Pioneer SE-M570 Closed Can Surprise
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j-curve

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This post may lead to nothing more than frustration if this 'phone is not available outside Japan but I have to share my surprise at what I think is a true budget closed CAN-didate


What is your reaction when you hear the name Pioneer? I have to admit that my initial response is negative, perhaps influenced by their 1980's run of questionable quality products and discount car systems. But then I remember my fantastic Legato Link CD player, from which point I would never return to multi-bit DAC's. What a gem.

Now take a look at the SE-M270 or SE-M370 closed can offerings from Pioneer and you might once again be offended by the cheapish build quality and retro cup shape which looks like offcuts of Robocop's armour:-

Dare to have a listen and you will instantly realise your mistake. The top-of-the-line SE-M870 is likewise a nasty boxy job.

However, sneaking unnoticed in the middle of the range is the SE-M570, with its ample oval cups, nice gunmetal finish, fully circumaural plush pleather pads, angled drivers which don't squash the ears, and a 41mm drive unit which is unique in the lineup. [50 ohms, 106 dB/mW, 200 grams, CCAW, OFC]:-

Of course, all that is worth bollocks if it sounds like its siblings but the surprise is - it doesn't. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the clean, flat, controlled response of these cans. That was before I heard the HD280 Pro. In retrospect, the M570 has both similar equalisation (no boom, slightly bright) and character (slightly cold) as the HD280. What you don't get is spaciousness, but that is not the HD280's forte either.

The isolation is good (as much as one could expect) but my only reservation was that somehow I was not able to get a 100% satisfactory fit on my head. If I recall correctly there are no notches in the adjusters. Maybe if I looked a bit more like this...


These are first impressions in a noisy environment but I did give it quite a workout. Now having heard the HD280, I plan to revisit the M570. It retails in Japan for around US$45 equivalent, so I guess $65-$70 offshore if spotted.
 
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Duncan

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Thanks for the heads up j-curve...

Well, the UK is out... our top offering is the 370

Hows things going in the US?
 
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j-curve

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Second impressions (at a different store) were still favourable. I stand by my comments regarding the sound of the M570 - it really is impressive, although with a hint of sibilance. This time the fit was better but the isolation did not improve. I think sound is coming in through the pivot holes in the cups.


I want to get these phones but I have some qualms:-
When I blu-tack or silicone the holes closed, how will the sound change?
Is there a chance that some ugly colouration will creep in?
Have I actually been auditioning an effectively open headphone?
The holes (2 per cup) are about 5mm diameter, most of which is closed off by the pivot arm but obviously there is air leakage. If anyone has any ideas then please put me out of my misery!



PS: Duncan, it's a pity the UK line-up stops one model short of the darling in the range. The truly awful M370 was actually sold out in the store I visited yesterday, so the retro look is obviously hot at the moment. But doesn't the average consumer listen before buying? Or maybe they do but MUZAK comes to the rescue.
 
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clanecks

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SE-M870 still not available in the states.  I'm having to order mine from some aircraft leasing company that's based out of Japan with a Los Angeles office.  The overall cost is $69.99 plus $15.00 shipping.  It gets here reasonably fast.  The headphones themselves do not come in their original packaging, probably refurbished.
 
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