Friday, April 17, 2009
Audio Technica ATH-SJ5 headphone review
Audio Technica's ATH-SJ5 is a budget supraural DJ-style portable headphones. The design is very typical Audio Technica and, though not as eye catching as the ATH-ES7, is still a very stylish headphone to look at. I wouldn't think that anyone would be embarrassed to be seen wearing it.
Like other portable headphones such as the Sennheiser PX 200, Grado SR60 and the more expensive ES7, the SJ5 is foldable. This makes transporting the headphone a far more convenient process than most full size headphones. It is a shame that no carry case is included. Also with an impedance rating of 32ohms, the SJ5 is an ideal headphone for music lovers not wishing to carry an additional external amp and has no love for intra-aural canalphones.
The build quality is good enough (at its price range). While primarily made of plastic with dashes of metal, the SJ5 is solidly well built and does seem to be capable of standing up to the abuse of everyday listening. The headband is simple and isn't too thick to give the wearer any hair issues. The folding hinges is also solidly build, and I have not encountered any problems with the folding mechanism yet. The cord is the ideal lenght for portability, but is also rather thin.
I found the SJ5 to be very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The supraural earcups are made of faux leather, I believe, and sits well on my ears. They also do not exert much clamping pressure on the ears. The headband is also easily adjustable. Each of the headphone housing is flexible and can be swivelled, ideal for monitoring.
Having gotten used to IEMs in recent years, it took me some time to appreciate the sound of a mid-sized headphone. There is an adequate amount of bass. The bass response isn't bloated, in fact it is clear and tight, if a bit slow. More importantly it does not overwhelm the mids, which are very warm sounding and detailed. The highs on the other hand suffers from some roll-off, though not as much as I expected. Overall I have to say that the SJ5's output is detailed with all around good clarity. They do not leak as much sound as I thought, which is a blessing on the Tube, but they also do not isolate well (duh). However I personally would have preferred a slightly warmer sound signature.
Like every other Audio Technica headphones, they are quite a bit more expensive overseas (around £45 in the UK) and you do not get much (basically just the headphone and nothing else). The SJ5 is lightweight and offers an acceptable sound quality, whilst also being slightly cheaper than other similarly spec'ed headphones. I consider these a bargain if you can find them for in Japan (as low as US$35), but I suggest checking out their competitors first before plucking down nearly double in import tax.