Getting Down and Dirty: JVC’s DX-1000

jvc_dx1000_06

Say hello to our new guest writer, Julius. A long time headphone enthusiast, he has a special connection with his JVC DX1000 headphone and so I thought it’d be a good idea to start with writing a piece on it. Personally I’ve never heard the DX1000, but from reading his description of it, it looks like the type of headphone that I can very much enjoy. Anyway hope you enjoy the writing – Mike

 

I often use my Grandmother as a test subject every Sunday. Don’t worry, I meant for her opinions on my audio gear. It’s not like I am shooting Gamma Rays at her in attempt to get her to transform into Granny Hulk…I do that on Fridays. That’s a different type of review for another time. Over the course of years of letting her listen to all of my new gear that comes in, she continually asks me to let her listen to “That one wooden headphone that looks like a satellite dish”. By that, she means the beautiful wooden and closed back JVC DX-1000. Or as I refer to it: The D1K.

She’s not wrong for wanting to hear this stellar headphone over and over. In all my many years of writing as an Audio Journalist, my ears have never meshed so well with a headphone. It became my benchmark after the first time I heard it. That one headphone I compare to all others. It has a unique flavor, if you will and it is one that I have searched many years for. In a Universe of mostly balanced and natural sounding expensive headphones, the D1K is the Black Sheep. That one headphone that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty, jump into the Mosh Pit and really let you have some fun with your music. She’s Bass heavy and spacious, easily driven and well-rounded when it comes to music genre selection. I adore this headphone. But, it does have a few drawbacks. First and foremost, I must admit that I am not a critical listener; I prefer to have fun while listening to my music and strive to find gear that is well rounded. In the case of the JVC DX-1000, I get everything I’ve ever wanted…well almost.

 

 

Clarity and Presentation

The set is not worth anywhere near $1300 when it comes to sonic clarity. For example, my Koss ESP-950 Electrostatics run half the price of the JVC and provides a noticeably more clear experience in the mids and highs. A clear haze on the DX1K can be easily detected when switching up between the two. Sure, the Koss is an Electrostatic and one of the best headphone buys you can ever ask for, but it lacks musicality that is very abundant in the JVC. Other headphones like the Hifiman HE-500, Audeze LCD2 and maybe even a heavily modified Denon D7000 can all sound superior in the clarity department. If clarity is your most important quality when purchasing headphones, you might want to look elsewhere. You will be disappointed if you pay full price for this headphone. Look for a used one to lessen the chances of your wallet poisoning or drowning itself when you are not looking.

This headphone is by no means an unclear headphone, it is just not as clear sounding as some of the best headphones out there in the $1000 tier. I do not notice any poor clarity qualities anywhere throughout the spectrum. Bass is this headphones strong point and personally I believe that it rivals the Audeze LCD2 Bass. Very potent, very clear and oh so satisfying. It has that deep rumble with light to moderate kick factor. It is more relaxed than punchy, which is rare to hear in bass heavy headphones. The Low end is also lightly colored and leaning away from being analytical or natural. It has some color, but just enough to keep things fun and very Hi-Fi at the same time. Mids and Vocals are stellar despite not being so clear in comparison to the newer generation of Orthos. They are very forward, very immersing and well placed. They are large and spacious with excellent depth and control when it comes to vocals. Shockingly so at times as there are many instances during some of my favorite tracks that take my breath away. Highs are smooth and a bit lack luster, they are a little bright and lack fluidity. Meaning they have a tendency to provide a relaxing upper regions experience but at the cost of responsiveness. Accurate is not a term I would use to describe the upper region of the DX-1000.

 

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  • Eric

    That is a brilliantly written review, thanks Julius. I have alway been interested in the JVC D1K but never pulled the trigger. They are discontinued, right? Could you say something about how it matches with the JC Labs cMoy portable amp?

    • Julius

      Thanks! There has never been any official word for the discontinuation of this model. Over the past few months, I’ve had no success in harassing an answer out of them on that very subject. However, despite my flagrant disregard for their mental health after repeated pestering, it is safe to say of course the DX-1000 was discontinued a very long time ago. Back in 2009, the DX-700 was released so I would say the DX1k was discontinued yet even before that. They were pretty rare even back then. Thankfully, a few sellers on Ebay Japan are still more than happy to price gouge your Paypal account into suicidal tendencies if you really wanted to buy a new JVC DX-1000. Just make sure you have great life insurance on your wallet if you end up paying full price.

    • Julius

      Thanks! There has never been any official word for the discontinuation of this model. Over the past few months, I’ve had no success in harassing an answer out of them on that very subject. However, despite my flagrant disregard for their mental health after repeated pestering, it is safe to say of course the DX-1000 was discontinued a very long time ago. Back in 2009, the DX-700 was released so I would say the DX1k was discontinued yet even before that. They were pretty rare even back then. Thankfully, a few sellers on Ebay Japan are still more than happy to price gouge your Paypal account into suicidal tendencies if you really wanted to buy a new JVC DX-1000. Just make sure you have great life insurance on your wallet if you end up paying full price.

      Also, I have a Cmoy 2.02BB and when I used it with my J3 and DX-1000..well…have you ever seen the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where the guys face melts off?

  • http://www.theideate.com/ Gorboman

    An entertaining read. “i do that on fridays” LOL!

  • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

    Julius,
    How about some comparison with the Denon D7K and Senn HD650?

    • Julius

      Sure. A Stock Denon D7000 does not at all compare to the Stock JVC DX-1000 in any way, shape or form except the quality of the wooden cups. Once MarkL modded with proper Dynamatting, the sound is very balanced compared to the JVC. The Bass is less boomy and becomes more solid, where as the JVC is more broad and enveloping, noticeably more deep reaching down to 4hz. The Sennheiser HD650 has a softer more plush low end and smoother upper mids and highs that are more laid back and noticeably less engaging. Mid and Upper Region Clarity in the HD650, especially on a balanced setup, is definitely capable of comparing with the JVC on a similar setup in overall clarity in the mids and upper region. However, the Bass on the JVC DX1000 is just rock solid and pristine in quality, I don’t think any Sennheiser can compete with it.

      On a side note, I was shocked to find the JVC DX-1000 present a noticeably more dynamic and 3-Dimensional stage forward experience over the Sennheiser HD-700. Via my Bottlehead Crack, the JVC had noticeably better immersing qualities. It also had a significantly less bright and harsh upper region. As a Sound Stage guy, the HD700 is not capable of swaying me out of shelving my JVC DX-1000. Quite an impressive feat for a closed back headphone.

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        THanks, Julius!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rūdolfs-Putniņš/100001284307683 Rūdolfs Putniņš

    Good review! Just repost the front photo as it looks really blurry/badly processed.

    • Julius

      My fault, my Nikon L810 sprouted a middle finger and left the house. Had to use something much lower quality to take these pictures. I promise better images soon. In fact, I am creating a Deviant Art profile just for High Quality HD Hi-Res Audio Gear images.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Updated the front photo. Thanks, Rudolfs.

      • Julius

        And it looks so good :)

  • Trent_D

    Awesome! I love the guest spots that have been popping up recently. Well done, sir.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks, Trent!

  • Brian Werner

    Julius not sure if you are lurking but do you have any comparisons of the JVC cans to either of the wooden Denon’s… Either the 5k or 7k… They seem to be at least kissing cousins, just curious how they stack up to the JVC with such similar build.

    • Trent_D

      Brian, check down a few comments. He does compare the JVC to the 7k.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike
      • Brian Werner

        I guess great minds think alike eh? :)
        I have the Denon 5k…. If it was all I owned I would be happy but its not so am not very happy with it…. Compared to my Hifiman’s the bass sounds hollow and too forward… So I am planning on selling it. The DX1000 and the HD650 are the two that I am mulling over.

  • Edd_N

    Great review Julius! I have always wondered if the the Dx1k was similar to the Denon D7000 because of the wood. It certainly seems like something I would like to try one day! Now I am interested in the Koss Electrostatic to :P

    • Julius

      Merci Beaucoup, Edd! I wish my DX1K had that Denon D7000 and Fostex TH900 polished look. The Denon doesn’t measure up and needs to be heavily modified to even begin to get nearer to the JVC. Also, the JVC Earpads are bar none, the most comfortable earpads I have ever had on my head. EVER…they are just like the Lawton audio or original Jmoney Denon Replacement pads. However, they are more prone to damage. My Lawton Pads never went bad, but my DX1000 stock pads have tearing and are allergic to anything with a sticky back. A few weeks ago a piece of tape got stuck to my DX1000 Earpad and took a nice chunk of the top layer of the leatherette with it. Aieeeeee…..

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        #earpad Ouch!

  • Eric

    Julius, thanks for your reply. How does the D1K compare to Audiotechnica W1K or W3K in the musicality department?

    • Julius

      I have never heard the Wx1000, so I cannot comment on it. If it were a game and I had to offer points to the DX1K and the WX3000 for all their qualities, the JVC would definitely take the win. If you enjoy stage depth, this set it crazy good at it. To me, highly immersing stage presentation, smooth highs that are never harsh or bright and potent, forward mids, non analytical low ends are what I consider very musical sounding headphones. The definition of what is “musical” is different for everyone. What is your version of Musicality, Eric? :)

      • Eric

        Hm, i know it when I hear it ;) You defined it pretty well. It´s more than technical qualities. A headphone is musical when listening to music arouses intense emotions. The presentation of the music has to enable these emotions. Ok, there is thin ice – the music carries emotional potential in itself, but an unmusical headphone would restrain the emotions within the music. A musical headphone just communicates all the emotions in in a given song. lol – sounds stupid – I´ll stick with: know it when hear it :)

        So, I´ll have to give them a try…

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  • calluna

    Julius, I think that vocal is too thin and a little distance.
    If the song has reverb DX has it more… I’m still haven’t found dac
    or amp at a reasonable price to fix it. Any suggestions?

    ps. sorry for my english :)

    • Julius

      If you though they were distant, you must really hate Sennheiser Headphones hah! I agree with thinner vocals, they are not so lush as compared to the Hifiman HE500 or Audeze LCD2, but do you know of any closed back wooden headphones with lush weighty mids? I don’t :)

      Reverb is going to appear on any headphone if the track has reverb in it, so there isn’t anything you can do but try to ignore it or not listen to that track. This is a woody headphone, wood naturally enhances reverb and with such a deep and large earcup there is bound to be a bit of it. Andy Timmons – Cry For You is a poorly recorded track with too much reverb going on but its about equal with my Hifiman HE500. I Blame the track in your case, not the headphone :)

      As for a cheap dac, the Fiio E10 is always a win. Lately, I’ve been using the DX1K with a Hifiman EF-6 and my Aune T1. Shocking results, but no way I am recommending a $1600 amplifier and a $350 Dac and Tube combo! Stick to the cheaper stuff, a Schiit Asgard will work well for it. Another good choice is the Apex Butte. Both have excellent sound stages with a weight low end. Perfect set up for the JVC. If those are too out of your budget, look to Ray Samuels cheaper and smaller portable amps. A used Tomahawk or P51 are awesome, also the Fiio E11 or a more recent Cmoy Bass Boost edition are all great choices.

      • calluna

        Thanks for reply.

        Saying “distant” I think about vocals only. I really like the hd598 and IE8 for example :)

        • Julius

          The HD598 is one of my favorite headphones of all time, in any price tier. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/vnachkebia Vladimer Nachkebia

    I owned dx-1000 for tho or three years. never again. muddy, echoed sound that lacks clarity, sharpness and details. I did all sorts of modifications, nothing really helped any significant way. always had to EQ and I really hate EQing.

    • Julius

      EQing is not a sin. Artists do not want you to listen to their music with flat EQ. Especially if the Amp and Source are not producing things the way it was actually recorded. Also, I mentioned the DX1K is lacking clarity and with that comes also a loss in detail and dynamic sharpness. You modded your headphones just so you wouldn’t have to EQ? You are the first person I have ever known to do that. You must REALLY hate EQ toggles. :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Meoow.TheCat Minh Duc Nguyen

    Because of this review, I went and bought one XD, I heard that DX1000 was already out of production a few years ago. Not sure about the DX700 though. My only complain about the built quality is that there are way too much plastic…for the price.

  • Charlie Bronson

    The JVC DX1K is what I regard as a true blue audiophile basshead headphone, as is Ultrasone’s Signature DJ which has a much more forward mids and highs than the JVC, but I appreciate them both