Customer Review

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boom Boom Pow, February 26, 2012
This review is from: STREET by 50 Cent Wired Over-Ear Headphones - Black by SMS Audio (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Just by virtue of being rapper branded headphones, these are going to get some really negative reviews on the audiophile headphone sites. I was curious to hear them myself, but because I really dislike the sound of Monster's Beats I did not have high expectations for these. My first impression out of the box was that the bass was powerful alright but the rest of the sound was strangely unnatural. Having now spent a few days with them, I actually think they are pretty good, but not for everyone.

First off, the packaging is certainly elaborate. The headphones themselves appear to be just a big piece of plastic. However, the headband is actually a durable polymer, and it is lined with comfortable leather. The cable, conveniently, comes with a microphone. The pads are large enough to surround the ears, and clamping is good enough for decent isolation and solid bass but not so tight they are uncomfortable.

The sound is what is interesting and different. First, the bass. The bass is excellent, both with good extension and lots of impact. The bass extension rivals the Sony XB 500/700 but the bass has more impact than the bass of either of those phones. Some listeners will find the bass overemphasized to the point of dislike, others will find it good for some music and not so good for other music. However, if you want emphasized bass, the bass is controlled and tuneful unlike the uncontrolled tuneless thump of Beats. The lower mid range is a little recessed which tends to make voices sound like they are a bit further away and the upper mid range to lower treble is over emphasized which can sometimes make vocals sound a bit too harsh or honky. However, overall voices, particularly male voices sound smooth and clear. Even on songs where bass is very heavy, words can be discerned. Highs are a bit rolled off and the upper highs are missing. Thus triangles and high cymbals don't ring, they clink. Soundstage is outstanding for a closed headphone, and the sound is distributed widely rather than one dimensional. The rolled off highs make them a poor choice for classical music, but they work well for popular music which is often recorded overly "hot" with too much treble. The rolled off highs reduce fatigue.

I like them a lot for songs with male vocals in the bass baritone range and I think they make excellent headphones for rap and hip hop. For more acoustic music I generally don't care for them because the ringing of guitars, and some of the detail gets lost. Certain singers like Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed sound really great with these. Unfortunately female voices can become unnatural. I think some of the high pitched stuff on Kanye West albums sounds like it is being sung through a kazoo.

If I put these down and put on a more natural sounding headphone like the Sennheiser HD 595 I am almost shocked by how "natural" the Sennheisers sound in comparison.

I like these SMS by 50 a lot, but I think they are a specialty headphone. For example I think the V-Moda M80/V-80 is a better all rounder although a bit less comfortable on the ears. Also, at the price there are many many superb headphones available. However, I also think these headphones have the unique combination of a low extending and impactful bass that for some people will make them a favorite.
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