Goldring Headphones: DR50, DR100, DR150
I don’t really hear a lot of things being said about these headphones from British based Goldring. Entry level pricing with mediocre design, the only way people would look at them seriously is when you have a friend telling you to check them out.
Consider for a second the popular offerings in the sub $100 segment that gives you a natural open-back sound: I can think of the Grado SR-60/80 (and the Alessandro counterparts), as well as the Audio Technica AD-series (AD300-AD700). The Grados and the Audio Technicas are good headphones. They have their own unique presentation along with all the good characteristics of an open-back headphone. However, their unique presentation does make them a bit polarizing. This is where the Goldring comes in.
The Goldrings sound like cheaper variants of the Sennheiser HD600 and HD650s. You get a mildly laid back sound with good treble/mid/bass balance, and though they lean toward a dark sound signature, they aren’t quite as dark as the big Sennheisers. You still get more treble, a faster pace, a more forward sound, less mellow, and generally more lively than the Senns. It’s like they take all the good things that you find on the HD600s and the HD650s, and improve on the aspects people mostly complain on: slow pace, boring, too dark, and veiled. Obviously, they don’t have the HD600/650′s superior timbre, bass impact, soundstage, resolution — things that make the Senns a clear reference-class headphone. But given the context of the sub $100 pricing (except the $129 DR150), this sort of a more well-balanced, open-backed, sound is nowhere to be found other than on these Goldrings.
You start the line up with the entry level DR50. Cheap pleather pads though still good comfort level, the DR50 is already in-tune with that Goldring sound signature — that faster and livelier version of the Sennheiser sound. Although the DR50 still surprises me with its natural and clear sounding midrange, it’s really a little too entry level to recommend to you guys. The timbre is very plasticky, and there is a very noticeable treble and bass roll off, added with the very weak bass impact. Let’s move on to the next model.
The DR100 hits the sweet spot in this line up. For $89, the kind of sound that you get is almost unbeatable. Again that same Goldring sound, but the bass no longer feels puny as on the DR50. The timbre is something I can live with, despite not being HD650 accurate. The treble doesn’t roll off as early. Basically, you get this well balanced sound that although not perfect, but makes for a very natural and pleasing companion for a cheap entry level set up. You can take this headphone for slow mellow songs, and at the same time it also plays well with Slipknot. That’s just an amazing genre bandwith from an $89 headphone. The DR100 is quick and is light footed, but you never feel it to sound thin. The midrange is clear, natural and smooth. Give it a good source (like the Fiio E17 I’m using right now) and you’re good to go. If I can complain, the only thing I would ask for is a fuller bottom end and an improved vocal performance.
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