If you want completely honest opinion about what these headphones sound like, read this:
- Soundstage is INCREDIBLE for a dynamic headphone, I'm not an expert but I'm not sure if you can get a soundstage like this with others at this price.
- The highs are sharp. At first I HATED this. But since then I have come to appreciate it. The one reservation I have with the highs is that they can be a bit overwhelming on some tracks.
-If you want to get the best experience out of these headphones, I HIGHLY recommend picking up the brainwavz angled memory foam pads. With these pads, comfort goes way up, and you lose just a bit of those harsh highs.
Now on to some listening notes:
- "Dazed and Confused" by Led Zeppelin: It's with this track that you can really hear the subtlety of the controlled low end response. On so many headphones I've heard John Paul Jones' opening riff be overbearing, but on the HE-350's it is the perfect balance of heavy and controlled.
- "Lawrence of Arabia Overture" by Maurice Jarre: Here you can definitely hear the sharp high end response with the percussion, specifically the tambourine. For some, this may be overbearing, it just depends on your taste. However, the soundstage of this headphone makes the orchestra sound immense. Incredibly powerful stuff.
- "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel: I've never liked this song because I thought it sounded to glossy and pretty (pretty much just mixed badly with not much low end or mid range). However, with this headphones, strangely contrary to what I've been saying, high end is controlled (still slightly sharp, probably due to the recording). Due to this I actually enjoy this song now and have noticed things I've never heard.
-"Waltz for Debby (take 2)" by Bill Evans Trio: These headphones are GREAT for Jazz. On this particular recording, low end response it excellent, with the rich tones of Scott Lafaro's bass being the stand out sonically. High end is excellent too, with the subtle drums and Bill Evan's piano soaring without becoming overbearing.
- "I Want You" by Bob Dylan: This one is sort of a mixed bag, mainly due to my personal experience with this song. Starting with the good, the harmonica is sharp and almost ear piercing, just the way I like it (I know others probably don't but it's just preference). The main problem I have is with Dylan's voice. For me, this song reminds me of sitting in a cottage in the countryside while its raining outside and just listening to the warmth of Bob's voice. On the HE-350's, his voice often bleeds into the high end, making his voice sharp rather than warm. This defiantly isn't a bad thing, it just has to do with preference.
- "You're a Big Girl Now" by Bob Dylan: Feeling slightly let down by "I Want You," I moved to another Dylan song, and was pleasantly surprised. Acoustic guitars are warm and inviting, bass is controlled and subtle, and Dylan's voice is centre stage and WARM!!!!! :)
- "Red Hill Mining Town" by U2: Perfect. Bass is plump, guitar is glossy but not sharp, drums and powerful (although slightly sharp on the cymbals), and Bono's voice is electric.
- "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson: This is where the upper frequency becomes overbearing. The glossy recording brings out the drums, which leaked into the higher frequencies and ruined my enjoyment of the song. If you like ear piercing drums like I like ear piercing harmonica, you'll like this track with the HE-350's.
- "The Hologram/Binary Sunset" by John Williams and The London Symphony Orchestra: Damn, this is where the soundstage of the HE-350's really show. Listening to this, I feel like I am standing on Tatooine, looking at those two beautiful suns go down. Everything is perfect with this song for me, every intricate beautiful detail of the orchestra is heard, and nothing is overbearing or competing.
So, final thoughts, these headphones are not for everyone. From track to track my experience is completely different. treble response varies from perfect to overbearing. Midrange goes from nothing to warm and beautiful. The only constant is the low end response, which is always subtle and controlled.
So if you are looking at buying these, just give them a shot, they're only $100 and depending on what you listen to, you'll probably have a lot of fun. Just make sure you pick up the brainwavz pads as well.
If anyone has had any different experiences (as we all have), I'd love to hear them and get a different perspective. So just a post in the comments would be greatly appreciated :)