Ultrasone HFI 580 Review


Ultrasone HFI 580 Review








NOTE: This is a legacy review. It is one of my first and thus is formated in a very introductary fashion.

Build Quality: These things are pretty solid as many people of noted. The pads were a lot softer than my SRH 440′s. The outside…is it metal or plastic. that’s a very good question i keep on wondering. I read that it was diamond cut aluminum from one source. This is unverified dhowever. if it was, this is super solid piece of work. the plastic around the headphone is also the good kind of plastic that feels really nice. Overal, really good build quality. However the cable is too long, reminds you of a studio headphone due to length and not a fun to listen to headphone. I used te little tie that came with the headphoens to tie teh cable into a not, in pics below.

Update:Very solid still. I have had many…..encounters with narrow doors where the metal has been hit. The source that told me that the metal on the outside was diamon cut aluminum seems to be gaining some verification, as the metal is not noticabley scuffed in any way. That being said, the plastic band is a differnt story. there have been permanent scuff marks on it. Still holding admiarably though. the shield on the headphone is not really a concern. but feels cheap. very plasticy. also moving the cable that leads to the driver with music off has this sound that sounds as if the cable or some part is hitting something inside though. no sound change from this though. Please be warned, these cables are easily frozen, i took them outside, and just walking out they became very rigid.

Isolation:Due to it’s clamping force and better pads(pleather). These things isolate and leak a lot less than the Shure SRH 440′s. The differece is noticable and pretty large.

UPDATE:These thigns will isolate extremely well at normal and good listening volumes. however amp it up and start playing some dub step or something and it leaks a lot. However this is at what some call “ear splitting volume”(that the HFI can eaisly produce) This is user caused though. Very good isolation none the less..

On head Feel: Pretty solid, I actually wanted a pair with good clamping force and these deliverd :) the pads are also pretty comfortable. I can wear these for 4 hours tops. unlike 2 hours for the Shure 440′s. Ears get sweaty after a bit of listening though.

UPDATE:ears no longer get sweaty at all as others have noted, they are not really to clampy as others may say in my opinion, however i do see a problem if you wear glasses. These things…don’t clamp evenly or enough i guess, my Shure’s don’t either. more on this in teh sound quality update section. the top headband pad can also be “felt” sometimes. it’s one of those times when you just happen to feel the random stuff about your headphones and the headphone band pad is usually the first thing. it can get prety hard and annoying. but i find that pushing down on the pad from the top and then reaadjusting my headphones to accompany that new slight sag works and you don’t feel it after a bit. :)

It’s also noted that on bass heavy songs or on many song’s in general. The bass comes to life only when you press down on them. Very sad. It feels the clamping force is a bit uneven with a bias towards the top of the ears and not on the bottom (most headphones i see are like this) adjusting the band to try to apply more clamp to the lower region of the ear(like near th ear lobe) doesn’t really work and just make’s the fit loose.

update 2: one of my biggest chagrin’s with the SRH440′s was that it was shallow and mmy ears touched the driver shield. it hurt after a while and was not preferable. I don’t have any problems with the HFI 580′s at all.

update 3: you really don’t feel much anymore. but the earpads and top headband pad aren’t really too too comfy. they are soft, but in terms of long term, comfort…is still a bit off

Newcomer Warning!: Audiophile bass and consumer bass is very different. Audiophiles generally like a low frequency that is quick, tight, concise, and not muddy. Basically hits the lows and gives u that slight impact u need to just drive the song home. None of that overloaded bloated stuff. If you are a regular consumer, this is just to warn you that it’s a bit different. If you need more explanation, post a reply or PM me :) or jsut read through comments

Sound Quality: I am writing this as of post 120 hour burn in now, these sound very good for the price. The highs are excellent, not harsh, teh high cymbals, and what not sound extremely excellent. Adele’s rolling in the deep is extremely detailed and the highs are excellent. They are not as high as the Shure SRH440′s, however, the the fact that the HFI 580′s a very bassy headphone can pull highs like this is very good. Hey we are in the audiophile world now ;) . The vocals are clear and concise,!, and the lows needless to say are the best point. One qualm i have with these as stated above is the clamping. During bass heavy(especialy bass impact heavy) music, the bottoms of the heapdhoens would start shaking and deliver this fuzzy feeling to you ears(due to shaking) from the bass and the only way to rectify it is to hold the headphones in. I need to do this on my Shure’s also and is not preferable at all.Very low sibilance :)

Despite these good commings, the HFI 580′s just don’t really give you that “whole” experience sometimes. TThis could be and is sometimes due to the song, be it recorded bad or just doesn’t really play well with these 580′s. But Sometimes you just want more and it feels like it can’t deliver. Like you just want it to all come to you, but it doesn’t. when you want bass, it is rarely enough, and when you want mids, it will be veilded and recessed. This is usually if not commonly in more complex songs. Sometimes. , the vocals kinda just lose track and just..fly away from the rest. not really too good. Uncontrolled a bit as some say it. Doesn’t happen too often though. IT’s slight but noticeable, not too big of a problem unless you are listeing hard to select tracks.

The bass on these is there. Problem is, as a basshead. sometimes i want consumer bass. and after EQing and what not, getting the HFI 580′s to deliver ample bass without blowing ur ears from raising the volume is a problem. The increase in bass also requires you to again. Hold teh headphones down or else the subbass and vibration will cause ur ears to go fuzzy feeling and you can basically just feel the headphoen vibrating in the region below your earlobes. not very preferable.The problem of getting the bass to come really out without blowing ur ears from the other parts getting louder too, should be fixed with an external amp with bass boost though(Fiio bass boost anyone?). I will udpate as i see fit and if this claim is true.

bass update: …the claimm……is true. :D i got the fiio E17 and man. it works. put the treble on +2 and the bass on +4 to +10 and wow. the bass is XB500 levels in my opinion and needs to be relly held done. stupendous. this thing pulls highs and lows. EQ’ing with amps and software and what not really brings it out

The vocals are a good part. Colored and fit the song unlike the SRH440 studio’s i have which just give you how the artist sounds or other sounds in the mid vocal region.Basically, very preferable as it’s fun and not analytical or as picky from what source it came form as the SRH440′s. The vocal’s can sound a bit recessed or a bit lowerd and veiled when comparing to non s-logic heapdhones like Shure’s which house sound is focused on vocals usually. I find this to be due to S-Logic, which doesn’t shoot music into your ears.Not bad really, but someties, you just want that vocal to shine without trying to adjust some EQ settings.
Basically, the parts around it are strong, with quick tight bass and succession of background, highs and what not (if you have a song like that) but the vocal (probably due to s-logic) is held back a bit. kinda like as if you have the music right in your ears, but the artist a bit further away in front of you. Not noticeable or bad, most don’t care and like it. Or just go blah :/ . I don’t mind it really. the S-Logic seems to improve eear fatigue so that’s welcome and the vocal’s since it’s not direct don’t get very hot like the Vocal prone SRH’s sometimes. More on S-Logic in the S-Logic section below.

Tl;DR: the bass is great and even on bassy parts, the mids and highs still hold up well and seperated(if the track is recorded nicely) . some may think the highs aren’t where they want them.. The highs are good. Not top or anyting. Compared to my SRH440′s the highs aren’t as high or really get up there as some more audiophile’s would like. but unlike the Shure’s. the HFI’s high’s are controlled and aren’t harsh. they are just along for the ride.

Lows: Very deep and extended now, very good and preferable when playing impact heavy music or music with noticable bass, you need to hold the cans down. however, as this is an audiophile can, can be a bit unpronounced as some part time consumer bass lovers might want.

Mids: The singers are clear and have very lifelike and fun tones! There are times when i feel like the singer’s voice should be brought forward a little more(prob due to S-Logic), Also it gets a bit loose when the song starts getting complex (usually).

Highs: No longer harsh, nice and soothing. everything just comes in nicely and produces very nice highs, notable for the fact that this is a bass heavy can. not Studio quality highs but still none the less very good for any music already, like i said. just adds in along for the ride :D there are time’s when I really want more high’s though which is a bit of a let down sometimes.

There is a post 10 and pre ~hours zone, because this is the place where everything changes. after this, your headphones start becomming very good.

Post 13 hours sound quality:
Post 13 hour burn in (Click to hide)

these definatley are great sounding now. I’m at about 12 hours of burn in now. And the moment happened. These things are starting :) the highs on these and the mids…sure enough like the frequency responce graphs show. more or less are matching the Shure SRH440′s. the Low/bass still need some very slight work. but these are great now :) the highs and mids are where i want them and the ..bass, albeit not up to it’s full potential(as others have reviewed) is very fullfilling :) I can’t wait to hear how these sound with more burn in. Get the highs and the mids to more or less match my shure 440′s and then bring out the bass :)

Lows: Deep enough, needs some extension on the frequency range still though, maybe some more impact.

Mids: The vocals are excellent, they are clear and while not directly in ur face due to the S-Logic technology are still very good and clear. Same as my Shure 440′s..which instead has that in ur face vocal directed at my eardrums

Mid-High: The static-y sound from before is gone, they have been replaced with clarity. the drum hits, claps, whatevers are very nice

High:Listening to Time by Pink Floyd was excellent, the highs are exactly like my Studio 440′s now. i don’t know what happened. it’s magic called burn in :) the pops are excellent and Adele with Rolling in the Deep is excellent

Pre 10 hours sound quality: Click on Spoiler
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to hide)

I am currently writing this as of 10 hours of burn in. The sound is still lacking. It has been following and has done exactly what the reviews for it have said. The lows don’t really have much impact nor do they extend far yet. The mids and highs are also…quite not there. When listening to Pendulum, on songs like “Salt in the Wounds” theres something being hit in the background. Whatever it is, and most songs have something like it, that , the highs are really harsh for it. It sounds like hearing song and static together. Some ch ch ch chchhh sound that resembles the hitting of an instrument,,…but the only thing i can thiknk of describing it would be static-y sound. The highs are also not that clear or as good as the 440′s yet. the frequency graphs says these should be at the level of the 440′s in mids and highs. Pink Floyd’s-Time(Breathe,reprise) didn’t deliver really any super nice highs, but instead this lowered quality/volumed one. The mids are also not that nice. Human voices and what not are pretty annoying, just..not clear i guess..well not clear but…well, very very muddy i guess.
Lows-Not as deep, not much impact over the 440′s, not extended

Mids-Annoying(in rock), quite muddy

Mid-Highs-Very harsh staticy sound from those select instruments sometimes. might be cymbals.

Highs-not that high. kinda sounds missing something sometimes -Eminem’s Just lose it and Pink Floyd’s Time just don’t deliver those clear highs like the 440′s do.

The highs and the whole frequency is helped pretty good when amped. Running out of an ipod directly during testing leads to more lackluster results.

S-Logic:As you can see in the original comments, i was kinda worrying about what S-Logic sounds like in the comments. I first thought that S-Logic would be this terrible spacy sound. it’s not. it more or less sounds just like normal headphones with the sound more spread out..i guess more soundstage. and yes, the 40% less pressure claim seems about right. It works, and it’s nothing to be scared of. However there is a small percentage of people that don’t like it. This is a hit and miss. most people like it or get used to it.

The vocals’ can be a bit …behind the other stuff sometimes with a slight .(very slight) velied sound to it and some recession. Sometimes i just want the vocal’s to really shine and that’s when i bust out my SRH440′s again. But for most parts. The vocals’ are still very good and intact with this. If you are new, don’t worry about this part, many head fi’ers have Ultrasone;s and professionals use them to record. It’s just my own musical preferences sometimes.

Testing: 99% are FLAC/ALAC/AIFF tracks. 1% are 320kbps MP3′s.
Testing will be done through directly from my 2010 Macbook Pro using CD-Ripped lossless files only. 44.1KHz/16bit all the way to 24/192 tracks. I change audio settings on my Mac as needed if the song has different settings.

Music Impressions: Just a section where i listen to differnt songs and type an opinion. Plz note that i don’t go through the whole song, only until i feel like i have enough.. All songs are lossless unless noted. And unless noted, i do not hold the headphones down to increase bass presence. Same volume for each one. 3 from the end on the Mac digital volme. I don’t have sound normalization on, but most of the song’s are post loudness war and have more or less very similar dB levels of sound.

A good number of songs,click on spoiler tag. there is a diversity among them. :)

Post 120hour music impression (Click to hide)

Scary Mosters and nice sprites by Skrillex – The highs are nice, the mids are nice and seperated. The lows.. just don’t seem to play too well on the HFI’s. they are very very low and with the almost non existent impact, and how you only feel that force of the low on your ears, makes it feel like the lows are non existent, they are there though. The drums aren’t really hitting on the headphones like others do. This is nota good song to do, as i feel all these limitations are really caused by recording, but Skrillex is popular so i felt i should include it, bad and good

Self vs Self by Pendulum ft In flames -the guitars are nice, and the lows are just hitting nicely. one good thing about he hfi 580 is that during rock, the bass doesn’t just show up and try to muddy the vocals or highs, its there when you need it, on the drums. very nice. The screamo in this song does not hurt your ears at all. like i said above, sibilance is very minimal in these cans. this song isn’t as clear and seperated as others. but then again, this is a screamo mixed in with dubstep, punk, progressive and just has a lot going on, so for what it’s worth, it’s performaing admirably. very nice experience :) this song is a bit more complex and the HFI’s do a decent but not fantastic job in the end of playing them.

Set me on Fire by Pendulum-Very clear and seperated. everything is hitting just right! the bass has a lot of impact and extends deeply from the very eharable parts to the parts that you can just feel inside. the girls voice is still clear and the highs are still amazing even with the bass in the background. not as high as i want it to be(like my SRH 440′s), but still very preferable. Amazing track!

Slam by Pendulum- the inital bass is strong. the 580′s don’t miss/skip a beat and just gets right on it like a champ o2smile.gif the mixture of instruments with a lot of bass, mids and mid highs in the beginning is very nice and clear. as expected of pendulums amazing recording!

Somewhere I belong by Linkin Park- the inital part when all the insturments just came in held up nicely and didn’t have a super muddy sound that some may have exptected. the vocals after are exceleent. a bit recessed(recording) when the lead vocal chester comes in, the vocals are back to a non recessed state and continue like that for the rest of the track.

Hotel California by the Eagles- the inital drum at the :50 mark is very strong and clear. the vocals are very very nice. the background instruments come in extremely well. it’s seperation in this song is amazing.the bass is strong throughout, the highs were good, controlled, but not as high as i may want them. The vocals in this were very good; some may say a bit veiled, but still there and good.. just a wow. Guitar solo was amazing!

Rolling in the deep by Adele- initial high vocals are clear and great!! wouldn’t even think this was a super bassy headphone until the drums came in :) the little shaker thing(forgot name) is very clear. Adele is just amazing with these. the highs aren’t as high as on SRH 440 but unlike on SRH440′s are not harsh. very very comfortable.

Empire Stte of Mind- The initial bass and vocal combo is amazing. the vocals are great and very *forward* unlike some songs, alicia keys just brough it home. the vocal highs are just on the edge of harsh. but aren’t still very comfortable and lively(fun) This song will start having that bottom end shake past the set 3 before end (on mac) and will benefit from holding at that point

If everyone cared by Nickleback- The initial guitars are very nice and clear. whent eh vocals come in. it’s very nice. clear and has some impact in his voice and everywhere! The song is clear throughout.

Breathe(reprise) or Time by Pink Floyd- the initial highs are just like anyone would ever want. This …is just omg. the highs just surround you (a tiny bit loose, not noticable realy) and aren’t harsh at all. the seperation is still very nice. S-Logic works very well here. Vocals are amazing of course as well. soem artifacts from the highs sometimes.(recording?)

Pre 10 hours music (Click to hide)

Empire State of Mind- Initial bass of teh song pretty good. However, again just a big more than the 440′s. The jingling in the background is very annoying. The sound is kinda harsh. The mids are okay for this one. Jay-Z’s vocal’s are still annoying. And when Alicia Keys joins in. the mid-highs to highs get unbearable. The mix of the reduced bass for the rest of the song and the vocals and highs just don’t do it. good spacy ness though

Deja Vu by: 3OH3- Vocals again. almost to the point of annoying. The alternating bass beats and song don’t go too well.again. the bass and the mids just aren’t getting my favor.

Dani California-The initial drums are pretty decent/good. The initial vocals are also pretty good. decent to good instrument seperation noted. the dun dun bang with the drums and then guitar kinda hurts when it gets to the guitar. After all the insturments come in. the highs are again almost static-y with some instruemtn in the background doing in.

Day n’ Nite by: Kid Cudi: the bass at the beginnign is pretty good. not as extended as i would like it. impact is almost enough. the siren’s comming in ….are actually not annoying or harsh for once. the vocals of this song are pretty good. not staticy highs or what else are noted. Pleasant song that is even better with S-Logic

Time/Breathe (Reprise) by Pink Floyd- the lows aren’t too good. just whatever decent in this song. the highs…basically this song doesn’t impress right now like it should. all the bells aren’t high enough and the left channel with the bell being hit..isn’t as clear or sound seperated as on the 440′s….skip to the vocals… the vocals don’t impress. they are clear. but sound too recessed. too small sounded. this doesn’t happen on the Shure 440′s. Doesn’t seem to be due to S-Logic

Paparazi by Lady Gaga:the initial lows and mid-highs to highs are pretty nice. the highs themselves just a little after the pop are a little harsh. the vocals are very nice. could be brought “forward” more though, does not seem to be totally an effect of S-Logic. the vocals throughout are nice though

Boom Boom Pow by BEP: the initial 1 minute speaking monologue part is ok. the vocals are a bit….well just decent. the flexing of the sound and the rest, should have more bass/low extension. Past the speaking part and into the main song. the lows, again need slightly more extension(for this song. others need more extension of the bass to be enjoyable) the impact is ok. just slightly above the 440′s again. the drums hitting the mid-high notes on the cymbals are pretty nice. overal very nice played song. however, needs more oomph

Rolling in the Deep By Adele: the inital vocals could be higher. again. this could be because the mid-highs aren’t burned in yet and the SLogic adds a tiny bit to it. the highs of this song on the 440′s are great. on this.. just normal. the insturment seperation is clear since not much is going on in this song. the bass/lows are just right..since this song doesn’t need much

Just Lose it by Eminem: The pops are very nice. they sound better on the 440′s. the vocals are also sharp, and clear but needs slightly more as usual. bass extension and impact should be more as others reviewed though.

WaterColour by Pendulum- initial vocals are very strong. after the drums, come in very nice. the highs could be slighly more for this song though.

Wake up Call by Maroon 5: Very nice. the whole thing just fits the sound signature of this. their isn’t much bass in this song so the abysmall amount the hfi 580s have at 10 hours of burn in is good enough everything is just nice. the drums htting the cymbals are a bit high/harsh..but not enough to be a what!! moment

Driveability: An iPod touch can drive these. Pretty easy, the low Ohms and decent sensitivity make it so. but again. specs don’t always say anything about driveability. these are easier to drive than SRH440′s. hwoever…an amp is still recommended to get the most out of these

Amp: Yes, I still think an amp is better. The sound comming out of my beginners E5 is still a lot better than the iPod’s. there are also times when the ipod just cant deliver enough power..happens mainly with song’s that haven’t been influenced by the loudness war. but amp has better sound. Sound comming out of the Macbook Pro from straight direct ipod is like night and day. Will update this section when I get ahold of the FiiO E17.

Conclusion: Great :) The lows have come in and are very extended across the range. the highs and lows have yet to completley even out or “set” into it’s final resting place, but yes, these are great :) Highs and mids are fantastic, yet the sound signature is excellent with great lows. :) it just works. the bass can be so overwhelming at times that you need to hold the phone down, but even at those bass shaking moments. the mids and hihgs are uncumbered and just pounce on!!

i’ll probably report in again when i reach 400+ hours

The updates above were done at 120+ hours, plz note that i haven’t had these cans on my head for 120 hours. I’ve had them on personally for about 60 hours (half) of the burn in period. For my next update at 400+ hours. I will probaby label them at Update 2

Currently: $118 on BH

Categorized: Main


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