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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

10khz-lpf

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Not sure why everyone here is focused on the measurements of this headphone.;)

As you saw from the video on the 2nd page, the goal of this headphone was providing tangible amounts of SPL for serious bassheads, like the kind of car audio guys whose bass you can hear from 3 blocks away.

I think this headphone was made for those kind of people, after they get home for the night but still need to get their fix of hearing loss ;)

[All jokes aside, when I used my SZ2000 I had a very crazy looking EQ, but I actually spent a bit of time measuring the frequency response of the headphones without EQ. Once I applied some DSP to make up for the crazy dips around ~4K and other problem areas, it was incredibly good sounding, like sitting close to the speakers of a 80's Hi-Fi system.)
 

mr.at

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Sep 20, 2019
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I had these at one point.

Really wanted to love them. Bass was good - but still not Fostex/EMU level - close but nah, beat by Fosters.

The rest - was terrible. Worse than the ATH-M50x which I also had, and much preferred. Sold the ATH out, with some second thoughts.

Sold this JVC out and NEVER LOOKED BACK. NEVER.
 

Yorkshire Mouth

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Apr 22, 2020
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I can understand @amirm ’s reasons for not EQ-ing these, but I’d love him to reconsider.

My reason being, this is something that’s been asked about a lot. What would happen if you EQ’d a pair of headphones which were way off target with their frequency response, but had the ability to cover the whole frequency range (20-29k) and very low distortion, and thus presumably plenty of room for manoeuvre.

This would in turn open whole can of worms. Were EQ to become more easily available, manufacturers could concentrate on just producing low-distortion units with plenty of bass.

Dare I say it? Manufacturers could even design headphones like this, then provide their own EQ, outside the headphone, or inside along with the Bluetooth connection, for example. This could potentially be far cheaper and easier to design than headphones with an accurate response.

As I say, it would open up a whole can of worms. But potentially also a whole range of possibilities.
 

Robbo99999

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I can understand @amirm ’s reasons for not EQ-ing these, but I’d love him to reconsider.

My reason being, this is something that’s been asked about a lot. What would happen if you EQ’d a pair of headphones which were way off target with their frequency response, but had the ability to cover the whole frequency range (20-29k) and very low distortion, and thus presumably plenty of room for manoeuvre.

This would in turn open whole can of worms. Were EQ to become more easily available, manufacturers could concentrate on just producing low-distortion units with plenty of bass.

Dare I say it? Manufacturers could even design headphones like this, then provide their own EQ, outside the headphone, or inside along with the Bluetooth connection, for example. This could potentially be far cheaper and easier to design than headphones with an accurate response.

As I say, it would open up a whole can of worms. But potentially also a whole range of possibilities.
I actually think that headphone manufacturers don't want to totally solve the "headphone problem", because if they did then it would completely cut down variation in headphones and manufacturers would no longer have "point of difference" between their headphones.....it would just become another commodity that would have lost it's luxury sections and would become, "oh yes, I'll just use my perfect headphone that everybody always has now....and that I take completely for granted". Trying to think of examples of other products where they used to be luxury "wow" items and now they're everyday items with no point of difference or "interest" because they've been perfected....there's gotta be some. I think it's in their interest to not have everything nailed down & transparent, so people are kinda guessing about what kind of experience they're actually having....hunting for that new headphone, trying out another. A lot could be done to improve the experience for users, but I don't think it's totally in their interest. At the moment I think we have to "DIY" our experience with headphones to get our best possible experience.
 

Yorkshire Mouth

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But surely, in the same way the headphone-buying community likes different frequency curves now, the eq correction could be equally different.

It’s just as difficult to accurately re-create an inaccurate target sound as it is an accurate one. And just as easy to eq to that incorrect curve as a correct one.
 

Robbo99999

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But surely, in the same way the headphone-buying community likes different frequency curves now, the eq correction could be equally different.

It’s just as difficult to accurately re-create an inaccurate target sound as it is an accurate one. And just as easy to eq to that incorrect curve as a correct one.
I think a lot of people think they like a certain frequency response or don't like a certain frequency response based on what they think they're listening to.......what I mean is unit to unit variation can make some pretty significant changes to your experience, so if you're relying solely on an EQ done by (for example) Oratory then unless you're using a headphone that is known to have low unit to unit variation then you can't say with confidence that you like a certain frequency response or not (you won't know for sure if you're listening to the Harman Curve or not for example), because you don't really know what you're listening to. Recent experiments I've done with measuring my headphones on miniDSP EARS and comparing them against each other to see unit to unit variation & also some work to link a unit of headphone that has been measured on GRAS by Oratory to my own measurement of that same unit on my miniDSP EARS, and then translating that to a different unit of the same headphone (a unit that is a "perfect" of example of said headphone model (low distortion / near perfect channel matching / perfect pads) to enable the most accurate measurement & EQ possible has resulted in what I think has been the best headphone experience I've had.......which has led me to realise the importance of frequency response & "knowing" what you're really listening to. I think if all headphone models out there had "zero" unit to unit variation & perfect channel matching through the whole frequency range, and then if you were to use something like an Oratory EQ for your model of headphone, I reckon that would be a tremendous experience for a lot of people on almost every model of headphone (if you were only choosing headphones with relatively smooth frequency responses that are fairly easily EQ'd)....I think there's a substantial proportion of people out there think they don't like the Harman Curve because they've never really experienced an accurate representation of it. Bass seal on your own head is another variable that is more commonly understood as a variable that can occur. But in my experience if you can truly "lock down" frequency response (and channel matching) then you're there, and other things like measured distortion are not as important.....I would wager there's a number of people that think they don't like the bass in their headphones because they think that headphone of theirs has too much distortion, but really I think a lot of that could be because the bass curve is not getting locked down for them, they don't really know what frequency response they're listening to down there - it's got to flow right from 200Hz down to 20Hz to enable you to get proper definition & impact in the bass. Sure distortion could be an issue, but frequency response is the king in my experience, and also the tease.....because it's very hard to know exactly what you're listening to when it comes to frequency response!

Yes, so in answer to your point you bring up....I think there would be a lot more uptake & agreement between people when it comes to their likes & dislikes of decent headphone targets (I'm gonna say the Harman Curve) - I think there would be way less "personal preference" in headphones perceived if headphone manufacturers were locking down their frequency responses in terms of controlling unit to unit variation (channel matching) when used with EQ to various targets. But, I will agree there is still some scope for personal preference even if you're totally controlling things like bass seal / unit to unit variation / channel matching.......but it would be way less than what people perceive now.

Referring back to my previous post, I think manufacturers don't want to totally solve headphones though. If a manufacturer produced a headphone that reliably sealed to people's heads (bass level consistency) and it was a headphone that followed the Harman Curve accurately & smoothly (not jagged) through the "whole" frequency range, and it had close to zero unit to unit variation & perfect channel matching, and if it was accessible in price then they would never have to make another headphone again.....and may not be able to improve upon it.....not until they then made the next leap through further R&D spending to go beyond what is possible with "just" the Harman Curve - so things like personalised frequency responses through accurate HRTF prediction from facial photographs, etc....and then linking that in a way to create faithful "proper" out of head perfect 30 degree stereo speaker (maybe multichannel too) imaging / experience. This last point does exist with the Smyth Realizer but it's extremely expensive and inconvenient to setup & use. And to be honest that is probably gonna take up quite a bit of R&D spending to make something like that happen......so headphone manufacturers would probably rather play it safe & continue churning out headphones that are minimally different and have "indeterminable" frequency responses so that enthusiasts are happy to keep "guessing" and trying the next best headphone - it's an easy revenue stream. So I see it as two steps, Step #1 would be solving unit to unit variation & accurately & affordably producing to the Harman Curve (which would unfortunately be shooting themselves in the foot until they progressed onto the following step#2). Step #2 would an easy and accessible Smyth Realizer type situation to start emulating stereo & multichannel speakers perfectly for every individual at reasonable price......and you'd probably use your "perfect" headphone from Step #1 in that process. Problem is they're not at Step #1 yet. (Ok, for Step #1 I'll add that you should be able to put some easy convenient user accessible EQ to tweak those perfect Harman headphones to your taste - although I think a lot less people would end up doing that because they'd actually be "for sure" listening to the Harman Curve as unit to unit variation (etc) would have been solved).

EDIT: to avoid depressing people who are reading this (& sorry for the wall), people can still sort things out by choosing a headphone with lowest unit to unit variation & which has a smooth unjagged frequency response that is easily EQ'd from EQ's that are found on the net (eg Oratory or anywhere else where you've got some GRAS measurements going on).
 
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