Jensen JHF300 vs SoundMagic PL-30?
Sep 17, 2009 at 12:17 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1

Mystere9

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I know I'm a complete noob and the last thing you need to do is waste your time checking out a new lo-fi headphone, but let me explain where I'm coming from. Before discovering Head-fi I had these headphones called the Jensen JHF300 for about half a year. I bought them for $15, though I don't doubt you could find them for ten. They're open headphones, 32 ohms impedance, though they sound quieter than the MS-1s from the same source and volume. I still reach for these headphones for casually listening straight from my laptop's HP out, despite having PL-30s and MS-1s(I have 250 ohm DT150s too, but I'm guessing their clarity and speed will improve drastically with a little ampage so I'll omit them here).
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(Sorry for the complete crap for quality photos, they're from a cheap phone.)

Now these are NOT high quality headphones. From build quality to clarity, there's clearly something missing here. So why do I keep reaching for them when I want to casually listen to music? I'm thinking it's a combination of their lovely sound signature and the fact that they're COMFY.

Keep in mind, I'm listening straight from the HP out of my laptop's default sound card, so when I say that the PL30s have a slight advantage in clarity, that could actually belie a rather large difference in clarity. I've heard that the PL30s scale rather well, and I have no idea how the JHF300s scale since I've never had a better source(I'm hoping that my incoming AMP3 will fix this at least to some extent, and make my DT150s the first thing I reach for when I want to listen). Because of this, I'm evaluating them on sound signature alone and ignoring clarity, instrument separation, and soundstage until I get a better source. Well then, to the actual review:

Build Quality:
I'm not sure how well headphones are supposed to handle being thrown into and taken hastily from a bookbag for half a year, but these didn't handle it well. As you may see from the pictures, the pieces of plastic keeping the joints from rotating completely freely broke. Nothing a little superglue didn't fix, but the fact that the joints are made out of plastic in the first place seems a bit sketchy.

Comfort:
Incredible. I wear these all day, and don't realize it until the end of the day, when I go to take them off how much the cartilage in my ears hurt, because lets face it, these are too small to completely cover anyone's ears. I'd expect(at least for me) that there would be no discomfort whatsoever for sessions under 2-3 hours. Although they sit on your ears, the clamping force is not significant, and in my experience they don't get sweaty.

At this point, I feel I should note the burn-in times for both the JHF300 and the PL30, who's sound I'll be comparing it to. I'd also like to reiterate that I am running both headphones unamped from my default laptop sound card. This isn't the most objective review you'll ever see. If you'd like to know which sound card, it's whatever came with the Toshiba Satellite A305. That said:

PL30: about 100 hours of burn-in by now, I'm sure.
JHF300: At least 1000 hours, if it can even be called burn-in when it's to that extent.

Sound:
As I said, there is a very slight 'veil' over the music with the JHF300s when compared to the PL30s, but it's so slight as to hardly be noticeable(again, subjectively compared to the PL30). This is the main reason I'm not sure how well the JHF300 would scale with a better source.

Now then, on to the real meat of my review: The sound signature.

Songs compared with:
Krallice - Energy Chasms(MP3 224 VBR, Black Metal)
Kode9 + The Spaceape - Bodies(MP3 192 VBR, Dubstep with deep vocals)
Attack Attack! - Stick Stickly(MP3 224 VBR, Metalcore, Electronica)
Sufjan Stevens - All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! or Forever Hold Your Peace!(MP3 V2, Folk, Indie Rock)

If I had to sum up the 2 signatures in a word, I'd call the PL30s more neutral and the JHF300s more natural. They have about the same amount of bass extension. On the beginning of 'Stick Stickly' there's a really low bass note that rattled my eardrums with the PL30s, but I'm guessing it was mixed into the song that way. The JHF300s, despite having about the same amount bass as the PL30s, didn't rattle my eardrums on this part. I think it's because the drivers were further away from my head with the JHF300s.

To my ears, the PL30s had very slightly more forward mids(electric guitars, mostly). 'recessed' in the case of the JHFs might be the right word , but I'm hesitant to use it in this instance, as it's not a big difference. It seems that the PL30s themselves(And the JHFs by extension) might be a bit recessed in this area, since I feel like there are a lot more mids on my quarter-modded MS-1s.

In terms of highs, I think this is the one field that the JHF300s definitively win out. I felt that the cymbals and percussive sounds were much more muffled on the PL30s than my JHF300s.

I'd call the overall sound signature of the JHF300s warm, but it extends well into the highs when called for. Not nearly as aggressive as my MS-1s(Again people, quantity not quality. This is definitely a $15 headphone
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Anyway, I hope you don't find my noobish review more annoying than anything, and before you get excited or annoyed, remember: I don't have any decent source, DAC, AMP, etc to make unbiased impressions. Even straight from the source I can tell you one thing: either blow the MDR V700DJ out of the water(WHAT AM I LISTENING TO? THE OCEAN? NO? MUSIC?!?!?).
 

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