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JVC Kenwood HA-SZ1000-E Victer Stereo Headphones
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- Output sound pressure level: 107dB / 1mW
- Reproduction frequency band: 5Hz ~ 33
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Code: 1.2mOFC line φ3.5mm24 gold-plated with a stereo mini plug
- Weight: about 450g
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carbon to achieve the treble reproduction in the high carbon diaphragm resolution of large-diameter 55mm which sounded stream double bass reflex realistic bass extract the live beat system installed rich low-frequency component to achieve a sound field immersive nanotube vibration version
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First off, my concerns:
The factory ear pads are too shallow and will have your ears resting against the drivers. I used my HAM-55X ear pads with cotton balls stuffed underneath on these.
There are ear-piercing mid-high peaks that can easily ruin the listening experience. An EQ is advised! No one else mentioned these annoying peaks.
On to the review.
Now, make sure you have a powerful amplifier. The FiiO Mont Blank is a good one for starters but these headphones can handle more power.
Don't judge them by their sound right out of the box. Take the time to burn them in. Start out with an EQ to help the treble response and eventually, it will become more pronounced. After about 7 hours of playing these cans loud, they started to somewhat gain the natural warm sound of vintage 70s floor speakers - the sound I was looking for. Now, the soundstage is still in your head and and you'll still need to EQ them to some degree. They are not however flat or crisp. Just warm and natural.
For bass heads, get a big amplifier, HAM-55x ear pads, and a discrete EQ and these headphones will impact your head. Those Kelton woofers really do a great job at producing massive bass. You will feel the air pressure changing inside the cans if you turn them up loud enough. This can be fun but make sure you don't go deaf. The frequencies these headphones can hit cannot be heard by the average human ear but the air pressure will still change massively inside the ear pads. I've taken them down to 5Hz while on my head and my ears were going to pop because of the changing pressure. My FiiO also started to quickly loose battery during this stress test.
The mid high peaks are coming and going. Sometimes, they're ear-piercing. Other times, they're almost gone. It's such a shame because the overall sound really sounds like vintage floor standers! It think my ear pads are responsible for the peaks and will update when I get new ear pads.
I'm still using my old HAM-55X pads with cotton balls stuffed underneath. These headphones are still breaking in and changing drastically. I've been free airing them a lot. Just now, I played "Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes" and was blown away. This song really shines on these headphones with HAM-55X pads with cotton balls along with at least 20 hours of free airing done. The sound signature is still changing but usually for the better. The mid high peaks are still off and on. During the time of "Blister In The Sun", they were absent. Just keep in mind that my ears might be far different from yours but theses headphones are starting to sound more like the vintage floor standers while retaining extremely deep bass capability (actually improving over time).
Just today, I've discovered a weak point in the design of these otherwise amazing headphones after two years of daily use. The right hinge that allows the can to swivel left and right had snapped when I went to take them off my head. When this happened, time literally froze and my heart skipped a beat. I however refuse to take off a star due to the sound quality that these got to. They were still breaking in well after update 2. I guess it's a carbon nanotube thing. I hope JVC redesigns these headphone to be a bit more sturdier. It was a good run. Now I miss my JVC SZ1000s. I don't have the money to afford another set at the moment. I will say that these headphones were the best I've owned to date. They just need a ton of break in, a proper amp, good earpads, and an EQ to sound their best. Thank you JVC for being the only innovative headphone manufacturer that exists at the moment.
The headphone itself, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. The giant metal silver ring combined with the solid thick plastic hinges makes this feel like a very solid, rugged build that remains very attractive due to the small touches like the different color L and R label and the shiny silver JVC logo on each side that is embossed. There is also English Braille letters for L and R so that those who have vision issues, amazing! The headband surprisingly doesn't have any branding and the padding on the head is much much better than the M50x (probably the best I've had). The material used for the headband is also a very nice quality leathery material. On my M50x, when the headphone is stretched to the extent as if it's on my head, the top cloth of the headband actually wrinkles. On these, there is no noticeable changes no matter how far you stretch them. This is probably due to a plastic support piece that can be felt behind the top of the headband. Of course, this is nothing that would affect comfort or sound quality, but it's nice that JVC thought this through and had some sort of support there to prevent the wrinkling. The earcups themselves are huge considering the dual driver on each cup and the silver metal ring. It is a bit heavier but not really noticeable in my experience. Here, perhaps the only major flaw of the headphone I've found is the earpad. These are probably some of the worst earpads I've had. The earpad themselves are big enough to completely go over your ear (and my ears are big), but they are really really shallow! This means that your ear immediately faceplants the driver. This is the worst! Not sure what they were thinking. However, there is thankfully, a solution for this. You can buy Brainwavz memory foam pads to replace the stock pads with. These pads are much thicker and will leave some space between your ear and the driver. Otherwise, you can also try stuffing the underside of the stock pad with packing foam, paper towels, or rolled up electric tape, but the replacement pad is highly recommended (I use these for my M50x also as my ears are big enough that it's also touching the driver on the stock pads of those, although not as bad as the JVC's stock pads). Aside from this, other minuses include the fact that there are no mark lines for the headband adjustment, so you will have to count clicks, but this isn't as big of an issue since the pouch is big enough that you should only have to adjust once and never touch it again. It will fold up and fit in the pouch perfectly fine even when extended. The only other thing you can really nitpick at in terms of design/look is the non-detachable cable, but the cable is pretty solid itself and terminates in a very solid jack complete with a spring to help prevent the cable from bending and ripping at the jack. You just have to be careful of how the headphone is facing when in the pouch so as to prevent unnecessary strain on the cable coming out of the earcup. The earcups do swivel, but not completely flat, so that may be a minus for some of you who like to wear headphones over your neck.
Moving on to sound quality, these are a very bass heavy headphone as the others have said. The headphone uses a very unique dual driver system on each cup with carbon nanotube chamber called "Stream Woofer DB (double bass-frex)" or the Kelton-method. The drivers are 30mm for mid-high frequencies and a huge 55mm unit for woofer. This means HUGE bass while still retaining the mids and highs unlike other bass heavy sets that tend to muddy up the mids and highs with the overpowering bass. Just plugging the headphone directly into my phone's (Galaxy Note 3) 3.5 mm jack, I was able to feel the bass on my ears with the stock Samsung/Android player with Bass EQ turned on and the tube effect on in a bass heavy soundtrack. Plugging in my Fiio E6 I had lying around (that's right, that tiny E6), the bass became much more pronounced. But after using Viper4Android and turning the bass settings up to extreme levels, the bass rattled my head so much I almost puked! I'm definitely impressed. It also performs well with classical music so the Kelton-method definitely benefits here, although I think a little EQ may be needed for rock to balance out the sound a bit.
Overall, I would highly recommend this headphone over any other pair in the sub $200-250 market, especially if you listen to a lot of mainstream stuff like pop, hip hop, dubstep, and other bass heavy genres. I usually don't like this comparison, but as a bass heavy set, the bass on these truly trump Beats for those who are into that sort of thing thanks to the dual driver system with the huge and the build quality of these can't even be compared to Beats' cheap construction. For the sound and build quality of these, and knowing the unique system that drives the sound (which is a very expensive system compared to standard systems that are in other headphones, even those in the audiophile grade like the M50x) and also the fact that you're importing them straight from Japan, buying these at less than $150 is absolutely a steal!