• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

JVC HA-SZ1000 Review (Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 90 85.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 6 5.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 7 6.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 2 1.9%

  • Total voters
    105

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,880
Likes
161,326
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review and measurements of the JVC HA-SZ1000 closed back headphone. It is discontinued but I think it cost $399 when new. A member from Europe kindly donated it to me months ago:

JVC HA-SZ1000 Review Headphone Frequency Response.jpg

It has a reputation of being for "bass heads."

The headband is quite bulky and stiff, putting fair bit of pressure on the pads.

JVC HA-SZ1000 Measurements
Let's start with our usual frequency response measurement:
JVC HA-SZ1000 Measurements Headphone Frequency Response.png


Owner left a note for me in the box that said these were the worst headphones he has listened to. I will parallel that statement by saying this is the worst headphone I have measured! I fiddled with it hoping to get better response but above is the best. The bass it has is upper bass, not lower bass. Maybe they thought this is the "Beats" sound that people want? FYI I found one other measurement for it and it more or less correlated with this so it is not broken.

At this point, I thought I finish the review by just posting distortion graph which ironically is superb:
JVC HA-SZ1000 Measurements Distortion Headphone Frequency Response.png


Conclusions
Do you need me to say it? Some designer/marketing person thought this is the sound people want to hear, damn any belief in "high fidelity" sound reproduction.

I see these advertised for $249 on ebay with one indicating it is "rare." Hopefully this means not too many people fell for such a broken implementation.

I can't recommend the JVC HA-SZ1000 headphone.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

H-713

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
364
Likes
607
Okay, but distortion is pretty low, which makes me think "maybe there's some headroom to play with". It'd be a bit of long shot, but maybe some "aggressive corrective EQ" could make it decent? You'd be adding a lot of filters... but maybe it could be saved? I mean, even if you kill the headphones in the process it's not like you've killed a gem...

Could be an interesting experiment...
 

ALaylowguy

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2022
Messages
13
Likes
22
A rather short review here. I thought Amir would try to EQ it and do some listening test. Was there any reason not to?
 

H-713

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
364
Likes
607
I only suggested it because the distortion is so low, but I agree that it probably isn't a very good use of time, especially since these are a discontinued and uncommon headphone.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
11,655
Likes
25,948
Location
The Neitherlands
These headphones have 2 drivers in it. One 55 mm for bass and a 30mm for mids and highs.
Below a plot measured by ultrabike (Changstar) with a flatbed DIY rig.

ha-sz1000_fra267.png


some background on these... ermm ... transducer thingies .... you can put on your head that appear to be a luxurious item.

These are called 'the real sound series'... In an alternate reality perhaps.

JVC.jpg
 

thewas

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
4,309
Likes
9,552
Okay, but distortion is pretty low, which makes me think "maybe there's some headroom to play with". It'd be a bit of long shot, but maybe some "aggressive corrective EQ" could make it decent? You'd be adding a lot of filters... but maybe it could be saved? I mean, even if you kill the headphones in the process it's not like you've killed a gem...

Could be an interesting experiment...
I agree and while it definitively isn't a well tuned headphone, the fixed frequency based choice of the reference curve makes it look worse than it is, below I redraw it manually quick and dirty at a difference level and there you can see it mainly needs 2 PEQ with approximately -7 dB for the two upper bass / lower mid bumps and possibly smaller one for its "Beyer" bump between 7-10 kHz (would experiment if filling partially the narrow-ish dip between 1-2 kHz is worth it):

1650346807746.png
 

Merkurio

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
222
Likes
379
I agree and while it definitively isn't a well tuned headphone, the fixed frequency based choice of the reference curve makes it look worse than it is, below I redraw it manually quick and dirty at a difference level and there you can see it mainly needs 2 PEQ with approximately -7 dB for the two upper bass / lower mid bumps and possibly smaller one for its "Beyer" bump between 7-10 kHz (would experiment if filling partially the narrow-ish dip between 1-2 kHz is worth it):

View attachment 200907

It could improve for sure (as practically every other headphone), maybe even at a very good sounding levels, but I agree with Amir, having plenty gear available to test, why bother with a discontinued product?

For those who have one, at least their know they’ve plenty of headroom with the low distortion to play with, along with a proper FR measurement.
 

bunkbail

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
497
Likes
627
I agree and while it definitively isn't a well tuned headphone, the fixed frequency based choice of the reference curve makes it look worse than it is, below I redraw it manually quick and dirty at a difference level and there you can see it mainly needs 2 PEQ with approximately -7 dB for the two upper bass / lower mid bumps and possibly smaller one for its "Beyer" bump between 7-10 kHz (would experiment if filling partially the narrow-ish dip between 1-2 kHz is worth it):

View attachment 200907
That looked a lot better than I initially thought it was. It certainly has a lot of room to improve here.
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,122
Likes
2,125
Still many people here believe that EQ is mandatory anyway. If the Idea is to leave the frequency response task to what can be done digitall more easily than with mechanical tuning, it does look like a good candidate for high fidelity no? To me there is some merit to achieve distortion that low if you are going to EQ anyway. isn’t digitally crafting the response with EQ going to bring less degradation that trying to play with the physics to ask a driver to follow a certain curve? I think this make sense, let the drivers do what they do at their optimal mechanical capabiilities, and do the frequency response thing the most transparent way.. Maybe.
 

lloyd84

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2020
Messages
12
Likes
38
I'd call these the "McDonalds Squawkbox Edition", because they'd sound exactly like the muffled mess that emits from one of them.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,880
Likes
161,326
Location
Seattle Area
Still many people here believe that EQ is mandatory anyway. If the Idea is to leave the frequency response task to what can be done digitall more easily than with mechanical tuning, it does look like a good candidate for high fidelity no? To me there is some merit to achieve distortion that low if you are going to EQ anyway. isn’t digitally crafting the response with EQ going to bring less degradation that trying to play with the physics to ask a driver to follow a certain curve? I think this make sense, let the drivers do what they do at their optimal mechanical capabiilities, and do the frequency response thing the most transparent way.. Maybe.
Until EQ becomes universally available, I like to see a response much closer to target than these deliver. In my situation, youtube listening on Windows for example is without EQ.
 

welder

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
26
Likes
19
Location
EU
Still many people here believe that EQ is mandatory anyway. If the Idea is to leave the frequency response task to what can be done digitall more easily than with mechanical tuning, it does look like a good candidate for high fidelity no? To me there is some merit to achieve distortion that low if you are going to EQ anyway. isn’t digitally crafting the response with EQ going to bring less degradation that trying to play with the physics to ask a driver to follow a certain curve? I think this make sense, let the drivers do what they do at their optimal mechanical capabiilities, and do the frequency response thing the most transparent way.. Maybe.
I think the same. EQ being lesser of two evils. That's why most of Bluetooth headphones despite being cheap, sounds decent. Manufacturer can upfront apply some EQ in digital domain as driver, dac and amp are "integrated" and can be tuned as one.
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,122
Likes
2,125
Until EQ becomes universally available, I like to see a response much closer to target than these deliver. In my situation, youtube listening on Windows for example is without EQ.
I think the same. The ecosystem is not adequate for that sort of things, that makes this a poor choice indeed, It makes this an outcast, but outside the box stuff matter too. In the end, it is a fact that mechanical tuning is laborious, inneficient, and counterproductive, but still necessary, until it won’t.
 

10khz-lpf

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
17
Likes
7
Location
Yamaha superfan
They definitely aren't for everybody, but I'll never get rid of my SZ2000's, which were designed to take a huge amount of power and provide a huge amount of SPL, but EQ'ing is a necessity.
I wish I had kept my SZ1000's. They were fun, didn't need EQ as much as the SZ2000, but I really do miss them.
Find those old youtube clips of people powering their JVC HA series with giant amps and making paper flutter with the bass.
 
Top Bottom