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Koss Pro DJ 100 - The Budget King

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by tdockweiler, Sep 11, 2011.
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  1. tdockweiler
    The KRK KNS-6400 is kind of bass light to most people. Especially compared to the 8400 and DJ100. It's supposed to be neutral bass, but sounds a little less than neutral.
    Its mids are also much thinner than those of the DJ100 and 8400.
    The 6400 doesn't really need an amp but does benefit from one.
  2. TheJesusGuy
    I've been looking at the Pro DJ100 too. I would get the M50 pads for it as I've seen your other review. I know I need an amp, but how much of a difference would the Fiio E6 make? (Using a 3.5 to 3.5 with the Sansa Clip+)
  3. tdockweiler
    Some people seem to be fine with the DJ100 without an amp. With m50 pads I'm perfectly happy with using it straight from the Clip+
    This is really bizarre, but the bass is slightly bloated with stock pads using the Clip+. I can't explain what causes this since the Clip+ is flat/neutral.
    The DJ100 with M50 pads and the Clip+ is crystal clear, but it may need a few days of use to get this good.
    I would say that the E6 will probably make the entire signature a bit smoother and the mids a bit fuller. Possibly a larger soundstage. Maybe better controlled bass. I only have the E5 though, but E6 should sound the same. The E5/E6 actually seems like a better match for the DJ100 than even the E11.
    BTW I was looking at graphs yesterday and on graphs it appears the bass quantity of the DJ100 is very similar to the DT-880. But then again it looks like it's similar to the Q701, but most definitely  not to my ears. My DJ100 has much more bass than my Q701 and HD-598. I would say it's closer to the HD-580 (but not HD-600). The DJ100 has better low bass extension though I think. It's very obvious in a lot of songs.
  4. TheJesusGuy
    Thanks, If I get the DJ100 I'll definitely be getting the M50 pads anyway. It's the DJ100, clip +, M50 pads and the Fiio E6 vs just the ATH-M50 for my budget. I know the better option :)
    Also, this may be a stupid question, but the DJ100 doesn't use any of that sticky gluey stuff on the back of the pads that I'll need to get through to change them, does it?
  5. tdockweiler

    Nope, you stuff the edges of the pads into some cracks. Do this a few inches at a time and work your way around while holding it in place.
    I think now I can probably install each one within 20 seconds!
  6. TheJesusGuy
    I'm full of questions :p
  7. machoboy
    EDIT: These were defective and gradually sounded even worse until they stopped producing sound so don't mind this.
    I need several pairs of tracking headphones for recordings and I picked up a pair of these (KRK KNS8400 and Sony V6 will arrive soon too.. Almost bought some CAD/Superlux 310s but held off for now).
    Things I'm not liking: Very scooped sound signature (totally unsuitable for mixing), tiny ear cups/ear pads (almost in between on ear and over ear), super cheapo cable/jack.
    The treble is decently crisp and bass seems to extend well but those are the norm for this sound signature. I've seen these described as reminiscent of the Shure SRH840 (which I liked a lot and will probably buy a 2nd time) and in a way they are... but the same way a Beetle is "kind of like" a 911... the devil is in the details.
    I do like the mono switch especially for tracking so you can hear both the in-room sound and the signal chain.
  8. khoi14021993
    I guess it's the stock pads that makes the bass so bloated. The SRH440 pads change the bass completely. It's kinda hard compared to the M50 pads, yeah, but I don't find it uncomfortable. The Velour SRH940 pads looks nice, and I love velour too, but I don't think it'll fit in the DJ100, and velour is never known for delivering great bass either.
  9. tdockweiler
    Scooped mid-range? You're kidding right? What parts? Lower mids? Upper mids? Any specific frequency? These are the total opposite of having scooped mids (IMO). I think everyone here could agree with this. I wouldn't use them for mixing since I think they're slightly colored, but balanced sounding (with neutral sources). To me they're actually more balanced than the V6. I compared both long ago.
    The mids are quite forward that anything more and they'd be fatiguing. There's a graph showing some drop off in the upper mids, but I've not heard this. I actually think they have forward upper mids.
    I remember long ago people complained these didn't have enough treble. Then I heard a few say they'd had too much treble. One guy even said that he had to put foam over the driver to reduce the treble!
    I think someone said they had slightly attenuated lower treble and then a peak in the upper treble. Maybe some have issues with this. I just know they're quite non-fatiguing for "bad" or harsh material.
    Have you burned them in or used them as for more than a week? The DJ100 are definitely the rare headphone for me that needed some use to be at it's best. If the source is not neutral or too dark it can cause issues.
    I saw in another thread that you said they had innaccurate bass.Does the bass sound bloated? If so that may be the problem. I think they have better low bass extension than the V6, but less mid-bass. The V6's mid-bass sticks out too much for me. The bass is as extended as the 8400. Actually the DJ100 extended lower than the 8400 and better than the box specifies!
    If I ever had too much bass or scooped out mids on my pair, I would have returned them and exchanged them. If anything I would have thought vocals would be TOO forward.
    BTW does yours sound crystal clear or very muffled? A sure sign of needing a little burn in is if there is a muffled sound to them. I imagine this isn't the case since you had too much treble.
    I'm glad you said they had too much treble. Too many people say they don't have enough of it [​IMG]
    It is interesting how the KRK KNS-8400's treble is ok, but it isn't on the DJ100. The 8400 is my most treble happy headphone. It has even more treble than my Q701! The 8400 makes my DJ100 also look like a bass monster and it's not.
    I don't know if you sold or returned the DJ100 yet, but I'd give it another few days of use to see if anything changes. Maybe try another source and see if it sounds any different. The DJ100 seems to sound different with every single source I use. Don't ask me why... with my Headroom Micro and ODAC it's very balanced sounding.
    One idea is that the stock pads are causing issues with the sound due to poor seal.
    It is bizarre that there are so many variations in sound of the DJ100. There's been now maybe 2-3 people now who had issues with the mids being recessed. One of them had a defective pair.
    BTW one interesting thing i've found is that with my DJ100 my bass gets bloated with my amp connected to a surge protector with filtering etc. It doesn't show up on any of my other headphones. This is just totally weird! I think I can't hear this issue on the other headphones because they have less bass and are open.
    I know your gear is probably perfect, but for my curiosity you should try another source and see if it changes even slightly.
    Do you have a Best Buy near you? maybe you could try their demo and see if it sounds the same. If it really has scooped mids I'd return it immediately!
    NOTE: I'm not saying you're wrong and this is not how you heard them, but I'm just curious as to why they may have sounded this way. Sounds almost like a defect if the mids aren't forward at all. If you still have them, you should shove them in a drawer with pink noise for a few days. See if anything changes [​IMG] I had a DJ100 that was awful out of the box. I know people say this is impossible!
    Here's a "bad" pair I had once. In this post I was complaining how bad it sounded. Maybe this is how yours sounds:
  10. tdockweiler

    The SRH-940 pads fit, but I only had the 1840 pads. I thought they were 100% identical, but not sure.
    They definitely killed the bass in every way.
    I'll maybe try the 440 pads if they don't go hard after a few months like the m50 pads do.
    Someone on another forum suggested the pads from the Monoprice/Kicker HP541.
    Next on my list of pads to try are the Brainwavz HM5. They're $10 each, but shipping might be expensive since they're coming from China.
    Those pads look very comfortable!
    The bass isn't too bloated, but I think it's just that it seems not too controlled due to needing a bit more power. It's just not as noticeable with M50 pads.
  11. Impulse
    The pair I tried (couple pages ago) did something weird with the vocals as well, not sure I'd describe it as recessed but female vocals sounded off compared to other headphones I was trying out at the time. It's hard to go by tdock's recount when his DJ100(s) sound drastically different depending on amplification, pads, burn in, etc. :wink: That's why I lost interest in them, wouldn't really work for me as portables.

    Seriously tho, now that I've got a couple other closed headphones for comparison at home (and a better source than the STX for lower impedance headphones), I'll probably go get a pair at Best Buy to try them out for a week or two... Tho their prices for the TBSE and DJ200 are ridiculous.
  12. machoboy
    The pair of PRO DJ100s I mini-reviewed turned out to be defective as tdockweilder suspected (and I kind of suspected)
    Last night they got even weirder/more scooped sounding then stopped producing sound at all
    Still curious about how these sound in non-defective form so maybe I'll exchange for another 
  13. tdockweiler
    It'll be interesting to hear if another pair sounds any different. Maybe you can still try to demo a pair at Best Buy just for reference. Mine only has the DJ200 for demo, but sounds the same. 
    The Best Buy also has the HDJ-2000, 1500, Pro3AAT, HD-280 and HD-380. They're in the pro audio department though. Sometime I'd like to try the HD-380. I think it's more V-shaped though, but sounded pretty good on demo. The HDJ-2000 sounded crystal clear, but seemed to lack low bass. I sure wish my local BB had the A900x for demo!
    BTW if you can't return/exchange them, Koss has the lifetime warranty.
    Best Buy does have them on sale for $60.
    It's too bad you had a defect. I kind of wonder how common this is. I guess i'm lucky that none of mine have died on me (yet).
    Actually, the cable on my Tony Bennett has gone bad, but I was using a different cable anyway. It had more volume on the left than the right with the coiled cable. I could have easily fixed it, but it would require new plugs.
    What's lame is that Koss doesn't sell a replacement coiled cable! I've heard that they might if you call in.
  14. tdockweiler
    BTW has anyone heard any clones of the DJ100's signature yet? Perhaps something much larger and less portable?
    There's a few out there that look to have similar graphs, but they usually don't sound the same. The graphs don't really match up with what i'm hearing all that much.
    I have the AD300 now and I modded it to be closed. It has some similarities, but still has much less bass and it's not as clear.
    AD300 is far better to me than the AD700. Much fuller mids, more bass and way less treble. Better comfort too and a more closed in soundstage.
    It's a very fun headphone and it doesn't seem to annoy me at all. I only paid $35 for it and it's far better than the MDR-MA300.
    I actually might like it more than the K240 Studio!!
    Believe it or not an open DJ100 driver (in an HD-497 shell) sounds like a much clearer HD-598.
    I think it might be impossible to get the bass of the DJ100 in an open headphone and retain it's mids and treble.
    When you make it open, the mids just got thinner sounding due to less bass and more treble.
    I bet there is an Audio Technica headphone out there that's closed that's similar. Maybe the A500x? Probably not.
    Maybe there's an A300X. Doubt it.
  15. tdockweiler
    I came across my old Pro 700 MKII pads that I thought were a poor match for the DJ100. Turns out that they're quite good!
    You just need to stretch them out a lot. One inch at a time. I want to figure out a way to stretch them out on something over night even further.
    Once you stretch them out they're almost a perfect fit. They're not that deep though. Fine for me though.
    My idea why M50 pads are better than stock is that the pad material possibly doesn't compress down as much as the stock pads. More air inside the pads between your ears and the clearer the sound is. If your ears are crushed against the driver I think you get more bass. Maybe with stock pads the pad material compresses down to being almost flat or close to it.
    I would say the Pro700 MKII pads(they're round!) are very slightly better in comfort than stock. Definitely not without being stretched out. The best part is that they sound much, much better.
    I still got similar results as stock pads out of portable players. Slightly improved when it comes to how clear the sound is. The bass is even better.
    Out of my Ipod Touch 2G, anything with a large soundstage in the recording seems a bit less clear and a tiny bit more congested than with M50 pads (but better than stock pads). I think the soundstage straight from a portable is very limited in size and might somehow degrade the sound slightly with stock pads. Again, straight out of a portable, the bass on stock and Pro700 MKII pads is slightly elevated in the mid-bass. The headphone seems to have a lot of extra warmth from portables without an amp, which is nice sometimes. This effect is reduced slightly when you amp it. Not sure why. Maybe the bass is just better controlled with an amp and the sound improves slightly with a desktop amp due to a larger soundstage. The soundstage is much more open and spacious with the E9.
    Tonight I was in my bedroom and was experimenting with the DJ100, Pro700 MKII pads and the Ipod Touch 2G to my Fiio E9 using a LOD cable (normally would never do this!). Sounded AMAZING!! I mean at times I was fooled I was listening to an open headphone. The sound is crystal clear. Very musical and I would say the sound is a tiny bit more fatiguing (in the treble only) with the E9 compared to the Headroom Micro Amp and ODAC. You just can't turn it up very loud.
    I do feel as if the E9 does something like magic and improves the soundstage size of ALL my headphones. Almost like artificially. It does seem like it has a slight boost in the treble somewhere. I mean, still flat, but it sounds very very slightly more trebly than normal. The mids aren't as full sounding as my Micro (the extra treble could be why). The only thing that held the sound back is that the E9 and Ipod Touch 2G seems to limit the level of detail that the DJ100 can produce. With music that has a large soundstage, you felt as if you missed all the micro detail, such as all those tiny sounds like hiss, air, doors, tapping, farting, page turning, people coughing etc. Like you could probably hear the ambience of a recording on the HD-580 and Q701, but with the DJ100 it's limited due to the E9 and Ipod Touch. With my Micro and ODAC that problem is solved. I think the limitation of portable sources is maybe level of detail and soundstage size. Thankfully i'm not weird enough to over-analyze the sound of a fruit fly buzzing around in a recording. What's interesting is that I have a recording I've heard a hundred times. On one headphone I can hear a dog barking outside the studio! It's ultra subtle, but it can be heard. Amazing! Probably not from the DJ100. KRK maybe.
    So anyway, the Pro 700 MKII pads are around $12 for both I think. Directly from Audio Technica. You have to call. I'll test them some more, but they seem to sound like the M50 pads, but are designed more like stock pads, but sound better.
    For those that have really large ears, it's best to pass on them. They're also not that deep. I was listening to them in bed for 2 hours without any complaints. They look identical in size to stock pads when on the DJ100.
    Tonight I'll test the old PS1 (SCPH-1001) with my E9 and see what that sounds like with the DJ100 and Q701. It's a fairly warm sounding source so it may not be that good for the DJ100. It is funny how the E9 does seem to give the DJ100 a very tiny bit more treble. The difference is so low that it's barely worth mentioning. So much that it could still measure flat.
    After almost 3 years of owning the DJ100, i'm still impressed every time I listen to it [​IMG] No mids of any other headphone have been as addicting (yet). The Grado SR-225i has come close. I need to get that again but was dumb and "upgraded" to the 325i. That seemed to give me more treble and bass and less mids!
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