Disclaimer: I got in touch with the local NAD branch and they pretty much immediately agreed to send us the HP50 for review. The loaner headphone will return to them after the review.
The HP50 of course isn’t a new headphone but for some reason we never got to featuring it on Headfonia. As everyone is constantly raving about this NAD headphone, we had to check it out for ourselves. A review that’s long overdue.
The 32Ohm HP50 is a closed full size over ear headphone. The removable leather pads are really soft and seal extremely well, they hardly let any sound in (or out). Readers with bigger ears (you know who you are) should note however that your ears will be touching the pads at all times. The ear cups on the HP50 swivel so the headphone can lie flat and it makes them a little easier to transport. Personally I find them a bit big to carry around all the time and I do consider them more as a “home” kind of headphone.
NAD states they don’t care about lifestyle but they care about your ears. I believe them as I don’t like the design of the HP50 at all. And I’m being nice here. The leather headband, while being very comfortable looks weird and the design of the comfy ear cups that house the 40mm drivers, well what can I say, you like it or you don’t. What I do like about the design is that you can either connect the cable on both sides of the headphone, something we’ve seen before with other recently reviewed closed back headphones. The HP50 comes with 2 flat cables, one of which has the iDevice remote.
A lot of lightweight materials were used making this headphone, and while I’m obviously not a fan of its looks, I have to admit it is a lightweight headphone with superb comfort. In that regard the design is extremely good. It comes in white, red and black. We received the white version but I think the red one is the nicest looking. Build quality is good but because of the choice of lightweight materials and the plastic cups it doesn’t look as good as the P7 or H6. But of course that’s personal.
Sound & Technology
Of course looks aren’t the most important thing when selecting a headphone and so I was hoping the sound part would blow me away. And blow me away it did when I first put on the (already burned in) HP50. I did not expect this sound signature! Most of the time when everyone likes a headphone (let’s take the Sennheiser Momentum as example) you have big bass, warm sound and thick mids with somewhat rolled off treble. I expected the HP50 to be exactly like that but oh was I wrong.
The designer of the headphone, Paul Barton from PSB Speakers, is known for his speaker development but has already developed the M4U headphones as well. He’s very much respected for what he does and I have to say I respect him for what he did with this NAD headphone.
Secretly I had hoped to not like the NAD Viso HP50 like everyone else does but I’m afraid I would be lying if I said it sucked. It absolutely rocks! “Why is it so great then?”, you ask. Well here it goes.
Sound on Page 2!