These days China is just spewing out one great audio product after another; some at top prices such as Hifiman with top sq to boot and others, such as Superlux going for the bang for buck hunters with superior quality for stupidly low prices. Either way if you are looking East my friend you maybe onto a winner.
It still is a hit and miss market mind you and I have some samples I am not too fussed on and I was never a fan of the thin sounding HD6 series Superlux’s although the IEM was a not bad. Mind you what they did though was catch my attention for at $50 or less. At this level of pricing you are usually talking starter kit at best, but it seems not anymore.
The Takstar TS-671, for bang for buck detail hunters could be a game changer. I say detail hunters only. For bassheads go for a beer or something because this headphone is not for you. If you want home listening, massive headphones, massive sound stage and prefer your music a little more on the bright side of neutral then this headphone plays better than the luxes I have heard so far, namely the 668b and the 669.
Ok so lets look at what we got before we talk more about why I kind of like this headphone.
Package and build
This is one big headphone. Be under no doubt it is made for the home listening setup and not for mobility. Yet it does not feel that heavy. I do feel there is a sense of balancing on your head though like some some odd deportment class since it is so high off your head but the middle headband fastener is very comfortable and does a great job of keeping everything in place.
The build is quite definitely plastic but looks solid enough around the joints and I dont think it will fall apart that easily.
Being equipped with velour as opposed to pleather is an edge over the Lux full size cans for me. The Lux pleather was too hard and cheap and very off putting when I initially got them and instantly the velour of the takstar was a winner with less sweat and a more comfortable fit. Let us not get too carried away though since this is not AKG K701 quality velour. Its a tad rough to the touch with essence of blanket rather than fine woven soft cloth but at this price level it is more than acceptable and much comfier for my ears.
The over all look of the can pays homage to AKG and ATH but is just different enough in fit and finish to actually carry off a bit of originality which I do appreciate. Clones are all well and good but just leaves you yearning for the real thing and the real sq to boot. Being different points to some sort of principle and integrity in my book anyhow. The cups themselves are open full size over the ear so plenty of room. They have a slight side to side swivel to them but you can lay them flat. The cable is twisted coiled single side (left side) which is handy and not something I expected for a headphone of this size.
Overall a big headphone but light and easy to work enough to work with on your head.
Type: Full size, over the ear, dynamic, open
Frequency response: 12hz – 25khz
Power handling: 500mW
Now looking at the marketing fluff this is being portrayed as a’hifi’ ‘headphone. What does that mean to me? Well perhaps more graceful? Analytical? Studio and reference? Those are the connotations I got in my mind as I slipped them on and to be honest I was not that far off. Rated at 120ohm with a 105db sensitivity I would suggest pairing this up with an amp to maximize potential. For this session I listened to them connected to a Go Vibe Vulcan+ amp and the HM602 with a mix of 320kb and flac for my pleasure. I think ti could benefit with being paired with a warm amp, tubed preferably if you have one because this is not a dark sounding headphone.
Is 53mm big enough for you??
These are not bass head cans, not in a million years. But it does convey a massive presentation with an uber large sound stage. The star of this show is quite clearly the 53mm drivers nestled in the big cups. The headphones are big on the outside and big on the inside and I love that. It the single over riding impression I got from using them for the last 4 days and what I am remembering about them right now. I am not talking precision Stax like imaging or LCD-2 like subterranean rumbling here but just sheer size alone. This is not intimate, its grandiose and over the top.
Now for overall tonality this is a neutral to bright headphone and as such is more at home with orchestral, acoustic and atmospheric playback and I am going to say probably not bad at movies either. Anything really that needs space to breathe. Now when you say bright let me just say I heard only a little sibilance in my playback. Using a Hifiman HM602 (custom eq), Go Vibe Vulcan+ amp setup, the treble was kind of hot at times, particularly on synth laced fast tracks and some guitar shredding but it never rasped back at me in a way that made me want to wash my ears out. It could though get a little fatiguing so that is why I am saying hot for now but it did sparkle on some tracks nicely when needed.
Here are some examples of that hotness working for and against though to give you an idea of where this headphone is suited.
One of my favorite reference albums is Safri Duo’s – Origins and here I felt this huge sound stage monster could roam free and that they did very well indeed. I really enjoyed Origins, the lead track and it conveyed a real cinematic feel to the sq which is what this track is all about – atmosphere. When these cans hit their stride they can give a much beefier sound than the lux’es and their reach is far and beyond the lux which can at times feel constricted.
Switch to Within Temptation – The Unforgiving and Sinead and Sharon’s soaring vocals combined with the synths and background cymbal work just got a little too spiky at times for me to have a comfortable and smooth experience like the hot but warm Tesla treble of the T50p
Sadly the bass is a tad too light which limits these headphones in terms of genre application, but don’t let that put you off having a go with these. They do lack slam and I suspect that any FR chart will show roll off at the low end. They are not thin by any means but with a 53mm driver I was left looking for a bit more than what I got. I wonder if a pleather pad over the velour would give it a dark beefy sq – worth a thought. Mind you less bass means you are focusing on the music and not the rythmn as much so this will suit me and my detail phase I have been in for the last year or so. I would not say this is a very forward headphone, the mids do quite well to compete with the sparkle in the top end but do get a tad lost in the big presentation. They can come across as a bit dry in my humble opinion. They are ok but nothing breathtaking.
Something to note regarding using my beastly Go Vibe Vulcan+ amp.When switching the sound stage on the amp to active the cups really do appreciate the enhanced width. I mean if there ever was a button designed for these headphones then the sound stage button on the Vulcan was made for it.
So is it flavor of the month time again?
It depends on what you like honestly. This will not appeal to analog loving bassheads and if you have a sensitive ear then you might find it a bit much. But if you are a concert, jazz or acoustic listening detail freak with a love of big open sound stages, airy presentations and don’t mind the fact that you look like a robot with it on your head (for pity sake think of the children and stay indoors!) then you might find yourself with good headphone.
All this for less than $50 or less? Really? Honest?
Go Vibe Vulcan+ Headphone Amplifier
Flac – Within Temptation – The Unforgiving
Mp3 320k – Sabri Duo – Origins