The JVC HA-R330 is not a brand new headphone but an old one, I was looking for a closed back headphone that was affordable and didn't cost too much, since I already had my primary pair of headphones the ATH-R70X. Of course these won't be compared to them, as they don't stand a chance.
Upon looking at the HA-R330's and feeling them in my hands, you can tell that they was made cheaply, with the way the plastic feels when you hold them in your hand. It’s hard plastic but not that hard, like the kind if plastic use for cheap dollar store toys. I doubt they would survive a good hard fall, or take too many drops to the ground.
Portability is not there strong suit since they do not fold, You have one way to carry them around if you are on the go, which is wearing them on your neck. So if your looking for the easy of taking them around with you, while your on the move, then the JVC HA-R330 would be a poor choice, unless you use your neck for a headphone holder, when the R330s are not in use.
They are rated as 32ohm with 1,200mW as the max voltage capability, I don’t know how they would do being ran from a basic mp3 player, As I couldn’t find my Ipod mini for the review.
Most headphones have some kind of padding on the headband for added comfort, Not the R330’s. While the headphones are light on your head, due to not having any padding on the top. The bare plastic headband of the headphone sits on the top of your head, while it does feel good for a couple of hours, evenly you will start to feel the headband as it gets to be a bother. Even going as far as leaving marks of the top of the headband on your head, since the headband it self has an opening in the middle of it. If you happen to move it around on your head a lot, you will have even more dents on the top of your head. Don’t worry the dents will go away. Padding would be real useful in this spot of the headphone, in fact it kinda look like you have room to place a headband pad, when you look at the spot, you can see a grove or an opening to place one there. But as it stands extended use will get uncomfortable.
Ear padding isn’t that good either as they are made out of Plastic Leather, and feels oily while not being that thick. The other problem is the cup of the ear pads is kind of small, People with medium to large ears including those ears that stick out from there head will find that the headphones doesn’t feel good on there ears. This also includes glasses wearers due to the pads being too soft and thin in the padding.
It doesn’t help that they R330 have a type of clamp on your head, which makes it feels worst. Those with small ears or ones that do not point out, wont have a problem with the ear-pads. Lucky the pads can be removed and swapped for another pair of ear-pads, as long you have the right size.
Now adjusting the headphone it self is easy and done well, on the side of the headphones, you will see a slider, which snaps into place for each head size. The setting stays and does not changes on it own, plus you know when you got it into the slider as it makes a sound. Here comes the down side, there is no markers on the slider, if you want to make sure you have it set right, you will have to measure or compare the sliders in size, to make sure you have it set where you want it. I find my self using the tip of my finger to measure the size of the opening for the adjuster so I can get it the way that I want it. Some times you will need to apply a little force to make it slide.
Besides the adjuster, each side has an L and R marker as well as 3 small bumps to note the Left side. The problem here is that they are hard to see due to them being pressed in, and sadly not enough since you can not see the lettering. Which means if you want to make sure you have them on correctly, you have to turn on a light just to be able to see the markers. Either making them a certain color, using a sticker or putting side ID on the cable, would have been a better idea.
The length of the cable is 8.2ft which is very long, While I have gotten lower part of the cable stuck and it didn't break, But the cable that goes into the headphones them self is thin and filmsy, and it doesn't look that durability. Just don't go pulling on the cable, as then it may snap. Which also means they are hard wired into the headphone.
Sound isolation I would say is good, but not perfect. But the main reason why I say its good, as my computer is ver loud due to the case fans and my Heat sink fans that are noisy. I still can hear the fans just not as much as the headphones does an good job of blocking out most of the sound, just an little comes through,while it did block my computer fans, other sounds will come thru, due to the headphones not being completely sealed on the top of your head.
For this part of the review, I will be using a Sound blaster AE-5 with the hp amp gain set to normal(32-149 ohm), with the JVC HARX 330’s plugged into the headphone plug directly on the card, I will be using the Direct Headphone output setting in the software suite which disables the card software suite so nothing will be effecting the overall sound. For the Media player, I will be using Jriver Media
For game’s and a movie, I will use both the Surround+VR 7.1 headphone option on the card. Also I will do gaming in pure stereo, while music will be done in Direct Headphone mode.
In the song Flowing Tears(Reaching into the universe) Flac, Which is a drum and bass song. There is no brightness at all, its smooth in the highs, details still come thru without a problem. It just not too much and not too little.
The problem area is the bass, while it does go deep, it’s mostly one noted as I don’t hear the other bass types, as it almost sound like a sub-woofer just not too much, Doesn’t invade the other sound frequency.
I can easy tell the difference between the different instruments and synth sounds in the song. But because of the size of the sound stage, it feels like the audio is right outside my head. I can’t make out the location of the sounds as it seem as they are right next to each other over my head.
In the song The Qemists- Dirty Words Flac, which is a break-beat/DnB/ Rock n roll type song, the singers voice sound good and with the correct amount of bass behind their voices. Sadly the location of the singers voice is right upon my face. The details in the highs is a little too much. The bass is similar with the same one note type of sound. But it still the same in regards as every thing else except the deep bass hits not as hard.
I decided to try a dub-step song, called Replacer (M.G.R.X Remix), I don’t have the album name. Every thing was similar to Qemists, But the bass hits harder, With the snare of the drums coming thru with detail, a bit too much detail for my taste.
Another dub-step song Altitute – Bare which I tried which is mostly bass. The sub-woofer bass and the one note quality of it was more apparently heard. One thing that the bass doesn’t do is distort, which I expected happen but didn’t.
I been trying these out in a bunch of games since owning them, One game in question that I started playing recently named warhammer: Vermintide 2. Which is a First person game, The issue that I ran into while using the JVC HARX330’s with the game, is there are times where I can not tell the location of the Rats and other creatures in the game, due to the sound stage being very small.
I find my self looking around more so, as sounds come off as being close to me, when in reality they are not, while the sound stage is small, the sound imaging is I would say avg, as I can hear other players walking behind me to my side into the front of me. It just any thing that’s further then them is not accurate.
Bass does a really good job in games as it doesn’t come off as being muddy, it does have some power behind the bass with some sub-woofer style bass, It just not muddy, it’s quality is OK, but it really more quantity then quality.
Even after all that bass, I still was able to hear the special creatures and the other sounds since the bass did not cover up the rest of the sound. While the AE-5 gaming functions did work, the game results came from the headphones them self and not the mode. As my Primary Headphones have a totally different result.
Gaming (Stereo Direct Headphone)
Gaming in stereo with these headphones without using the AE-5 surround+VR 7.1 setting isn’t the same. When I played the same game, the sound image was good in regards to the other players as long they was close to me, Sound stage size being small was the main problem, I found my self looking all around more so since I couldn’t tell where sounds was coming from, since they was closer then what they really was. I couldn’t tell how far the creatures was. While gaming wasn’t that well. The sound quality was still good. I didn’t enjoy using pure stereo to game with the JVC’s. The smaller sound stage is the main problem when gaming. At-least With AE-5’s Surround+VR 7.1 that helped me out when I was gaming. In stereo the 330’s won’t do that good for gaming due to the sound stage being too small.
I watched a movie called 2037:winter dream on Netflix in 5.1, here the headphones fared better then it did in gaming with the mode. The bass did a very good job here, although the bass still had that sub woofer type sound, It was only a bit. While over all the results was good, you could easy hear the size of the sound stage. Every thing was close to my ears, while voices from the front of me was even closer. The only good thing about it was that the audio was outside my head.
I was able to hear the actors talking in the movie, and I really didn’t have any issues with the speech. They also came off as being in front of me, as if there talking to me in the movie, but a little more so in my face, voice’s wasn't thin at all which was actually great, voices had a good amount of bass behind them. Sound image I would say was good. Overall the headphone worked good with the AE-5 setting.
Some songs did good, others not so much. When It comes to music, I did like the headphones with some songs. Just not when they are dub-step, or have a lot of bass in them or bit more detail then usually.
Games and movies is what I enjoyed the JVC HARX330’s with, even though the sound stage was small. This where I enjoyed the bass, as I heard the impact of the Rifles and shotgun being fired in Warhammer Vermintide 2, as long I am using the AE-5’s Surround+Vr7.1 while gaming. With pure Stereo I did not like it at all, as I didn’t enjoy it as much.
Adjustment slider worked very well, What didn’t is the ear-pads, lucky you can swap them out, for something maybe a bit more thicker, maybe something that could improve the over all sound. But they are affordable and while they are they did alright for the price.
I decided to see how the bass would be if I plugged them into my schiit Jotunheim using low gain which uses my AE-5 as an source. The bass has improved a lot and is no longer giving off a sub-woofer boom type of sound, at the same time the bass hits harder in some songs. Over all improved expect the Sound stage was still small and the sound image improved a little.