headphones

Able Planet PS500MM Headphones Review

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Sound Quality

{{article.attachments['quality.jpg']}} Sound Quality  

{{article.attachments['ableplanet_ps500mm.jpg']}}

• Poor frequency response

leads to a muffled, flat sound.

• Very little distortion.

• Even tracking overall, but the

right channel cuts out a bit in the high end.

{{article.attachments['left.jpg']}} Tour & Design Page 3 of 12 Isolation {{article.attachments['right.jpg']}}

**

About our testing:**

For more information on our tests, read this

article
.

 

Frequency Response    

(*1.78**)*


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What we found:

The PS500MM headphones started out with a decent enough frequency

response. They had a good bass level that didn't get boomy towards the

low end. Then something terrible happened. After about 800Hz, the

response gradually begins to roll off. Just before 7kHz, the response

falls off precipitously, before bumping back up. After this point it's

a bit inconsistent.

The oddly inconsistent response lead to the headphones producing a

muffled, flat souind. The lower end fared much better, but the high-end

issues will likely turn a majority of listeners off of the PS500MMs.

How the AblePlanet PS500MM compares:

{{article.attachments['apple_iphone-3g-s.jpg']}}

Apple

iPhone 3G S Headphones

{{article.attachments['beyerdynamic_dt-770.jpg']}}

Beyerdynamic

DT 770

{{article.attachments['shure_se115.jpg']}}

Shure

SE115

{{article.attachments['audio-technica_ath-esw9.jpg']}}

Audio-Technica

ATH-ESW9

What is frequency response?

Your headphones' frequency response describes the degree to which they

emphasize certain frequencies. Some headphones actively crank up or

dampen frequencies to provide a dynamic, unique sound. Some headphones

strive for accuracy, trying to alter emphasis as little as possible.

How the test works:

To test frequency response, we employ our trusty testing companion,

HATS. We toss the headphones on HATS, then play a frequency sweep

through them. HATS graciously records the playback, using the really

expensive microphones it has for ears. Now that we have the recorded

playback, we can match it back up against the original sound file. This

way we can see exactly what the headphones are doing to alter the

music. If you have additional questions about our tests, despite this

excellently-worded passage, then this
is the link for you.

 

Distortion     (*10.20**)*


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What we found:

The PS500MMs had negligible distortion levels, resulting in a good

performance score. What this means is that you'll hear the music the

way it was intendede to sound, without the headphones adding distortion

that wasn't in the original recording. We really don't have much more

to say about it than that. Please enjoy the complimentary block of

empty space before the comparison table!

How the AblePlanet PS500MM compares:

{{article.attachments['apple_iphone-3g-s.jpg']}}

Apple

iPhone 3G S Headphones

{{article.attachments['beyerdynamic_dt-770.jpg']}}

Beyerdynamic

DT 770

{{article.attachments['shure_se115.jpg']}}

Shure

SE115

{{article.attachments['audio-technica_ath-esw9.jpg']}}

Audio-Technica

ATH-ESW9

**What is distortion?

*
*Distortion refers to any changes the headphones make to

your playback. Typically this is unwanted, but several 'hip' genres

employ distortion filters heavily. If you are one of the cool kids who

listens to this sort of music, then distortion probably won't be a huge

problem for you. If you're a classy individual who likes classical

music and barbershop quartet-style a capella, the distortion

will likely cause your top hat to spring clear off your head.

How the test works:

This test is another marvel of juxtaposition. We put the headphones on

HATS. We play a sound file through the headphones. HATS records the

playback. HATS relays the data back to our computer (picture something

really cool and sci-fi for this part). SoundCheck then looks for

differences in the sound waves themselves, independent of emphasis and

other such nonsense. Using this data, we get the helpful graph above,

and that's how our distortion results are made. For more insight into

this process, click

this needlessly long, hyperlinked phrase.

 

Tracking     (1.71)


 

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What we found:

As foreshadowed by the frequency response graph, the PS500MMs didn't

have the greatest tracking. It was pretty even for a long while, then

the right channel has a heart attack towards the high end and drops way

down, leading to the left channel seeming far louder at those

frequencies.

How the AblePlanet PS500MM compares:

 

{{article.attachments['apple_iphone-3g-s.jpg']}}

Apple

iPhone 3G S Headphones

{{article.attachments['beyerdynamic_dt-770.jpg']}}

Beyerdynamic

DT 770

{{article.attachments['shure_se115.jpg']}}

 Shure

SE115

{{article.attachments['audio-technica_ath-esw9.jpg']}}

Audio-Technica

ATH-ESW9

**What is tracking?

*
*Tracking is a slightly unintuitive term that means 'the

degree to which both channels are outputting the same volume level.'

Basically, ifcertain frequencies sound louder in one ear than the

other, the headphones have bad tracking. If they're playing exactly the

same decibel level across the entire frequency spectrum, then they have

magically ideal tracking.

How the test works:

Our tracking test is basically the same thing as our frequency response

test, only more focused. Instead of looking at overall emphasis, we

only compare one channel to the other. When one is louder than the

other, the blue line in the graph above will rise or fall away from

zero. When the line goes above zero, it's indicating the left channel

is louder. When the line falls below zero, the right channel is louder.

As always, please direct all further questions to this

link
.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Tour & Design
  2. Sound Quality
  3. Isolation
  4. Comfort
  5. Usability
  6. Apple iPhone 3G S Headphones Comparison
  7. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Comparison
  8. Shure SE115 Comparison
  9. Audio Technica ATH ESW9 Comparison
  10. Conclusion
  11. Ratings & Specs
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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