As some of you know when people are addicted to a hobby like photography they usually have other addictions also. My other addiction is classic audio gear, or stereo equipment. I’m talking about two channel stereo, none of that surround sound for me, thank you anyway. Both my photography and audio addictions started about the same time when I was in my late teens. Yes folks I’m a full fledged audiophile also (in case you were wondering Emilio that doesn’t mean I stalk under age pieces of stereo equipment). Although I lust after the classic old tube gear like a Marantz 10B am/fm tuner I haven’t yet totally lost my mind and bought one. I am resigned to the fact that if I would like to be on talking terms with my wife I must be careful to spend my money on the kind of solid state equipment that taxes the limits of my hearing but also is affordable.
On this new page I thought I would share some of my observations on what type of stereo equipment sounds good to my ears and doesn’t cost a fortune. I’m not a total audiophile snob just a partial one. So starting today there will be a new bi monthly Sunday evening post talking about some of the audio equipment that sounds great to me. All of my posts will be my own personal opinions and not recommendations so don’t run right out to buy equipment I am speaking of. Having said that there would be nothing wrong with going to your local stereo shop and giving a listen to a piece of gear listed in my post.
NAD Viso HP 50 Headphones
The NAD Viso HP 50 headphones carry a suggested retail price of $299 but I have seen them as cheap as $249 on Amazon. Full disclosure I own these in my personal system and bought them used on Craigslist for a C-note ($100). Please take the time to listen at length to any piece of stereo equipment you were thinking of acquiring. I never buy any equipment online unless I have listened to it previously at length at a local shop. I then only buy online if the price is substantially cheaper and if the local shop refuses to negotiate their asking price.
Over the years I have owned many pairs of headphones or “cans” as they are sometimes called. I have tried “open air” style like Sennheiser, and AKG and also “sealed type” like Sony, Audio Technica and Grado Labs. My personal preference is the sealed type over the ear variety rather than open air style. When I inquired about the NAD cans the previous owner told me he had bought them about two years ago and hardly used them (likely story). Needless to say I wasn’t overly excited to meet and give these headphones a listen because I figured how good could they sound. He’s selling them right ? We agreed to meet at a local Starbucks so I jumped in my car with my iPhone in hand and was on my way.
When we met up the headphones were in a faux leather NAD bag with all the original accessories. The only thing missing was the original box. I adjusted the headphones to my personal taste and plugged them into my iPhone. I set the music equalizer to the flat position then proceeded to play some tunes from Bonnie Raitt’s Luck of The Draw album. I was immediately struck by how much these headphones sounded like my home loudspeakers. Not surprising since Paul Barton of PSB loudspeakers was credited with designing these cans. Next I listened to a tune from Darius Rucker called Love Without You from his True Believers album featuring a duet with Sheryl Crow and the separation of their voices was phenomenal. I continued listening to tunes from various artists until the seller was getting fidgety because I was taking so long. I liked what I heard so I purchased them but the true test was yet to come listening to them on my home stereo. When I returned home I hooked them up to a Creek OH – 11 headphone amp driven by a Bryston BP-20 preamp. The CD transport used was a Rotel RDD – 980 plugged into an Adcom GDA – 700 HDCD digital to analog convertor. After about three hours worth of listening I came to the conclusion the NAD Viso HP 50 headphones offered a very big bang for the buck. I feel even at the $299 retail price they could hold their own against higher priced manufacturers offerings.
Once again this is my personal opinion not an endorsement. If you are serious about an accurate sweet sounding set of headphones you owe it to yourself to give the NAD Viso HP 50’s a listen. On a thumbs up scale of one to five I would rate these a 👍👍👍👍 This short review and all other bi monthly reviews will be archived on a audio review page listed under the Joe’s World menu.