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kokakolia

NAD HP50 - short review

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So I bought the NAD HP-50 ~5 months ago for $130 CAD @ Vision Electronics. Surprisingly, they're still on sale for $130 at the same store. Because absolutely nobody wants them. And it's easy to see why:

 

Let's talk about the negatives first: The NAD HP-50 is the most uncomfortable headphone you can buy. The Frankenstein headband clamps so hard that your ears will hurt after 20 minutes of regular use. If your head is shaped like a skinny Lego brick then ignore what I just said. For everyone else: you'll have to bend that square-ish headband into an oval shape. You can easily do this by putting your thumbs on the outer extremities of the black arch and pushing inwards and upwards to get an oval shape. It takes a little bit of strength and a few tries. You'll lose quite a bit of noise isolation and bass after bending the headband but the added comfort more than makes up for it. Otherwise, the only negatives I can think of are the outdated aesthetics (it looks like two computer mice glued onto a headband) and the lack of bass quantity (although the bass is more than adequate, especially in quality). In addition, I wish that the earpads were larger to fully surround the ear. As it stands, the HP-50 is more of an awkward on-ear but not quite over-ear design (like the M50x). 

 

The positives: you won't find a better sounding headphone under $200 CAD. Period. Yes, there are massdrop models like the AKG K7xx or Sennheiser HD6xx or what have you...but they're $200 USD and above which is basically double the price of the HP-50. And forget about the Audio Technica M50x or M40x, they're clearly a tier below. The HP-50 have an overall relaxed, almost-warm sound with *barely enough treble and *barely enough bass to be considered neutral. If you're used to a more "dynamic" V-shaped sound signature like you see on the M50x then you'll probably find the Hp-50 boring. On first glance, nothing really stands out on the HP-50 because it sounds perfectly flat, like the speakers in a movie theatre room. The highs have a Sennheiser quality to them as they're ever so slightly rolled off, but it's much appreciated if you're listening to music for extended periods of time. The mids produce lifelike male vocals and acoustic guitars. The bass is "just right", it's deep and punchy but it won't rattle your skull like an aftermarket subwoofer stereo system in a car. But I have to say that the HP-50 handles EDM rather well. The synths sound godly and there's plenty of bass to keep your toes tapping. Saying that the HP-50 is not for bassheads would be a lie, because the bass is clearly present but it's just a few dB lower than most headphones. Actually, I can't find a genre of music that the Hp-50 can't do well. Soundstage is surprisingly good on the HP-50, I would say that it even gives the Sennheiser HD558 and Philips SHP 9500 a run for the money. The HP-50 sounds like an open headphone, but it's closed. Comfort-wise, the HP-50 excels after bending the headband to shape thanks to the luxurious pads. The removable cable is a nice touch but expected for the price. And the Hp-50 doesn't require any amplification whatsoever. You can easily get uncomfortably loud volumes at 60% on the anemic iPhone dongle for headphones. 

 

Long story short: Nobody can recommend the HP-50 because it's so darn uncomfortable and stupid-looking out of the box. But it's the bargain of the century if you don't mind putting a little elbow grease into fixing the god-awful headband. I honestly don't see myself buying new headphones anytime soon because my "modded" HP-50s leave nothing to complain about. 

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, kokakolia said:

So I bought the NAD HP-50 ~5 months ago for $130 CAD @ Vision Electronics. Surprisingly, they're still on sale for $130 at the same store. Because absolutely nobody wants them. And it's easy to see why:

 

Let's talk about the negatives first: The NAD HP-50 is the most uncomfortable headphone you can buy. The Frankenstein headband clamps so hard that your ears will hurt after 20 minutes of regular use. If your head is shaped like a skinny Lego brick then ignore what I just said. For everyone else: you'll have to bend that square-ish headband into an oval shape. You can easily do this by putting your thumbs on the outer extremities of the black arch and pushing inwards and upwards to get an oval shape. It takes a little bit of strength and a few tries. You'll lose quite a bit of noise isolation and bass after bending the headband but the added comfort more than makes up for it. Otherwise, the only negatives I can think of are the outdated aesthetics (it looks like two computer mice glued onto a headband) and the lack of bass quantity (although the bass is more than adequate, especially in quality). In addition, I wish that the earpads were larger to fully surround the ear. As it stands, the HP-50 is more of an awkward on-ear but not quite over-ear design (like the M50x). 

 

The positives: you won't find a better sounding headphone under $200 CAD. Period. Yes, there are massdrop models like the AKG K7xx or Sennheiser HD6xx or what have you...but they're $200 USD and above which is basically double the price of the HP-50. And forget about the Audio Technica M50x or M40x, they're clearly a tier below. The HP-50 have an overall relaxed, almost-warm sound with *barely enough treble and *barely enough bass to be considered neutral. If you're used to a more "dynamic" V-shaped sound signature like you see on the M50x then you'll probably find the Hp-50 boring. On first glance, nothing really stands out on the HP-50 because it sounds perfectly flat, like the speakers in a movie theatre room. The highs have a Sennheiser quality to them as they're ever so slightly rolled off, but it's much appreciated if you're listening to music for extended periods of time. The mids produce lifelike male vocals and acoustic guitars. The bass is "just right", it's deep and punchy but it won't rattle your skull like an aftermarket subwoofer stereo system in a car. But I have to say that the HP-50 handles EDM rather well. The synths sound godly and there's plenty of bass to keep your toes tapping. Saying that the HP-50 is not for bassheads would be a lie, because the bass is clearly present but it's just a few dB lower than most headphones. Actually, I can't find a genre of music that the Hp-50 can't do well. Soundstage is surprisingly good on the HP-50, I would say that it even gives the Sennheiser HD558 and Philips SHP 9500 a run for the money. The HP-50 sounds like an open headphone, but it's closed. Comfort-wise, the HP-50 excels after bending the headband to shape thanks to the luxurious pads. The removable cable is a nice touch but expected for the price. And the Hp-50 doesn't require any amplification whatsoever. You can easily get uncomfortably loud volumes at 60% on the anemic iPhone dongle for headphones. 

 

Long story short: Nobody can recommend the HP-50 because it's so darn uncomfortable and stupid-looking out of the box. But it's the bargain of the century if you don't mind putting a little elbow grease into fixing the god-awful headband. I honestly don't see myself buying new headphones anytime soon because my "modded" HP-50s leave nothing to complain about. 

 

 

 

 

never heard of it before Im gonna have to give them a try cause if someone has $200 canadian I just try to tell them to stretch their budget a bit and grab a beyerdynamic or hd 58x. or go down to an entry level headphone and avoid the m50x. 


 

Main Desktop audio Setup topping d10---> monolith Alex Cavelli Liquid Spark--->Beyerdynamic dt 990 for gaming, Sennheiser hd 58x for everything else

My portable setup one plus 6T--->fiio ubtr---> Tin hifi T3

Other audio stuff you can feel free to ask about if you see me on the audio forum are AKG k240, AKG k 52, AKG y50bt, koss ksc 75, Sennheiser HD 4.40, Fiio e10k 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
34 minutes ago, rice guru said:

never heard of it before Im gonna have to give them a try cause if someone has $200 canadian I just try to tell them to stretch their budget a bit and grab a beyerdynamic or hd 58x. or go down to an entry level headphone and avoid the m50x. 

The original price of the HP-50 is around $350 CAD. So you expect them to be really good. The huge dip in price is 100% the headband’s fault. Because an uncomfortable headphone is not enjoyable, therefore not worth anybody’s consideration. 

 

I’m just saying that the HP-50 is underrated. But only a side-by-side review with other staple headphones would prove that. And that would be a futile exercise since the HP-50 is discontinued. Furthermore, the sound signature changes ever so slightly after modding the headband. 

 

From a value point of view, the added risk of having to mod the headphone is likely not worth the $100 you save over buying another model like the Audio Technica MSR7 which comes “perfect” out of the box. 

 

There’s only one type of person who should buy the HP50: the headphone geek with too many headphones who wants a neutral closed back pair in their collection (since most closed backs are V-shaped) and doesn’t mind modding.  

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