band.
The cable is also fairly heavy and is noticeable when you are standing or don't have a pressure reliever clip.
The comfort for me did get better after I'm guessing a hundred hours of use. This relief in comfort only was effective for the agitation of my ears, not the headband fatigue.

As I previously stated, I can't judge the audio quality as well as most of the people on Head-Fi, but I will give you my current opinion and my opinion after I receive my EarWerkz EP-2's.

In general the XD-53's have a warm sounding signature and are fairly bassi. They are very similar to the Audio Technica ATH-M50 Cans, but after briefly listening to them, I don't think they sounded as clear. This may be because of the larger Can Diameter or my personal taste. The signature was very similar from what I could tell, based around DJ's.
For me the XD-53's are very clear and I can easily distinguish instruments in Classical music.
The bass is present but does not overflow the sound. To me it sounds natural and clean, giving emphasis on cellos and double basses.
The highs seem very clear to me as well do the mids. The lows would be the main emphasis with these headphones, without being boomy, you can really hear a double basses notes and vibration. I'm not sure if this means anything, but I often get confused to what I am hearing, the real worlds sounds or the music I'm hearing. I believe this staging, as what I'm hearing sounds as if it resonated in the room I am in. Which sounds strange for closed headphones but maybe it's just me. Volume levels can go very high on these without distorting to any degree, which would be useful for DJ's in loud environments. That brings me to noise isolation. Being closed and designed for DJs is a clear indicator that they will be well performing on isolation. They are not as good as IEMs but I will have to take them off (even at low volumes) to hear what someone is saying.
The sound signature is warm enough for my flat friend to think they sound muddled compared to his headphones.
Music quality doesn't seem to matter to much, any song sounds good on these. High quality music does make a distinct difference and I've noticed a difference in sound quality when running off an amp compared to a portable player, so be mindful of this.

The Allen and Heath: Xone XD-53's often great sound quality at a very reasonable price. I do believe they are better sounding then the Audio Technica ATH-M50's and offer far better Durability but at the expense of comfort. Across the range these headphones sound great, natural with electronic music DNA, bass is present giving the sound a warm, musical signature. I would definitely recommend these headphones but warn people about the comfort and signature. I'd also advise looking at more experienced Audio Reviews of these Headsets before making any decision.

Stay tuned for a updated opinion after listening to EarWerkz EP-2 CIEMs

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