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Discussion Starter #1
I've been in the audio game ever since mid-2008 when I decided to buy myself a pair of JVC HA-RX700. Since then, I've owned four other full-sized headphones, one of them being another RX700. Well, after selling 3/4 of my full-sized collection last month, I decided that my shelf looked empty and that it was high time to get another headphone.

We'll start off with the specs and what's included in the package and build up to the meat of a headphone review: the sound quality and the comfort.

But first...pictures.
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On the Amazon page where I ordered the headphones from, it depicted them as being dark blue OR gray and black. I was rather confused. I had no idea which color was expecting until I opened the box. The gray areas are actually coated with a rubbery texture similar to what is found on the back of the original Sansa Fuze and some phone cases.

Tech Specs:
S-Logic: Natural Surround Sound
Dynamic principle
Frequency range 10-22.000 Hz
Impedance 64 Ohm
Sound pressure level 102 dB
MU Metal bufferboard, reduced field emissions
in accordance with ULE (=Ultra Low Emission) standard
Driver 50 mm Mylar
Weight 295 g (without cord)

What's in the Box:
The headphones
one straight (length ca. 0.8 m) cable for use with MP3 players
one coiled (length > 3 m) cable with gold-plated 6.3 mm plug
Spare pair of speed-switch ear pads (pleather)
Demo CD
Instruction manual

Setup:
Creative X-Fi Titanium HD -> RCA -> Little Dot MKII with gain of 3
EQ is FLAT.

One Hour Review:
When I first put this headphone on with some Euro dance music, the thing I noticed was the sheer number of details and the huge soundstage. Out of all the closed headphones I've owned so far, this is definitely the winner. I never thought a closed headphone could do that.

The bass is really prominent with my setup. Coming from the bass-light, treble monster (JVC HA-DX3), this is a completely different animal. It is literally head-pounding bass if you turn it up high enough. Even with the bass presence, it still maintains its posture in the vocals, mids and treble.

The mids can be deemed somewhat tame compared to my DX3 as is the treble. It does not need an EQ to sound balanced to my ears so that's definitely a good thing.

Comfort:
Kind of weird coming from cloth pads on my HA-DX3. The pads are pleather, the headband is as well. There's enough cushioning that my head never touches the plastic portions of the headband. The headphone doesn't also fit on the left side of my head when I first put it on. Some adjusting may be required or the sound may be off a bit. I've heard this is an Ultrasone thing with the S-Logic. Now that I've fixed that issue, I still have yet to keep these headphones on for more than an hour.

Overall, a very enjoyable headphone so far. It maintains the details from my JVC HA-DX3, keeps me happy with ample bass, and has a soundstage to boot.

In-depth gaming and music analysis to follow once I get a chance to give these things some time to burn in.

Headphones Owned (in order):
JVC HA-RX700 (unmodified)
JVC HA-RX900
Sennheiser HD595
JVC HA-DX3
JVC HA-RX700 (recabled, RX900 pads, headband, Dynamat, felt removal)
Ultrasone PRO 550

EDIT:
Update after 100 Hours:
The general sound signature hasn't changed and neither has the sound stage. I think the bass may have decreased in quantity slightly but that may be attributed to me not wanting to use an amplifier for gaming (which I finally got around to doing last night). The sound stage is really vast and details are easily separated. This not only applies in music but very much so in BC2 which is what I used to test the gaming aspect.

The sound stage is definitely noticeable. In the song Eminem - Bítch Please II, there are car horns on the left channel at about 30 seconds. It made me turn my head to my left because I thought there was a car beside me. I don't remember the last time I did that having heard so many headphones. Wow.

Gaming Performance:
Done without the Little Dot MKII amplifier.

The first time I booted up BC2, I was welcomed by a huge sound stage just in the menu. None of my previous headphones have done that. Even more impressive was when I first joined a server and people were spawning. I spectated for a little bit and I was able to hear so many people's footsteps on Nelson Bay.

In actual close quarter combat, nearby enemy footsteps are very noticeable. In one case, I walked upstairs in a house, and heard footsteps beside me. I spun around and found no one there but I knew I wasn't alone. Turns out there was a sniper in the room beside me. Guy didn't even know I was coming. Win. Another advantage of having a large sound stage in BC2 is using enemy voices to point out their location. The PRO 550 does this very well and you get a real feeling of direction and distance.

I do think there is a flaw with the headphone for sounds that are behind you. I think I'm missing about 60º of my rear because the headphone projects most things to the front of the stage. That's still fine for my BC2 gaming purposes, where in most of the cases, I'm playing Rush and rarely have to deal with people behind me.

Overall, I've found a nice headphone. Having never heard an Ultrasone before, I didn't know what I was expecting other than what people have told me and posted on forums. I'm glad I pulled the trigger on this.

EDIT:
Update after 4 Months:

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The pads have been swapped for the Ultrasone PRO750's pads. It's a really easy process that involves twisting the old ones off and putting the new ones on. I bought them directly from Ultrasone for $55 or so including shipping. It is quite the price to pay for earpads especially considering the headphone itself was only $150. Hey, it's still cheaper than buying a new PRO750 or PRO900, right?

Overall, the sound signature hasn't changed much. The salesperson at Ultrasone indicated that it might change the sound but in my opinion, it definitely did not make a turn for the worse. In fact, I think the bass is a bit more tame than it used to be and is slightly more refined. No other frequency ranges have changed.

Comfort wise, I think this will definitely make my gaming session tonight not so sweaty. Still will require some time for breaking in but this is definitely an accessory to consider for all you PRO550 owners out there!

EDIT:
2012 Cable Update
A lot of you guys took my advice to get the Aurum cable extension to use with the short straight cable. My Aurum cable has gotten pretty beaten up and now has a bent plug and I realized that ever since my Titanium HD died (leaving only my STX), I've been having to use a 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm adapter. Effectively, I was making a ton of contact points: screw on portion to the short cable -> short cable to the Aurum 3.5 mm -> Aurum to 6.3 mm adapter and then finally into the STX. I decided last Saturday to purchase this cable from Ultrasone, which would effectively reduce the number of connections made to just be screw-on -> 6.3 mm termination to STX. This is what I ended up getting:

337

That is clearly...not the $27.80 cable I paid for. As it turns out, Ultrasone sent me this one. Wait, $75.60?!

I'm not sure how much success you guys are going to get but this is awesome.
smile.gif


Links to Accessories:
Ultrasone PRO750 pads (black)
Aurum 6' extension cable (3.5 mm jack)
Ultrasone Long Straight Cable (3 m, 6.3 mm jack) - Direct replacement for short cable
Ultrasone Long Straight Cable from PRO900 (3 m, 6.3 mm Neutrik jack) - Direct replacement for short cable from the PRO900
 

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I think you will like them if you use them for gaming. Bullets sound more realistic and same with explosions. I haven't played with my 750s in a while, but I can't imagine they would sound too different.
 

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I have had the Ultrasone DJ1 Pro headphones for some time now, they are the same as the 550. Overall I was quite impressed with them as well, stepping up from Sony MDR-V6. The only real issue I have is comfort. After wearing them for a couple hours the top of my head really starts to ache and I find myself shifting them back and forth on my head to different positions. This could just be me, they don't bother my fiancée so I may end up giving them to her eventually and getting the DT990.
 

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As for hearing footsteps in gaming, I'm pretty sure most of that is your sound card.
tongue.gif
The Xonar DX is awful for hearing footsteps in BC2. Let me know if you try BC2 with the STX and how it compares. The whole front stage projection is most definitely the headphones. Typical of Ultrasones from what I've read. Never had the chance to game with Ultrasones, but I expected as much. Thanks for the review.
smile.gif
 

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I listened to the Eminem song with my RX700s. I completely missed the car horns the first time around, and only heard them the second and third time listening. The horns were present but nestled well into the background. I definitely did not turn my head to the left, thinking there was a car.

Sadness. Maybe I need to jump on these Ultrasones.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by wongster;13089805
I listened to the Eminem song with my RX700s. I completely missed the car horns the first time around, and only heard them the second and third time listening. The horns were present but nestled well into the background. I definitely did not turn my head to the left, thinking there was a car.

Sadness. Maybe I need to jump on these Ultrasones.
This headphone is head and shoulders above the RX700 and all the headphones I've owned up till now. I think this alone is going to start a whole string of spending which...I'm trying to resist lol

I noticed that with this headphone, my KPD in Battlefield BC2 has increased about 30-50%. I was usually a 1.8-2.0 KPD player with the HA-DX3 and RX900 but I've noticed myself getting about 2.5-3.5 a lot more lately simply because of the sound staging.
 

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It seems like the Ultrasone would be a good/great/fantastic upgrade to the RX700 I have. A lot of people were recommending the DT770 in my thread, yet the PRO550 seems to fit the bill just as well, at a cheaper price to boot.

Just curious, why would this cause you spend...more?

That's a pretty darn good improvement in stats (in my humble opinion), from just using different headphones. I have yet to play a game where I can utilize sound stage (what little I have of it in my headphones) to my advantage, unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The fact that you have a Xonar D1 doesn't help matters either. The Xonar D1 is awful for positioning and FPS gaming. Just...awful. I'm pretty sure my STX that should be coming tomorrow is just as bad.

As for spending more money, I think I just want to look further up the Ultrasone line. I was so tempted to just drop $400 on an Ultrasone PRO 750 but didn't have the guts to do it. I know Ultrasone's sound (and S-Logic) is something that doesn't always work for people but it certainly works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by OutlawII;13096622
What would u guys think about using these with a HT omega striker? Just curious if they would need an amp
They don't need an amp. Running it straight from my Titanium HD sounds the same as running it from my amplifier.
 

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Since you've owned my soundcard (Xonar D1) and headphones (RX700) before, could you give me an impression of what I can expect for the sound if I jumped to the PRO550? Infinitely more details/sound stage, bass, etc etc versus the JVC? I know the PRO550 is a much better headphone and is in a different tier of headphones but I'm just curious to know exactly what parts of the audio experience I can improve if I make the jump.

Damn your review, you're making me think of spending money. Haha
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hmm. From what I've experienced thus far on the same songs, the Xonar cards make them sound more closed in compared to the Titanium HD. I've gotten this feeling on both the Essence STX and the Xonar D1 so far (to be really honest, they sound pretty much the same except some minor details that the D1 misses out). The PRO 550 will still be a massive step up in sound quality from the RX700 but my initial impressions are the sound stage is smaller on a Xonar than it is on the Titanium HD.
 

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Thanks. I read somewhere that Ultrasones needed 300 hours of burn-in, which is kind of a long time. Maybe you could update us again at that point to see if anything has changed.
 

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Okay, so I bit the bullet and decided to pick up the 550s and try them out myself. To be honest, I'm not as impressed as I hoped I would be. It might also be that it needs burning in or I just need to listen to it more.

All my comparisons are to my RX700. Music sounds better for sure. It's not so much that I'm hearing details I didn't hear before, it's more like the details are more prominent. I like looks of the headphone (gray/black) and how it feels on my ears. The hard case is a nice touch. I'm quite happy at its bass performance. I can tell it has a larger soundstage, but I feel like it takes some effort and attention for me to appreciate it (which I find contradictory to relaxing and enjoying music).

Keep in mind these are just initial impressions. I really do like the headphones and how well it plays the music I listen to, it just seems like it doesn't warrant the price I paid (almost 5x what I paid for the RX700). I might also need to just suck it up and realize that the $150 I paid is nothing to what real audio gear costs.

When I compared the Eminem song in the OP with both headphones, I could tell the car horn was a bit louder and could position it better (spatially) with the 550s, but if I wasn't paying attention, it certainly wouldn't have grabbed my attention.

Hm, I don't know. Maybe I just need to give it more time.

Off topic: I used my MEElectronics M9 today for the first time and was blown away at how well $10 IEMs can sound. Just amazing. Roller coaster of audio emotions for me today.
 
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