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JVC HA S650-carbon diaphragm?

  1. swaffleman
    I just got these a couple of days ago. I'm very impressed by both the sound quality and the design/comfort. The case says that they use carbon fiber for both the speaker housing and the diaphragm. I was curious if this is a similar design to the so called carbon fiber nano-tubes I've been hearing you guys rave about.
    I also read that there is a new line of JVC that has been out that is based on this design-could that be the carbon nano tube phones?
    Anyway, more about these later. I can say that they are really nice headphones. Great sound, but they needed a bit of a burn in at first.
  2. swaffleman
    Anyone have these at all? For all of the JVC love around here, it would seem these go overlooked.
  3. swaffleman
    Anyway, some impressions.
    I've only had them for a few days. I was initially really impressed with the warmth and clarity of the sound, but I quickly also noticed that the sound was inherently a bit boomy in it's warmth...the lower range seemed to resonate more than it should. 
    The instrument separation is quite nice. Mid range detail is quite good, revealing things that you may not have noticed before. I was listening to a song by Fleetfoxes called "Quiet houses", and there's a part where the guitar is playing a riff, and I only discovered with these that there is in fact a voice down in the mix singing with the guitar part. I hadn't even noticed this with the the PX 200 II's. Voices sound very sharp and full, and there's a great texture to them. Highs, things like higher pitched voices and strings in orchestral music, as well as cymbal hits, come out with a lot of crispness and definition. 
    The low end is where you begin to hear things that are suspect. As I said, basically, it's a bit boomy, but I do think that the boom has been receding in the last couple of days. I've been using them a lot, and older reviews have said that the sound refines and tightens a bit with use, so perhaps this one con will go away. Besides the boom, the lower range is quite full and present without being overwhelming. The articulation doesn't quite match that of the PX 200s, but the fullness is quite nice, and it lends a hefty sound to these headphones. 
    Soundstage is really nice. Actually, these seem to really outclass the PX 200s. I can really hear directional sound. 
    Overall, the sound is clear, very full, rich, and warm. 
    Edit: Right  now, I am drinking my morning coffee and sitting here listening to some of Metallica's self titled album, commonly referred to as The Black Album. The low range boom doesn't seem very noticeable, so burn in is at play or I am just getting psychologically used to the sound signature. But, I can say that I am hearing some rather astonishing mid range detail. In the ballad "nothing else matters", I'm hearing some really good strings/keyboards buried in the mix, which can be kind of hard to hear at times. With these I'm hearing them really well, as well as some of the acoustic guitar fills that also sometimes get lost when the electric guitars kick in.
  4. djvkool
    Nice review there mate, this is from the same line as the much-loved, mega-hyped S500, and also the S400, both of which have their separate thread
    I've always wanted to try one of the S series of cans but never had the push to actually purchase one...[​IMG]
  5. jant71
    Though not to confuse people, S is really just the overall category for portable headphones. The S650 is part of the "Black" line and the S400/S500 are the HD Carbon Nanotube line. Though the S650 is the best sounding till the Nanotubes came along. Other lines are the Riptidz(S200), Xtreme Xplosives(S4X and soon to be S44X), Flats etc.
    Still a good phone though most tend to grab an S400 cause they are cheaper and with the new tech. Though we haven't had a comparison of the S400 and S650 yet, AFAIK, to know how the two actually stack up.
  6. swaffleman
    I used to own the riptidz...was disappointed. The only things JVC has put out up until this point that I had owned were the flats and the riptidz.
    I was initially really impressed with the flats, but they have shown their age in that I have better knowledge of what sounds good. I no longer like the flats. I do, however, think that these S650s are pretty great.
    The thing that I'm curious about is how different is the actual technology between these and the new "nano-tubes" headphones. The thing is, the S650s also utilize a carbon diaphragm, so for all intents and purposes, they could be the same tech.
  7. jant71
    I had the S900 which was also a carbon compound diaphragm but even older. JVC have been on the Carbon bandwagon for quite a while. The Nanotube material is the next advance that came from it. Certainly some snake oil in the works since it is part marketing. So, certainly some improvement but exaggerated. A headphone is as good as the sum of its parts. They took the S500 driver and put it in the Black series M750/S800 carbon housing as a "new" S770 but it is not that good sounding. People seem to think the 650 is a bit better than the 750 for those reasons(i.e the 750 needs modding to correct issues). So the S650 and S400 have different cable, pads, housings as well so that is probably most of the difference though JVC give the drivers credit for  marketing.
  8. swaffleman
    Yeah...you have to always suspect marketing when dealing with corporations pushing a new product!
    I actually tried the bigger brother of the S650s (are those the 750s?), and did not like them at all. The 650s have a much clearer sound.
  9. swaffleman
    I actually need to take something back that I said in this thread... I still like the flats.
    I went back and listened to my newer flats. I have the original ones, the 150s, and the newer version, the 160s.
    I actually am astonished at how close in sound signature/balance the flats are to my PX 200s. They are still pretty good. I notice a difference in the older ones vs. the newer ones though.
    But yeah, the S650s are good too!
  10. lyric
    I picked up a set of these yesterday, so thought I'd throw an impression or two into this thread. I got them for £15, which I consider a steal because I was just probably just going to grab some flats. I briefly considered splashing a little more on the s400's until I saw these.
    They're very light, very comfortable, have excellent isolation for an on-the-ear set (the pads really mold to your ears), but I've found they leak a bit - you'll probably get by on public transport, but you'll annoy people if you're sitting in a doctor's waiting room. I read somewhere else that they don't leak - not my experience when I gave them to my girlfriend to try.
    My initial impression is that these are a £15 headphone, so I'm quite happy because that's what I paid. So far I've been using them to listen exclusively to Sigur Rós and Sonic Youth, with some very different results. One band leaves me valuing them higher, the other leaves me hardly valuing them at all.
    Sigur Rós sound as gorgeous as I could ever hope them to sound through a £15 pair of 'phones. Strings have a lovely open, ringing quality to them. Percussive highs are incredibly crisp (very impressed with these), percussive lows pack a punch on occasion. Vocals are clear enough to pick up some layering not always apparent through different equipment, but they're not quite as pronounced as they can be. The bass is simply alright - it's loud enough, perhaps a little boomy, but also a little muddy. The soundstage is excellent - I really feel like the music is encompassing me and can feel the effect of instruments spread across channels as them positioned around me, which is not bad for a cheap stereo set. I've just been to see Sigur Rós and have been a little upset that at how flat they are recorded compared to live, so to get some depth from a £15 outlay is nice.
    Sonic Youth have been an absolute nightmare so far - I prefer my cheap unbranded buds that came with my cheap phone. Sonic Youth can be a bit heavy at almost any range compared to Sigur Rós (who are usually very balanced and neutral). They both have stuff that is similar at the high-concept level, but Sonic Youth have a habit of cranking everything up and go for a raw, aggressive and distorted sound where Sigur Rós choose ethereal. I think Sonic Youth have really exposed the early character of these 'phones. Percussion, as above. Vocals, as above. Bass - muddy to the extreme, very poor pronunciation and it just kind of bleeds into everything. The mids are hideous - compressed and flat. The mids are a bit of a strange one because I can hear things I couldn't on similar priced sets, but they just don't sound distinct. Given that most of Sonic Youth's spatial sounds comes from sweeping walls of guitar noise, the soundstage is non-existent. I realise a lot of folks probably think I've just described Sonic Youth perfectly on any equipment [​IMG]
    My first impressions. Please take with pinch of salt (I've only been listening to two bands!):
    Beautifully crisp and clear highs - I can't stress how wonderful they are at this price;
    Mids with a decent amount of detail that are 'nice' with sparse and relaxed music, but which struggle with busy songs;
    Strong, epic bass that collapses into a dirge for bass-heavy music;
    For £15, vocals are good. Not chilling or "hair standing up on back of neck" good, but good enough to reveal a lot of the vocals that are often mixed into instruments;
    Wonderful acoustic soundstage that's not so wonderful (flat) with amplified instruments.
    Not really one for 'burn-in', but I will definitely be back if my impressions change in the near future. I suspect the s650's might be quite good for classical music, so I'll give some of that a go, too. For £15? Totally worth it, but my first impressions are that these are not neutral - your mileage will depend on what you're listening to and, as such, you'll probably be buying these for a specific use.
  11. lyric
    Wanted to add an update here, even though these are a discontinued model that are far from FOTM. I've been listening to these every waking hour since I last posted and my opinion has definitely swung one way. This headphones are useless and frustratingly so!
    I've listened to a wide range of music and they are just damp - I can't find any crispness, not even in the high percussion that I was raving about a couple of days ago. The back of the box highlights that the "carbon housing and carbon diaphragm reduce distortion while recreating clear and powerful sound with deep bass".
    They certainly do "reduce distortion", but by virtue of throwing a damp blanket over everything. Across all ranges there is a horrible watery reverb that draws out the decay of absolutely everything to almost universal detriment (I have to hold my hands up and admit that whenever I come across strong, wailing strings anywhere from the mid-range of a guitar up to a violin, the sound can be divine). They are definitely "powerful", because the "deep bass" is not exempt from this treatment and just rumbles over everything and bass drums boom as if they are depth charges at sea. Because everything is reverby, any 'busy' music is a disaster that catastrophically collapses as I outlined in my previous post.
    Because of this water-in-ears sound, they are certainly not "clear". That's where the frustration stems from, because these are incredibly detailed 'phones that reveal a lot of the music's character and nuance, which is why they initially fooled me. However, I handed them to my girlfriend for 30 minutes last night and, when finished, she simply handed them back and said, "sorry"! I asked her why, and she said because they sound muffled. I asked her if the detail made up for it and she handed me her phone's stock earbuds - I was blown away by their clarity *sigh*
    I don't recommend these - get some flats.
    edit: maybe that's a bit harsh. I'd describe these as the technicolor equivalent of a black and white film, with a blur filter applied. If you find a blur filter warm, you probably can't go wrong. Anyone else may prefer the extra colour detail at the expense of clarity (not I).
  12. shinobu
    I just got these today and I'm going to have to echo lyric's comments about these 'phones. The negatives outweigh the positives. I've read a hundred good things about these 'phones, but only a few bad things, and they're proving to be more true than the good. They have a lot of detail and punch, but lack decent soundstaging. The bass is strong and punchy but becomes a rumbling warble when things get busy. I only paid £15 for them as well and the detail they provide for the price is very good, it's just hard to believe these 'phones were worth more than £20. These are just my first impression after 10 minutes though.
    Edit: Going to see if burn in has any positive effect since I've read that it will tighten up the flabby bass and bring out the highs more.
  13. shinobu
    I've just arranged to return them for a refund, I can't get over the fact it sounds like the sound is trapped behind a sheet of cardboard. The veiled/muffled sound might not be as overpowering to others but it's very noticeable to me. Vocals are never clear, highs are lost, mids sound like aluminium cans banging together and the bass muddy mess. Might sound harsh but it isn't for me, the music never comes together properly, it sounds like it's at war with itself.
  14. lyric
    Good to know someone hears similar things to me, if only for my own sanity. Was wondering if my girlfriend and I were living in some kind of bubble, given the things I'd read about these. Good job on sending them back, I wish I'd thought of that before I got suckered into a duel with them.
    I've done some stupidly minute EQ on these 'phones, up 2.5db at 20Hz, down 0.5db centred at 61Hz, down 2db centred at 120Hz and up 1db at 8KHz - really finicky stuff, but I enjoy being anal. Anyway, that kind of makes them 'listenable' for me, but the bass practically disappears without so much of a fight. Stick that 120Hz range up 2db and you find the root of the problem, which is this indistinct, muddy bass around that frequency. I'd never have imagined that tuning up or down a mere 2db could have the effect it does, which sounds more like a change of 20db in it's severity - these 'phones are ridiculous down that end.
    The 'warm' muffled sound everywhere else is still the over-riding problem and that isn't going away. Clapping sounds like a fire crackling, the cough on Wish You Were Here sounds like a phlegmy Darth Vader, bass drums boom, cymbals hiss.

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