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These heavy cans are comfortable, but their bulky design and huge cable designate them for home use.

Once you plop the JVC HA-RX900s on your head, you’ll definitely feel the heft of the cans, but their weight is distributed fairly well. The band is made of cloth and foam, so it won’t dig into your scalp, and the ear pads are soft. While you might want to customize these behemoths to some degree, they are rather inflexible when it comes to that sort of thing. There aren’t any new cable options, adapters, or face plates for the JVC HA-RX900s.

The JVC HA-RX900s are simply not that portable at all.

Because the 11+ foot cable is so huge and cumbersome, you’ll find that it often gets in the way of your movement, even if it does allow you to venture further from your source of media. The regular ol’ 1/8th inch plug at the end of it should work with any standard jack of the same type.

The JVC HA-RX900s are simply not that portable at all, given their size and length of cord. We don’t really see people taking these out on the street all too often. Aside form removing the ear pads in order to give them a good wipe-down, there isn’t much you can do to maintain or repair them, either. It’s not uncommon for more affordable headphones to lack a means of upkeep.

For under $100, these cans are just about average in every performance category.

While listening to the JVC HA-RX900, you’ll notice that most sounds come out relatively at the same volume as others, though higher frequency sounds are ever so slightly more quiet. It’s a bad blemish, but not uncommon for headphones below $100. On the plus side, the JVC HA-RX900s have a low level of distortion that should not be audible to any human ear. While listening to your music, you shouldn’t notice any swings in channel preference from left to right in any sound. There are some minor tracking errors, but they’re basically inaudible unless you’re maxing out your headphones’ volume.

The JVC HA-RX900s have a low level of distortion that should not be audible to any human ear.

If you’re in a slightly noisy room, you can expect your JVC HA-RX900s to block out a significant amount of high-frequency noise, though they don’t do a great job of keeping out the low frequency sounds. It’s still best to do what you can to reduce noise around you, but these cans take care of some on their own.

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The JVC HA-RX900s are about as middle-of-the-road as they come.

Headphones that come in at a sub-$100 price point are generally a mixed bag, as there are some that function quite well, and a bunch that don’t. The JVC HA-RX900s are some that have their decided advantages, and work pretty well for the amount of money you’d shell out to get them. Sure, they’re not even close to perfect, but we’re not aware of many casual music listeners that need that level of performance.

Performance-wise, the frequency response of the JVC HA-RX900 isn’t all that bad, despite how erratic it is. They’ll work just fine for listening to music at your computer if you’re on a budget. However, their performance isn’t exactly something you’d want to mix tracks on, or use as a set of reference headphones.

If you’re a little short on cash, and you’re looking to grab a set of headphones that punches a little out of their price range, the JVC HA-RX900s aren’t a bad way to go if this is your first set of headphones that aren’t Apple earbuds. However, these are certainly not for everyone, and audiophiles probably won’t consider these to be even close to some more expensive models in terms of performance.

The JVC HA-RX900s are going to cost you less than $100, and we'd definitely label them as "entry level." They're not a bad choice if you want to get an idea of what high-end headphones sound like, have only ever used $10 ear buds, and don't want to shell out $300. The caveat that's stapled to a statement like that is, of course, that their performance is just average—don't expect to be blown away unless you've been listening to very cheaply produced sound your whole life. But many people have, so that's not a bad thing. If you want to know the details on their performance specs, the science page is here to lead you to the promised land.

Their erratic frequency response was the HA-RX900s' weakest area.

Ideally, we want to see a flat, even response—so that no set of instruments or pitches is being over or underemphasized., but unfortunately, the RX-900s didn't really make the grade here. There is a strange underemphasis between 1 and 2.5kHz (where the highest of high voices, and the highest notes on a piano or guitar live). There is also considerable drop off on the higher end, so expect to lose almost all of your harmonic overtones. Though if this is your first pair of semi-expensive cans, you probably don't know what you're missing.

To our surprise, the RX-900s tested with an excellent lack of distortion.

Harmonic distortion is the result of an electronic device digitally reproducing a signal of sound. Because headphones require a sum of power and electricity to work, they are not acoustically ideal or perfect, and the result is often a low, but measurable level of distortion. Think of the fuzz while tuning a radio—but much less.

Almost all of the headphones we test result in some level of harmonic distortion, though you'd be hard pressed to hear anything with a power sum below 3% total. Even still, the RX-900s tested with a very low level of total distortion, less than .5% across the entire frequency spectrum. That's a solid result, even if it doesn't make a massive, obvious difference to your listening result; it matters, in the long run.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging


A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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