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Headphones item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - Bass (when they're 'in the mood'); sound isolation; looks; very long cord
Cons - Inconsistent bass quantity; hissing vocals
Hi. Here's my short review of Ultrasone HFI-580. I'm not a professional writer and English isn't my native language, so bear that in mind.
My sound card: Asus Xonar D1
Music I listen to: trance (uplifting, progressive, tech), house (progressive, tech). Sometimes I also listen to hard trance, drum & bass and dubstep.
Dr. Bass-yl and Mr. Let's Hyde the Lows
During the first week I was overwhelmed with the amount of bass and its superb quality. Then they gradually got loose and lost much of their bass. It totally killed the pleasure of listening to bass-heavy tracks like Cosmic Gate - Ultra Curve or Nitrous Oxide - Magenta, which went from 'this is like an EARTHQUAKE' to 'this is nothing special, I'd rather do something else that listen to this'. It also killed the pleasure of listening to rather bass-light tracks like Aly & Fila - Khepera (Leon Bolier remix), at least to an extent. Very strangely, sometimes (like 1 in 30 cases) they sounded just like they should, and the bass was insane. I don't need 'moody' headphones - they need to be consistent! Some time later, I bought them again, and had the very same issue as with the previous cans - except that those were loose from the very beginning, and have never gotten to 'change their mood', as I returned them a few days later.
I had the exact same problem with AKG K81 DJ. The first week - the bass was great. Then they got loose, which killed much of the bass and most of the pleasure of listening to music. A couple of years later I bought another pair, and it was loose from the get-go and, of course, didn't provide enough bass to my liking. Am I cursed or what?
Problem with hissing
The inconsistent quantity of bass is the only reason that I'm giving these the lowest possible rating. If the bass were consistently powerful, I'd give these 4,5/5. Why only 4,5/5? They have a hissing problem, which made singers sound as if they had a lisp; this also made listening to e.g. the beginning of Cosmic Gate - London Rain (Back 2 Back 4 redub) physically painful. On the other hand, that's probably the only track with which there was such a problem. I strongly prefer music without vocals, so that was never a major issue.
They were as comfortable as one could reasonably expect from bass-heavy headphones; my issue was that the clamp was very often too weak to provide enough bass - see above. Shame on you, Ultrasone, for such a poor design. Before you ask: yes, I tried using a rubber band on the first pair. For 2 days. It made them looser than before, which I found comical.
They have a very long cord, which to me was comfortable - I could walk around the room without worrying about the headphones falling off my head. However, it's a double-edged sword - if you're looking for portable headphones, the length of HFI-580's cord is going to be a major issue.
Definitely the least important topic, but they look decent. No issues here.
If you want consistent powerful bass, do not buy these, as you may as well have the same problems as I and some other people (search for the thread 'Ultrasone HFI-580 too loose?' - the HFI-780 model is also mentioned there, so watch out for that one as well) had. It is scandalous that you should pay over $100 for something so flawed.
Pros - Tight, controlled bass; average mids and high; isolation; bright soundstage
Cons - Long ass cord; the cushion is not durable; can be uncomfortable
I purchased this pair about 2 years ago, when I just got to the audiophile world. I remember reading a thread the ATH-M50 and HFI-580 with a lot of different opinions, so I decided to test both. The local shop provide me 2 sample of the headphones, both had experience hundreds of hours of playing music. So this is more like a comparison:
Bass is very detailed and well tuned, doesn't overpower. It just stay there and when the song calls for it, you'll be surprised how tight and controlled the bass is. This is the bass quality of decent 300$ plus headphones. If the M50's bass is all about quantity, while 580 is quality.
The mids and the high is just above average; might be better than the M50 a little due to its wide soundstage
This is the best pair you can get for under 200$, however, if you want bass quantity, go for the M50, it's a great choice too.
Pros - clarify, sounds nice and bassy enough
Cons - better for small hears, confort
I used during several years a DT 770 Pro 80 ohms on a iBasso D-Zero and wanted to go for a change and more mobility, they are easier to place in a computer bag, compared to the DT I appreciate to have more mediums, bass is good but not dominant, after I guess that depends on your hears and your tastes but for me this is a nice improvement. Not the most confortable.
Pros - Music sounds great even from poor sources without an amp. It sounds even better with better source and amp.
Cons - Heavy. Makes ears hot in the summer.
Music sounds great with these. They are a little heavy, but I knew that when I bought them. What I did not know was that they make great ear warmers. This is good for winter, but may not be so good in summer.
I'm quite happy with them. They don't seem to really need a headphone amp to sound good which is another plus. They seem to have low listening fatigue.
The sound may be on the warm side, but I like that. I recently tried them with my Bifrost and Parasound pre-amp as 'phone amp and they sound even better than with my Sony NWZE475BLK
Pros - Great bass / Not too expensive
Cons - Pleather pads / Looong straigt fixed cable (I prefer removeable or coiled cables)
For their price they are probably one of the best basshead cans out there. While I find my Beyer 770 Pros sound overall somewhat more "refined" the HFi580s clearly beat em in bass rendition...
Comfort / Build Quality:
I'm not a big fan of pleather pads as they tend to get hot and sticky when its warm, but besides this they are not too bad. Overall build fits the price-point imo.
My recommendation is to compare em with the Beyer 770 Pro 80 to check where your preference goes. If you like bass and don't want to spend too much, both are a good choice, in the end it's just a matter of taste imo.
Pros - Bass, isolation when music is playing, attractive, decent sound quality, very comfortable
Cons - lacking mids, ridiculously long cable
These are my first pair of over-ear headphones, and my "nicest" pair of headphones before this were some 30$ skullcandy earbuds which at the time sounded amazing to me.
I can't do much comparing to other sets of cans but I can say I am completely satisfied with the quality of these for their price. I have picked up on some things after many hours with these on. The bass is pretty good without being overpowering. I ride the shuttle to class everyday at my university and they are very loud and the engines idle at terrible levels creating very uncomfortable pressure on my ears but since using these I hear virtually nothing from the bus engines. They seal pretty well too even when the music is pumped up fairly loud so others aren't disturbed by my bad taste in music . I have walked behind someone wearing over ear Beats and heard every word from some rap song playing through the overpriced ear bling, but that's not the case with these Ultrasone's.
The silver on black design is pretty slick looking and I've pretty much gotten over feeling ridiculous in public with over ear cans on. These look nice, so they definitely helped!
My only complaint is the mids are pretty recessed in some songs. Some songs are worse than others, but its unnoticeable to my untrained ears for the majority of my music library.
Oh, and the cable is like ten feet long which is good for my gaming, but I've temporarily braided it which cut it down to about 3 feet for walking around campus until I can mod these to make the cable removable. I've also seen complaints about clamping discomfort but they feel great on my fairly large head. My ears sweat a little but I rarely even notice it, and there's never any pain.
I can't tell you which cans these are better than but I can reinforce the pretty positive vibe floating around headfi for these hfi580s. For the price and SQ I feel confident recommending these to anyone!
Pros - Tight bass, sound, stylish, folding aspect
Cons - comfort, can be a bit tinny, long cord
On the overall these headphones crush the likes of Beats and other headphones endorsed and made with DJ's. They're a LOT cheaper too.
Bass is tightly tuned and sounds awesome without being overpowering.
On the upside, the sound produced is not overwhelming, but brings out the natural tones of the recording. It can be a bit tinny depending on the file or the music, but you can work with this.
The foldability is fantastic, however the cord is too long for my liking, and they can be a bit hard to wear after extended periods. Again, you can grow with this.
Very much worth investigating rather than spending up to $400 on a pair of Beats.
Pros - Great bass, Satisfactory mids, Good Isolation, Looks, Build Quality, Screw-on 1/4 inch adapter
Cons - Bright treble, Metallic Sounding, Pleather quality, Clamp pressure, Sweat prone, Headband discomfort
note- I actually have the Ultrasone DJ1 but since they're essentially the same as the HFI-580 (For those that don't know, the DJ1 is the same headphone with a different colour scheme / logo, and a coiled cable), I decided to post the review here for more exposure.
I bought these phones to compliment my Grado SR-225i as a sealed headphone for more bass-intensive music like electronic and hip hop. These phones are pretty hyped around here, many people quoting them to be a basshead's headphones. This might be true for you depending on what you consider basshead to mean. If a basshead, to you, is 'I WANT MOAR!', these have potential because you can EQ them to be very bassy, but they will disappoint you out of the box. If a basshead, to you, is someone who likes some bass emphasis but more importantly great bass quality, then these should be quite satisfying for such a budget.
The headphones are quite sturdy, the plastic and metals used feel and look quite tough. It's also quite a good looker, it's much nicer in person than in pictures (but that's almost always the case for me). I like that it uses a screw-on quarter inch adapter, I think they're unendingly superior to the regular clip-on variety. The headphones isolate well, too, so they fulfil that purpose if that's important to you.
The bass is definitely the stand-out in the sound department of the HFI-580. It's tight and well defined, with good punch. It does have a mid bass hump, and rolls off moderately into the low sub regions, but I find that deep bass is represented quite satisfyingly, just not as in your face as the upper bass. I find the bass to bleed very, very little (if at all). It knows it's place. The mids are as reported, recessed, at least compared to something as mid centric as the Grados. They lack flair and the rich tonality of the Grados but they're hardly of poor quality at this price range. They just take a slight back seat in comparison to the bass and aren't as rich as I'm used to. There's a metallic tone to them that takes away from the enjoyment of them, somewhat. Female vocals sound further back and a slightly buried in comparison, but the mids are definitely satisfying overall. The treble is my real gripe with the sound of the HFI-580. At times they manage to make the Grados sound almost conservative in comparison. The Ultrasone's can be hamfisted with the treble, which isn't an issue (if not beneficial) for dark recordings. However for bright recordings it makes the music far too piercing and shrill. Sure, the 225i's are trebly, but the airy sound of the headphone makes it sound considerably more natural (and therefore less fatiguing) than the HFI-580. It's simply too bright a headphone, despite being quite clean and quick.
I have a few design and material issues with this headphone. The pleather they used is not good quality. It's hardly the worst stuff I've ever encountered, but it went hard very quickly for me. It's nice and soft to begin with and it feels relatively thick which was a good initial sign but noticeable hardness started setting in after a fortnight. My significantly cheaper Sennheiser HD448 (which I used for 18 months before selling it off) stayed as soft as the day I got it. Now, sure, you could argue that the earpads are replaceable so it's not an issue. I'd agree if it took a year or two for it to go hard, but for the affect to start setting in so quickly is disappointing. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't make the earpads unbearable but it's simply not nice to feel on the skin, and once they harden they're prone to cracking. The same phenomenon occurs with the padding for the headband, which uses the same pleather as the earpads, however there's no headband padding replacements available. Whilst I haven't tried this, I would suggest attempting this headband modification (for both comfort and durability): http://www.head-fi.org/t/579875/comfort-mod-hd650-headband-padding-on-the-pro-900
Speaking of the stock headband, I dislike it. It's a generic design (I've seen the identical design used on some Beyerdynamic headphones such as the DT660). It's uncomfortable, putting all of the pressure on a small area of the head with a small, stiff rectangle of padding (I was unpleasantly surprised at how hard that headband padding was out of the box). I'd also say the headband is the weak point of the headphone aesthetically. My ears also get quite sweaty in the earcups. If you live in a very cold area then you should be able to avoid it, but once it gets anywhere near the mid 20s (Celsius) or above it gets uncomfortably warm for me (unless I'm sitting directly under an air conditioner or something). The headphones do clamp quite hard, too. They do feel very secure on your head but I prefer a more loose feeling. It's just too much pressure for my liking, I really don't move around much when using headphones so the clamp is of little use to me (other than assisting isolation which is quite good). Overall, I find these cans less comfortable than the 225i, which certainly isn't a comfort king, itself. Another problem with the headband is that the adhesive used to hold the padding on started to come off on one side within a month . Whilst being an easy to fix issue, these are supposed to have a reputation for great quality. It feels cheaply fixed in place, and it's quick deterioration shows.
So, would I recommend these? Unfortunately not. I ended up giving them to my Dad for Christmas to plug into his guitar amp (He's much less fussy than me, and considers the $160 I paid for them to be "extremely expensive" ) after failing to sell them on eBay multiple times. They definitely deliver great bass, and respectable mids, but the treble is just too much. Maybe if you pair them with the right amp to darken them you could fix that issue. However that still leaves the build, design and comfort issues. It's a shame, because it's a pretty darn good sounding headphone for $160. It's very full sounding and pretty detailed, not to mention a pretty good all rounder if you ask me. If they fixed the comfort and brightness it would be a damn good headphone, but the flaws of the HFI-580 are too distracting for me to recommend or enjoy it fully.
Pros - Amazing, crisp and energetic highs and A LOT of bass (which are clear and not muddy), detailed, durable, look sexy, no amp needed, amazing soundstage
Cons - Not the most comfortable, mids are a bit recessed (though sound great), no detachable cable, cable is a bit too long for portable use
I had experience with many headphones, such as the ATH M50 and HD 380 PRO, and the HFI 580 is better in every aspect. I would pay three hundred for these! The sound is crystal clear in the entire spectrum, and the bass is huge. There is a lot of bass, and it is not overpowering nor muddy. There is so much detail in the bass region, it is almost crisp. They are pretty comfortable when you stretch them out. They clamp so hard on the head out of the box, almost at the same level as the HD 280 PRO. I just stretched them out with my own hands to make them clamp less, and the great part is that isolation is not sacrificed! Isolation is very good, but just a step lower than the M50s, and a few steps higher than the HD 380 PRO. They are easily driven by an iPod, iPhone and a MacBook PRO. Amazing headphones, that are the best in the $200 dollar price range. Though, the slightly recessed mids, no detachable cable, and the lack of comfort can be a huge turn-off to some people.
Pros - Bass, mids, highs
Cons - Bit of sibilance, metalic at times, gets muddy with too much power
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