Monday, August 25, 2008

New Cans: JVC HA-S700 - Initial Impressions

I recently bought JVC's (Victor) new HA-S700 headphones at Circuit City. I bought them since they seemed like a direct knockoff of the Bose Triport - but at a much better price. The decent Triport is vastly overpriced at $130 so I figured that I'd try the JVC "version" which cost only $50. ($35 w/ free shipping on is the best price I could find but it is currently sold out as of 8/25/2008.)

I will write a review eventually but I figure that I should let them burn in for some more time before passing judgment.

First, I will discuss comfort and style. The S700 has a very clean look and fits comfortably over my ears. They clamp my head a bit but that can be expected from new headphones. I think it is great that the ear pads are padded with memory foam. This is beneficial for both comfort and sealing purposes. The headband's extension system is also similar to that in the Triport. The HA-S700 folds inward and flat but it does not have a dual hinge for true portability.

Someone on Amazon gave these a 5 star review and said: I just bought these headphone for a trip to China. I wanted something lightweight that sounded great and the JVC hits on both items. They fold flat to make storage easy and come with a pouch. They compare very well to Bose Tri-port at half the price. Don't buy in to Bose hype !! Buy the JVC !

In my limited experience with these headphones I think that the reviewer is on the right track but may not know of other competing headphones that offer better value. Please keep in mind that my HA-S700's sound may not have truly opened up yet after 5 hours of pink noise. So far, I find the HA-S700 to have a very clean midrange presence but they lack bass definition and impact and the treble can be sibilant. (Once again I tested with an iRiver H120 and .flac music files.

Even now, if you factor in excellent comfort, sound build quality quality, decent portability and the thus unspectacular sound quality, these represent a wonderful value at ~$35. At the price range, if your primary focus is SQ, then you may want to look at the excellent sounding Panasonic RP-HTX7. However, the HTX7 is not as comfortable and does not fold. If you can spend some more I highly recommend the Denon AH-D1001 for ~$100. They are very very comfortable and sound wonderful but they do not fold like the HA-S700.

In conclusion, the JVC HA-S700 is a good looking headphone at a great price. However, if sound quality is your number one concern, there are other options.