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Nice to see Bose stepping it up. Great review, but you should add a Sound Quality heading like Packaging and Build. I tried to jump to it couldn't find it right away.
Oh snap! Yeah I'll throw a heading in - thanks for catching that!
Thanks for the kind words too!
Okay, added underlined headings.
Nice review. I actually read every word. I had the AE2 before along with the Creative Aurvana live and felt it wasn't bad. I ended up getting rid of it and getting an AE1 instead.
That thing seems really strange when I listened to it last. A bit too treble happy. I think when I used it back in 2004 it was with a very warm portable CD player.
I have to disagree about the bass on the TBSE. Especially about "probably bottomed out" at 60-70hz(!) There's low bass you can hear/feel on my pair with the Clip+ (that's ruler flat) that's barely audible on every headphone I have except for the KRK KNS-8400.
Koss rates them as 10hz, but you can feel something at 8hz and not just the driver clicking/popping or whatever. Of course people tell me this is virtually impossible. Ok, you do need to crank the volume pretty high and at normal listening levels it's probably not going to show up.
I should test the low bass again. I did every frequency down low and was pretty surprised. Some equipment/sources actually roll off before the DJ100 does, so it's important to use something that's extended very low. The Clip+ does, but the Ipod Video 5.5 I have rolls off the low bass. Not as much on my Ipod Touch 2G.
The 8400 actually has some of the best low-bass extension there is. It's very present too and not rolled off. The Koss and KNS-8400 are good at fooling people. Bass doesn't show up when not required. I mean it's pretty accurate. Actually I would say the DJ100 to my ears has a tiny bit more than neutral bass. The HD-650's bass (this new weird pair) is a bit more accurate. Not by much.
The Koss certainly isn't any bass monster like the DT-770 Pro 80 (thankfully). I never found it to have a mid-bass hump and a lot of people love their mid-bass humps. I hate it! Not even my HD-650 has one, which is a bit off the general consensus.
This TBSE actually has about the same bass quantity as my HD-650. It has a little bit more present low bass though. Obviously the HD-650 is warmer and has less treble.
I guess the wording got me a bit..when you mentioned it as "bottoming out" it kind of sounding as if that meant there was no bass under 60-70hz. I think that yes, it starts to slowly decline at a certain point.
$50 to the person that can find some bass that's gone missing on the DJ100/TBSE. I think this is impossible Definitely less audible/present, but not missing.
Sorry, i'm a bit nit-picky tonight, so we can agree to disagree if you want
BTW do you think the DJ100 has forward upper mids? I think the graphs are not that accurate. Both the HD-650 and DJ100/TBSE to me sound like they do. Yet there is something making the DJ100 sort of forgiving of harsh material. I think maybe a small dip in the lower treble or something.
Strangely enough the DJ100 sounds more neutral in the mids with my Headroom Micro Amp + ODAC. With my new Magni, it's even more trebly, which could be because the amp is brand new..I won't go there.
I need to find another headphone that has ruler flat low bass all the way down. It seems this is nearly impossible. The 8400 sounds like it actually has slightly elevated low bass. Weird, I know. Not like the DT-770 Pro 80!
BTW it's amusing that everyone cries that Bose sells a $150 headphone, but yet they're ok with AKG, V-Moda and Shure selling overpriced headphones. Bose is certainly no Monster.
Yeah, the AE1 is more v-shaped for sure. They certainly changed things up with the second one - it's subtle but it's significant. I'm also thinking the second one is probably more durable (I don't intend on testing this rigorously, but it feels more solid - I know on the AE1 the yokes breaking off was a common complaint after years of use, and on the AE2 that part seems to have been redesigned (hopefully for the better)).
I don't have a single headphone that will hit 8 Hz at any usable volume - I have one or two that will try and do a very bad job of it (they both distort pretty bad below 30hz with pure tones). Koss' numbers are...optimistic (for all of their headphones, not just the TBSE). The TBSE extend well for music, but 10hz seems very optimistic for any headphone.
I also know if you get too happy with the tone controls or low-end equalization, they will sound very tubby, but they certainly seem able to handle a lot of input power conventionally (e.g. you can crank them and they don't get distorted).
Haven't heard the 8400. I would agree that the TBSE don't over-power the bass though (the AE2 fit into this as well) - they don't add bloat and thump to tracks that don't need it.
Yeah, the lack of a mid-bass hump is VERY pleasant. Neither of these cans have that, but the Koss are probably more cleaned up in that regard (because if a track is very heavily bass EQ'd (some modern pop and alternative rock music is like this), the Bose will bring that through more fully, and they can "thump" while the Koss force everything to behave and you still get a "thwack"). Very civilized sounding. This isn't to say the Bose get out of hand, but if you like bass-light cans or have material that's over-blown on the bottom, they might not be the best choice.
I'm meaning in terms of "usable response" - they just don't seem to be built for sub-bass slam. Great extension when it comes to music, but they don't reach super low and hit super hard while doing it. Perhaps "bottoming out" was a bit inaccurate though - it isn't a brick wall by any means.
No I understand - I think we're okay.
Forward upper mids - yeah I'd probably say they do. I disagree with the "n-shaped" claims about the TBSE - they get into the treble and put basically the entire vocal range forward; dragging the upper mids out. As far as forgiving - yes, OVERALL they are relatively forgiving, but compared to the AE2, they are less-so (the AE2 are *very* forgiving, they are probably the most forgiving cans I have). I'm not sure what exactly makes the TBSE behave this way - most Ti driver cans are characteristically unforgiving (I'm thinking of my PRO2900 that'll take paint off the walls if you feed harshness into them, for example), so whatever Koss did here, they did right.
If I had to guess, I'd say it's because they have a mid forwardness and treble roll-off (impact) but good treble extension; gives them a pleasing sound that will let details through without overstepping. And they're very clean up-top as well. The AE2 take this to a higher level though; they're very smooth, and very forgiving and non-fatiguing; at the expense of forwardness/"bite" when it comes to certain types of music.
I think it is. I remember reading an article about it a while ago from a speaker design perspective, and generally you're describing the holy-grail. *shrug*
And thank you (and thank you Focker) for the kind words as well!