Headphones in my opinion, much like loudspeakers, are a highly subjective topic in the world of sound mainly because each individual has or her own preference to what they think is good quality audio. Naturally bad audio (distortion, tinny sound, lack of bass, ear-piercing treble) are easier to dispute but when it comes to leading brands the subject becomes way more contentious. This is why I was quite interested to see what the 20 year old German company, Ultrasone, has to offer, that may be different or unique.
The DJ1 as the name clearly denotes is a specialist DJ headphone set and is also available as the DJ1PRO. Unpacking reveals a trendy looking headset finished in black with polar-white and silver trim. Included is a bag and an audio CD for testing the unit. The patented S-Logic™Plus Natural Surround Sound Technology is standard, as is the Ultra Low Emission (ULE-technology). The DJ1 has heavy duty Mylar drivers to provide powerful sound and is designed to fold up into a transport bag and offers one-ear-listening due to this folding-mechanism. Aesthetically the DJ1 and its PRO brother certainly look the part.
The PRO900 headphones and in fact their entire PRO range are studio reference headphones and out of the three variants on review here, certainly come in the most substantial packaging along with a very professional looking hard case storage bag. The PRO 900’s hard case is equipped with extra earpads with great isolation, detachable USC (ultra soft) cable and Neutrik connectors. The titanium-plated drivers deliver very precise sound reproduction. Again their new S-LogicTM Plus technology is used in the design.
The closed-back HFI-780 is accentuated by the polar-silver colour trim and is aimed squarely at the high-end leisure market – specifically gamers and home theatre fundis, I should imagine. These headphones derive from the studio sector and also contain all Ultrasone technologies such as S-Logic™ Plus, ULE and safer hearing.
About Ultrasone S-LogicTM –
S-Logic™ Plus is the newest advancement in the S-Logic™ Natural Surround System, squeezing the BIG S-Logic™ soundstage found in their PRO series headphones into the more streamlined ear-cups of select HFI & DJ models (HFI-580, HFI-680, HFI-780, DJ1). The technology combines precision dampening with micro-acoustic reinforcement, allowing driver, buffer-board, and spatial parameters to complement one another in an optimal manner. So the acoustically redesigned ear-cups of these new models and their tonal fine-tuning result in a very neutral sound impression with more vivid perception of voices and instruments.
Each set of headphones includes a reference listening CD containing 20 classical and acoustic based tracks to demonstrate the full scope and range of the model you have just bought. It’s Ultrasones way of saying ‘we know our headphones sound good!’ Handily it also made my job way easier when testing the 3 models and comparing to my existing set of cans.
The HFI-780 and PRO900 are not too dissimilar in sound – both are crystal clear, very flat sounding and have incredible depth. In studio use or when gaming I should imagine being lost in the audio quite easily and it would not be too far-fetched an idea to forget you even have the headphones on. They are comfortable, have large cups and the PRO900’s isolation is particularly impressive cancelling out external noise completely.
The pick of the bunch for me though is the DJ1, possibly because my ears are tuned to this frequency after years of abuse. These phones fitted my head perfectly, the cups covering each ear and cancelling out external noise superbly. But the most impressive feature is the incredible bass extension. Competing with the bass of the main PA is tough enough but even with just one ear on (the fold-up cup works perfectly) the sound was crystal clear and the detail super impressive.
Notably I foresee no sound fatigue or long term ear damage using these, such is their clarity and quality. The Ultrasone headphones are very good and certainly deliver on their promise of high quality.
SA Distributor: Tradelius Tel: 031- 5023080 / www.tradelius.co.za
Suggested Retail Prices: DJ1 R1,590 / HFI-780 R2,275.00 /PRO900 R4.782.00