Review: PX100 vs KSC35 unamped and amped
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Dec 28, 2004
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Dec 28, 2004
I was fortunate enough to receive a set of Senn PX100’s for Fathers day. Since then I have spent probably 10 to 20 hours listening to these and comparing them specifically to my KSC-35’s. It’s been a little of a mixed bag. Some times good and sometimes not so hot.

Let me start with the equipment. Since these 2 sets of phones are targeted to the portable market I did all of my listening from a Rio Karma. Songs were 192kbits/s stereo, MP3. I also used the Karma in combination with a Cmoy, OPA2132, Gain ~11 and Pimeta AD8620/8610, Gain ~6.

To level set on the Amps let me say this. The Cmoy is somewhat aggressive. It does a nice job of extending the bass and high frequencies while providing a slight improvement in midrange and vocals. This amp tends to lean on the bright side and does induce a very, very, slight hiss. Most of the time you don’t notice it but it’s there. The Pimeta is very neutral when it comes to changing the sound. What goes in, seems to come out, nothing more nothing less. Music through it is slightly more open sounding possibly due to it being a much quieter amp. Bass and Treble are tighter. Vocals are slightly more forward in the presentation but less edgy than through the Cmoy.

Neil Young Unplugged
Good Charlotte
Allison Krauss & Union Station
Macy Gray
Pink Floyd

Running straight out the Karma both of these preformed well but to my mind have very different presentation. I have read review where the reviewer states they have a hard time telling these cans apart. I do not find that to be true for myself. I think these cans have very distinct and different sound signatures. The KSC-35 is a touch on the bright side and IMO not as balanced as the PX100’s. They have very little trouble on the very high end where the PX100’s seem somewhat rolled off. Another thing that is noticeable to my ear is a slight blending or smearing of the high end at times in the PX100. Cymbals strikes are very well defined in the 35’s where in the PX100 they can start to run together. As for bass, it seems to be a little more extended/deeper in the PX100. I was taken back by how deep the KSC-35 would dig down when I got them. But for their size the Senns bass extension is pretty amazing. With that said I did feel like the KSC-35 was somewhat quicker and tighter in its reproduction of the bass lines and kick drums. To me the 100’s in this configuration are on the verge of being sloppy on the bass. My favorite in this configuration would have to be the KSC-35

Here’s were it got interesting. Karma and Cmoy. Remember what I said about the Cmoy being a bit on the bright side? As it turned out that combination is a very good match for the PX100. Suddenly the Bass is much tighter and more controlled. This was very noticeable in the Macy Gray and Good Charlotte tunes. The Upper Mids also seemed to be pushed slightly forward. While still somewhat rolled off on the top end it was much less of an issue when using the Cmoy. In contrast the KSC-35’s seem can get a little to bright at times for my tastes when using the Cmoy. I love the 35’s and use them frequently with the Cmoy but they can get fatiguing after extended use. Chalk 1 up for the PX100 when used with the Cmoy.

Karma + Pimeta. The table immediately turned again with this combination. The Pimeta seems to take just a little of the aggressiveness out of the KSC-35 and yet open them up. The bass, which is already good in these cans, is pushed even lower without any loss of the tightness they normally display. Vocals, that might get a tad edgy, are somewhat softened. Treble still has a little sparkle to it and is very well defined. I didn’t feel like the PX100’s did quite as well with the Pimeta. There were very obvious improvements in the Vocals and definition in the treble when compared to them non amped. The bass was pushed even deeper than before with this amp and I just felt like it was a little to much. Again my pick here would most likely be the KSC-35. Although I can definitely understand that some people would find this extra low end to be exactly what they are looking for in a portable set of headphones.

One last observation I would like to make. I think Soundstage might be the correct term? With the KSC-35s it always seems the vocals are emanating from just above my head. The vocals and instruments have nice separation and definition I would liken it to setting in Row1 at a concert and looking up at the band on stage. With the PX100 it to was pretty open feeling but in a different way. It has a softer, darker presentation. I would say it’s more like setting far back from the stage. An area were the music actually has some blending by the time it gets to your ears.

While I like the KSC-35 a little better, I really don’t think you can go wrong with either headphone. They are both much better than any stock/street style earbuds or headphones and a bargain to boot. IMHO a great way to experience different musical presentations without damaging the wallet to bad.

Like to hear what others that have these phones think!
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