Getting Down and Dirty: JVC’s DX-1000

jvc_dx1000_06

Almost all the expensive headphones today pale in comparison when it comes to the DX-1000’s user friendliness and efficiency. It is rare to find a headphone that can do almost anything you ask of it, yet also one that is very efficient. For a closed back headphone of this price, one would assume it requires lethal amounts of electricity to power, this could not be further from the truth as the D1K runs very well off just a decent portable source. For example, my Cowon J3 powers it immensely well and with plenty of kick and push. While on the subject of the J3, the Daps amazing EQ features really push the low end of the JVC DX-1000 to its limits. It is capable of serious bass potency, and boy is it awesome. Bass heads rejoice, this is one of the best Bass headphones out there. This headphone is so efficient, I had it modified with a shorter copper cable so I can use it primarily with my portable rig. I love being able to move around the house or sit outside and enjoy clutter free Hifi Audio. Words cannot express how happy that makes me feel sometimes, sitting outside in my favorite area just watching the wind blow through the Forest nearby. Never having to worry about a giant cable in my way or needing to lug a large amplifier around. Ah…bliss.

Build quality is dependable at best, no qualities here really stand out for me enough to rave about. It is good quality all around. The wooden earcups are nowhere near as beautiful as something like the Fostex TH900, but I would not dare to say they are ugly. They lack a good finish to make it shine. They are just very plain. Upon closer look during modification and re-cabling, I was worried about the unexpected thinness of the wood used in the cups. I would have liked to have a nicer, thicker cut of wood. A minor gripe that would not affect the great classic Woody headphone sound. The set is also prone to cracking near the hinge joints on the earcups area of its frame. Easily fixed with some glue, but a common issue I wished JVC would have addressed when the problem started appearing so often in the first production run. The stock cable is easily the best looking headphone cable out there, in my opinion. A beautiful wooden quarter inch jack equipped with a very nice fabric laced cable. Stunning.

Sound staging qualities are among the best the closed back world has to offer and is only bested in vastness by the Audio Technica Wx3000 and Wx1000. It is huge. Shockingly huge, as a matter of fact. This does not sound even remotely like a closed back headphone, plenty of air and separation between instruments provides a deeply immersing experience. Of course, the staging qualities just do not compare to one of the great Open Back headphones out there, so don’t expect it to be the closed back version of the Sennheiser HD800…that would be the job of the ATH WX3000ANV. Switching up between the Koss ESP 950, the JVC is less realistic in terms of placement and stage height. The Koss is simply better at producing sound waves large enough to simulate vocals and instruments that sound longer, leaner and more realistic in terms of the physical size of the “sound” coming into your ear. But is it fair to compare one of the best open back headphones ever made to one of the best closed back headphones ever made in a sound stage war? In this case, it sure is. The DX-1000 more than holds its own. Phenomenal staging qualities. Expect plentiful width and height with excellent imaging all around.

 

Amplifier and Source Pairing

I was unable to find an amplifier and USB Dac combo that did my DX-1000 justice. Most amplifiers and Dacs out there are lacking a forward sound signature. I very much prefer the sound of the Fiio E10 with my Audioengine A5 Speakers as well as my DX-1000. Sonic Qualities aside, the Fiio E10 is very forward and there is a huge difference when I add my Bottlehead Crack into the mix. The problem here is that I have to make that sacrifice. Taking a forward headphone and subjecting it to a more distant sounding amplifier is something that I do not wish to do. Of course, the stock Bottlehead Crack is exceptional in clarity and all other sound staging qualities. It is the only amplifier I kept for myself after I reviewed it and my only gripe with it was its lack of a forward sound. Suited for Sennheiser stages, not so much for JVC or anything forward in presentation type. Seek an amplifier regarded for exceptional staging qualities. Skip high power output. You don’t need it with the DX-1000. Moderately powerful amps with great staging qualities are the way to go. Otherwise, you are missing out on this headphones best quality: Vast and immersing sound. None of the Schiit amps paired well with it, nor the Burson or Woo Audios did as well. The best amp I have ever heard in combination with the JVC DX-1000 is by far the Bottlehead Crack in regards to staging qualities.

In regards to portable sources, I’ve found the Hisoundaudio Studio V to be the only Hifi Dap worth using with the JVC when it comes down to sound staging and mids. Unfortunately, Bass potency takes a serious nose dive if you pair it with the Studio V. It is a Dap seriously lacking a low end and one known for potent upper regions. However, for staging qualities nothing else even came close. Not the Colorfly C4, Hifiman HM801 or the IBasso DX100. Pair the DX-1000 with the Studio V and a portable amplifier with a great Bass Boost function. I highly recommend the TTVJ Slim. You will be immensely happy you did so.

As mentioned earlier, the Cowon J3 is another great choice to pair with the JVC DX-1000. It’s incredible EQ features can produce a serious low end experience with excellent quality all around. Sacrifices will have to be made here as well, as the J3 is not as powerful as the Studio V and lacks sound staging qualities. You will take a serious hit in that department if you go this route. In my opinion, these two Daps are the only two popular Daps I would ever use with the DX-1000.

Proper Dac Selection is not something you would need to worry about. The DX-1000 sounds incredible with the $75US Fiio E10 Dac. Via the line out function fed to the Bottlehead , the sound quality is stellar and more than well fed. Lacking nothing what so ever. Via the E10s direct output with the Bass Boost active, the low end is significantly more enjoyable but at the cost of clarity everywhere. Even soundstaging takes a major hit with this method. However, Via just my Aune T1 USB Dac, in either dedicated amplifier or Dac mode, the sound is phenomenal…and this is without a great tube. Stock 6922 is good enough to make my ears boil with glee. The scary thing is that I recently purchased an expensive Telefunken 6922 and I’ve yet to receive it, test it and hear it with the DX-1000 in the mix. The sound quality should drastically increase. I think the Aune T1 is the best USB Dac out there in the sub $200 price category. It is very flexible, well implemented Tube Dac and amplifier. A serious win no matter what tube you put into it. The T1 becomes more amazing when connected to the Bottlehead.

 

End Words

Overall, the JVC DX-1000 may not be for everyone. However, it is my favorite headphone of all time. I have reviewed hundreds of pieces of audio gear in my time on various other webpages and media outlets and nothing has ever clicked so well with my ears as the DX-1000 has. It just does it right. I have no gripes beyond a lack of clarity to match it’s price point. It is clear the headphone is massively overpriced, which is a common trend in many of the newer Hifi headphones released lately. $1300.00US for this headphone is an absolute rip off but ONLY in the case of sonic clarity.

I adore this headphone. It is an exceptionally fun and lively sound with a powerful and yummy low end, fantastic staging qualities for a closed back headphone, immensely efficient, beautiful, a true wood sound that is desired by many audio enthusiasts. The headphone is a Jack of all trades, master of none. It also has great gaming qualities such as moderate pinpoint accuracy. Placement of sounds works well, something that is hard pressed to say with pretty much all Hifi headphones. I cannot find a genre of music that sounds bad with this headphone, it simply does everything I ask of it. From classical to metal, jazz to sound-scapes the JVC DX-1000 is a vastly underrated headphone that I wish more people could experience.

 

jvc_dx1000_1 jvc_dx1000_2 jvc_dx1000_3 jvc_dx1000_06 jvc_dx1000_07

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • 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…

  • Pingback: Den store hodetelefontråden - Side 303

  • 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. :)

  • Pingback: fsgb80v7cbwe

  • Pingback: lida

  • 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