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Takstar HI-2050 headphones
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January 24, 2013, 06:48:39 AM
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I'm a sucker for headphones - it's my preferred way of listening to music; especially for vinyl. Recently, I came across a discussion on Head-Fi.org about inexpensive 'clone' headphones and one of them caught my eye - the Takstar HI-2050's. They are physical clones of the Beyerdynamic DT880 headphones and, while they don't sound exactly the same, the reviews of the HI-2050's have been overwhelmingly positive. Even the reviews by people who own much more expensive headphones - like the Sennheiser HD600's and HD800's - have been positive. So, after reading the reviews, I decided to buy a pair. You can find them on Ali-Express for around $50 with free (slow) shipping. The free shipping option could take a month to arrive in the United States. I ordered a pair two days ago so I have a long wait ahead of me.

I'm always interested in high value/low cost products and judging by the past recommendations (like the impressive sounding Philips SHE5850 headphones), the Takstar's should sound very good for the price. It's always hard to read a review and figure out if the reviewer is telling the truth, or how much experience they have with higher end products to base their judgement. My curiosity was peaked with all of the positive reviews and I just had to buy a pair of my own for comparison.  ;D

Reviews and opinions can be very subjective to the reviewers experience. From my experience, I feel that I should know what good sounding gear sounds like (at least to my ears anyway) and hopefully I can write an unbiased, objective review.  ;)

I did find it interesting that McIntosh used a pair of HI-2050's to demo a pre-amplifier at a trade show recently. I'm sure they must sound half-decent since McIntosh could afford any brand of headphones.  :)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 01:12:41 AM by BSD2000 »
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February 11, 2013, 02:13:13 PM
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The mailman delivered a package today.  :)

I'm listening to them right now through a Zune MP3 player. Here's a few of my initial observations:

Bass seems weak, but it's there. Seems to roll off around 50hz. Needs break-in!
These are very power hungry and not very efficient, even for 60ohm drivers. The are killing the battery pretty quickly.
The mids and highs sound very nice. Very airy, sweet and clean and slightly bright but without any annoying sibilance issues.
The soundstage is not as wide as my HD800's, but that's to be expected. It should widen up as they break-in.
Very easy to listen to. Plenty of detail and super clean sounding.
Very forgiving with poor sources; makes everything enjoyable to listen to.
The complete opposite of my HD650's which sound dark on the highs and warm in the bass and midbass.

Remember, these are ice cold and right out of the box. I'm going to hook them up to my Burson Audio amp and let them break-in for a while. I can see why people find these to be special, especially for the price. Hopefully the bass fills in more as they break-in but so far, I like what I'm hearing!


February 11, 2013, 06:22:16 PM
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Ok, they have been playing now for a few hours and with a good headphone amp, I can say they really open up and sound great. Some might find the highs a bit bright, much like my HD800's sound with the stock cable; but without the ear fatigue. I imagine younger people with sensitive ears would find them to be bright. Some people find the HD800's to be bright but IMHO, with a Cardas cable, they sound perfect to me. I actually find the HD650's to be too warm, veiled and dark sounding and I prefer the open, clean and airy sound of the HD800's. I can tell you this - I like the Takstar HI2050's more than the Fostex T50RP's.  :-X

The detail and clarity of the midrange and highs really strike me as something very special - actually, very close in overall sound to my HD800's. Of course, the HD800's sound more balanced top to bottom - but the HI2050's come close to the level of clarity and air that the HD800's have. I think the biggest surprise is how they can have such detail and clarity but never sound harsh or fatiguing. With most audio gear, break-in usually beefs up the low end and the highs burnish off the edge and brightness and hopefully the HI2050's break-in will produce the same result.

The soundstage and separation of the HD800's is about as close to perfect as you could get with a pair of dynamic headphones. With the HD800's, every instrument in the soundstage is easily positioned with pinpoint accuracy. With the HI2050's, the soundstage is about 75% as wide and maybe 80% as deep; positioning of the instruments is still a little fuzzy. It's still very respectable for such an inexpensive pair of headphones.

I played some bass test tone sweeps and I got usable bass down to 20hz and the sweep up and down was smooth. I think with 50~100 hours of break-in, the bass should fatten up and balance the frequency spectrum nicely. We'll have to wait and see.  ;)

I'm breaking the headphones in at a fairly high volume level with a mix of jazz and bass tracks with a lot of low frequency sweeps to loosen them up. I threw in a recording of a space shuttle launch which has a lot of dynamics and sub bass energy. So far, I can already hear small differences in the midbass and the soundstage, which seems to be getting wider in small increments.  8)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 06:29:43 PM by BSD2000 »



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