mdr 7520 / Z1000 - Almost perfect
Posted by paulgato from UK on 2011-11-23
neat, comfortable, tight sound, easily driven
Bass slightly overblown, expensive
Firstly, as far as I can determine, the 7520 is the same as the Z1000 except in superficial detail such as colour and type of cable supplied. I've had the 7520 a few days on approval now and I'm almost convinced but not quite. Still not sure if I'm going to keep them or not, and here's the issues...
1. Overall design is excellent. For me they fit around my ears rather than over. In other words, I have to fit my ears into them the way you would fit feet into (oversized) slippers. The back of my outer ear fits behind the pad rather than within its circumference. The advantage of this is they feel very secure and there is only one position they will fit so sound balance is always as the makers intended. The disadvantage would be that if your ears were larger than mine your ear would not fit inside. They are 'closed', but unlike many pads made of synthetic material, the real leather, whilst hotter than the the velour used in many open 'phones, does not make you sweat. The compact size and understated design means you could leave these in your car, or wherever, without too much worry. They don't look any different to Sony 'phones costing a 5th as much, although they are more robust.
2. Cable. The Z1000 have two cables provided, including a shorter one with 3.5mm angled stereo jack for portable use. The 7520 has only one curly cable, which is light and flexible enough that it is OK for most purposes and doesn't pull too much when extended moderately. But the genius is that the cable is attached to the 'phones via a standard (locking) 3.5mm plug and socket. So, to be clear, you can take the cable out, flip it end to end, plug it in and the cans work fine. This mean you can use any standard 3.5mm male to male cable you like, either to change the sound characteristics subtly (people do this, but why..?) or to suit your application, so for example, using a portable device you may want a very short, light cable with a straight plug at the 'phones end and a compact angled plug at the player end to reduce risk of damage to the socket. Or if you run over the cable with the wheels of your swivel chair you can bin the cable, grab any old standard cable and carry on working. ALL headphones should be connected this way and I don't know why they're not.
3. Sound quality. They are very well balanced and from treble down to bass there is no band missing or exagerated in my opinion, except possibly the low bass. Sound stage is not great but they give an integrated and 'tight' sound. Not at all wishy-washy or indistinct. My hearing tops out at around 15kHz these days so I can't comment on the very top treble but I'd trust these cans to be accurate. Even at high volume there is no hint of harshness, and yet detail is all there, if not right in your face.
4. These are 24 ohms impedance I believe. In practice they are very easy to drive to high volume and pretty good quality, even with an mp3 player, computer or mobile phone.
Not much. Just the lower bass really. On many tracks the bass sounds overblown, muddy and overwhelming. On many tracks - even tracks with loads of mega bass - it sounds fine. Really good in fact. So, I'm prepared to believe the problem is more that these cans reveal poorly mixed tracks where poorly recorded bass is pumped up in the mix to give some kind of 'bassy' response from cheap speakers. If this is the case I'll be content and keep them even though it makes a lot of music almost unlistenable to, as I am wanting an analytical tool as much as something to enjoy music on.
One other thing: they are described as 'closed back' but in fact they are ported and have the small port on the back just behind the head band. I'm told, and therefore believe, that you can't use them outside so easily because of wind noise affecting these ports. I tried covering the ports with insulating tape, which would solve the wind noise problem, but it also stops the bass 'breathing' so well. They still sound good like that but the bass is resrticted. That might be a work-around if you had to use these on location (or on your bike). The insulating tape leaves no mark at all and is easily applied and removed.
Overall, very good headphones but probably better used as studio monitors than for listening to your CD collection, whether at home or on the street because of the heavy bass.
Look & Feel
13 out of 14 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Posted by paulgato from UK on 2011-11-23
Sennheiser HD 201
cheap as chips, comfortable, neat, balanced sound
bass missing, clarity missing
Could it be that these only work well with an amplifier? Difficult for me to say as I don't have them any more. My impression was that within the frequency range of speech or acoustic music they are very good but on tracks with deep bass you notice these cans just don't deliver that bass AT ALL.
So, no bass. And also other 'phones have better clarity. But most of the time you don't miss what you don't hear and what these headphones do play they play in a remarkably balanced and natural way, so unless you're comparing them to something better, they're really fine. "Patrons in a museum," etc. as suggested above, yes, absolutely. I'd definitely buy 15 if i needed to kit out a language lab or something. Perfect for that. But for enjoying music they don't cut it.
Look & Feel
22 out of 24 people found this review helpful. Did you?