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The Somic Thread--50mm driver open air full size cans pop out of nowhere, sound amazing

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by joe bloggs, Nov 24, 2012.
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  1. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    2016-02-27 edit:  These have been replaced for the most part by a new model called the V2, which appears similar externally, with some internal tweaks.  The driver size has gone down from 50 to 42mm, it is however made of a different material.  The pads are now velour and are deeper.
    I did not have the two next to each other to compare, but anyway as of today I would recommend new buyers to buy the V2 instead of the MH463, as it seems that the MH463 remaining in the market are mostly old stock that may have been rejected by other customers before, e.g. for channel imbalance or other sonic problems.
    So I was walking by the computer store down at my block (I live in Hong Kong) and I these headphones showed up at their display out of nowhere:
    SOMiC MH463 (link to Focalprice selling them: http://www.focalprice.com/EP0109B/SOMIC_MH463_35_mm_8__30000_Hz_Wired_Dynamic_Headphone_Black.html) (I'm not affiliated with Focalprice, just showing an international site selling these if you guys want to grab one.  Like I said, I bought mine locally)
    edit: see this latest post for a place where you can apparently buy them for $31.35 http://www.head-fi.org/t/637699/50mm-driver-open-air-full-size-cans-pop-out-of-nowhere-sound-amazing#post_8902214
    Three specifications caught my eye:
    1. Open back (for open back soundstage)
    2. 50mm drivers (about as big as they get)
    3. The price: $69 (edit: see this post for a place where you can get them for $31.35 http://www.head-fi.org/t/637699/50mm-driver-open-air-full-size-cans-pop-out-of-nowhere-sound-amazing#post_8902214)
    I bought them on impulse and boy am I glad that I did.
    I don't have much experience with full size headphones (IEMs are my mainstay) but these may be the first cans to wow me over from IEMs.  I used to have a pair of Sennheiser HD580 but they collected dust and finally disappeared for good after my Etymotic ER-4P arrived.  Well my 4P have long since bitten the dust and I've found other phones that are more enjoyable, some of which are in my fledgling IEM review thread
    But these SOMiC are something else.  I wouldn't say these sound better than the HD580, but it is like revisiting high end open air headphones of that caliber after 10 years and finding it surprisingly to my liking.  In these ten years much has changed; I've recently acquired a much better DAC+amp in the Fiio E17, and I've learned to make use of parametric EQ based on PiccoloNamek's EQ tutorial to shape phones to my liking
    Here's an FR curve of these SOMiC I drew based on listening to sine sweeps through an equal loudness EQ as outlined here:
    Take note that the "FR curve" only serves to show the phone's deviations from my personal tastes and illustrate some of the high frequency peaks I've found.

    These have a not unpleasant warmth in the bass but I prefer my bass leaner but with more subbass punch, and the phones take to bass EQ very well with their large 50mm drivers;  despite the rolloff these reach down to 15Hz with real bass, not harmonic distortion so they will take to EQing up the subbass very well.  The highs are actually more linear than most phones I've heard but can be improved by tweaking the EQ to remove the peak I hear at 7700Hz (may not be the same for everybody), removing a bit of metallic taste.
    The soundstage is expansive and may be what is drawing me to these phones the most.  Combined with their sonic quality, I am finding myself preferring these over my speakers even when I have the rare chance to use the latter.  These are one of the highest resolving cans I've heard.
    As usual my introduction to phones can come across as sounding like these don't sound any good without EQing.  It's just that I'm too used to hearing my IEMs transform into sonic gems with EQ.  But less so with cans.  Until now--these phones sound great to start with and EQ like champs, making me prefer cans over IEMs for what may be the first time.
    Sound without EQ: 8.5/10
    Sound with EQ: 19/20
    A few choice impressions from those who have got them so far:
    Part 1 of CashNotCredit's detailed review (Part 2 will be a youtube video review)
  2. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    One more point in their favour:  these are only 45ohm impedance and can be driven to listen levels at 25/60 at 0 gain on my Fiio E17, which is comparable to the Etymotic MC5 in voltage sensitivity.  These should be quite drivable unamped.
  3. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    Just found a much cheaper place to buy them from on taobao
    Says approximately US$31.35
    The line in the google translation of the Chinese product description saying "you can rest assured to buy fake a compensable 10"?  What the Chinese is actually saying is that they are stressing these are genuine and that you would be compensated 10 times over if you get a fake.  I wouldn't worry about fakes anyway since these SOMiC guys are nobodies in terms of branding.
    I found a good feedback on taobal-buying-agent from someone who used their service here
    And as for the actual item in taobao.com that t-b-a links to, the item has received 4.8/5 stars from 35 buyer ratings while the shop itself has received 4.8/5 stars from 2193 buyer ratings.
    As for the price, I found that the raw unshipped price of the item at taobao.com corresponds to US$31, so expect to be hit with extra shipping fees from t-b-a but that's par for the course I guess.
    Here's another place where they are available in the US for relatively cheap:
  4. atomikn00b
    would you consider this a Superlux 668b beater?
  5. HalidePisces
    Hmm... wide soundstage and metal plug? Makes me wonder how this would compare to the AD700.
  6. viralcow
    For $30 I'm curious enough to buy... except that I have no experience from buying from chinese sites.
    Anyone use that site before? What's the shipping like?
  7. CashNotCredit
    I just cancelled an $85 Klipsch X10 order after reading this. They sound like an awesome deal. I've been looking for an open-backed set for some time, and am definitely considering these. Thanks!
  8. sulkoudai
    damn, the cheapest shipped to Aus on eBay: AU 59 bucks...
    Has anyone used 'TaoBao Buying Agent' before?
  9. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    I heard about the Superlux only after buying these SOMiC.  I have no idea how they compare sonically but these phones are still drawing me away from my usual IEMs after several days of break in from the "new toy effect".  They also look quite classy with a full metal mesh back (as opposed to the plastic back with metal mesh holes of the Superlux, which I suppose you could classify as "half-open") and what is claimed to be an aluminium housing.
    I would add that just like the Superlux as reviewed here
    the earpads on these are a little too thin to prevent the inside housing from pressing on your outer ear.  Unlike the Superlux though these have appropriate clamping pressure out of the box and I find them quite comfortable despite this shortcoming--I can usually wear these for an hour or two before noticing the housing pressing on the tip of my outer ears, and this is with glasses on.  As an indicator of their comfort level, I've been marathoning anime with these headphones (Fate/Zero season I and II, for anyone interested)--and have gotten up to episode 20 in 3 days with these on.  I have a big head such that I'm one click on one side from maximum extension on the headband.  Not sure where my ear size stands in relation to the grand scheme of things though.
  10. CashNotCredit
    HNG sells them on eBay for about $50. I just pulled the trigger on them. If they're even 1/2 as good as the 580 (and 45% as good as the HD600 by proxy), we're in for a treat.
  11. CashNotCredit
    Might a pad-swap be in order? Would it be possible for you to measure the length/width of the earpads that are currently on them? Judging from what I can perceive of their size, perhaps Brainwavz HM5 pads would fit them. Thicker pads (and maybe a bit of dampening material) would increase the bass response and tame the treble a little bit, making the headphone sound more like your EQ curve.
  12. BBEG
    Eh, a couple days' lunch is worth the impulse buy. It'll be good comparing them to my other two low-cost headphones (SR850s and Citiscape Uptown).
    I swear I'm done buying inexpensive headphones. I swear. [​IMG]
  13. Joe Bloggs Contributor

    Um sure? The pads measure about 7cm wide by 8cm tall, measured by the middle of the padding (which I assume would be the closest to the diameter of whatever holds the pads in place.  They don't look replaceable though?  At least I don't know how to pull them out.
    My curve is an approximate frequency response curve, my EQ for them is a midbass cut followed by a subbass boost and selective cut of the highs (ie an inverse of the FR curve).
  14. CashNotCredit
    Oh, whoops. Then a thicker pad would probably extenuate the issues...but we could always try messing with dampening material. (I should probably just wait until they arrive to me, shouldn't I?)
  15. BBEG
    Hm... gonna need some help ordering through taobao, it looks like the only method of payment I could use (paypal) is not accepted.
    Joe? Mind helping a brother out? [​IMG]
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