"Fantastic pair of high-end headphones!"5.0 starson by Robert-Oconnor
Pros: + Looks are very bold, and they look very impressive close up
+ Very stylish, light and comfortable
+ They sound incredible. Great bass, smooth highs and full mids
Cons: - No have for cons
Summary: Well the Ultrasone HFI-580's came in today. Guess this is a good as place as any to write my opinion. They sounded so good I had to share. :)
First impression of them. They're very meaty, much meatier than the inexpensive Koss UR-15C I was using prior. (A $20 pair of headphones (when I bought them).) The Koss don't sound "bad" per-se, especially since they've been through multi-hundred hours of burn-in, and have settled in to sound as good as they can.
The looks are very bold, and they look very impressive close up. They may be targeted towards the more edgier crowd, as they're very "in-your-face" and don't have as a muted appearance as some other higher-end phones. Could be good or bad on your point of view, personally I really like it.
Now, the sound. Since comparing it to the Koss is a travesty in and of itself (as it utterly dominates them), my other comparison comes from Sony MDR-710 LP ($70 when I bought them, Ultraportable supra-aural headphones. Owned for going on 2 years.)
Now the Sony's sound pretty darn good, but they are supra-aural versus the Ultrasone and Koss which are circum-aural. The Sony are the reason I decided to purchase these Ultrasone, because they really opened up how a decent pair of headphones can really change the way you listen to things. I have also owned a great many cheap earbuds and circum-aural headphones in my life($5 - 10), so I know how the sound stacks up to cheapy's too.
Being circum-aural has advantages because of attenuation of outside noise. I first thought about gushing about how awesome they sound, but then I decided some actual thought out impressions would be more helpful. :) It's hard to describe since I'm not in the habit of reviewing headphones, so I don't know all of the terms one uses to describe the nuances of headphones to another person, but here it goes.
The sound is very "rich" compared to my other headphones I own, I don't know how to put it, there is more detail and it just sounds "fuller". I intentionally picked tracks I had listened to many times, because I knew how they sounded pretty well from my other pairs. I was picking up pitch shifts in notes and sounds that were previously undetectable. It just seems like it covers a much broader range of sound and the sound is fantastic. I listened both to CD music, and mp3's. I didn't have any DVD audio to test... other than DVD movies.
Bass. As I said the bass notes are very important to me. They actually tie the Sony MDR-710 here, you'd be surprised at how bassy those little Sony's are, and I might go so far as to say they actually have more bass than the Ultrasones. But again, it just seemed like the Ultrasone's convey more detail in bass, probably due to being more isolated from the circum-aural design. (Keep in mind the Sony's have about 40 hours of burn-in, and the Ultrasone's are out of the box.)
On DVD's, again I was picking up more detail. The sound of peoples clothes as they rubbed together was one thing that stuck out. Footsteps, breathing, just overall much more sound detail. I was pretty impressed overall, I watched Matrix Reloaded to test the action scenes. (Say what you want about the movie itself but the action scenes are incredible.)
Gaming. Well what better game to test on than GTA-IV since it just came out. (I chose the 360 to test on because my PC although using optical out to my receiver does not output 5.1 from the optical out.) I figured here is where the much touted "S-Logic" feature pattented by Ultrasone would finally show it's colors. It just sounded like a really good pair of stereo headphones, although I haven't ever listened to a pair of "true" 5.1's (3 speakers & sub in each ear cup). But from what I read, most 5.1 headphones can't deliver other than LTB. I did actually shop around for 5.1 headphones but I didn't find any with the right combination of features and aesthetics that appealed to me (USB-based is automatic disqualification for me).
So maybe S-Logic does work, this is something I will just have to give more than 30 minutes to. I did actually stand stationary and close my eyes and spin the control stick until I was unsure of my position, then slowly started rotating, detecting if sound was coming from left or right is easy as it only plays in one ear, but as it came to front to back, I did manage to accurately pick if the source was coming from in front of me or behind me 3/3 times. This is only a rough test and 3/3 could have just been luck, but I didn't spend much more time testing this.
Ultrasone claims you can achieve the same level of listening volume with lower decibles, due to their S-Logic off-center drivers, this was something I didn't believe and was skeptical of. Turns out it is true and then some, I actually had to turn the volume down a bit from what I usually have it set it.
Overall I am very impressed and think it was money well spent. They won't be replacing the Sony as those are so compact when they fold up and can slip into a pocket easily. Rather they will compliment them mainly for home use and some mixing.
*** P.S. If you will buy these Headphones I suggest you have compare price before you decide at: www.amazon.com/gp/*************?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%****%2Foffer-listing%2FB00101UHS8%3Fie%3DUTF8%26ref_%3Ddp_olp_new%26condition%3Dnew%23&tag=***************&********=ur2&camp=1789&creative=390957