The Very Well Balanced Noontec Zoro II HD Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.
Raw frequency response plots show an on-ear headphone that manages to successfully seal with the ear as position changes on the ear.

Raw frequency response is very close to the Harman target response. Problem areas are in the bass boost going up to about 400Hz, when it should stop at about 150-200Hz. Fortunately, the boost is modest and just a very slight thickness in the upper-bass/low-mids is apparent. The rise to 3.5kHz is fairly long and desirable with a peak about 10dB above baseline—this delivers a good sense of presence in the sound. The subsequent fall off after 3.5kHz may be a bit too steep, but some headphone designers feel this is a dangerous area as it can get very strident and annoying, and should be withdrawn a little. The level does come back by 10kHz however giving these cans a pretty well tonally balanced sound in the treble.

Compensated frequency response plot shows an overall slightly warm and gently ever increasing tilt (desirable), with the small notch at 4kHz as the only potentially erroneous feature. These are very good frequency response plots.

30Hz square wave has stunningly good shape, combined with low THD+noise in the lower registers lead me to believe these cans would be very tight and well extended in the lows. In listening, though, it didn't seem to perform as well as it measured. Somehow the mild bass bump intruding on the mid-range seems to alter the balance enough to take the listening experience of the bass down a notch.

300Hz square wave is fairly good. The first overshoot should be a tad larger perhaps, and the subsequent ringing and noise is slightly excessive, but this is still a very good result relative to the other headphones in this category.

I was looking for something to indicate the lack of finesse in these cans and was hoping to see more noise trailing the initial spike of the impulse response relative to the other headphones in the category. It appears there might be a little more fine grain noise here than the Beats Solo2 and Urbanite, but not so the Momentum On-Ear that has similar amounts of noise, but sounded cleaner to my ears.

THD+noise has no remarkable features. One channel is slightly higher than the other, but this could easily be a noise artifact. THD+noise is definitely a measurement that needs to be taken with a big grain of salt. Unless there's an obvious artifact, probably exceeding 1% or strongly related to artifacts in the impedance plot, it's my opinion that this plot can safely be ignored.

Impedance and phase plots indicate a nicely designed headphone without any strong resonances or modal breakup occurring. This is a nomially 35 Ohm headphone.

Isolation is modest; these cans will not isolate you well in very loud environments. The good news is that they will allow you to keep your situational awareness as you walk around, and their 30mVrms needed to achieve 90dBspl at the ear will ensure solid volume levels with portable devices.

This is an excellent set of measurements.

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arjrluap's picture

as above. Nice to see budget headphones catching up with those twice their cost.

InternPrimas's picture

I enjoy the M40X's but I bought them refurbished and there was a problem with them had to send them back. But the sound signature of them is good.
Seems neutral with subtle emphasis on the lows and highs.
Nothing painful. I am sensitive to high frequency and I really liked the M40X's but the copy I had was refurbished and did have a problem had to send them back.

Anyways I just recently purchased the Zoro II HD's and I have to say they are close to neutral but... They're loud and more on the treble side like they have BASS but it isn't BASSHEAD worthy.
But it isn't complete garbage. When I listen to music with them.
I can hear the bass but I feel there is something with the stereo imaging like some sort of peaking like towards the high end almost like analytical sort of like sony 7506 in terms of something in the upper range yet.
From lows to mids it's different. I am trying to detect an emphasis on the lows. and it's hard to say there is any feels more "neutral" but some extension in the lows exist I feel the mid has a slight bump when it comes to snares/kicks.
as for the highs, I feel there is something raised up in there maybe like a 4 dB or 3.5 dB spike somewhere in the upper frequencies as for the lower frequencies I can say it's nicely "balanced" but not full on emphasis just enough where you can hear the bumping basslines.

Think of the sound signature like a JPEG image file. You take a high quality PNG and run it through JPEG compression while retaining close enough pixel resolution but you shrink the pixel resolution down a bit.
And quality changes in bits.
Well these ZORO II HD headphones (on ear) are basically decent in frequency range with a peak somewhere in the highs but nothing i'd consider sibilant but it is loud when you first plug them in but surpisingly not bad it's like you try to find something wrong with their sound signature but there is nothing to really complain about it even if you want to but can't seem to find a real good ground to complain about it.
I just feel they could have put more emphasis on the lows (not muddy or distorted or bleeding into mids) while relaxing back the mid-highs somewhere around there.
But the sound signature it has right now works with most music genres. I just feel they could have made the Lows more stronger while retaining clarity maybe even relaxing back something in mid to highs but not by too much. Maybe a few dB on some frequencies.
While boosting the lows by about 2.5 ~ 3.5 dB. I'd say it is close to "almost-natural balance", you can tell that they wanted to make sure people can enjoy a wide range of genres with these headphones.
So it's hard to complain other than that flat cable that comes with it can easily be replaced.
The build quality seems fairly good I'm glad they strength the hinges. It's surprisingly lightweight and feels almost like you aren't wearing anything on your head.
They are "Small" too.
And have a "beats" like style design.
I kind of wonder what the Noontec HAMMO S sounds like because I feel if they were able to make a larger driver than maybe they could have made the bass stronger in those?
Anyways overall if you had to choose between M40X and Noontec ZORO II HD?
I'd pick the M40Xs over the Noontec ZORO II HD in terms for Home usage.
However if you plan to go out and about I'd pick the noontecs for outdoor usage/gym usage.
As for home listening go with the M40X.

miceblue's picture

Would it be possible to add the Harman target response on top of raw frequency plots in the future? You state "Raw frequency response is very close to the Harman target response," but unless you provide the actual target response over the raw measurements, people will just have to take your word for it.

I've been manually overlaying the target responses on your raw measurements like so:

DarthGore's picture

Hi Tyll,

I concur with miceblue .

Tyll Hertsens's picture
It's a good idea, but it will create an inconsistency with earlier spreadsheets and the Harman curve is not finalized. But I'll think about it.
Stefraki's picture

Maybe a half-way point would be to include a Harman plot in the part of the review that talks about measurements, and leave it off the sheet for consistency?

I would also love to see the Harman plots with reviews. They actually look like what I hear when I look at the plots you made for headphones I know well. The old FR curve looks nothing like the headphones actually sound in my opinion.

DarthGore's picture

Hi Tyll,

Could you ask Noontec to send you samples of their new Hammo circumaural (passive and active nose cancellation versions) headphones ? I feel that most of us are far more interested in something that goes around the ear, seals and sounds better.

Thanks for your services to the community.

Type35's picture

Both being marketed as portable cans, I was wondering how the CAL and the Zorro compared in sound signatures.
+1 for a review on the Ammo.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I've already asked and they're on the way.
Gnafu the Great's picture

I am also interested in measurements and your thoughts of the Hammos after the glowing review of these updated Zoros. I prefer over-ear, and I'm reading some good things about the Hammos. I have gotten so familiar with your take on sound that I almost /need/ to know what you think before making a purchase ;-D.

One thing for the Hammos for measurements (and if you do a full review): I have seen mention of pairs having either black stickers or thick foam (one or the other) covering the holes under the earpads that have a huge negative impact on sound quality. While I know it wouldn't be "stock", would you be willing to measure them with the "mod" of removing the stickers or thick foam if present? All I've read would suggest they're not very good out of the box, but removing the coverings makes them fantastic. I'd love to see measurements comparing the two. It should be as simple as removing the pads, taking out the sticker/foam, and replacing the pads. No cutting, unscrewing, etc.

DarthGore's picture

I agree with the above. With and without stickers, please ! Surely this is doable, considering your coverage of the HD800 'DIY' felt mod.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Sounds like a good idea, will do.
Type35's picture

The Momentum on-ear sells for as low as $91 on Amazon and the cheapest Urbanite is at $121 while the Noontec Zoro II HD is at $90. These prices are easily found (meaning they are regularly advertised on Amazon). In light of this, the comparison you made might be viewed with a slightly different perspective.

InternPrimas's picture

Zoro II HD's are going for around $70 ~ $50 right now on Amazon.

tony's picture

This time I had the "subtitles" feature "ON" which is quite a bit of fun because it's computer generated and substitutes funny words for words you are saying.

Anyway, I came back for seconds because I thought I heard you attribute the better quality driver to the $200 stuff. Sure enough you did say "better drivers" .

Another nice review.

Thank you.

Tony in Michigan dabbling with drivers & EQ

MLGrado's picture

24 carrot gold coating... If it were 24 carrot cake coating, then we would be talking! ;)

Makka's picture

Tyll, you put the Koss SP330 on the Wall of Fame due to it being a "Sonic Stunner", then bumped it off the list by the Noontec Zoro II HD, which "lacks finesse" compared to more expensive competitors, "...seems a bit grittier sounding" than other comparable headphones and a bit "think in the mids". This is confusing, and leads me to believe it is the Noontec "package" that you are putting on the Wall of Fame, rather than the sound. As I am tossing up between the two, based purely on sound quality, which would be the better headphone?

InternPrimas's picture

Note: I didn't burn these in yet. These are brand new.
I prefer strong bass, good mids and laidback or relaxed highs.
However these headphones do provide a full sound from 16 hz and up to 20khz. I do feel that they lean more on "clarity" of the highs and mids.
They do sound loud on my PC, I had to turn stuff down to be comfortable. I have a sensitivity to higher frequencies. So these kind of aren't warm sounding to me more leaning towards the highs and mids. The bass is there don't get me wrong it exists it's just extended and controlled. It's not muddy or boomy or rattling. However if the song is mixed to be booming than yeah... They seem to handle stuff well even low bitrate music. I am just not used to On EAR, I normally go for around ear headphones. Apart of me wanted to get the CAD MH510 because they're suppose to be neutral with warm sounding sound signature with emphasis on the lows and extended. But it's hard to find honest reviews on the CAD MH510 headphones. They seem promising to deliver but than again haven't seen a peer review on them. These ZORO II HD's have been peer reviewed and I figure you know I might aswell get them and try them out since my Sony MDRV55 got broken. Was looking for a decent headphone for listening music, gaming and music production. I do like BASS but I am not a pure BASSHEAD. I don't like muddy bass. I like controlled booming bass. And I like slightly laid back highs with adequate mids.