Impressions: MDR V300, DT 770/80 Pro, E4c
Mar 19, 2006 at 2:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

luckybaer

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I wanted to offer up some impressions of the 3 main headphones that I own:

- Sony MDR V300 (MSRP: $49.99)
- Beyerdynamics DT 770/80 Pro (MSRP: $229 - on www.headroom.com)
- Shure E4c (MSRP: $319.99)

I chose some different types of music to listen to with each headphone:

- This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) - Talking Heads
- Sweet Child O'Mine - Guns 'n' Roses
- Sweet Surrender (off the album "Mirrorball") - Sarah McLachlan
- If You Love Somebody Set Them Free - Sting

So, in the immortal words of the Black Eyed Peas, "Let's Get It Started." Ew... that was bad!

Physical Characteristics and Other Stuff:

Sony MDR V300 - Silver-colored ear-pieces with black plastic (unpadded) headband and black pleather-like padding on ear pieces. Cord is long and heavy, and comes with standard 1/8" connector with 1/4" adapter. Cord is "Y" style, with the cord splitting and running to each earpiece. Good-feeling from a quality standpoint, and an attractive headset in a cosmetic sense.

Beyerdynamics DT 770/80 Pro - Black plastic ear-pieces with silver/gray velour earpads. Metal headband with snap-on pleather-like padding. Cord is of average thickness and very light. It runs to the left earpiece. Very sturdy feeling, but will not win awards for aesthetic appeal. These are built for function and comfort - form takes a backseat.

Shure E4c - These IEMs feel really sturdy. Earpieces are made up of white plastic that feels substantial, not cheap. They also have significant amounts of brushed stainless steel that look good and probably add heft. When the flanges/pads are off, the earpieces remind me of miniaturized kitchen appliances - like a hand-held blender. A hand-held blender of the utmost quality. Cable is thin relative to the Sony and the Beyer. It has a relatively cheap-feeling plastic slide that helps keep the cable split from tangling up - kind of like a zipper in theory.

Sound from a non-audiophile's point of view:

Sony MDR V300

Bass is heavy, over-bearing, and the perfect definition of "bloated-bass" that the audiophiles in this forum bemoan. A basshead who has never heard a very good set of cans may really enjoy the sound - I did before I tried better. The bass pounds - just have to listen to "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" to hear teeth-rattling bass from Tina Weymouth.

Mids are OK. They seem a bit rounded off and not too edgy. This is evident on a track like "Sweet Child o'Mine" in which the rhythm guitar riffs have a slightly saw-toothed edge to them. That edge is totally lost with these "cans" (and that respectful name is used loosely). Vocals actually sound OK. Sarah McLachlan's sexy voice comes through nicely and doesn't lose any of its emotion on "Sweet Surrender." Axl Rose's grating nasal drone is actually softened to the point of enjoyment with these cans.

Highs are bad. VERY bad. Listening to Sting's "If You Love Somebody..." was a total disappointment. There is great use of the high-hat and other drums on this track and they are completely drowned out by the bloated, murky bass and flat, dull-sounding mids. You can hear a tambourine or something, and upon first impact, you are left hanging waiting to hear the notes finish - unfortunately they disappear somewhere into the vortex of lost sound.

Use for Gaming: Not bad for Battlefield 2. Bass actually comes in handy, and the sound placement is actually useful. They are comfortable, and can be worn for at least 2 hours at a time before removing for a rest. Soundstage is adequate. I do not feel as though everything is being crammed into my skull. This can be a gaming headphone for someone that doesn't want to spring for DT 770s or something similar.

Isolation: Not much. Supra-aural, so they sit on top of the ears without completely covering them - especially my dumbo-sized aural devices.

Portability: OK. Light. They fold. You won't look like a dork.

++++++++++

Beyerdynamics DT 770/80 Pro

Bass is how it should be done, at least from my perspective. I'm no basshead (well, maybe a junior basshead), but for tracks that have an important bass line, bass SHOULD be heard AND felt - and felt it definitely is with the 770s. However, it isn't lousy bass at all. It thumps, but it is clear and very sharp and controlled. It can handle driving bass lines like "This Must Be The Place..." without making you scream and turn down the volume or look for the bass reducer function in my iPod's EQ. A more subtle bass line, which is nevertheless key for setting the song's emotional tone can be found on "Sweet Surrender," and the Beyers handle it with grace and the perfect light touch.

The mids are not as non-existent as some would have you believe - you just have to look harder for them because the bass is, well, "upfront." Guitar on the Guns 'n' Roses track came through beautifully, and vocals were not smashed into oblivion. Axl Rose still has than nasal twangy whine clear and present with these cans, and Sting's voice is done justice. However, compared to the E4c, the mids are not top-of-the-line. But they are more than good enough for a clown such as myself.

Highs are definitely there. Every strike to the high-hat, every rattle of the tambourine can be heard on Sting's track. The cute little guitar riff out of the right channel is done very well with these cans, too. The high notes in "This Must Be The Place" are smooth, and do not come off as irritating like they might with cheap earbuds (i.e. the things that come with the iPods).

Use for Gaming: In a word, AWESOME. At least for my use, which is singularly Battlefield 2. Soundstage is more than adequate, and sound placement is excellent. Detail is beautiful, from the throaty rumble of a diesel engine, to the sound of treads and tracks on pavement. Listen closely, and you can hear bad guys - good enough that once I chucked a grenade blindly at some sound and ended up with 2 kills. This headset is the bomb for Battlefield 2. Oh! What's that? It sounds like someone trying to put a new clip into an assault rifle... time to pop out and rush him to get a knife kill before he's completely reloaded. No kidding, gamers. This thing rocks.

Isolation: Yes. Pretty good. They are closed, and they completely cover yer ears.

Portability: Ha-ha-ha! Well, you can carry them without getting a hernia, but would you really want to be seen in public with these things on?


++++++++++

Shure E4c

Bass is there. You can hear it, but it cannot be felt TOO strongly- at least at the volumes I was using. A very, very tight and controlled bass experience. A basshead would not be satisfied, but this junior basshead is more than happy. If I really want it to pound, I'd use my Beyers. However, I didn't find anything truly lacking with these IEMs. Bass was more than adequate on "This Must Be The Place..." I didn't feel as though I was unable to keep moving to the beat because of the nature of the E4c's bass. I found it funny that these 'phones were fine for a song with a strong bass line, but I was left wanting more on a softer bass line like the one in "Sweet Surrender." I really feel that the bass line in that song is KEY to conveying emotion - second only to Sarah's vocals, obviously - and the E4c could have used just a TAD more.

Mids... holy cow. These are good. Damn good. Vocals are totally cherry with these IEMs. Sarah McLachlan, David Byrne and Sting all sound better than ever. Byrne's herky-jerky and eccentric vocals do not lose a thing throuh the E4c. I feel every bit of Sarah McLachlan's emotions in the "Sweet Surrender" track. It comes through so well that I wish I had the darn song on my karaoke machine so I could belt it out to my wife (Hey, what can I say? I have a bit (just a bit, and it ain't that good)of range in my voice - I have to sing lead on Abba's "Dancing Queen" when I do a duet with my wife.). These are so good, that they accentuate Axl Rose's trademark nasalness, and that is actually a bad thing here. E4c FTW for mids, baby.

Highs are there in their glory. There isn't quite the extension of the highs that I found in the Beyers, but they are more than adequate here on the E4c. I haven't tried listening to any classical stuff or jazz yet, but I think these will provide enough highs to satisfy all but the most fussy audiophile. For my ears, as long as the highs aren't fatiguing and distorted, the cans are doing their job.

Use for Gaming: Not that great. Although they have a good soundstage, I had a hard time picking up footsteps and other noises. Probably because I'm spoiled by the DT 770s. Also, tight bass isn't what you need in a gaming can. You need something "punchy" like the DT 770s. Even something bloated like the MDR V300 is better for gaming. Because of the nature of its bass, I can't recommend these for the discerning FPS gamer.

Isolation: Really good. I couldn't hear a normal conversation at all. Not one bit.

Portability: Duh.

++++++++++

So, what can one conclude?

Sony MDR V300 - If you do not want to spend lots of money for a set of all-around headphones that can be used for gaming or for listening to dance, hip-hop, or rock, these are OK. If music is your only interest, I'd look elsewhere, because something like the Koss Porta-Pros (which I have heard) will suit your basshead desires to a tee for the same price and provide a higher-quality sound experience. Also, I've heard Grado SR-60s are pretty good for rock and in-your-face kinds of music.

Beyerdynamics DT 770/80 Pro - If you can drop 2 bills on a headset, these cans are great for the title of "Versatile All-Around Cans." They hold their own on all kinds of music - I've listened to classical on these, and I like it a lot - and they totally are the L337 devices for anyone that takes their gaming seriously. DT 770 FTW for bass and gaming, fassure kids!

Shure E4c - I bought these because I wanted good sound with more portability and the ability to use them while lying down. Let's face it, as much as I love my Beyers, they ain't something I really want to be wearing out in public, at work, or while trying to sleep (apologies to Mercuttio, who claims to wear them in public!). They have met my expectations - which were
high because of their $300 price tag - and I might be so bold as to say they have exceeded expectations.

Summary Blurbs:

Need an all-around can that you can use for music and gaming, but don't want to drop more than Ulysses? Try the Sonys.

Want to have one of the best all-around cans for music, gaming, DVD movies, etc.? Don't care about portability? You have $200 lying around? Get the Beyers, without a doubt.

Need great sound and the ultimate in portability? Have a job? Not a total basshead (but do like some bass)? Did I ask if you have a job (or indulgent parents, or a sucker-chump significant other), buy these. Try other IEMs if you can, but if you can't, these won't let you down.
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 3:49 AM Post #3 of 23

Eagle_Driver

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I had an MDR-V300, and got rid of it after just a few months. That upper bass is bloated - but at the same time, it does not go deep. Add to that unimpressive mids and crap-tastic highs, and you've gotten the archetypical 'V-CRAP' headphone.
very_evil_smiley.gif
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 3:56 AM Post #4 of 23

manchau

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Eagle_Driver
I had an MDR-V300, and got rid of it after just a few months. That upper bass is bloated - but at the same time, it does not go deep. Add to that unimpressive mids and crap-tastic highs, and you've gotten the archetypical 'V-CRAP' headphone.
very_evil_smiley.gif



Same Thoughts about sonys XD***. V300 may be same or 10-15% better I guess. Burn your DT770's properly. You won't recommend sony after listening fully burnt DT770's.
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 3:58 AM Post #5 of 23

Eagle_Driver

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Quote:

Originally Posted by manchau
Same Thoughts about sonys XD***. V300 may be same or 10-15% better I guess. Burn your DT770's properly. It would take unexpected lead from your sony.


Actually, most of the V*** series is much worse than even the XD200. In fact, I thought even the V600 sounds worse than the XD100.
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM Post #6 of 23

luckybaer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Gravitas
Nice write up. Can't wait for my 770s to get here.

All your listening was done unamped, right?



Oh, yes. All unamped.

I'll get around to an amp at some point in time.
icon10.gif
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 4:17 AM Post #7 of 23

manchau

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Eagle_Driver
Actually, most of the V*** series is much worse than even the XD200. In fact, I thought even the V600 sounds worse than the XD100.


opps
eek.gif


I gave my XD100 to my newbie friend, He was very happy for that gift at the time of recieving, but he informed me at thursday that he is comparing it with a $3 headset.
580smile.gif
Also he is very serious about making conclusion which is better.
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 5:06 AM Post #12 of 23

Anarchy965

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MDR V300: bass is bloated, mids are muddled, highs are horribly rolled off, no soundstage at all... These are not hifi headphones in any aspect
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 5:12 AM Post #13 of 23

logitech05

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I would like to say something about e4c.

The soundstage was terrible compared with akg 14p(I dont know if you ever heared it before) ,and the cheaper 14p ,was more detailed in the performence of musical instrument

The bass was good in IEMs with high quality and depth but it was lack of quantity .

Mid part was a little bit far when meets e3c,but this was ok for playing classical or newage .

My feeling about treble was quite different from yours,IMO,e4c seemed to be uncontrollable on this part.
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 5:51 AM Post #14 of 23

luckybaer

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I think the MDR-V300s are OK, but when you consider stuff like the PortaPros, KSC-75s, and other stuff at the same price or much less costly, they really look bad. I think they would be OK for a $29.95 headphone, if it were for someone who liked bass at the expense of everything else. Sound is like a 4.0 on a 10-pt scale, but at least they are built well. LOL.

I've been happy with the E4c. You kinda get worried that expectations will be too high, what with their price and all. So far, I haven't had any issues. Even the stock buds work OK in my strange ears.

Can't say enough about the DT 770/80 Pro. If only they were smaller...
 
Mar 19, 2006 at 6:04 AM Post #15 of 23

003

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I'm no audiophile, but I used to have the shure E4 (since then sold them), and yeah I have to agree, they had the best mids of any headphone I have ever heard. The male voices seemed to come alive.
 

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