Reviews by snapacap


Pros: Comfortable, Sennheiser sound gone closed back style, the amazing in-line microphone. They look pretty good too.
Cons: The ever annoying wedges inside the earcup.
Fruity Backstory:
This is a headphone that really took me by surprise. I was out looking around in Microcenter, like one does, and found they have an isle with gaming headsets, and studio/audiophile closed-back headphones available to try. I got the chance to try them all at free will, since they were not particularly busy at the moment.

I went down the line, Audio-Technica, some Blue (brand), and a few Sennheiser. The last one was the HD569. I had been somewhat disinterested by most of the headphones. Nothing stood out until the HD569. I was looking forward to each new song. Sold.


Actual Review:

One of the most important aspect of any headphone is the comfort. I can say that the HD569 fall right in line with the other Sennheisers from the 5xx series. I actually like them more because the earpads are a different material than the others. I do think that the headband could have been more like the HD579/HD599/HD598C The older style headband padding solution is objectively worse IMO. Clamp is a little lower out of the box compared to the HD558, it is probably comparable to the HD598. I still hold the little deflector inside the earcup with contempt. My dumbo ears touch them, as usual. I am sorta used to the feeling, as the whole 5xx line has this. I just with they had found a way around it since they are closed back. They do get hot after a while in hot conditions, but the pads do a pretty good job dissipating heat compared to leather pads.

Yes. I approve. I am not usually a fan of closed back headphones, so I have a smaller comparison pool than open-back. The HD569 have a smaller soundstage than the Game Zero. They are a bit HD600 in soundstage. It exists, but isn't large. Imaging is fine for a closed back. Again, the Game Zero wins here.
The real strong suit of the HD569 is detail and smooth nature. The detail retrieval is great. Directly compared to my Vmoda CF2 Wireless, the HD569 immediately has better mids and detail.
The key here is smooth, but detailed. The Bass has much more punch than body. The Mids have a great balance of smoothness, natural timbre, and detail. The Highs are rolled off a little, but they do still have the kind of crunch that I like. They are not sibilant to me. There does seem to be a spike at the high-hat frequency. Really is just seems to add clarity (and said crunch) more than anything else.
The pads do seem to affect the tuning greatly. Just like my HD600/6XX, changing the pads in any way only makes them sound worse.

If Santaheiser could get me one of these with a little bass bloom, that would be great.

The Fun Stuff:
I found that the HD569 has a hidden talent: Gaming. I found that they seal out sound better than the HyperX cloud II. Even more exciting to me is the in-line microphone on the 4 pole mobile cable included in the box. All together now: "What????" I have found through raw frustration of annoying my fellow discordees that my boom-mounted Audio-Technica lets all the background noise in, including things like my mouse, keyboard, loud cars outside, shuffling in my seat, etc. The only soultion that solved all my complaints is the HD569 mic. The noise cancelling is next level. Almost nothing gets through. Not even mechanical keyboard clicks. The mic does sound worse than the Audio-Technica, the Game Zero/Game one, and the Vmoda boom-pro. I did find it to sound better than the HyperX cloud II mic, and better than the Vmoda in-line mic. The best part is that I don't have a mic arm hanging in front of me, or a headset mic blocking my ability to eat or drink. The only downside is that the cable is the proprietary Sennheiser 5xx locking connector. It also seems to work on the M50X (at least mine did) for what that is worth. I use the HyperX soundcard with this setup because it has a 4 pole in, and volume controls on it.

I realized I just gave my whole-hearted approval for a Sennheiser cable.... I never thought i would see the day.....

I am Mr. Brightside when it comes to audio usually. I tend to find the best parts of headphones and equipment and do my best to enjoy them. With the HD569, I didn't have to look for the good. The good just showed up. I am quite the fan of the Sennheiser sound, and this enables me to have it on-the-go. The HD569 is really a keeper. I would have paid full retail if I had to. I highly recommend the HD569.

Song Recommendation:
Polaris - Deadmau5
(you thought it was gonna be "Mr. Brightside - The Killers" :darthsmile:)

Comments are cool too. Questions are cool too.
Is it good for watching movies?


Pros: Bass (what?), smoothness, imaging, completely open, comfort, price!
Cons: lack of clarity in places,non-detatchable cable, ability to slide down head slightly.
This is absolutely one of my new favorite headphones. I have danced around the mid-fi world for a while looking for something just like this.

I play a lot of games. For all of my teenage years I played (on average) a very unhealthy 10 hours a day. This is what got me into the audio game. I have spent, by now, thousands of dollars building a headphone collection to feed my hobby.

I had never found a headphone that i thought was truly worthy of an absolute gaming recommendation for a variety of reasons. The AD500X is the first to get my full seal of approval for the job.

First, there must be objective requirements, or criteria if you will, for the headphone to meet to get this title.
1. Comfort. This is absolutely the most important aspect of a headphone you will wear for 10+ hours a day. Everything else is pointless without comfort.
2. Imaging. You can have the best soundstage in the world, but if you are not accurate within it, you lose the fight more often than not.
3. smoothness. What good is it to have clear, comfortable headphones if the sound will start to get shrill, and thus uncomfortable.
4. general sound quality. I lump this into one big pile, as many sound signatures can fit the bill for gaming, depending on what you want. The key is to not have a bloated, uncontrollable mess of sound.
5. Price. This is not as important to me for the most part. I am willing to splash cash for a product that has the quality to match the price, and do its job accordingly. I put this as a weighted aspect because many people (especially students) cannot afford to spare mega cash for headphones. Luckily, the AD500X passes ALL 5 of these requirements with flying colors.

1. Comfort.
I avoided the Audio-Technica series for quite a while because the ergonomics make no sense on paper for my dumbo ears, and other wonderful physical aspects of my head. I am glad to say the AD500X is a pleasant surprise for me on this front. They weigh next to nothing as far as headphones go, so no complaints there. The wing system is fantastic, although my head allows them to slide down slightly, which can get a little annoying. If I just let them sit on my head like that, it won't break my concentration unless i think about it. I might have to try the rubber-band thing if I can't think another solution. The clamp is fine, if not great. They stay in place when i shake my head quickly, but I am not annoyed by clamping pressure at all. This is SUPER rare for me, as even the HD700 can feel a little clampy at times. The earpads touch my ears all over, but I actually don't mind it too much. The clamp matches the pad size and material perfectly, which eliminates most of the possible pad complaints. They also do not get too hot. I tested this in the way any sane person would: by eating incredibly hot salsa until I was sweating. I do question whether or not the pads could be more comfortable, as they do particularly touch the top and bottom of my ears.

While on the subject of design and such, I would like to take this time to point out how unbelievably bad the cable is on this headphone. It is non-detachable to start. The part where the cable goes into the earcup is sketchy, as it is loose and slides up and down. This makes me nervous that if i accidentally yank the cable, or twist it too much it may detach. The rest of the cable is awful too. Think pig tail, but several feet long. the shape the cable in the box is what it wants to be forever. The cable, therefore, lays flat on nothing. The redeeming qualities are the overall lightness of the cable, and the simple 3.5mm end with a snap-on 1/4 inch adapter. That aspect is perfect.

The totally open aspect is also essential for the long term comfort of gaming. I can carry on a conversation with someone else while playing a game, and it keeps the ears from getting too hot, or pressurized feeling. Fantastic!

2,3,4 Imaging, smoothness, general sound quality.
I lumped these all into one group for the utility of thought continuity.
Imaging is by far one of the most important aspects in gaming. I have played an embarrassing number of hours of CS:GO at every level of skill. I have had very few headphones that have truly been up to the job. The Stax 2050a system was the previous benchmark. I could tell the difference between the dust 2 tunnel stairs vs either adjacent floor based on positional audio. The AD500X does the same thing. This time on an even larger scale. I didn't even think about the imaging at first until I was in PUBG and found myself making a callout of an enemy on the Pochinki church roof from a hill over 600m away without even looking that direction. It was dead accurate too. I have thus further investiged, and found that up to 3 shooters can be simultaneously positioned before the sound becomes congested enough to be a problem. This is what makes this a particularly good pair of gaming headphones. I find myself being nervous about making statements like this as I know about exaggeration to make a point, especially in audio. I have probably done it before. This is not one of those times. I will also put the disclaimer that I was using the Project Polaris headphone amplifier, which does influence imaging and soundstage slightly.

Speaking on the subject of amplification; The AD500X does not require much power to drive correctly. I will say that source quality does seem to have an effect on them (more on this later).

The balance does seem to have a slight v characteristic. The highs are clean in some places, and veiled in others. This is also true with the mids. Direct comparison to the K7XX shows the K7XX has more refinement all the way around, but at the cost of cohesive smoothness and bass. Yes bass.

This is the kind of headphone that allows me to slide back in my seat and just enjoy the music. Everything is just right.

I had to double check which headphones were on my head as I couldn't believe how the bass was going ALL the way down, and cleanly too! Let us get this clear: There is quality in the bass, and not as much quantity, but plenty as far as I am concerned. I am so used to every headphone dying off at some point in the bass range. Even the Fostex TH-X00 dies off in places, at least to my ears. Every song I have thrown at the AD500x has had the most even bass with consistent control across the board. I also can hear that the aforementioned Polaris amp adds to the bass department in terms of volume, not so in tightness. This took me by surprise to the extent that I had other people come and try them without any knowledge of what they were. The reaction was the same, they remarked on how open they were, then mentioned the bass, then then ever present "how much were these?"

I should also make note of the other aspects of the sound. I do not feel like they were are out of my head like HD700s. They had a very centered sound, but carry soundstage when asked. I found this curious as so may people prise the AD series for their airy soundstage and such. I think airy, cleaner sound would make these some serious world class headphones, as long as they keep the bass right where it is, and keep the body and smoothness. I get very little fatigue from the sound of these headphones, which from a price perspective is very impressive. Most similarly balanced headphones in this price range can get harsh really quickly. Are they Sennheiser smooth? Not even close! Are they AKG rough? Not even close! Very little sibilance at all, and you have to look for it.

On the subject of comparison:
When I A/B with other headphones, I find it difficult to judge as better/worse in an overall sense. They are less clean to the ear than the vast majority of my collection, but the balance is such that I don't seem to notice this at all when just using the AD500X. I don't miss the clarity and separation nearly as much as one might think. Sometimes I even like it much more without.

5. Price
A proud member of the sub $100 club; These made me question why the prices on some other headphones in my collection are justifiable. This is absolutely fantastic from a budget minded point of view.

If you need competitive gaming headphones, these are a Fantastic option. If you need to enjoy your music more, these are a fantastic option. If your headphones are uncomfortable, these might be your solution. Give them a shot.

If this is what the bottom tier headphone in Audio-Technica's lineup sound like; I want to hear every single one of the AD line of headphones.

Song Suggestion: Avalon - Roxy Music
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Pros: Comfort. unique sound, interesting engineering, resolving
Cons: Inconsistent treble, often feel closed, could be a bit lighter. That smell.......
Design & Comfort:
Why can't you all do this? AudioQuest makes their first headphone and immediately gets so many things right that other companies seem to completely ignore. They even had the guts to experiment heavily with materials design, and even sound.
Wow. This factor is seriously real. Let’s start with the Headband. A single overhead support is not orthodox, but it works fantastically. The band is covered in woven material which gives it a nice touch. The headband itself also is backed with leather and is padded enough for my tastes. It could be a bit wider for more contact area, but is fantastic as a start. I do have a slight concern over how long the elastic will last in the headband, but for now it is doing well.
The headband is attached to the earcups by a ring with 4 rubber connections which work well, and allow for automatic adjustability. Good. The earcups themselves are made of liquid-wood. The liquid-wood has a distinct odor which had my eyes burning for the first couple of days, but later backed off significantly. I also think the earcups could be lighter, as this is where most of weight appears to come from. The best part about the earcups is the amazing shape. They are shaped like ears! Fantastic! Audioquest leap-frogged many other companies in the design department simply based on this factor. The pads are similarly shaped like ears, and are very soft and very comfortable. The pads are removable with flexible pegged frames to hold them in place, and in shape. This is fantastic, and hardly anybody else uses this design. I often grab the Nighthawks over other options I have simply out of comfort. 
The Grills on the back of the earcups are also quite interesting. They are designed to defuse sound the same way a butterfly wing diffuses light. I honestly can’t tell how well this in particular works, but the Nighthawks sound more closed than any other open, or semi-open headphone I have heard. I usually prefer more open headphones, especially when summer gets hot and I need to not sweat all over my headphones. I hope I can still use these in August without discomfort.
Another wonderful feature of the NightHawks is the detachable cable system. The cable easily pulls away by dual 1/8th mono connectors. This has saved the thin cable a few times already, as I am known to get snagged by everything. The cable also stays in place, and won't fall out unless they are pulled on. So many companies could benefit from having pull-away cables like these. (I won't say all because some professional applications will benefit from having more firmly attached cables.)
Overall they are more comfortable than almost everything I have tried. They could clamp a little less, but I think most people will have very little problem with this aspect.
BTW: As someone who has heard very slight differences among different cables before, I find nothing sonically different on NightHawks when swapping different cables at all.
These are some seriously unique headphones in the sound department. The initial impression is thick and meaty, yet somehow very resolving. It is as if someone took the cheapest muddy bassy headphones they could find and ran them through the refinery several dozen times, and made them open-back as the cherry on top. There is not overshadowing mid-bass, nor are there high levels of sub-bass, but the feel is still thick and smooth. These in fact have some of the smoothest bass I have ever heard. I like to think of them as taking the HD650 sound and flipping it horizontally. Instead of smooth highs and upper-mids, they have smooth bass and lower-mids. Sometimes I found the treble to become a bit harsh. This could just be my brain reacting to extended use of other headphones, and not being used to the same set of imperfections as others.
I describe the sound as not full, but very thick. If that makes sense….
I think a lot of people will find the NightHawks to be bloated and lacking articulation. Maybe they are even a touch Gariny, but this could just be me comparing to Sennheiser and their uber-smooth mentality. I think this is true to an extent, but the low distortion seems to counter this pretty well, leaving quite a bit of detail without the feeling of having it etched into your ears. I find that the smooth texture of the NightHawk carries its own laurels. I sometimes get details I haven’t even heard on HD600s, HD700s, or the SR202, but other times they are clearly leaving out other details. The details it does catch are usually related to texture, and/or requiring a bit more bass than most open backs.
I was told that the best way to listen to them was to relax and let the Nighthawk paint a picture for me. I had trouble doing this as the treble is somewhat inconsistent, and I am spoiled by HD700 soundstage. When I could get to that point the Nighthawks really showed their chops. Certain songs just get a real speaker-like feel to them. Either way, I find them inexplicably addicting.
The Nighthawks have completed a sort of trifecta for me. I go around the loop of HD600 – NightHawk – HD700. Each complement each other nicely, and keeps me from getting bored.
Where they can fall behind is some female vocals, while others gain a lot musically from having more body. Particularly Michael Jackson sounded great on the NightHawks.
This is the only pair of headphones I have ever heard to be so dark and bassy, and yet be so refined and detailed. I give the sound a great big YES.
Song recommendation: Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Comparisons go here:
Note: I took a lot of time getting myself to do any comparisons at all. I just didn’t want to take off the NightHawks. They tend to have that effect. It’s like getting out of bed when you wake up early.
NightHawk vs HD700
These are currently my two favorites. In many ways these are opposites. Just take a look at their graphs. The HD700 has a holographic effect where sound surrounds your head like a bubble, while the NightHawk is closer to painting a mural on a large wall. I don’t get nearly the same spacious effect from the Nighthawk as the HD700. The Nighthawk has far more body to the sound for sure, and often feels much more closed. The HD700 is cleaner and a little more resolving. It is also smoother in many places. The NightHawk doesn’t have the same treble spike as the HD700, so this is a plus for the NightHawk. For gaming: multiplayer: I would choose the HD700 every time, the spacial ques are in another league. Single player: you often don’t need nearly as much precision spatially, so no preference here. The body of the NightHawk might help with explosions though. Racing games: HD700 all the way.
NightHawk vs HD600
I was actually surprised to find that I don’t find these two to be too contradictory. I believe this to be due to the low distortion of the NightHawk, and the Neutrality/Natural nature of the HD600. Their soundstage is also very similar sounding to my ears. Comparatively the HD600 sounds harsh against the NightHawk. 0.o this threw me back a bit, as the HD600 is one of the lesser offensive headphones I have heard. I find the NightHawk to be more comfortable simply based on clamp force. I hate clamp. The NightHawks are far from what I would call studio headphones with their thick sound while the HD600 is the definition of a studio headphone.
Song recommendation: Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
So many things are so right about the Nighthawks, and so many more could be improved or experimented more with. The sound is unique and fantastic. I just wish it had more HD700-ish soundstage, and were more open. I highly suggest these for people who love thick, bassy sound but also want that audiophile refinement and detail. The design is miles ahead of some other well respected companies. Try a pair if you ever get the chance. I can’t take these off my head. I give the Audioquest Nighthawk a big thumbs up!
Comments, questions, and song recommendations are highly appreciated!
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I have the Monoprice 8323, and I use angled brainwavz pleathers on them. They sound great, but I cant stand the comfort. They clamp too much, (I am particularly sensitive to clamp) and they get hot after a bit. I have run them with everything from an Iphone 4 to my Project Polaris amp. They are remarkable, especially for the price. Funny, I haven't actually reviewed those yet, and I've had them for a year now....
Looks like I will have to get some alcantara pads!
I got the Nighthawks used, so burn-in is quite long. I have used them well over 100 hours now myself. Sources are anything I could plug them into with all types of digital formats. A few sources are on my profile page. I particularly like the PC -> FiiO E10 line out -> Project Polaris amp with the NightHawks.
I have not gotten a chance to try out other Audioquest pads. It sounds like a blast, and microfiber pads might help the summer sweat factor in a few months.
Very nice review!
I got the Nightowls last week and can't stop listening. The sound is very addictive indeed, thick, heavy bass. Drum kicks never sounded more natural, rock sounds like live to me. Comfort wise are the best headphones I have ever put on
Nice write up!  I find that the Nighthawks are more revealing than I originally thought.
They are a bit sensitive to amp type and I found them best with something like a Burson
or an ifi SE. The bass isn't as taut as my HD700 or 800, but the easy-going, laid back
sound works well on acoustic music.


Pros: Clean sound, Color options, Comfort, adaptability, Price
Cons: 7.1 is sorta Gimmicky.
I've been asked for recommendations for Gaming Headsets. People who do not want an external mic, or can't have one. People who don't have a ton of spare cash to blow need options too. For a closed-back gaming headset; the Hyperx Cloud II is my highest recommendation.


MSRP: $100

First, the two most important things in a gaming headset are sound, and comfort. Everything else comes second. Luckily, the HyperX Cloud II had both of these, and much more. The HyperX cloud II is essentially a Qpad/Takstar/Gemini/etc. This was an excellent choice by HyperX, as they sound fantastic. The #1 problem I have had with gaming headsets in the past is overbearing bass. Amazingly, the Cloud II has no such problem.
The sound signature is V shaped for sure. The treble is very present, but not too bright. The bass is very present, but not heavy. The mids are not too recessed, and seem to support the bass and treble. They also do not have the mid-bass boost that some Sennheisers have. I will say that if you want a lot of bass, these may not be the best for you, but they still have enough for me. The best sonic feature for me is the clarity. Cymbals sound great. Electric guitars have a bite, and there is quite a bit of detail to be had that would otherwise be lost. The isolation is better than open headphones for sure, but not the most isolating by any stretch of the imagination. The G4me Zero destroys these in isolation. I didn't have any real trouble with the isolation until I tried them in a car, then I could still hear the engine easily. People talking around me wasn't much of an issue for the Cloud II.
Comfort is a surprising attribute these have. I was expecting much more clamping force than these bring. I took them out of the box and simply said wow at how I didn't have to put any effort into pulling the earcups apart wide enough for my head. The pads are shallow, but boy are they good. The pleather is exceptional. They are soft, and pliable. I like the material much more than my HM5 pads. I just wish they could be a tad thicker. Also, the HM5 pads fit on here too, not that I want to do that. The Cloud II also came with velour pads, but these were not very good at all. The Pleather pads are more comfortable to me, and hold more bass. I am impressed with the overall comfort. The only gripe I have with the build is the cord runs externally from the earcup to the headband, I could see the potential for these to get broken at some point.
Features are what makes many products either seem lackluster, or truly stand out. The HyperX Cloud II passes this test with flying colors, like, actual colors.
There are not many headphones that offer Pink/White color schemes on top of Black/Red, Black/Grey, and if you include the Cloud I: White/Black, and a couple others which are not so common. Clearly I had to have the Pink ones. I look fabulolus in them in case you were wondering.
The microphone sounds above average for Gaming headsets. The Sennheiser headsets I have tried blow everything else away in the microphone department, but I would not be disappointed if I had to use the HyperX cloud microphone. Personally I use an external microphone (Audio-Technica ATR2500). This leads well into my next point. If you do upgrade your mic at some point, you can simply unplug the Microphone from the Cloud II, and place the included cover on the port. This is also very useful for using the Cloud II as a portable headphone. You no longer look like a dweeb with a big mic sticking out of your headphones. Instead you can have a big HyperX logo on your head. I think this is cooler than 'Beats' at least.
The Cloud II specifically comes with a USB soundcard which plugs into the 4-pole termination of the non-detachable cord of the Cloud II. The soundcard is fairly well made and includes volume controls for both the headphones and microphone. This is not the most common feature, and is very welcome. The 7.1 surround setting, as you might expect, is somewhat of a gimmick. It actually added some positioning in the front-back axis, but also screwed up the response. There was also some loss of detail and clarity. The added air of surround seemed to mostly be boosted frequencies. Some may like it, and I only use it as something different to goof around with.
Song Recommendation: We Don't Have to Dance - Andy Black
Would I take this over the G4me Zero? maybe. The mic and isolation are better on the G4me Zero. Many will the find the comfort better too. My trouble comes with the sound.I find the G4me Zero to be more aimed at competitive gaming, while the HyperX cloud is a bit more of an all-around type of headset. Music will likely be more enjoyable on the Cloud II. For this reason and the price, I recommend these over the G4me Zero. 
I you only Have $100 and need a close back gaming headset: This is my highest recommendation. The features, the sound, and the comfort are all there. I absolutely love the HyperX Cloud II. This is a great product all around. I can get lost in games, and not have my audiophile ears be offended all at the same time. HyperX, you did a superb job making these your own, and I approve. Now only if Sennheiser could make me some pink HD700s....
Questions are welcome!


Pros: Compact, Inexpensive, useful Connections, has a personality
Cons: Not the most powerful, not the end-all solution.
If you don't have a DAC or Amp, this is a great place to start. I started off my over-ear audio journey with the Sennheiser G4me Zero (150 ohm) I immediately realized by immense lack of bass that they were not being driven correctly. Being the jobless scrub that I was, the only thing I could justify price-wise was this little Fiio E10 I found on Ebay. I do not regret it one bit, and I still use it every day.
Sound and such:
The product is straight forward with a slight twist. This is better than most* onboard audio in quality terms, and stronger in power terms too. The most noticeable result it that you will likely get a bit more extension, and some bass in less sensitive headphones.
What is odd to me is that the audio quality is not always better, usually, but not always. I have a particularly talented motherboard with a rogue set of audio chips that outperform their expectation. They can go to bat against, and even sometimes beat the Fiio on anything under 150 ohm. I also have the LG V20 phone with its quite excellent Quad-Dac, especially for a phone. The V20 is again surprisingly good, and can easily bat with the Fiio E10.
The Fiio E10 is a bit colored too. There is a bit of a bass lean, but it is nothing like tubes. The treble is a tad rolled off at the top as well. The result is not a slightly less harsh overall tone, but still tons of detail. I like this characteristic about it. Not only does it have its own character, but it does good things for gamers that play for many hours at a time with a little less fatigue than some solid-state amps, but also has a bass-boost switch which many will also love. The bass-boost does take a bit of the clarity, and adds a some hollowness in the treble.
I also find that I still prefer the Fiio E10 with some headphones more than any of my other options, including a $250 Project Polaris. I prefer My HD700 on the Fiio E10. The combo works well together.
I suspect that the Fiio E10k has some sonic improvement over the Fiio E10.
Features and Such:
The Fiio E10 is tiny. In the word of Dacs and Amps, this is Very small. In fact it is small enough that I have used 3M command velcro stuff to mount it to the underside of my desk, where I use it as a dac through the 3.5mm Line-out to my Project Polaris, or the Lepai 2020 Speaker Amp, depending on the day. Since the Line-out is on the back, it looks good, and I can plug headphones straight into the front. Here is a picture:
There is also a Coaxial line out, but I never use that.
The power is only through a usb to mini-usb connection, which means less wires than a full size desktop amp. Fantastic! This also makes it easier for laptop use on-the-go, and can be converted to micro-usb if you really want to use it with your Android. I did this a few times to eliminate Computer fan noise while testing Headphones.
Lastly there is a Gain switch on the bottom. This is useful for particularly low impedance things, as the High Gain switch works best for the majority of things I have tried.
Song recommendation: Heaven Nor Hell - Volbeat
I like song recommendations if anyone wants to throw a couple in the comments!
If you don't have an amp for headphones that are anything above garbage tier, the Fiio e10 will likely make a noticable difference. The Fiio still gets used by me every day as much for the combination of size and features as the sound. I highly recommend this DAC/Amp for a starter into the audio world. Is this as objectively good as O2? no. Can you do better for the money? Not that I have seen. This little Fiio got me started on an audio journey. What else needs to be said?
Great review, i have the FiiO K1 and i have to say it has a similar signature to what you are describing. But its not as good as it doesn't have analog volume control and it keeps your computers screen on all the time....
I guess this is the downside of it being only $40.


Pros: adjustable settings, power, looks, choices!
Cons: switches are literal jumper caps
Holy Crap! A 5 star review from Snapacap?!? What is this????? 
I would like to thank the community here at head-fi. The helpful people over at the HD600 impressions thread recommended this amp to me. I simply asked for something more powerful than a Fiio e10 for an incoming pair of HD600s, and the list was extensive. I decided to get the Project Polaris based on two factors. I wanted a tube sound, but I also didn't want to have to deal with tubes, and the Polaris came with adjustable settings that aren't the most common in the world of amps.
Look at it.

Options of your choice:
Alright, now that you have seen it, I will add that Garage 1217 gives a variety of color options for the LED, and it can also be toggles off and on with a jumper cap. You can also adjust the brightness with a tiny screwdriver in the hole just above the LED jumper. Also, the LED can be manually changed out for another color if one desires variety in their life.
The acrylic plates can be swaped for sharp-looking CNC aluminum ones at additional cost, but I like how the light spreads through the clear acrylic.
The most interesting choice you have is mellow and aggressive bandwidth options. The Aggressive setting is referring to a steeper bandwidth adjustment setting which, when adjusted to a lower setting, results in a more mellow sound. The mellow option does the same thing, but not as steeply, resulting is a lesser mellow sound. There are nice graphs on the Garage1217 website if you all are interested. Clearly I got the aggressive option.
This page on the bottom:
Last you can choose a black, or silver volume knob.
I just love how many options there are for the Polaris. You can make it truly yours, match your setup, or just get creative!
Also, they give you a sticker! 

Adjustable settings
There are some nice settings on the Project Polaris that really made this amp more than what I expected it to be.
one note: I wish there were switches that didn't make me nervous to bend pins every time I want to change them. I do not like jumper caps.
First, as I said before, there are bandwidth settings. They are labeled "High BW" "Mid BW" "Low BW", as all other settings are abbrevitated similarly. You also adjust these separately for either channel, as with all the other settings. The bandwidth setting does not make a huge difference in sound, but is more of a fine tune sort of thing. The difference is notable, but not dramatic. Sometimes it can roll off the upper-highs enough to get an extra level of grain in vocals. This is useful for sure.
Next there is Resistance adjustability. I find this to be more for making sure the headphone takes well to the amp. Low resistance Headphones seem to have a much different opinion of resistance than HD600s. 
Lastly, and most importantly, there is Gain Adjustment galore! this is where the rubber meets the road for the Project Polaris. There are three basic gain settings, multiplied by two with an attenuation module in the back corner of the amp labeled "Not" and "ot" . The gain adjustability is by far my favorite feature, and will be very important to sound.
I should mention there is also an RCA line out. More features is better!
The sound of the Project Polaris is what finally made me admit to myself that I am indeed an audiophile. When the Polaris arrived, I plugged it in real quick and shoved the HD600 cable into it, and was disappointed. I thought I had spent $250 on a small amount of extension increase, and dry sound. Luckily, I rubbed enough brain cells together to try the various settings. This is when my mind got blown. I put the gain setting from 'Low G' to 'Mid G' and my jaw hit the floor. A simple gain increase took the HD600 from being another pretty good headphone to being king of the castle. I spent the next couple hours plugging in all the things, and playing with all the settings. I ended up liking the HD600 the most of my collection with the Polaris. Honestly, I still sit and listen to music with this combo and actually have to vocally express how good some things sound to myself, alone, in my room. Clearly I have a problem. 'Mid' settings all around for the HD600 is the magic setting for me.
What is odd is that the cheaper the headphones are, the more they seem to gain from the Project Polaris. My HD558 gained a significant amount of clarity and extension from the amp. The Superlux 668b smoothed out quite a bit as well.
One of my favorite things about the sound is that instead of being like every other solid state amp, the Project Polaris as a bit of a tubey quality. There is a slight hollowish tube-like sound compared to my Fiio e10, LG V20, etc... The power of this amp more than enough to make this pleasant. I had found the Bravo Ocean to be too hollow in its tubey nature. I think I found a nice middle ground with the Project Polaris. I get the fun part of tube amplification sound I like, while not having to deal with tubes. Fantastic!
Not every headphone is a perfect match for the Project Polaris. I find I like my HD700 more on the Fiio e10 for example.
Some Headphones can sound like more than one pair by adjusting setting around. My SHP9500 has significant difference in sound signature to my ears with adjustment. Sometimes they are more rumble, and Bassy, while others they gain soundstage air, and become tighter.
This amp has power in spades. Anything I throw at it is more than powered well.
I Freakin love the Project Polaris amp.
This amp has opened the door to the never ending world of audio hardware like nothing else has. I can say that I am more than pleased with how this amp performs, and recommend it highly. Having just enough sonic flair while not having to deal with tubes is a pure joy. Some of the larger companies should take notes. Adjustability is important. That is the feature that simply takes this amp to the next level. I feel like a mad scientist while toggling around all the settings, looking for the next maniacal creation to hear all my music in a different way than before.
I need more music to try on this beauty. I like recommendations in any genre. Thank you!
I forgot to do this earlier:
Recommended song: Trouble - Avicii
I have an LG V20 and HD650. Does the V20 -> Polaris -> HD650 sound good? I'm worried that sound quality will suffer since I'm double amping.
@ch0nk I don't have an HD650 currently on hand, so I tested with my HD600. I find the V20 -> Polaris combo to be a bit brighter, and a little less bass punch than my Fiio e10 -> Polaris combo. There was no noticeable loss in detail or clarity. Perhaps a bit more grainy?  I honestly think this is not the fault of double-amping, as running the Headphone out (also double amping) of the Fiio e10 does not yield similar results to the V20. In fact, the Headphone out on the Fiio did the opposite of the V20.
Conclusively, double-amping is not likely going to be a problem. Preference in sound signature is the real factor here. You can always play with the settings on the Polaris to your liking.
Thanks! Very helpful.


Pros: Detail and Clarity! Value for money.
Cons: Harsh! Can suffer from trying to resolve too hard.
Following the HD600s, I had simply obtained the Superlux 668b as a point of comparison and reference, as it is a well know and popular budget Headphone. My brother also uses a pair that he swears by (unless he is borrowing my SHP9500). The simple truth is that the Superlux 668b cuts through detail like a knife. Rough and tumble sound, like a cowboy; he gets the job done well with only 6 bullets, or 50 bucks, then tips his hat while he walks off into the sunset. Superlux went full high-noon and checked off all the boxes for a compelling sound without robbing the evening coach. The Superlux 668b follows suit of the KSC75 in being an incredible value in sound quality. Better still, the Superlux has some very well though out design features.
The tiny little 3.5mm cable (i dont know what else to call it) that is used to attach various lengths of auxiliary extension cable is fantastic.
As I am sure a few of you thought to do....
or better still.....
To be honest, this could perhaps be used with a bluetooth adapter (though you would look goofy to say the least.)
The sound signature strikes me as V- shaped with treble emphasis. I find this quite nice as a contrast to my Sennheisers and Philips. My warning label for this headphone is that they can be harsh. They can be very harsh. This also adds an extra sense of clarity at times. Going from the 668b to HD558s is like going to bight sun to a damp cave. 
I find the sound of the Superlux 668b good enough that I would consider mixing with them.
As I have found with pretty much every headphone (except IEMs) more clean power adds to the extension and balance. The Bass got some more growl from the Project Polaris as well.
The soundstage is there, but often times I felt as if they were trying to be a tad closed by shoving treble into my skull, while others they seemed almost distant. I have not pinned down exactly what causes this, but it is likely to do with signature. 
The fit is another point on which the Superlux 668b can go wither way. The stock pads are quite large and there is foam inside (not big enough for my dumbo ears though.) The wing things on top are meh at best, and honestly I would prefer a real headband, something like the AKG style that the Samson SR850 has. The good news is that the wire frame can simply be stretched or bent to whatever headshape you want. Tight or loose is all up to you. I only loosened mine a bit, but kept it tight enough that I could try to muster out some more bass.
The pads are fine. Honestly sub-par compared to many other headphones, but for the price they are fine. I got some velours for $8 on amazon. I do not like them as they were a little smaller than the stock pads in inner height, so I went back to the stock pads. I also noticed that the velours leaked more bass, but also seemed to add a little to the mids.
Song recommendation: Gunslinger – Avenged Sevenfold (fits the cowboy theme)
I quite like what these to with metal in particular.
Comparisons will be here:
Superlux 668b vs HD600:
The Superlux is much less forgiving and harsh, more treble, and gives excellent detail. The Superlux strikes me as a bit V shaped with emphasis on the treble comparatively. Strangely enough, I find the Superlux to be more forward, yet somehow less intimate. The 668b is definitely leaner than the HD600. Some people will likely find the HD600 to be relatively veiled in comparison. Some frequencies are a bit under-represented on the Superlux while the HD600 is more neutral. The real difference for me is that it sounds like you are monitoring a recording on the Superlux, While listening to music on the Senneheiser.
Superlux 668b vs HD700
Wile the Superlux can sound more inside your head at times; the HD700 is very 3 dimensional. The HD700 also carries more warmth and has more body. They both have similar treble spikes as well. I also get less splash from the HD700, as well as more resolve. I find the bass to roughly the same in texture, and tightness. The 700 again carries a level of warmth in the bass, which can make the 668b bass seem better to those who want raw visceral bass. The Superlux can be sibilant sometimes, while this rarely happens with the HD700. I also find the HD700 to be smoother (minus the treble spike) in typical Sennheiser fashion. Price/performance: Superlux wins by a landslide.
Superlux 668b vs Koss KSC75
These two sounded surprisingly similar. The Superlux is more detailed for sure, as the KSC75 gets more bass texture. The price increase over the Koss is clearly all going to the build. This shows as I am not afraid to be a little rough with the 668B. I also found the sound of the 668b to be more analytical than the KSC. In fact, I would even mix with the Superlux.
Superlux 668b vs SHP9500
Well. This is where the rubber meets the road. The SHP9500 is much more natural, smoother, and, to me, far more comfortable. The Superlux fights back by having more aggressiveness and is undoubtedly more crisp. The SHP9500 seems a relaxed compared to the 668b and The SHP9500 won in the intimacy battle.
Superlux 668b vs HD558
I found the Superlux to be far cleaner, and far less mid-bass heavy. The treble more rolled off with HD558. They are in many ways opposites. I think the Superlux is the more capable headphone, but I still find the HD558 to have that special something many headphones simply do not. The Superlux is a much better value for money, but it would not surprise me if more people prefer the HD558.
Conclusion: Like many, I have been in the tight budget category, and many see no reason to spend more on headphones. For those people, this should be a banner to fly. The price/performance is unquestioned in my mind. This is a genuine steal at the asking price. I will recommend the Superlux 668b without question.
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Pros: Legendary sound, shows off the gear, all na-tu-ral.
Cons: shows its age a tad, kinda clampy.
This is by far the closest I have come to writing a 5 star review. Of course to get that, I would have to find the holy grail of headphones for me.
I had tried the HD558, HD598, HD650, and HD700 and figured I would simply fill in my knowledge gap. I had no intention of keeping the HD600 for any length of time. I found a new pair new for $200, thought it was worth the experience. Obviously, I got more than a fleeting memory.
These headphones sound like a dance in the ballroom. Calm, composed, simply natural. No hidden tricks, but all the skill is present. They are like a golfer who hits the ball 150 yards perfectly straight every stroke. Undeniably others have noted how neutral these headphones sound. Yes, they are correct. A little bass/sub-bass-light, but not many open back dynamics aren't. In fact, the more power you feed to the HD600, the more bass is spit back out. As some of you know, I don't really care what a graph tells me about headphones as cool as graphs are. What matters to me is how they sound, and what wonderful thing they can do to make my music more enjoyable, real, or revealing.
Thanks to our lovely community here, I bought a Project Polaris Amplifier from Garage1217 simply to bring more life to my new friend.

Yes, this made a difference. I plugged it all in real quick, and proceeded to be disappointed until I had the brains to move the gain setting up, and boy that made all the difference! There is now more bass, more extension, and overall more life. The Polaris also showed me something wonderful about the HD600. For the first time I found myself using a headphone to figure out what my gear was doing, rather than narrowing down variables with many other headphones. That is the definition of reference. I spent many hours with many headphones determining the exact sound of a FiiO e10, when it took 10 minutes and some HD600s to find out the same things I had spent so much time gathering.
 In case you were wondering about the Polaris: there is a slight tubey hollowness, though not much, excellent extension, and enough low end power to fill out the sound. (The thing needs its own review).
I'm gonna sneek in the ugly real quick.
The clamp is real. The cord is typical Sennheiser (FIX YOUR CABLES), but I don't hate it as much as any other cord they make. At least it ends in a 3.5 default...Not to mention the 1/4 inch adapter is fabulous as well. There isn't really a veil (at least if powered correctly), but there could be more detail.
I came from daily using HD700s. I love them by the way. Now they are in rotation with my HD600s, mostly because the HD600s clamp becomes a bit uncomfortable after a while, or my ears get a tad hot. I can honestly say that there is very little I can find wrong with these headphones.
Would I mix with them? Yes.
Would I test the mix equipment with them? Yes.
The balance and tone are fantastic. Every other headphone I have tried is immediately Bright/Dark Warm/Cold. The HD600s took me by surprise with being none of these things. The only distinguishing factor seems to be the slight lack of lower bass, and the slight hike toward the treble. The best part is pretty much nothing is offensive about the sound. I can relax while listening to them. It is not so much a relaxing sound, but it allows me to be relaxed. Priceless.
As for my per review music recommendation; this is most difficult because everything sound wonderful on these. Nothing was hugely exciting, but everything was as it should be.
I had songs that I really didn't listen to anymore become part of the regular loop again simply because the HD600 did them the right amount of justice.
Song Recommendation: The Veldt (Original Mix) - Deadmau5
If any of you have some nice recommendations, please share. Questions are cool too.
Future comparisons go here: I have found that this is pretty much just describing the sound characteristics of everything except the HD600
HD600 vs HD700:
The HD700 has some warmth, more detail in many frequencies, way more soundstage, and sounds quite smooth due to the warmth. The problem lies in the treble spike which the HD600 simply doesn't have. The HD700 can be a little harsh at times from that spike. The HD600 clamps much more too. They are like cousins. They clearly are from the same family, but have enough difference to not be brothers. I think I like them both equally.The HD700 adds that magic spark to many songs, while the HD600 has a magic neutrality which works with EVERYTHING.
HD600 vs SHP9500:
The SHP9500 has far less clamp, much more shallow pads, and of course the wonderful advantage of having a single 3.5mm port for the wire. The sound is a bit grittier on the SHP9500. The SHP9500 sounds a leaner than the HD600 though they are very similar sound signature-wise. The soundstage is a bit better on the SHP as well. The SHP9500 is a wonderful deal for the price point. I also think the HD600 is a worthy upgrade, especially if you just want fuller, more cohesive sound. Simply put, the HD600 basically replaced my SHP9500 for daily use.
HD600 vs HD558:
Seems unfair right? Well, the Project polaris amp added much clarity to my HD558s, so now they are not far off of a very bassy HD650. Obviously still more veiled, a bit of a treble hike at like 10k? Much boost in the mid-bass. There is more extension in the HD600. The pads are thicker on my HD600, but wither pair can have the pads replaced with HM5 pads using adapters from ModHouseAudio.
They both share that Sennheiser smoothness.
HD600 vs Superlux 668b
Well, now you know my next review. The Superlux is much less forgiving and harsh, more treble, and gives excellent detail. The Superlux strikes me as a bit V shaped with emphasis on the treble comparatively. Definitely leaner than the HD600. some frequencies are a bit under-represented on the Superlux. The bass is a bit lean too, but it gives pretty good extension, and great soundstage. The real difference for me is that it sounds like you are monitoring a recording on the Superlux, While listening to music on the Senneheiser. Of course the 668b has far less "veil" and more excitement similar to the HD700, but not nearly as full as the HD700. I think these are wonderful as well.
HD600 vs HD650
With fairness that the HD650 did not get the Polaris amp treatment: While the HD600 is pure neutrality, the HD650 tries to become a bit more fun by adding mid-bass. The treble becomes slightly accentuated as well. the result is that the roll off in lower bass is more noticable, but the overall sound is smoother. The vocals are not quite as clear with the 650, but gains enough warmth to make up for it. I think it is just as capable as the 600 in detail retrieval. I recommend the 650 if you herd the 600 and wanted a little soundstage and smooth warmth instead of only raw neutrality.
Conclusion: If you have not tried HD600s on a good amp; make it a must for your audiophile knowledge. I now understand the well deserved status these carry after all this time. I not only put these on my list of approved headphones, they go right on top, right where they belong, on their throne.
Use my 600/650 with Meier Corda Mk2 (purch'd 2004, and extensively modded later) or a Tangent PPA v2 (diy amp). Also tried with HeadRoom Max. All these amps are solid-state jobs. Waiting to build a tube amp as I've heard the Senn 600/650 REALLY come alive with valve sound :wink:
have had my sen 600 for about 8 years and last week tried them thru the bryston headphone amp. WOW. so fast and snappy. The right amp will show you what these awesome headphones are all about
@KwyjiboVenneri mentioned how well these pair with the WA6..  I totally agree.  I've had this headphone for a while and this is my favorite pairing.  Highly recommended. 


Pros: Balance, portability, removable cable.
Cons: pads not big enough for my ears.
I'll try to keep this compact and to the point!
Sound: Thank goodness for quality sound under the $100 price point! The overall balance is very neutral. The overall theme and highlight is clarity! The sound is fed directly into the ears, and there isn't much soundstage, but it is noticable. The bass is not very impactful for closed back headphones, but it is tight and well balance with good extension. The bass is much like that of a closed set of headphones. The mids are smooth, and somewhat forward. The highs are detailed and a little more forward than the mids. I would not hesitate to use these for monitoring. They can become a bit congested in complex tracks, but surprising little for closed cans under $100. Honestly, I have not heard more clear and balanced closed headphones at this price point. I HIGHLY recommend them simply for the sound quality.
Comfort: They do clamp about as much as my HD558s, which bothers me, but honestly even the HD700 clamp bothers me so whatever..... The pads are very nice: well padded, and full of soft leathery-ness. The headband is well shaped to get lots of contact area on the head, and is padded enough for me with no protrusions. My problem lies in the fact that the earcups/pads are not big enough for my ears, but I believe these are supposed to be kinda like some denon/fostex round cans where the pad can tough your ear somewhat. My massive ears hate these pads almost immediately due to size.
Build: kinda cheap plastic folding hinges and adjustability parts, but they work more than fine. Everything else is up to par for me.
Features: no logos, 2 removable, kinda proprietary cables, but they do another set of cables including a flat one if you want.
Comparatively, they have a less bassy flavor than my g4me zeros, and sound less cheap than my monoprice 8323 with HM5 angled pleathers. The bass not as big and boomy as the Monoprice either. It is hard to compare them to much else. They are a different flavor from my G4ME ZEROS, but surely objectively better. They have more detail, and balance.
Update: I find the HyperX Cloud II to be more comfortable all around, but they are not as clear, nor as balanced. The CB-1 is better for studio, but I surely enjoy the HyperX more for most other things.
Recommended song for the CB-1's: Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough.
The percussion and bass on this song work very well with the CB-1's, and the detail ain't bad either.
I certainly give these my approval if you find the pads comfortable! They are more than worth the money for the sound quality! These are a deal!
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Pros: Detailed sound, rather unique, adjustability, neutrality, always gets my head to bob.
Cons: Build quality, comfort & pads, cable, "suction"
I still have yet to give anything 5 stars. The SR-202, for me, is a solid option for alternatives to the HD700, if you can find them without breaking the bank.
I will start with the things I hate, because cynicism.
1. The build material is awful
Some of the plastic, especially the forks, is beneath that of many Happy-Meal toys.
2. They clamp a bit, but not horribly so.
I am very sensitive to this, so I think many will be fine with this.
3. They are not very easy to find
Unless you know where to look, or get lucky on the forum.
4. Stax and their criminal cable design.
Ribbon cables belong in computers 15+ years old. At least it doesn't tangle much.
The have to be peeled off, because they are glued on. On top of this, they press on my jaw, form a suction that i can hear/feel peeling off of my face after only 10 mins. of use.
Last but not least, they are not deep enough for my ears.
6. They are ugly, but unique. I can't hate too much here.
Less hateful part of the review.
I got the SR-202 on the forum in a Stax 2050A format. This means they came with the SRM-252A "Driver Unit".
Upon first listen, they sounded pretty good, but I continued to use my SHP-9500. I had read that Stax, and other electrostatic headphones may take a couple days of being on to "energize".
I believe this to be true, as about day 3 or 4 they wen't from decent to really freaking good.
For sound:
The signature is probably the most neutral I have ever heard. Every frequency is present. The bass extends all the way down, the highs go all the way up, and if anything, the treble lacks almost all of the painful edge that bright dynamics possess. I think if anything they lean slightly toward bright in signature. I can hear everything going on at any given time to the point where my brain can't process it all at once. A comparison to dynamic headphones would be that the Stax SR-202 have a more speaker-like feel. They present the sound more all-at-once, rather than in layers like many dynamics have done for me. The clarity, balance, and range are just unmatched by anything else I have heard, and only thing trading punches in these categories (which I have tested) is the HD700. My favorite part of all is the imaging. I fell like I am cheating in CS:GO. I loved the HD700 for its soundstage and imaging. The imaging is even better of the SR-202, and without the confusingly large soundstage of the HD700. Another thing to note would be that the seal of the pads on the head make a significant difference in sound. With a gap, the bass becomes much fuller at the price of fullness in the higher frequencies.
 I do have a few things that I wish were better though. The texture of some instruments could be better. When there are a few instruments playing at once, some instruments miss their resolution on the Stax. Instrument separation suffered a little too, despite the neutrality. My Ostry kc06/kc06a iems do a far better job at separation than the Stax.
The strongest case for the Stax SR-202 for me is the speed. The best way to describe this would be a speaker. If you stand in the same room as a speaker, especially a sub, you can hear the frequencies, but not so much the vibration the frequencies cause. If you were to put your hand on the speaker, you usually feel the vibrations, as well as hear the frequencies. With the Stax, it is more like hearing the vibrations in the frequency. The lack of resonance also allows for far less mud. The most enjoyable experiences with these were songs in which there was really good bass.
Recommended song: Jurassic Park Theme - John Williams
On this song, at louder volumes, you can feel the potential the SR-202 have in the bass department.
Overall, as an entry to Electrostatic Headphones. I quite like the SR-202. They never fail to make the music enjoyable, despite their relative lack of texture, separation, and (sometimes) impact. I just wish the pads, and build were not so poor. I might have to mod these to fit other pads.
Questions and comments are more than welcome!
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I'm glad these headhpones provided nice sound because I'll be honest just the look of them turns me completely off.  The description of the cushions alone leads me to believe these would not be a good long listening headphone. 
There does however appear to be a good range of replacement ear pads so perhaps that could render them more usable.
Price wise for a head phone that seems to be selling for between $500 and $1100 (weird price range), you would expect a lot more in terms of comfort.  If that's not there, the sales should be either and I have to agree the silly old school wire from each headphone is a really bad idea.


Pros: Darkish, very few weaknesses, Lives up to the name
Cons: Clampy, not terribly clear, loose bass
In my time observing the qualities of headphones, I have narrowed myself down to the point where I know certain sound signatures will be to my liking, or not. The culmination of all my others pairs have led me to the HD650.
As a few know, sound quality doesn't hold much weight when the headphones are uncomfortable. Luckily, I can say that they are not nearly as uncomfortable as I thought they would be. The headband is one of the best designs I have seen, minus the fact it has little flex. It is lightweight, and leaves a gap for either a stand, or the ridge on your skull. The whole thing can be taken apart and put back together fairly easily. The pads are great, and the foam inside touches the ears in a way that I can't argue about. The only problem for me is my sensitive jaw. Because of the shape, the bottom of the earpads sit squarely on the middle of the back edge of my jaw. This causes discomfort after a few minutes, and this sort of discomfort does not go away for me over time. I had hoped it would as the sound is pretty good.
Again the flaw in Sennheiser's plans is their cables. I HATE Sennheiser's cables, but this one is one of their better ones. It is not a vacuum cleaner cable, like the HD700, and is not a spaghetti monster like the 558/598 cables. The problem still rests in that it is quite long, uses proprietary connectors, and has a default 1/4 inch adapter. It is so much better to adapt a 3.5mm to a 1/4 inch than vice-versa; less weight, cheaper adapters, shorter cable.
Sound: the part everyone cares about.
I had come from the HD700, K7XX, HD558, Fidelio X2, and some others.
I had the HD558, and they have my favorite sound signature of all time. A fellow Head-fier told me the HD650 was a fantastic upgrade option. This advice was spot-on.
The HD650 for me is more comfortable, and is about twice as clear. The imaging is also very improved. The HD650 does not manage to capture quite the same magic for me as the HD558, but is not far off, and is better in pretty much every other way.
The best headphones I have heard to date are the HD700, also my favorite.
Compared to the HD700, The HD650 has less problems in the balance area, and everything else follows suit. The HD650 has a smooth, slightly dark, relaxedish sound. The HD700 is bright and dark at the same time, and not nearly as smooth. The largest differences between the two are the clarity, and bass. This is how you would made a decision between the two. 
The HD650 is smoother, about 35% less clear, had noticeably more bass, but the bass is looser, and this is where I draw the line. I am ok with less clear treble, as I am very sensitive to treble, and treble can become fatiguing quickly. The bass is why I prefer the HD700. The bass is not as smooth, but lacks the tightness the HD700 has. This is the very first thing I noticed when I put them on. The difference is quite large.
The reality is that I want an HD700 with the signature of the HD650
I guess I should also note that I actually think the HD700 is about the same price overall as the HD650, because the HD700 is far less picky with the amp used in my experience. One could get away with something as simple as a FiiO e10 for the HD700, and be satisfied, while I would recommend a much stronger, more expensive amp for the HD650. The O2/Odac is roughly where I would aim for the HD650. At street prices, this makes them have a similar price, with an edge to the HD700 if you need both headphones and an amp. Both scale well with amp quality, but I find the HD700 to be less picky.
Other thoughts:
The Philips SHP9500 is not quite as good as the HD650, the Philips are grittier (less smooth), and don't extend quite as well. but dollar/performance it knocks the HD650's socks off.
Most people find a good sweetspot around this pricepoint in the headphone world. Options like AKG, Philips, HiFiMan, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, and others have great offerings around there. I have not found what I am looking for yet, and probably won't until I have the best headphones on the planet.
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Music Alchemist
Music Alchemist
I agree with most points in this review! I find it interesting that we have owned at least four of the same headphones.


Pros: Comfort, sound quality, non-fatiguing, Scalability
Cons: Cable (come on Sennheiser...), pad material, fells a bit reaching
I put off this review for a while for a few reasons. First, I wanted to try these out with more than one amp before making a call on these. Second, The HD700 have some things that just generally confuse, or/and seem a bit odd/hard to describe.
The HD700 is my first venture into the >$300 price range, and I now see the potential high-end headphones really have. The scenario that has occurred while using these is confusing to say the least.
Well, the Sennheiser HD700 are one odd, strangely cool, somewhat mysterious looking headphones. The way I describe it is the title: "The Smirking Guy in the Back of the Room. :smirk:"
They clearly know what's up, but also have no intention of sharing any insight. They also don't care for what anyone thinks of them, while still being cool.
The headband has the same adjustment system, and many equal parts to the G4ME/GAME series, and the HD380 Pro. The part that gets weird is the headband pad, and layered, rubber-like top portion. The weirdness of this build is in part due to the headband pad. The cloth has a feel that reminds me of those tan self-adhesive sports injury wraps. It is like Sennheiser wanted to make velour bleed sound less, and at the same time be a microfiber/Velour combo. The result is kinda odd, and I don't think I like it very much. The same fabric is used on the earcups as well. The headband pad itself is thick for no reason. The cushion does not compress too easily, and the headphones do not weigh very much. As a result, it looks a bit odd, and feels as such. Actual contact space with the head is kinda low, and for me can get a tad annoying after a while. I think Sennheiser could have done a better job on the headband, specifically the cushion.
The actual earcups are something other manufacturers should have learned about a looooong time ago. Guess what! They are shaped like ears! What a novel idea! Something designed for an ear, shaped like an ear! Who would have thought! In all seriousness, this is fantastic that they are shaped like this. It makes them more comfortable for sure. The HD700 has a unique earcup design that borrows largely from the HD800. The lighter colored panels are actually a fine mesh. Light passes through these, as does some sound. The inside of the earcup is spacious compared to most other headphones, and the first to only touch one of my ears on the inside! space that would normally be covered over in most headphones is contoured by the inside mesh/dust cover thing that keeps you from touching the actual driver build. This allows much more room for your ear, and I think it looks kinda cool as well.
Sennheiser has this bad habit of making the worst cables ever. They all tend to be too long for most, defaulting to 1/4 inch, and have an unnecessary springyness.
The HD700 is no exception whatsoever. The cord is like a quality-scaled version of the cord on old Oreck vacuums. The cable loops for to easily, is isn't malleable enough to sort itself out either. It is heavy too. As someone who rearranges his setup all the time, this cord just gets in the way, and is a real pain. On top of that, these cables are super expensive to replace, if you want the official one (not that anyone would want another one of these...). At least it is braided from the split to the 1/4 inch.
I'm bored of talking about the build, just look at the thing...... Let's move on.
Adjustable headband, which pivots slightly, and rotates vertically further than anyone would need them to.
D-shaped earcups, or ear-shaped if you prefer. (Which is sad that this is a notable feature.)
removable cable (thank goodness)
Light Weight
Are they comfortable? yes. Are they all you ever wanted? no.
As stated before, the headband leaves something to be desired. The pad does not make enough contact with the head, and is covered in that microfiber/velour weird fabric that I don't like. I much prefer the Headband of the Philips Fidelio X2, or the Philips SHP9500. I think the SHP9500 has one of the best headband designs of all time btw. 
The clamp force is low as the default width is quite high, but it is not super flexible, and can bother me a tad.
The headphones are quite lightweight, which add to the comfort too.
The pad material bothers me a bit too, which is a shame.
Only one earcup touches my ear inside at all, which I cannot say about any other headphone I have tried. The G4ME Zero comes close, and I think are overall more comfortable than the HD700.
I think most people will find the HD700 to be super comfortable, but for me there are just enough things that bother me to not hit the mark. Quite comfortable overall, but not perfect by any means.
The HD700 is once again that smirking kid in the back of the room. 
I first noticed that the HD700 are quite similar to the K7XX in sound. The HD700 being more spacious, more exciting, and cleaner than the K7XX, but the K7XX seemed more neutral to me. I think the strongest link between them is that I can hear a treble spike in roughly the same place, but found it to be less of a problem on the HD700.
The HD700 is quite odd in that it has some of the best mids I have ever heard, yet the mids are a tad recessed. This trait is the opposite of most headphones. the best frequencies are usually a little forward to display their strengths well. I did not feel like I was missing the mids though. Another odd thing is that as clear as the audio is, most of the time if does not sound totally natural. This is not so in the mids, but apparent elsewhere.
Some things, especially in the mids simply sound real. For example: while listening to Tusk - Fleetwood Mac a tuba appears at one point that made my jaw momentarily drop a little. 
I find the highs to be about half-way between the K7XX and the Fidelio X2, but far cleaner. The revealing factor is very, very good, but I feel it is possible to be even better. 
I usually give headphones a trial with a few people who do not know very much about the subject to get their impressions without any kind of brand, or price bias. The results were overwhelmingly good for all but one person. I had to almost pry these out of the hands of a couple of people. (Odd correlation, they were both well toward the older half of the population.) They could not get over how clean, and spacious they sounded. The odd person out did not like how they felt on his head, but thought they sounded very good.
I decided I had to try HD700 with more than one amp to truly determine their worth. I found that they are surprisingly efficient, taking a bit more power than the Fidelio X2. I do note that they are much better with a better source than a mobile phone, or onboard computer audio. They do seem to scale quite well. unlike most Sennheisers, I found I liked them more with a solid-state amp than a tube amp. I think these would really shine with a high end amp/dac. 
The bass is not particularly lacking, but the HD700 is easily recognizable as a bright headphone. The treble peak is noticeable, but the particular air of headphones I got specifically because they had less spike in the peak. If there is one thing sound-wise I would prefer different would be to smooth that peak even more.One good thing about the treble peak is that some vocals are quite intimate when they sit in the range of the peak.
For gaming, these are Fantastic. For CS:GO, these are a no-brainer. They are spacious, and have great imaging, especially with the right dac/amp. I went from "I hear a couple lower tuns" to "I hear two at lower tuns box, and one on the stairs."  Also, they are not very fatiguing (only a little, to me at least) so that helps in the long sessions.
With the HD700, I finally understand the mp3 vs flac mess. It is possible to distinguish between 320 & flac, but the difference was so insanely small that I see no point in spending more in both storage and dollars for the "higher quality" tracks. Only in tracks which I knew well was the file format even distinguishable at all.
sound conclusion: These are seriously good headphones, they just seem a tad confused about their identity. They want to be relaxed and fun, but also wanna be super clean and accurate. The result is not doing either particularly super. Their best traits are recessed, while others are emphasized. Luckily they sound so good, that it does not matter much. These are technically the most capable headphones I have bought, but definitely not the most neutral or analytical. I will keep using them until I find something I like more, and comparable or better in comfort. The advantages they offer in sound over the K7XX is clear, but I don't think they are worth double the price for what is gained in personal taste. The people I had try them thought otherwise, as most of them found the K7XX to be very boring in comparison.
Another thing I should mention is that I got the HD598 a couple of days before the HD700, and the result was a slaughter. The HD700 makes the HD598 sound like you are listening to the song through a thick cotton-filled sock. I generally think headphones are just different rather than better or worse, but I have to say that the HD700 makes some lesser headphones sound awful, regardless of sound signature.
Recommended song:
Suna No Oshiro - Kanon Wakeshima
Overall, I think that the HD700 is a headphone that points to what is possible in other headphones by exhibiting its own unique qualities which you cannot simply take at face value. I feel as if the HD700 is reaching toward what could be. The feeling is almost mysterious, but not in a good or bad way. They feel like that that guy who sits in the back of the room and just smirks at everyone like he is hiding something. They are a unique pair of headphones with something to prove. I will keep loving these until I find something I like even more, or realize how much money I have put into audio.
Edit: After allowing even more time for my ears to adjust, I have discovered that the HD700 is FAR better than the Fidelio X2 in bass quality, and better in extension. Again, they are not as inherently bassy as the X2, but the bass is significantly smoother, well defined, and just better.
Great review, these headphones are my first nicer headphones and I am really enjoying them so far.
I sold the HD700 recently, since upgrading to my HD800. Even with the HD800 and the T1, I often reminisce having the HD700 around. I've gone more on my sonic journey to try different amps/DAC's and other headphones, but I still believe that the HD700 is an extremely capable headphone for everyday listening. They are still the most comfortable headphone I've ever worn on my head and one of the most fun and enjoyable headphones I've heard.
LOL,one of the best reviews I've ever heard on head-fi,so much so,I will order the HD700's.
Thanks snapacap...good job.


Pros: Build, look (SE version), complete sound, comfort
Cons: can occasionally be a bit fatiguing, inside touches my ears.
For me the HD598 was a hope that I could get nearly the same sound as the HD558 with more comfort. In short, mission mostly accomplished.
Impression/build/: The first thing I noted straight out of the box is how premium the HD598 looks (SE version) and feels The headband is bound by leatheryness, the earcups have mesh, unlike the felt-like material of the HD558 earcups. Putting them on my head, it was clear to see the lesser clamp force compared to nearly every other Sennheiser I have tried (barring the HD700). The pads also felt a bit softer as well. I prefer this headband pad to most others I have used. One thing that I am sure some people have run into is hair getting stuck in velour/fabric headbands. The material used on the HD598SE solves this entirely.
Looks: However unimportant, the HD598SE looks sexy. The stealth-black color scheme, the mesh grills with the logo just underneath, the headband with the leathery goodness. *drool*
Features: adjustable headband, removable (but proprietary) cable, overall very modular. All of which are standard features that should be available on all headphones. (I do realize some headphones have auto-adjust headbands). Just for kicks, the G4me Zero pads fit on these as well.
Sound: Very good. I cannot say they are significantly 'better' than the HD558. In fact, I preferred the sound of the HD558. There is an increase in soundstage, which was already good. The real difference between the two is that the HD558 is darker, and brings musicality to the mid-low end. The HD598 puts the focus solidly in the mids. The effect is musicality on different aspects than the HD558, and possibly a bit better overall. The sound is still warm, but not overbearingly so. I clearly detect the 'Sennheiser veil' that many others have spoken about. This is the reason that they are not objectively the best headphones in the price range. Smooth musicality is where Sennheiser excels for me.The people who I had audition these said that they were 'pretty good' but not the best they had heard. The winning feature was still the musicality. One person said that of all the stuff they tried, they would pick these regardless of their shortcomings compared to other headphones like the SHP9500, Fidelio X2, and SE-A1000. The music was "just so music-y".
For me, I prefer the darker sound of the HD558, but also think that most people would find these an improvement over the HD558 in sound. At street prices, I think the price difference is worth it for the build difference. They just feel, look, and are more premium, and are more comfortable than the HD558. The downfall of these for me is I finally got a hold of the HD700, and those make most things (including the HD598) sound like i am listening through a pillow. 
If someone is looking for a singular pair of headphones to do everything with, I recommend these highly. They are not sterile at all, they are balanced enough to please most, and clear enough to not be a problem. The soundstage is good, and work great for games like CS:GO. The sound carries music in a very enjoyable way. I find that pretty much every genre is quite good on the HD598. I was particularly pleased with metal, and heavy rock. The top end is good enough for the vocal and guitars, and is still warm enough to carry the bass and drums.
Recommended song:
Wrong Side Of Heaven - Five Finger Death Punch
In the end, these are great headphones. They are musical, warm, fairly clear, fairly comfortable, premium feeling, good looking, and not overly expensive at street price. I highly recommend the Sennheiser HD598SE, especially if you can only have 1 pair of (open) headphones.


Pros: clear, not anemic, looks, removable cable
Cons: My ears touch the side, not a fan of the headband
I got these from the forum. They are First edition.
Looks: The look is slick. Big earcups, all black, clean look. (though not important, who wants headphones to be ugly?)
Build: I very much like the overall build.
The earpads are pretty good. The material is not uber cushy, but has a memory effect to it. No complaints, and quite nice.
The cable is not braided
 , but is removable, and still miles better than the HD558 spaghetti cable. Mini XLR connector is somewhat proprietary, but i actually love the connector style.
The headband is real leather, but I think it will take some time to soften up. I found it annoying.
The overhead bands are cheap, but they work fine. Not really a negative.
Thankfully AKG decided to go with a large earcup. This is a huge thumbs up!
The first thing i noticed when I put these on is how much the headband dug into my head. This is annoying, but you can rotate the headband slightly, which mostly solved this problem, yet not entirely.
Next, the Earcups are plenty large in height, and width for the majority of ears. My ears are close to pushing the limit on height. My ears stick out a bit, and thus touch the inside of the earcup quite a bit. It is padded though, making it good enough, but a bummer for how much I love these. 
The pad dimensions are:
Inner Width: 70mm 
Inner Height: 70mm
Inner Depth: 20mm
Because they are so large and round, the depth seems a tad lower to me.
The clamp is enough that they do not slide off. As someone who had high sensitivity to clamp pressure, These are not a problem at all. Not perfect, but not bad at all. The K7XX are more comfortable than not. I have yet to find anything up to my very high standard of comfort yet.
Sound: Yes. Just Yes.
I waited to write this review until i had received all the headphones I recently purchased to arrive. This includes the Pioneer SE-A1000, HD558, SHP9500, Fidelio x2, and the AKG k7xx.
I will put these in order of cleanliness.
1. SHP9500
2. K7XX
3. SE-A1000
4. HD558
5. Fidelio X2
The thing to note here is that cleanliness is not all there is to sound. I get the most resolve out of the SHP9500, but that does not mean they have the best overall sound quality.
This is very important in this case because I think the AKG K7XX has better overall sound quality than the SHP9500. The SHP9500 does give a tiny bit more clarity, but the amount is not very much, and sometimes would say it's a tie, or a small victory for the K7XX. The place where the K7XX beats the SHP9500 is in the low end. There is more bass, more attack, and just more complete sound. The K7XX has the edge that the SHP9500 lacks. The K7XX is more full, and still keeps all the clarity. The only reason I put the SHP9500 ahead on the list is the lesser bass allows the other ranges to be  clearer. The SHP9500 is also quite grainy compared to the K7XX, which is far smoother. The K7XX is the superior Headphone.
The sound of the K7XX is pushing toward the analytical side of the equation, but had enough warmth to keep them from sounding sterile. They fall into the Jack of all Trades category for me. They are never the absolute best at any one thing, but are collectively the best headphones I have had yet. If I had to sell all but one pair of open headphones, based on sound I would keep the K7XX. They are not super dry, but keep the clarity, and neutrality. 
On a side note, I can hear a treble spike (maybe 7KHz?) I have cringed a little at times from this, but not really much of a problem.
Compared to the Fidelio X2, These have way better treble and upper mids. The bass on the X2 crush most other open back headphones, but I do not miss them so much withe K7XX. There is enough bass that they are not anemic, and I can feel it sometimes. While the X2 lie to you in an exciting way, the K7XX tell the truth in a not-super-boring way. My neighbor across the hall seems to find the K7XX boring. He much prefers the sound of the Pioneer SE-A1000, but was not a fan of the X2, saying they had too much bass.
Personally, I freaking love how these sound. Nothing sounds bad on them. The X2 left me without good enough vocal, the SHP9500 left me wanting bass, the K7XX sit somewhere between the two, and Fill the gap in a wonderful way. They are not exciting, but I do not find them too boring either.
 Recommended song:
Crystal - Fox Stevenson
In essence: These sound fantastic. I recommend these to all the people who just want a single pair of headphones that do everything well.
I think most people will find these very comfortable.
EDIT: Those of you who have asked me about an upgrade from the HD558, the AKG K7XX will not likely disappoint!
Also, I now have the HD700, and I like them more.
I own all these same cans, and did the same testing and came to the same conclusion, I am still cautious on buying the HD700 though since I hear the treble spike is rough... still you are like my twin... literally the exact same cans tested LOL


Pros: BASS, build quality, overall package.
Cons: pads a bit stiff, a bit clampy.
This particular pair of X2 appear to have glue only on the pegs, not anywhere else. Sound like all other good X2.
So I get the box in the mail, and upon first inspection I notice that you might have to run over these with a car to destroy them. Plenty of metal to go around.
Looks: I like the look, though they do portray a bit of a horn shape, which is kinda frowny-face. They look good overall though.
Build: Holy crap these are tough. the construction is solid. They are kinda heavy as a result.
The removable cable feature is wonderful, and the included cable is Fantastic; one of the best cables I have ever seen.
If you want you can use a V-moda BoomPro with the Fidelio X2 (a fantastic mic btw).
The headband uses the suspension system I am not usually much of a fan of, but Philips does it the right way, making it solid enough that I am not worried about movement, padding, or anything else I usually associate with suspended designs. The pads on the earcups are kinda hard, but somehow are still nice enough not to complain much about. The comfort surpassed my expectations.
I waited to write this review until i had received all the headphones I recently purchased to arrive. This includes the Pioneer SE-A1000, HD558, SHP9500, Fidelio x2, and the AKG k7xx.
I will put these in order of cleanliness.
1. SHP9500
2. K7xx
3. SE-A1000
4. HD558
5. Fidelio X2
The thing to note here is that cleanliness is not all there is to sound. I get the most resolve out of the SHP9500, but that does not mean they have the best overall sound quality.
As you see, the X2 in on the bottom for cleanliness. This is immediately apparent when putting these on. I was not impressed by the clarity at all. I couldn't believe it. I was feeling mislead. I took them downstairs and asked a nice woman to try them out, and she plugged them straight into her iphone (didn't care much for the dac/amp). She picked a song, listened for 20 seconds then smiled and put the headphone on my head. The key to the puzzle is bass. 
Recommended song:
Til The Day I Die - TobyMac
This is the song she played. I instantly understood why these are so popular. The sheer quality of the bass tones these produce is fantastic.
If I made a Bass list, these would be first for both volume and quality (dynamic open headphones). I simply said "wow" with wide open eyes, proceeded to let her enjoy them for a while, then went back upstairs and drooled everywhere as every dubstep song on the planet was funneled into my ears. The goal is not accuracy, it is sheer enjoyment, and the Fidelio X2 do this in style.
I still am not convinced the soundstage is much. It sounds kinda wide, but there is no foward/back depth.
I have a hard time comparing there to anything else I own. The closest thing I have owned is a cheap pair of earbuds with were bass mongers. Clearly the Fidelio X2 blows those to another galaxy.
Now, this has been a topic many have wondered, and discussed: the SHP9500 vs the Fidelio X2. This is like comparing apples and oranges. The SHP9500 is neutral with very good clarity, and thinner bass. The Fidelio X2 is one heck of a bassy pleasure can. Is the Fidelio X2 worth the price increase? This is not the right question to ask. The Fidelio X2 is in no way an "upgrade of the SHP9500" They are completely different.
The other comparison others might mention is the Fidelio X2 vs the K7XX. This is more fair than comparing the X2 to the SHP9500, but still not quite fair. The K7XX is far cleaner, and more toward the analytic side of the equation. I don't know If I could pick between the two, but I would have to give the overall sound quality edge to the K7XX. I think most will find the K7XX boring in comparison to the Fidelio X2, but I prefer the sound of the K7XX personally.
Conclusion: If you like open back, but miss your bass: buy these. If you like your bass, but think you will miss your vocals, these might not be for you. If you like thin analytic sound a lot, go elsewhere.
I recommend these with the caution above.
If there is anything else you guys want, please feel free to comment, and I will update the review accordingly.
Thanks for your reply. I love my se-a1000's with hm5 velour pads they would be my perfect headphone if they had better more present vocals and electric guitars. If im being honest they are down right muffled on some tracks but their still my favorite pair compaired to Grado sr80e, v-moda m80,superlux 668, takstar pro 80 and fostex t50rp mk3 . The most fun headphone of them all at least and suprisingly my favorite with classical music.thanks
One more thing to note would be that I don't find the vocals to be very forward in the X2. I find them to be roomy, but recessed.
Well i might still get the x2 for another fun headphone. I dont tknow if my perfect headphone exists and im down on eqing right now so the hunt continues.


Pros: Wonderful sound, good price!
Cons: Simply silly design with Many flaws.
I think it is fair to say a quite a few of us have watched a ZeosPantera review and immediately emptied our wallets. This is one of those times.
When I first received these I was prepared with HM5 velour pads in hand and am glad i was. The first thing i noticed was how useless the stock pads are. They are too thin to be of any use, and mine smelled foul as well. I will not recommend these stock for this reason. With the stock pads it was like wearing on-ear headphones that were way too big. I then had to stretch the HM5 pads around these, which is not as easy as it is on most other headphones, but it is worth it. They are now not only bearable, but quite comfortable as well.
For looks, most people will likely find them quite ugly. I don't mind the look. I find them unique, which is good.
The build is quite odd, and honestly unfortunate in multiple ways.
1. The dual plastic arches are quite far apart (roughly 2 inches), making them annoying to hang from a wall mount, and the headband is not an alternative to hang from.
2. the headband is unstable, cheap, and just sub-par in general. getting the headband to not tilt back or forward, or become too loose and sags. It is a struggle. I cannot simply put the headphones on my head without bothering with the headband to make sure it aligns. It is held on either side by a ribbon about a third the width of the headband, and they twist, turning the headband upside-down.
3. The cable is of very good quality, but once again.... a non-removable....6 meter long........ who made that design decision??? At that length i would rather have an to use an extension and have the option to use a much shorter cable.
4. already mentioned is the pitiful pads, so that's a thing.
5. The earcups have springs inside to help combat slide downward, but they make twanging noises when you adjust them on your herd, or even just move a tiny bit.
6. round earcups. Not a fan of round earcups. shape them like ears maybe?
Overall, this is a poor design with many large faults. These are like a lego creation. They creak, and sag, but look just close enough that it can pass as a set of headphones.
Now for the good part. Sound.
These immediately remind me of the HD558. They are warm, bassy, and still clean enough. I would say cleaner than the HD558, better instrument separation, stronger bass, and generally objectively better. There is not a terrible amount to say. They are just warm, and bassy, and sound like they should cost more.
I waited to write this review until i had received all the headphones I recently purchased to arrive. This includes the Pioneer SE-A1000, HD558, SHP9500, Fidelio x2, and the AKG k7xx.
I will put these in order of cleanliness.
1. SHP9500
2. K7xx
3. SE-A1000
4. HD558
5. Fidelio X2
The thing to note here is that cleanliness is not all there is to sound. I get the most resolve out of the SHP9500, but that does not mean they have the best overall sound quality.
Recommended song for Pioneer SE-A1000:
Electric Love - BØRNS
Where the SE-A1000 shine is the price-performance. If someone wants clean, bassy, warm sound for a decent price, I recommend these. I do not think they are as good as the SHP9500 for overall quality and neutrality, but the Pioneer are much less likely to make you bored. They have more edge, warmth, and bass. In fact, my neighbor across the hall prefers the Pioneer to the Fidelio X2, his 668b, and my SHP9500 (hasn't heard the k7xx yet to tell). 
In my opinion, I find the sound comparable to my other headphones. I like each for a different reason. I find myself using the SHP9500 the most because of comfort, but also for use in CS:GO. The less bassy signature of the 9500 helps differentiate positional ques, and has a pretty accurate soundstage. I grab the SE-A1000 when I want a warm hug from my music, or/and a very non-fatiguing experience. The Pioneer are very capable for CS:GO as well, so don't let that sway you too much.
I have read that some people think these trade blows, or at least get close to the K7XX. I will be honest. I think the K7XX is superior. I would say the SE-A1000 is 65-70% of what the K7XX is in terms of sound quality, and not even close in design. If you do the math, this makes the SE-A1000 a pretty good buy. (also, I think the K7XX have quite a bit more analytic sound, so apples/oranges?)
In conclusion: For the price these sound wonderful. For any price, they are poorly designed. Do I recommend them? Yes, as long as you can put up with the design, and paying extra for pads that are actually useful. Warm huggy sound is abundant. These are some lovely headphones!
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Jar Jar
Jar Jar
Thanks! Looks like I'm getting exactly what I wanted lol! I know that the Brainwavz HM5 earpads work on these Pioneers, based on Zeos' review, and I was wondering as your brother has the Superlux HD668b, would pads that size fit the Pioneers? I don't have a lot of money to spend so I was thinking about salvaging my Samson earpads or possibly getting some K240 replacement earpads.
Jar Jar
Jar Jar
Oh, thanks so much! That does help a lot


Pros: Look, build, cable
Cons: Sound, everything else
These were my daily driver headphones for a few years in middle/early high school. I bought them in the black/dark grey color scheme I used these when I obtained my first computer that pushed enough power to anything other than surf the web. I had cheapo desktop speakers which didn't sound very good, and also did not work well with my habit of staying up late. I had a friend who had the MDR-ZX100, and said they sound fine. Also I liked the way they look, and still do.
The build for these is actually pretty good for the price. The almost entirely plastic construction is above garbage tier, but nothing special. The cable is quite nice. The material is thick, but light. entanglement is not really a problem with these relative to most other headphones. The cable also ends in an angled 3.5mm jack.
The comfort is exactly what you should expect. If you like on ear, you will likely be fine comfort wise. The pads will chafe after a while. The headband does get a bit looser over time if that is a concern. These can clamp a bit, especially new. Keep in mind that I find almost everything to be kinda clampy.
Sound: not good. In my personal, undocumented headphone shootout; the Sony MDR-ZX300 came 11th out of 12 for sound quality. They only beat a super budget pair of Go-Groove Earbuds. The soundstage is nearly non-existant, and they failed the CS:GO test. The bass is muddy, and overpowering. The mids are lacking, and the treble is veiled. They sound a bit v-shaped as well.
Feature song: I didn't find anything that I thought was "good" on these. Perhaps an electronic song? Darude - Sandstorm?
Conclusion: For any price, these are not very good. If you only care bout the look, build and cables: these are fine for $20. If you care about sound, almost everything I have tried has been better. Instead of these, I would get the Monoprice 8323, or the Koss KSC75. I'm sure there are many more alternatives that are better. I still keep these around because they produce sound in a pinch, and the only other option is the garbage can, since I would not even give these away.
I do all my testing with a FiiO e10, and all kinds of audio files. Please feel free to leave feedback, suggestions, questions, and especially recommendations.


Pros: size/weight, price, sound quality, comfort
Cons: build quality, on-ear (could be positive?), cable
I am gonna start this where it should. These are the best thing in audio I have found at the price-point. I recently took all the headphones I have access to, and basically did a shootout. For audio quality, these came in third out of about a dozen. The Koss KSC75 came out ahead of the Sennheiser HD558, G4me Zero, G4me One, Monoprice 8323, and some others. Purely objectively, these are crazy for the price. (The two ahead of it were the Philips SHP9500, and the Superlux 668b).
The Koss KSC75 are quite comfortable for a clip-on. They weigh about as much as you would expect. The ear-touching thing is not nearly as objectionable as I had guessed it would be. As others have said, switching to a headband style would not be difficult at all. My only complaints with comfort and fit are how the clips dig in a little after a while, and they are a bit odd to center on your ears. This is entirely due to being clip-on.
The build quality is low, This is to be expected with anything at this price point, but has to be noted. The plastic backing is cheap, the foam padding is cheap, The cable is comparable to that of an old Walkman charger. The cable is awful. The cable, however, is a good length for portable use, and does terminate in an angled 3.5mm jack, which is good. The ear clips are cheap, and are just plastic. The wire supporting the clips are slightly different sizes on mine. One clip sticks out, and back a bit further than the other. The Koss KSC75 passed the shake the head around, jump, run test as well. These do not fall off my ears, but keep in mind my ears give plenty of surface area to hold on to. Overall, It is what you should expect for the price-point.
Now for the sound.
As mentioned before, these beat out some Sennheisers in my audio quality shootout. The sound is inviting enough that fatigue is not much of an issue. The clarity is great. Highs and mids are fairly well balanced with a few peaks and valleys. Vocals are great, but don't stick out so much that it becomes a problem. The bass is entirely dependent on environment and positioning. Overall, I neither find it lacking, nor overwhelming. The is not particularly loose or tight either. Soundstage is good, and the Koss KSC75 passed the CS:GO test with flying colors. These are extremely open. They get the double in the open catagory. Not only are they on ear, they are open backed, and use thin foam pads. The sound signature I would describe as similar to the SHP9500 with a bit more bite.
I figure I should start picking a song for each pair of headphones I review to give an idea of what sounds good with them.
Feature song: human - Christina Perri
Conclusion: The Koss KSC75 are hands down the best (imho) for their pricepoint. The Superlux 668b/ Samson SR850 is objectively better, but is much less inviting, and more cold. Still, I prefer the Sennheiser hd558 sound to any other option I have tried as of writing this. If you are addicted to headphones, or just need something open, cheap, and sound quite good, I highly recommend these.
I do all my testing with a FiiO e10, and all kinds of audio files. Please feel free to leave feedback, suggestions, questions, and especially recommendations. All these lower price headphones are a bit of a gateway drug to the world of audio. 
These really are a steal.  I buy two or three sets each season and use them for outdoor activities.  They hold up well, given the beating I give them, but do tend to just go out suddenly.  While an amp isn't required it does help tremendously with the sound.  Thanks for reminding everyone about these long standing 'phones.


Pros: SOUND. looks, earcup size
Cons: A bit clampy, bit inside touches ears, cable
In my endless search for headphones that fit, and fit, are comfy, and satisfy my sound tastes; my dumbo ears have led me to very few outlets to choose from.
I chose to try the Sennheiser 558, as it gets rave reviews, and such.
Before these, I had good, but not great experiences with Sennheiser products, and these changed that for the better.
My first, and most important note is that these are my new favorites of any headphone in terms of sound.
1. These have enough bass, and play that they don't sound boring.
2. There is not too much bass, meaning not too much bleed into other ranges
3. The soundstage is great for the price
4. I get pulled into the music without too much detail loss.
These, for me, hit a special sweet spot. The SHP9500, and most of my headphones, are objectively better and cleaner, but I didn't care (and still don't). I can't put a price on the feeling these give me.
I can see why someone would find these not-so-good. They can be relatively veiled and uncontrolled, even laid-back.
I will post the bullet list I made while evaluating these in the order I noted them, and then attempt to elaborate.
Sennheieser hd558
1. love the sound.
When I first put these on, I immediately loved their sound. There is not much else to say. I got lost in the music.
2. part sticking out touches ear inside cup
Though the research suggested otherwise, I find that the bit sticking up on the inside of the earcup inevitably touches my epic ears. This is likely not a problem for most.
3. clamp is kinda tight
I am a bit sensitive to headphone clamp, and these clamp quite a bit, but I think most will find them acceptable. I have not noticed any loosening of the grip at this point.
4. proprietary cord kinda sucks
5. default cord connection should be 3.5mm, since most people with 1/4 inch jack amp would likely invest in more expensive headphones.
4&5 are very related, thus together. The cord is made of some awful, grippy, rubber-like plastic which clings to everything, and is also a bit springy. The cord is quite long, which doesn't bother me, as they are open. the proprietary connector on the headphone end of the cord is annoying, but can easily be modded to fit most 2.5mm, or adapted for 3.5mm cables. Lastly, the cord has a 1/4 inch adapter... (read 5.)
6. Keeps clarity while having enough body to pull you into music
This is the defining feature of the HD 558 for me. I very easily get lost in the music enough to where I forget the ear-touchy thing, and the clamping effect. 
7. fiio e10 is vast improvement over on-board audio sources for the 558
After testing the HD558 on portable, phone, decent pc onboard, and whatever else I could find; I conclude that an amp is an improvement for the HD558, even a cheap little FiiO e10. 
8. they look nice
I mean... They do to me. 

9. significantly better balance than g4me one, WAY cleaner (to my ears)
After owning these, I think either Sennheiser used HD 518 drivers, or they tried to make a "gamer" sound signature. Really, I didn't think they were that close.
I honestly think the HD 558 was superior. Less muddy, somewhat cleaner sound, better soundstage.
10. SHP9500 objectively better sound, etc
Compared to my previous daily driver (SHP9500); I think the SHP9500 was more Neutral, cleaner, and just better in purely objective terms. To me, the SHP9500 lacked bass, had a bit much treble, and were kinda dull.
11. My new Favorite headphone. Period.
I don't expect this note to be true for long.
12. Would love to try the hd-650, and better sources for comparison.
See note for 11.
13. after getting used to fit, the ear touching bit is a bit less noticeable. (but comes and goes)
14.Certain frequencies are greatly recessed. Obvious treble spike (only one spike though?)
15. Clapping at beginning of "Bad Blood - Bastille" sounds awful.
*clap* sounds more like *clop*
17. Leather G4me zero pads fit perfectly. Zero pads add bass, decrease soundstage. Ear touches inside thing even more.
If you like a leathery feeling more than the stock velour pads, the pads for the G4me Zero, and similar headsets, fit perfectly on the HD558. I prefered the pads unside-down, as the inward clamp compensates well for the uneven thickness of these. The tradeoff is the leathery pads add more bass, possibly a tad muddier? and decrease the soundstage a bit.
18. HM5 pads could fit.
I would try using the plastic ring from the back of the stock pads, and putting it in the back of the HM5 pads. These have the same effect as the G4me zero pads, maybe even more-so. 
Conclusion: I wish these were more comfortable, and wish the cord sucked less.  I have decided to put up withe discomfort of the clamp, and the ear-touching simply because I love the sound so much, which is saying a lot for me. Gosh, they do pull me into the special, priceless place where music sounds like music, not like "a good pair of headphones accurately transcribing the sound". They sound like music to my ears.
The little green bar measuring thing doesn't have a measure for enjoyment, but I would give it full marks. 
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Hi, Nice Review. I also have larger than average ears. Fortunately they don,t touch that inside piece; I find them very comfortable for the most part.I agree some people might not like the warm slightly less detailed sound;but on the whole I find them enjoyable and very non fatiguing to listen to.
The HD558 is my go-to gaming set of cans! I love the soundstage, and still enjoy listening to music with them. 


Pros: Non-fatiguing, Price (if you can find them), low clamp, cup size, clean sound, 3.5mm port
Cons: Earcup depth, stock cable, lack of sharpness
Being one of the elf-like people on the planet, the second thing i look at when buying headphones is earcup size. These are odd to me.
The measurements that matter are as follows:
Inner Width: 54mm
Inner Height: 75mm
Inner depth: 17-18mm
Clearly they are relative huge, with one glaring drawback: depth. I know very few people whose ears are not touching the driver side of the headphones. There is a redeeming quality though. The clamp force is so low that it isn't that unpleasant. I also suspect it would not be difficult to mod these to fit other earcups, based on my inspection. The earcups are help outward from the drivers by what feels similar to chloroplast board, or plastic cardboard. I figure it would not be hard to remove the pads, and trim this to fit other pads. The actual material for the default (non-removable without mod) earpads is incredibly soft, but i suspect would absorb sweat, and get a little hot after a while.
As for the headband, I am not very sensitive to this kind of thing, but I find this one to be fantastic with no obvious problems. I think it is fantastic honestly. The headband "pad" runs aalong the underside of the headband, but is only attached at either end, making it able to form fit to your head, but not make you look like an alien as audio-technica, AKG, Superlux, etc.
Disclaimer: my ears are very sensitive to treble. Take my views with the usual grain of salt.
The basic consensus: Clean, relatively neutral sound with slight lean toward treble but still has reasonable bass that doesn't hide too much. These also a severe lack an edge or fun. There is obvious bass roll off, and there is also a frequency at which some drums play which has the splat effect, and a bit muffled, and quiet.
I am quite the novice in the headphone world, so I shall compare and contrast with only open headphones I have owned; no speculation.
Compared to Sennheiser G4ME ONE the SHP9500 are: slightly grainy, way cleaner, more open, lacking edge, but overall simply better, very slightly better soundstage.
Compared to Koss ksc75 the SHP9500 are: slightly less open, cleaner, more treble/mid orientation, similar soundstage.
Compared to Samson sr850/Superlux 668b the SHP9500 are: Cleaner, less bass, less sharp, better soundstage.
For me the most interesting sound quality is how these are clean without having an edge. The best way I can describe this is lacking the fatiguing factor of treble heavy headphones on the louder side.
The term my brother used was "dull". His superlux 668b had more "sharpness and bass" to him (and I agree).
There are certain things most pairs of open headphones should possess imo.
Low clamp, large ear-shaped earcups (preferably deep)
Removable cable without proprietary plugs
General adjustablility
easy left, right discernment
These possess all of these qualities (barring deep earcups)
The clamp force is incredibly low, the earcups are very large, the headphones have a standard 3.5mm port on the left earcup. There are hinges for every aspect of adjustability, and massive L and R on either earcup. 
As most of you know these work great with the V-moda BoomPro microphone. making it a great gaming headset. The lack of fatigue makes it great for long sessions as well. Most gamers, however, prefer bass that pulls you into the game, rather than balance the SHP9500 possess.
For the $75 I paid, these are fantastic. The comfort alone is worth that much. The sound is very clean and neutral, but also seems dull at the same time.
If anyone has any suggestions, thoughts or questions I didn't answer, please ask, comment, etc. I wish to improve upon reviews as many headphones lack adequate research avenues and I want to be as helpful as possible.
UPDATE: I have taken off the stock pads, which is actually quite easy to do. Simply grab a corner and give it a decent pull, then rotate, and repeat. I have put the Angled pleather hm5 pads on, which took a bit of stretching. The cups are deep enough for my ears now, but not tall enough since the area left by the original pad is circular. The sound took a major turn toward bass, but didn't really gain any warm feeling sound to speak of. The bass now just bleeds into the mids and treble. The stock pads were not damaged in any way. final note: I used electrical tape to smooth, and cover the clips that hold the original pad, as to not damage them, or the hm5 pads.