Philips 890 (and 910, kind of)
Mar 23, 2002 at 8:58 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 48

MacDEF

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As some of you know, Tuberoller sent me his Philips HP890 and 910 so that I could provide my impressions on the two headphones. I finally had a chance to give them both a good listen, and here are my thoughts. I apologize that this "review" isn't as thorough as some of my past reviews, but work and time constraints reduced the amount of time I had to write this up (and no pictures).


INITIAL UNPACKING IMPRESSIONS

I was actually quite impressed with both the packaging and built of these headphones. The packaging was easily the best "cardboard box" packaging I've ever seen for a pair of headphones. I won't go into their design and construction, since that has been done quite well and quite extensively here on Head-Fi; suffice it to say that both headphones are well-built and appear to be quite sturdy.


One thing that amazes me: the HP910 are supposed to be Philips' "top of the line" headphones. They are advertised as such, and they cost more than the 890. However, to me, the 890 are clearly constructed better and, as I'll explain below, are both more comfortable and much better sounding than the 910. The 890 also come with a pretty nice headphone stand.



HP890 vs HP910

I'll say right off the bat that I much preferred the HP890 to the 910, and thus I will spend much of this "review" talking about the 890. However, before comparing the HP890 to other heapdhones, I wanted to compare the 890 and 910 to each other.

In terms of comfort, the 910 are a bit more comfortable on the top of the head, while the 890 are more comfortable everywhere else. The 890 are more comfortable, overall, to me, and actually feel a bit like AKG K501 with bigger, softer pads (and they're a bit heavier).

In terms of sound, the 910 are what I would call a dry and bright headphone. They are quite cold in their presentation, due to a recessed midrange and emphasized treble. The bass is has fairly good extension, and is actually pretty tight for a headphone in this price range. However, overall, the 910 have a sound that is a bit unbalanced, even "hollow" sounding. Soundstage is decent but not great. Come to think of it, the 910 are a little bit like the Sony MDR-V6/7506, except that the Sony headphones are closed. The V6/7506 have more of a "closed" sound, but a better overall balance, despite their recessed midrange.


The 890 are almost at the other extreme. They are definitely warmer than the 910, with a much more pronounced midrange and an upper/mid bass that is a bit looser. The treble isn't spectacular -- it's a bit recessed -- but IMO it's much less recessed than the 910 is bright. In other words, the 910 errs on the bright side, while the 890 errs on the recessed side, but less so. The bass on the 890 extends a bit more than the 910, and is a bit more flat, but is definitely not as tight. The soundstage on the 890 is quite good (better than on the 910). While both the 890 and 910 are "open" headphones, the 890 definitely attenuate more external sound.

Interesting note: while listening to the 890, I kept thinking "Sony 1700" -- the 890 and the 1700 are *very* similar in their presentation. However, I actually preferred the 890 to the 1700 due to its better treble (I found the 1700 to have extremely poor treble).

Summary: I would say that the 910 are colder but more precise, while the 890 are warmer but a bit loose in the bass. Overall, I clearly preferred the errors of the 890, simply because they 910 was quite fatiquing to listen to for extended periods. To be honest, unless you really prefer a "brighter" sound, I can't see why anyone would buy the 910 over the 890. The 890 are more comfortable, seem to be built better, come with better accessories, and I personally prefer their sound to that of the 910. The only "advantage" the 910 have, IMO, is that the bass on the 910 is a bit tighter. However, I would much prefer a bit of boominess in the bass if it means getting much better midrange and treble that isn't so painful.



COMPARISONS WITH OTHER HEADPHONES

I compared the HP890 to several other heapdhones, both amped and unamped: using an amp, I compared them to the Senn HD600 and Sony MDR-V6/7506. Off a portable CDP, I compared them to the V6/7506 and Koss KSC-35. (I couldn't compare them to the HD600 because I didn't have an adapter to use the Clou cables with a mini headphone jack.) For the comparisons I listened to a variety of music, including classical, jazz, acoustic guitar/vocal, electronica, rap, and rock.


AMPED COMPARISONS:

HP890 vs HD600

I said above that I found the 890 to be more comfortable overall than the 910. That being said, the 890 are still quite uncomfortable to me over the long haul. They put much of the weight of the headphone on the rubber band across the top of the head. The HD600, on the other hand, are lighter overall, and split the weight between the padded headband and the earpads. Some people feel that the HD600 "pinch" the head too much; after adjusting mine to reduce the pinch, I much prefer that the weight be split between the top of the head and the ears as the HD600 do, rather than all on the top of the head. But this is a matter of preference, and many people find the 890 to be extremely comfortable.

In terms of sound, I compared the two headphones using a Sony 333ES SACD player and Max 2001 amp. This is probably a decent test of "the best each can do" given the source and amp. The Senns had Clou Red cables.

In this setup, the treble of the HD600 is much, much clearer; the 890 is actually a bit veiled in the treble with a midrange that covers some of the detail. The HD600 has tighter, more extended bass, but the bass on the 890 is just a bit more "impactful" -- more visceral. Both headphones provide a very good soundstage; however, the HD600 has a bit more resolution. In other words, on both headphones the soundstage is quite large; however, with the HD600, you can easily pinpoint different instruments across the soundstage, while the HP890 have more of a left-right presentation (but it is still quite good for a headphone in its price range).

Overall, with a good source and amp, I would say that the 890 are decent headphones for rock/pop/rap lovers -- they have good midrange, good bass extension that is a bit boomy/visceral, and treble that is rolled off enough to counteract the excessive treble present in many such recordings. However, for classical, jazz, and acoustic music, they simply don't have the kind of detail and resolution that the HD600 have. For example, listening to acoustic guitar, the plucking of individual strings gets blended together/smoothed over compared to top-end headphones. If you have invested in a good system, the extra $100 - $125 ($95 vs. $210) is clearly worth it. In fact, given that the HD580 offer performance approaching the HD600 for $150, and the AKG K501 are only around $120, if you have a good source and amp, the 890 isn't really a good choice IMO.



HP890 vs. V6/7506

I then compared the 890 to the Sony V6/7506, again using the ES SACD player and Max 2001 amp. First, a note on comfort: I have "smaller" ears, it appears, and find the V6/7506 with Beyer pads to be more physically comfortable over long-term listening than the 890. Some will disagree, but I thought I'd give my opinion. Also, being closed, the V6/7506 block significantly more external noise.

In terms of sound, the V6/7506 have bass that is clearly flatter, tighter, and more extended. That's probably obvious, given that the V6/7506 have this advantage over almost every other headphone. They also have significantly more treble (in extension, level, and clarity). However, as has been pointed out many times before, the treble tends to be a bit analytical. The 890, on the other hand, has sigificantly more midrange, with a rolled-off treble and bass that is slightly loose. The 890 have an "open" soundstage, while the V6/7506 are typical closed headphones in this respect.

In fact, apart from both headphones having good bass extension, they are almost completely opposite of each other:


V6/7506
Treble: clear, a bit rough
Midrange: recessed, sharp, "artificial"
Bass: extended, flat, tight
Soundstage: narrow

HP890
Treble: recessed, overly smooth
Midrange: prominent, smooth, sometimes muddy
Bass: extended, fairly flat, a bit loose
Soundstage: wide

Overall, these factors really differentiate the two cans: the V6/7506 are very clear, with tight, accurate presentation that can come off as being too cold and analytical; the 890 are much warmer, with a more musical presentation, but one that can come off a bit muffled. For vocals and/or acoustic music, the V6 are practically unlistenable to me: they just don't have the midrange. The 890 are clearly better for these types of music. For electronic music, especially without vocals, the V6/7506 is clearly a better choice. The excellent bass response and better highs with a slightly recessed midrange are a perfect match. For classical and jazz, it depends on the styles you like. If you want deep bass extension and lots of detail, the V6 are a better bet. If you like a "warmer" sound and don't mind missing a bit of top-end, the 890 will probably make you happy. For rock, R&B, and pop, it again depends on what you're looking for, and it mostly depends on midrange and whether you want cold detail or warm musicality.


As a side note, the question of V6/7506 vs. 890 for gaming came up in another thread so I tried them both. The isolation and clarity of the V6/7506 led me to prefer them for computer gaming. On the other hand, if you have a sound card that is very bright/grainy, the 890s tonal balance may be a good choice for smoothing that harshness out.



UNAMPED COMPARISONS

To compare the headphones with a weak source, I used a Panasonic SL-CT570 portable CD player (with freshly charged batteries and the AA battery pack attached).


HP890 vs. V6/7506

Actually, my comparison of these two headphones above (amped) held true unamped. This isn't too surprising since both the V6/7506 and the HP890 are fairly easy to drive. The V6/7506 are a bit easier to drive, and thus were able to achieve louder volumes out of the portable, but both were plenty loud without distorting. So you can use the conclusions above for these two headphones even if you won't be using an amp.


HP890 vs. KSC-35

This is a bit of a weird comparison, since the KSC-35 are the quintessential portable headphones, while the 890 are headphones that most people would never dream of using portably because of their HUGE size. However, both are headphones that can be driven well from a weak source, and both are often touted as great cans for the money ($30 for the KSC-35, $100 for the 890). The 890 aren't quite as efficient as the KSC-35, but are still able to be driven well by a portable CD player or MD player. So I thought it was worth a shot.

The 890 are a bit more recessed, with less detail. The 890 definitely have a warmer sound, but given that the KSC-35 are often described as being slightly warm, this is not necessarily better (i.e., they can come off as too warm). The KSC-35 have slightly clearer midrange and treble (which you might expect given much smaller drivers).

The 890 have a bit better bass extension -- while the KSC-35 have very good bass for their size, they simply don't extend as deep as the 890's much larger drivers. In addition, as with most small portable headphones, the upper bass on the KSC-35 can sound a bit emphasized when compared to the 890, which has a smoother transition from the bass to the mids. (On both models, the upper bass can be a bit muddy compared to some of the higher-end headphones; however, keep in mind what I'm comparing them too.) The soundstage is definitely wider on the 890, as well.

My opinions on the comfort of the KSC-35 are well-known (I like them a lot
wink.gif
). I would much rather listen to the KSC-35 for hours at a time, simply because of their comfort and light weight.



CONCLUSION

I hope the impressions above give you some insight into the overall sound of the Philips cans, as well as some comparitive perspective. I would say that if you don't have an amp, but want a full-size headphone, the HP-890 are fairly good for the money provided that you like their overall sound. They have a very distinct sound to my ears, and anyone purchasing them should consider that accordingly. Their strengths are their efficiency, soundstage, and (to most people) comfort. Their "pretty good" points are their bass (extended, but just a bit loose) and midrange (smooth but a bit emphasized, and can get muddy on some types of music). Their bad points are treble/detail, selectivity, and the fact that they are too warm and smooth on some types of music. They are definitely non-fatiguing (unless you're the type who gets fatigued from too much warmth
wink.gif
). They also match well with computer sound cards, which tend to have a harsh, bright sound.

I don't see the HP890 as being a strong contender for those people who have a good source and an amp: for those people, I think the HD580 are better them in every way for not too much more money. The AKG K501 are also significantly better in every way except for bass extension. From what I have read about the Senn 495, it also may be a better "amped" headphone (at half the price).

Overall, I would consider the 890 to be a decent entry into the mid-level class of headphones: those that give a taste of what very good headphones can sound like, but that ultimately don't reach the level of "recommended cans." While they have characteristics that set them apart from some of the lesser headphones out there, they also have a few flaws that separate them from the "big boys."


P.S. The obvious question that is sure to arise: "If I don't have an amp, and want a good full-size headphone for around $100, what are my alternatives?" I actually prefered the 890 to the Sony 1700 ($150) because of a better soundstage and slightly better treble. Comparing them from memory to the Grado SR60 ($70), I think you're really looking at two very different styles of sound. If you want something very smooth with good mids, the 890 would be a better choice. If you want something with impact and better detail, the SR60 (or the SR80 at $100) would be the way to go. The V6/7506 comparison above shows a similar difference. I haven't heard some of the other contenders in the $100 range: the Senn 497, Senn 280, etc., but these seem to be as recommended as the 890 are on Head-Fi, so they might be worth considering as well. If you're willing to spend a bit more, the Beyer DT250-80 are clearly better, with a warm tone but better detail. I'm sure others can recommend a few other $100 amp-not-necessary headphones that you should also consider.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 10:14 AM Post #2 of 48

Buddha

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An interesting read Macdef.

For the most part I agree with your comments in relation the bass of the 890s, however when it comes to midrange and treble my experience is the exact opposite.

The way I hear these cans is that the midrange is slightly recessed and the top end end is a tad too bright, and certainly not lacking detail as you describe.

I guess it just goes to show that the mechanics of the inner ear (and what lies between them) will colour our perceptions, and to audition where and whenever possible.

Unfortunately you fail to acknowledge that the 890s may be purchased for as little as $28USD (Malaysia) and from between $50 - $60USD in Europe and Australia.

At those prices the Philips HP890 is on my "recommended cans" list.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 11:15 AM Post #3 of 48

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by Buddha
The way I hear these cans is that the midrange is slightly recessed and the top end end is a tad too bright, and certainly not lacking detail as you describe.

I guess it just goes to show that the mechanics of the inner ear (and what lies between them) will colour our perceptions, and to audition where and whenever possible.


Actually, I would contend that there must be physical differences between the 890 you have and the ones I listened to. Perception is one thing, but there's no way you and I hear *that* differently LOL

I don't feel that the V6 has "emphasized" bass, but I can understand how someone might think that, because they do have strong bass relative to other headphones. That's a perception/taste issue. But the 890 I used were so *clearly* midrange heavy with recessed treble, that there is no way someone could hear them and say that they had recessed midrange and are too bright.

I've since read some other reviews of the two, and I think Tomcat felt much the same way I did about the 890 and 910 in terms of tonal balance. I've also seen a couple of people who had impressions similar to yours. This leads me to believe that perhaps there is a bad manufacturing variability with these headphones?


Quote:

Unfortunately you fail to acknowledge that the 890s may be purchased for as little as $28USD (Malaysia) and from between $50 - $60USD in Europe and Australia.


I didn't try to "fail to acknowledge" that fact. I just happen to live in the U.S.
wink.gif
In the U.S. the only way to get them is for around $100 at one or two Virgin Megastores, or from Jan for around the same price. In other countries, obviously the price/performance ratio may be higher or lower depending on the local price. For $28 they are certainly a good deal.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 12:25 PM Post #4 of 48

Buddha

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Quote:

Originally posted by MacDEF
Perception is one thing, but there's no way you and I hear *that* differently LOL


I wouldn't be so sure about that... However I will of course concede that manufacturing variables are a possible explanation.

My comment on pricing was not meant as any kind of slur, and I trust it was not percieved as such, just a statement of fact.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 1:38 PM Post #5 of 48

Tomcat

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Quote:

Originally posted by MacDEF
I think Tomcat felt much the same way I did about the 890 and 910 in terms of tonal balance.


Yes, MacDEF, very much so. I found the HD890 very respectable, if a touch on the bright side, nicely dynamic, with good bass slam, but I thought the HP910 was simply shrill and horrible.

At the same time, I agree with Buddha's statement:

Quote:

The way I hear these cans is that the midrange is slightly recessed and the top end end is a tad too bright, and certainly not lacking detail as you describe.


It could be that we do have slightly different points of reference.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 1:46 PM Post #6 of 48

dknightd

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MacDef, thanks for taking the time to do this.

I agree on the bass, very much present, but a little loose. Especially a problem when several instruments are making bass tones.

But, my 890's are sure not rolled off in the high end. At first the treble was a little too bright. Now after many hours (guess 100+) the treble has mellowed a little, but still very much present and maybe a touch too much on some recordings. Could be a difference in cans as mentioned above, could also be a difference in source. I use a yamaha cdc685 which does tend to be on the bright side (works good with my speakers though)
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 2:08 PM Post #7 of 48

Snufkin

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Likewise - no rolled off high end here, the first time I put them on (after listening to my 250-80s for weeks) they sounded far too bright for my tastes, after buring in the high end smoothened out a little but is far from rolled off and undetailed
confused.gif


Bass is definately a little loose at times, but not too much so (not as much as Beyer 990s for example).
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 5:10 PM Post #8 of 48

Tuberoller

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Hey Mac,
thanks for the review.Two additional reviews will be forthcoming for the HP890 and 910 one from Delenda est sony and another from a member of a local audio club.I had a chance to listen to four sets of the philips phones and I didn't really hear any huge sonic variances between two of the same model phones.keep in mind that one set of the phones was purchased stateside and another was purchased from Dr.Meier.

I wish you had more time with them to perhaps listen to a wider variety of music.My point all along has been the relative price-performance ratio of the Philips phones.I have felt since I purchased the first set that they were not worth all the effort involved in finding them.This is really not a knock on the people that own and love them.If they can be purchased for $28.00 US like many have said, then I would place them in the "high value" catagory and highly recommend them.At $105.00 they are far overpriced and I have heard MUCH better at much lower price points.I think that either the Grado SR60 or Sr80,Senn HD497,AKG501,Koss KSC 50 or KSC 35 are better values than the Philips and each has a sonic character that I would call more accurate than the Philips.With that said I'm disappointed Mac didn't like the 910 ,I thought they sound pretty good with a tube amp playing jazz music.I know that is a narrow focus but they really did shine in that arena and I look forward to getting either set of my 910s back soon so that I can experience them again.


I think in the near future all of this "controversy" will be moot.Since hearing from the Philips rep in Las Vegas at CES and talking to a US Philips rep it looks as though Philips will indeed discontinue all "personal electronics".I have no idea if that means everything electronic including razors and such but no distinction was made.I said previously I would not spread that rumor again but after hearing it from a few souces I gotta say that there is an air of credibility to it.I have never been able to contact anyone via email about this "rumor" but the site of the barren display at CES was a shock and raised a lot of concern with everyone who saw it.I think that Panasonic is poised to pick up the slack however.I have been getting emails about a new line of headphones as well as an "audiophile" pcdp aimed at the "high end listening consumer" according to the email.I think Tyll at Headroom briefly alluded to the Panasonic pcdp in a post.I hate to see Philips do this, if in fact it does happen,I think any loss of hardware is a bad one.I think Philips is very capable of manufacturing quality components and their loss will truly be felt.Before you guys jump all over me about anything I have said here absorb a few facts:1.you still cannot get most Philips small electronics(including headphones) in the US,no matter how hard you try.2.Philips only had two new small electronics product intros at CES,one a nose hair trimmer,the other a way too large mp3 player.3.take a stroll down the isles at a local warehouse store(costco),they are loaded with Philips small electronics.4.Philips has anounced manufacturing cutbacks and layoffs several times on their site.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 5:25 PM Post #9 of 48

Blighty

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Interesting take on the HP890. As per my review, I found them just slightly on the bright side of neutral and the bass just slightly on the loose side while the mid-range nearly flat or perhaps slightly recessed. However, detail was definitely not lacking. I performed extensive A/B comparisons with the Grado 325, which is known to have some of the best mid-range detail, and still find the HP890 ability to resolve detail incredible. I use recordings that contain vocals that are rather difficult to hear(muddy, indistinct) and both headphones are able to clarify them well. The 325 still wins out but not by a huge margin due to their forward sounding quality. Since the judgment of detail is much more objective than subjective, I must postulate that QC with Philips is lacking and you may very well have a slightly defective headphone. If this is true, it would explain the discrepency between Tuberoller's observations and everyone elses.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 5:36 PM Post #10 of 48

xerx

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I dont think everyone will like them, for their 'room effect' explained by RMSZero in another thread. They sound very differently from anything that I had had heard of.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 7:00 PM Post #11 of 48

dknightd

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Quote:

Originally posted by Tuberoller
If they can be purchased for $28.00 US like many have said, then I would place them in the "high value" catagory and highly recommend them.


Can't argue with that!
wink.gif
At $28US they are a screaming deal
rolleyes.gif


Quote:

At $105.00 they are far overpriced and I have heard MUCH better at much lower price points.I think that either the Grado SR60 or Sr80,Senn HD497,AKG501,Koss KSC 50 or KSC 35 are better values than the Philips and each has a sonic character that I would call more accurate than the Philips.


Hmmm, must be lots of personal preference going on here. I did not like the Grado phones (80's I think). The lower priced Senns didn't do it for me.
Didn't listen to the AKG - don't they really require an amp? Nothing I heard locally for $100 sounded very good. I ordered the hp890 from Jan figuring I wouldn't like them much, but, that they would be OK for now, and save me the $500+ cost
of buying Senn 600 and amp. As it turns out I'm
pretty happy with them. Eventually I'll probably
upgrade, but for my ears the 890 are the best
phones I've heard so far for the price.

I just got a set of KSC35 for portable use for $20. No way the ksc35 match the hp890. For a portable phone the ksc35 is very good, but, TO MY EARS it does not match the 890 for detail, or neutrality. Anything near around 80 hz and the koss make a thump - no detail. The 890 maybe loose in the bass but at least they try! They also sound better to me in the mids and highs. And there is no camparison in the soundstage, 890 win easily.
I paid $20 US for the ksc35 and $105 for the 890.
I don't regret either purchase. Both seem like
good value.

Quote:

With that said I'm disappointed Mac didn't like the 910 ,I thought they sound pretty good with a tube amp playing jazz music.I know that is a narrow focus but they really did shine in that arena and I look forward to getting either set of my 910s back soon so that I can experience them again.


Why should you be disapointed that somebody doesn't
like the same thing you do. Unless of course you
thought their preferences were wimilar to yours...


Quote:

I think in the near future all of this "controversy" will be moot.Since hearing from the Philips rep in Las Vegas at CES and talking to a US Philips rep it looks as though Philips will indeed discontinue all "personal electronics"...


Oooh the 890 might become a "valuable colectable", get em while their hot
cool.gif
rolleyes.gif
biggrin.gif


One thing that xerx hinted at, but hasn't been mentioned much. The 890 have a very nice soundstage in my opinion. They sound absolutely amazing with simple two miced live recordings. Soundstage and
sence of pressence can be amazing. I think perhaps this is perhaps the drivers are aimed at a slight angle toward the ear.

OK I have not compared the 890 to a properly amped pair of hd600. so maybe I'm a headphone newbie who's opinions should not be considered seriously.
Since headphones will probably always be second
fiddle to speakers for me, maybe that is OK.
got to go - family needs me...
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 9:01 PM Post #12 of 48

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by Tuberoller
I wish you had more time with them to perhaps listen to a wider variety of music.


Actually, I think I did have quite a variety that I listened to. As I mentioned above, I listened to jazz, classical, rock, acoustic guitar, electronic, vocals... about the only think I didn't listen to was country (and that's because it's against the law in my household
wink.gif
).


Quote:

My point all along has been the relative price-performance ratio of the Philips phones.I have felt since I purchased the first set that they were not worth all the effort involved in finding them.This is really not a knock on the people that own and love them.If they can be purchased for $28.00 US like many have said, then I would place them in the "high value" catagory and highly recommend them.At $105.00 they are far overpriced and I have heard MUCH better at much lower price points.I think that either the Grado SR60 or Sr80,Senn HD497,AKG501,Koss KSC 50 or KSC 35 are better values than the Philips and each has a sonic character that I would call more accurate than the Philips.


Given the current price point for the 890 in the U.S. (and that they're difficult to get), I would pretty much agree with that (and said something quite similar above). I only wish I had a pair of Senn HD497 to compare them to. For $28 they're a steal (as I said, they give you a taste of what really good headphones do), but for $105 they have stiff competition. They aren't bad headphones at all. They just aren't one of the "big boys" and at $100 you're getting closer to being able to get one of those.



Quote:

With that said I'm disappointed Mac didn't like the 910 ,I thought they sound pretty good with a tube amp playing jazz music.I know that is a narrow focus but they really did shine in that arena and I look forward to getting either set of my 910s back soon so that I can experience them again.


Tube, perhaps our difference in opinion here is that you heard them with a tube amp and I was using solid state. Tomcat, a few others, and I all found them to be fatiguinly bright. But perhaps with a tube amp some of that harshness is smoothed out. As I mentioned above, they definitely have tighter bass than the 890. The mids are a bit recessed, but not too bad. So if the treble was smoothed over, maybe they'd be pretty good for not-too-bright music.



I'm also quite puzzled by all the people who found these headphones (the 890) "bright." I realize that the pair I listened to had been burned in quite a while, so maybe that tamed brightness a bit. But my theory is that we're talking about the same thing differently.

When I say that the treble is a bit lacking, I'm talking about the real treble: high frequencies. The upper treble detail simply isn't there; the V6/7506, HD600 with a good amp, and even to some extent the KSC-35 all have better detail in the highest frequencies. However, I've noticed that some people include in the category "treble" stuff that I personally call "upper midrange" (maybe they would consider it "lower treble"
wink.gif
). The upper midrange on the 890 was definitely very forward (as was the rest of the midrange), and I could see someone calling it "bright" in that along the frequency spectrum, frequencies at the upper end are emphasized.

So perhaps what I'm calling "emphasized (upper) midrange" is the same thing other people are calling "bright." That seems to make sense here.

Then there's also points of reference. Tomcat's favorite phones are the Beyer 770, which others have described as not having a lot of detail. So if they 890 are a bit rolled off at the top end, maybe that's not a bad thing to him. Does that sound like a fair statement, Tomcat? For me, my points of reference are Etys, HD600 with Clous, and V6/7506, all powered by a Max. These three headphones in this situation have some of the best upper-end detail around. So maybe I'm just used to really good detail, so I was disappointed.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 10:07 PM Post #13 of 48

Buddha

100+ Head-Fier
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Quote:

Originally posted by MacDEF
The upper treble detail simply isn't there; the V6/7506, HD600 with a good amp, and even to some extent the KSC-35 all have better detail in the highest frequencies


Sorry ... cant wear that. Ive just done the a/b 890/35 thing to
refresh my memory. Perhaps your HD600/Clou/Max etc. combo
reveals more detail than the HP890 but the koss 35s certainly dont.

I also doubt you hold a monopoly on distinguishing "treble".
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 10:31 PM Post #14 of 48

MacDEF

Headphone Hussy (will wear anything if it sounds good)
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Quote:

Originally posted by Buddha
Perhaps your HD600/Clou/Max etc. combo
reveals more detail than the HP890


Not a question. Far more detail with that combo (and there should be, given the price difference).

Quote:

but the koss 35s certainly dont.


Remember that the comparison between the KSC-35 and the HP890 were out of a Panasonic SL-CT570, not the Max/SACD. The Koss are a bit easier to drive, and have smaller drivers, so a bit more detail makes sense to me; conversely, it also makes sense that the 890 have better bass and better soundstage.

Quote:

I also doubt you hold a monopoly on distinguishing "treble".


Um... I never said I did
confused.gif


What I did say is that I'm used to the details from HD600 and Etys out of a Max, which are without question much better than the 890. I wasn't claiming to have a "monopoly" on anything; in fact, I was using my "spoiledness" as a criticism of my own review -- that perhaps I was being unfairly critical of the 890's detail. I think it's fair to say that if you're used to listening to an SACD player with a Max and a couple of the best headphones on the market, you're used to pretty good treble and detail, and you'll notice it when another headphone doesn't have it.
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 3:24 AM Post #15 of 48

Tuberoller

Divorced an Orpheus to keep his wife.
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Hey Mac,
I bet you weren't ready for the beating your gonna take at the hands of team Philips.These guys love their phones...a lot.
 

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