InnerFidelity May 2015 Update

Yard-work time is here. Fire up your portable rig!

Headphone Measurements
Not as many as last month, but still a healthy handful, enough to do a quick update post. Big thank to all who have sent headphones in, especially Takato14 who has sent in a couple batches so far.

As usual I've updated the AllGraphs.pdf of course, and added the cans to the measurement datasheets page. I've also linked to the measurement sheets to the headphone name in paragraphs below. New additions include:

  • Beyerdynamic DT48 5 Ohm - Yeah, you heard that right, 5 ohms! One look at the frequency response and you'll be saying "mid-centric". But look carefully, they're closer to low-treble centric. Anyone know what use these were intended for?
  • Beyerdynamic DT150 250 Ohm - Oh baby, come to papa. How come I don't know about these cans. Measurements are just a little rough, but boy, they look very close to the Harman target. I spent a little time listening to these and I've just got to get ahold of Beyer and get a pair.
  • Philips Fidelio M1 2014 - I did measure a pre-production version of these cans and it does indeed appear that the production headphone measured somewhat better. I've got the new M2 with Lightning connector in house, unfortunately I have no way of measuring it. I did look at a square wave with my o'scope and confirmed my suspicions that the bass was somewhat over emphasized, but otherwise is a pleasing listen.
  • Ultrasone Zino - A lot of distortion and treble zing in these cans. Not that I really wanted them there for any length of time, but I just couldn't get these to fit right on my head.
  • Toshiba HR-810 - These had a weird Low-Med-High gain transformer built onto the plug that sets the drive voltage for the electret driver. Unfortunately when I started the test at the medium gain settings the distortion was so bad that I thought I might be damaging the headphone and called off the test. Needless to say, an impedance that appears to swing between 6 Ohms and 175 Ohms is a strange beast.
  • Sansui SS35 - This vintage can is very unusual in that it has two sets of ear pads. The outer ear pads are removable allowing these cans to be both supra-aural and they say. The problem for me was that they didn't seal particularly well with the pads on and had better response across the board with the outer pads off in supra-aural mode.
  • Other Headphones - Other cans measured that will pass without comment were the: Sterling TE-400; Panasonic RP-HT600-S; Polk Melee; and Philips Action Fit SHQ5200, and O'Neill Crash.

Keep 'em Coming!
Please keep the headphones coming in for measurement. If you want to send in some headphones that aren't on the headphone measurement page, go to this thread, read the instructions, and we'll get 'em measured!

kman1211's picture

Sounds like you quite enjoyed the DT 150. The measurements kind of confirmed what I was hearing with them. I knew they were special when I first put them on, they just sounded so right. I always forget I'm listening to a closed headphone when I have them on.

zobel's picture

who was mowing your lawn while you were away. Did he come cheap? Did he do a good job? Looks like it almost got a little too tall before this mowing. What is he wearing on his head?

metal571's picture

Really surprised me. I'd love to see the DT100s measure, as they look terrible judging by their graphs over at Golden Ears. I'm impressed at how much better looking the DT150 is. Nice job as always, Tyll.

scharfsj's picture

I haven't stopped by InnerFidelity for a while (since my last question regarding the emphasis on measurements in March), but I have to admit I'm somewhat disappointed to see just more and more measurements, and not much in the way of real reviews.

Your reviews are great, Tyll. That's why I started reading your blog.

I'm still waiting for you to make good on your promise made at the end of 2014 to review something by Schiit. It's now May, and still no review of a product by this major player in the headphone industry.

Cheers and regards,
Stephen Scharf aka Scharfsj

Takato14's picture

Really sucks that you couldn't get a seal with the circumaural Sansuis or the DT48. I was expecting it with the Beyers, but it never really occurred to me with the SS-35. Now that I try wearing it again, I find it difficult to get a seal myself... the pads are just way too shallow. I wonder if they were more supple when they were new?

The Toshibas probably weren't actually distorting, though I appreciate your stopping the test. It was likely an artifact caused by the weird nature of the transformer. Either way, I may be sending them back to you modded, in which case I would like you to measure on all three settings even if the distortion freaks out again.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I'm game if you are.
Takato14's picture

After I'm done with the third batch of vintages I'll send you all of my modded stuff. This includes the Pioneer Monitor 10-II (which I've sent before), a Pioneer SE-500, and a couple others. The Toshibas might get sold before I have a chance to do that, though.

Oh, also, to answer your question, the DT48 S was a "studio" version of the DT48 intended for pro audio use; which was at the time primarily vocal monitoring. When a proper seal is achieved, well, their "strength" (I use this term lightly) is definitely vocal reproduction. They're not usable for much else, though they do have surprisingly decent transients and decay.

Tyler Schrank's picture

It's been too long since I listened to those Panasonics, and I was much less experienced at the time, but the measurements for them make it seem like they'd be decent for the $40 price. Measurements actually look fairly similar to the Meelectronics AF62 headphones that you seemed pretty happy with, just with more missing in the upper-mids/lower-treble. Though measurements don't always tell the whole story, so maybe they had some other subjective issues that you noticed.

Argyris's picture

I put a buddy of mine onto these (along with a few other popular choices) when he was looking for headphones. It's been a while since I last heard them, but I can say they sounded pretty much exactly like Tyll's measurements indicate: strong, decently well extended bass, a certain lack of refinement in the treble, and a noticeable lack of presence in the upper mids/lower treble. The latter is the only issue that really lingers after the initial adjustment period. On the positive side, I seem to recall good imaging and a surprisingly spacious soundstage.

For the ~$30 paid, the faults are minor, and they didn't significantly impact my enjoyment of pretty much anything I ran through them. From a usability standpoint they're a bit large and bulky for a purely portable headphone, the pads are a bit stiff, and the construction isn't anything to write about, but, again, for the price I can't see much to complain about.

I wouldn't mind seeing a write up on these, maybe as part of a mini shootout of modern ultra-cheapo headphones. We all know we can get a lot of headphone for ~$100 these days, and the value of more inexpensive sets like the KSC-75 and PortaPro has been beaten to death over the years. But what about under $50? Enthusiasts don't mind paying $100-$200 for "inexpensive" headphones, but whenever friends ask advice from me (I'm "the headphone guy" to those who know my interest), it's always under $50 that they're looking to spend.

donunus's picture

The dt150 is cool. I liked them more using the dt100 velour pads though. The mids become less hollow that way. Just dont use the inner foam of the dt100 pads since it makes the sound veiled

donunus's picture