Ultra Portable Shootout: PX100, PX200, PortaPro, K404, V-Jays, Tracks, Oldskool, and HD238

The Supercharged Ultra-Portable: Sennheiser HD238

Size comparison: Sennheiser HD238 and PX200-II. In the world of audio, bigger is generally better.


Now for the finale, the supercharged ultra portable headphone from Sennheiser. Clearly, the HD238 belongs to a different league, technically, compared to all the other entries here. Well, it sorts of cheated by using a bigger housing and probably bigger drivers as well. I really wouldn’t classify the HD238 on the same group as the ultra-portables here, but I just wanted to see how the bigger Sennheiser HD-line compares to the PX-line and its friends.

Technically, the HD238 driver has better resolution, top and down extension that betters all the other ultra portables here. Tonal balance wise, it’s very good and can be seen as somewhat a joint venture of the PX100-II and the PX200-II. It’s not as dark as the PX100-II and not as bass shy as the PX200-II, but it has the best of both headphones. Good bass, good treble, and quite a full mids as well. If I can object to one thing, it’s probably the treble area, where the HD238 has more upper treble presence than anything else here. Perhaps Sennheiser tuned it that way to make the HD238 sound noticeably more “Hi-Fi” in the ears of the average Joe. Yet, despite the technical superiority, I do still prefer the V-Jays’ overall presentation, as I think it has just the perfect treble amount and a more engaging midrange. Plus, the open design of the V-Jays has a better timbre than the HD238, which I feel need a better designed housing.

I find the build quality of the HD238 to be a bit short than even the PX100/200 models. Somehow, the housing feels hollow and fragile, and the entire build doesn’t inspire confidence for rough handling on the outdoors. This is one of the biggest complain I have over the HD238, as I expect to take these headphones outdoors, throw them in bags and such.

I’ve listened to the HD238 in many other occassion before this, and everytime, though it has a great technicality, the sound still fails to win me over.

Here is the verdict of the shootout:

Best all rounder: Jays V-Jays
2nd Tier: PX100-II (If you love the traditional Sennheiser house sound), AIAIAI Tracks (musical and fun, punchy bass), PX200-II (mature and balanced sound)
Best for bright recordings: AKG K404
Best for Grado Lovers: Fischer Oldskool


Ultra Portable Shootout: PX100, PX200, PortaPro, K404, V-Jays, Tracks, Oldskool, and HD238
3.17 (63.33%) 6 votes

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146 Comments

  • Reply October 7, 2010

    Jose

    Very true. You said in it’s review though, that you are finding yourself reaching more for the PMX 680 than the V-Jays, now, is this an ergonomic preference more than a sonic one?

    • Reply October 7, 2010

      Mike

      Yes, sonically the V-Jays rules, but ergonomics, and the open design makes me grab the PMX680 more.

  • Reply October 7, 2010

    Jose

    Wouldn't the PMX 680 be here?

    • Reply October 7, 2010

      Mike

      It can, but it's not quite the same "category", if you know what I mean. It's more like earbuds, I think.

    • Reply October 7, 2010

      Mike

      Jose, you are right. I should've included the PMX680. It would be interesting to see how it compares to the group. Although I did compare the PMX680 to the PX100 in the PMX680 article.

  • Reply October 8, 2010

    Graham

    Great review, I especially enjoyed the photography!

    • Reply October 8, 2010

      Mike

      @Graham: Thanks
      @JulioD: I know, it’s my fault actually. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply October 8, 2010

    JulioD

    Very unprofessional of the Koss Portapro to miss the photoshot. Those little touches are the details that keep me coming back.

    Kudos!

  • Reply October 8, 2010

    David

    cannot agree more on V-Jays… this phones + Audinst HUD-MX1 are my traveling rig…

    V-Jays is really that good… very balanced phones… IMO, it is like a child of the marriage of Grado HF2 and Sennheiser HD580/600.

    …if only there is a “grown up” headphones that have V-Jays sound aspects (read: HF2 strength + HD580/600 strength), that would be my favourite one…

  • Reply October 8, 2010

    Mike

    Thanks David. Can’t see where the V-Jays cross with the HF2 though…

  • Reply October 9, 2010

    David

    V-Jays IMO cross not just HF2 but also HD580…, but cross more heavily on HF2..

    first reason: HF2 is fun phones… it is difficult to be analytical with HF2… the same with V-Jays: it is fun phones too… I’m mesmerized on the music that it plays rather than to analyze the music…

    what HF2 excel, IMO, is its capability to protray and render believable size of musical instrument… (ofcourse within HF2 comfort operating zone, which is from the bass area going to around 2-2.5KHz). V-Jays and my other phones (AKG K701 and HD-580) cannot do this. But, V-Jays at least still happily cover HF2 comfort operating area and even going further up…

    so, the second reason: V-Jays HF2 cover the bass frequency to the mid frequency like HF2 and even extended to the comfort operating zone of HD580 (which seems to be started from 1KHz going up). But, more within HF2 coverage area rather than on HD580 area…

    this, I believe back to the driver design of these phones… HF2 have a big cone driver; make it like an mid-bass driver extended to the upper frequency. HD580 have a dome driver; make it like a dome (tweeter) driver pulled down to cover lower frequency. OTOH, V-Jays small cone driver is like a full range driver; it cannot move air as much and go as low as bigger cone driver, nor move as fast and go high as dome driver. V-Jays, however, then could covers low to high area more seamlessly…

    Mike, look for Katie Melua album “The House” and listen to the first track “I’d Love To Kill You”, with all the 3 phones… HF2, HD580/600 (silver screen, not the black one) and V-Jays… This track will excellently show the strength as well as the weakness each of these phones…

    • Reply October 9, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks David, your posts are always enlightening. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply October 21, 2010

    TTT

    Have you ever tried the AKG K420

    It is really good

    and imo better than all the can in this article

    • Reply October 21, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks for the comments, I haven’t, and I’ll look into finding a K420.
      If I may ask, how is it better than the K404?

  • Reply October 21, 2010

    Bosan

    Seriously TTT, you have tried ALL of them?

  • Reply October 27, 2010

    donunus

    I just received the V-jays this morning (9hours ago) and its technically really good for a portable. Much better defined than the portapro that I am comparing with side by side but its a little too forward sounding to me. Somewhere around the 3khz region it has an annoying peak to my ears. Is this going to improve through time? Maybe I am just a senn type of guy after all since i found the mids of the first px 100 better than this. It was the uneven highs that turned me off the px100s. Hmm… To wait til it settles or to trade with a px100-II, that is the question LOL

    • Reply October 27, 2010

      Mike

      Dude, that 3k area is what lacking from the px100. LOL. Sounds like you're a senn guy who should settle with the px100-II. The 3k is not that peaky IMO, unless you're really sensitive to that area, or you have really hot recordings. The only thing that improves after burn in is the bass area.

  • Reply October 31, 2010

    donunus

    I noticed that the highs smoothed out too but the mids were too forward so I sold them to a friend that really liked them. I got some px100-2s after that and except for the hardcore big bass, I luv it. The liquid senn sound aaaaaaaahhhh ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Reply November 1, 2010

      Mike

      Lol, donunus. Senn-guy, you are. I like Senns, but I'd prefer the V-Jays over the PX100s. Different taste and preference, that's all. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply November 7, 2010

        Rick

        Agree 100% Mike

  • Reply November 1, 2010

    donunus

    In all fairness I do agree that the V-jays seem more detailed and defined sounding because of their balance and I actually liked them out of my friends Fiio E7 out of the ipod 5.5gs lineout. Direct out of the Ipods 5.5gs headphone jack or out of my Nuforce Udac, I didn’t quite jive with them.

    • Reply November 2, 2010

      Mike

      Yes, a lot of my friends who's normally not into portables are really digging the V-Jays. The tonal balance is actually good, but if you feel that the mid is too forward, then the Senn is the better option.

  • Reply November 3, 2010

    donunus

    The perfectionist in me is experimenting with different pads though to try to add some sparkle to the px100s top end hehehe. I noticed that using the portapro pads for example shifts the bass emphasis higher in the midbass region(say coming from a 50 to 90hz bump to a 70 to 160hz emphasis) than the stock pads and also sharpens the mids a little. The px100-2 ends up sounding slightly less lush, harder sounding due to the more pronounced upper bass and slightly crisper around the edges especially when doing a hole mod one the pads. Still no air and shimmer like full sized cans though. Maybe I can make a pad that has sort of a Grado bowl shape that can add some distance from my ears to the drivers to get some airyness out of these cans ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply November 3, 2010

      Mike

      Looks like the perfectionist in you wants the V-Jays back. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don't know, upping the bass emphasis to the midbass? I've never tried that, but I don't think I'd do that with the PX100-II. One of the nice things about the PX100-II is the low bass that you don't find on many other portables. I think the V-Jays gives the closest experience to a full size cans' air and shimmer. Perhaps you want to give it another try, if you still have it around.

  • Reply November 3, 2010

    donunus

    The V-jays don't have a lot of highs above 12khz either since the upper mids mask it unlike the the HD580s/600s for example have that sparkle that I want above the lower treble region.

    • Reply November 3, 2010

      Mike

      Interesting… I don't seem to hear the mids masking the frequencies on the V-Jays as much as you do..

  • Reply November 3, 2010

    donunus

    Remember my question in one of the 555/558/598 threads about whether there is a possibility that I would like the 558s more than the 598s because of how I get annoyed by forward upper mids? Well I am very sensitive to forward upper mids and since my average listening volume is around live music levels, I tend to prefer more laid back mids like how the senn 580/6×0 series for example does it. Basically want something like the hd600 sound in a portable/easy to power model. I should probably just leave these alone and enjoy them for what they are and buy some hd558s too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply November 3, 2010

      Mike

      Ah… that is true… Well the perfect solution would be to get a DAP with a custom EQ. Some Ipods are also inherently more laid back than the other. The Nano Video that I have is more forward than the Classic, for instance.

  • Reply November 22, 2010

    Boyd

    Can you compare HD238 HD228 MM450 MM550 and V-Jays pls .. : )

    • Reply November 22, 2010

      Boyd

      sorry it's PX210BT PX310BT MM450 MM550 and V-jays

      • Reply November 22, 2010

        Mike

        Hi Boyd, no plans for them at the moment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply December 6, 2010

    Dave

    Hi Mike
    Loved the review, just what I was looking for. I can't decide between the V-Jays or the PX200 II Could you tell me which, in your opinion, is more comfortable and will block out unwanted background noise e.g. Traffic etc
    Thanks
    Dave

    • Reply December 6, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Dave, I think both are roughly just as comfortable, although I slightly prefer the V-Jays' comfort. The PX200 II may have a little better noise isolation due to the closed design, but these headphones are not designed to isolate noise too much anyway — so I wouldn't bet on their noise blocking capability.

      If you have the budget to go up, then get something like the HD25-1 which is excellent at noise isolation.

  • Reply December 8, 2010

    Jenny

    How would you compare Senn Px100-ii and the V-jays? Music preferences would be pop rock

    • Reply December 8, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Jenny. Both are good for pop and rock. The Senn is darker, the V-Jays have more engaging mids. If this is your first "good" headphone purchase, you'll probably be happy with either one. But if you already have a history with headphones, perhaps sharing some of your headphone history can help me point the way better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply December 16, 2010

    Dave

    Hi there, thanks for the roundup! But next time, would you be so kind as to include some "popular" anchors in your shootout to act as a baseline? This would allow new visitors some frame of reference as to how each shootout is faring.

    Apple stock iBuds: Everyone's listened to these. An actual review of these compared to the ultraportables would provide a very good frame of reference.

    Sony MDR-V150: The worst Sony ultraportable. Found in many department stores for about $15, I see many people use them, much to my chagrin.

    Beats by Dr. Dre: It's way out of the target price range, but too many casuals believe these are the best headphones on the market. Then there are some who believe even the PortaPro is better than these. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

  • […] 6 bulan sejak pembelian si SJ3, dan lagi asik2 nya buka aud-id, tiba nemu sebuah link mantep banget, ini link nya, setelah gw baca2 itu lagi, hasrat gw buat beli si v-Jays timbul lagi, tanpa babibu lagi, […]

  • Reply January 21, 2011

    James.

    You lost it for me when you started waxing enthusiastic about the V-Jays. I own a pair. Worst pair of headphones I ever heard. Every other reviewer on the planet seems to agree also.

    • Reply January 21, 2011

      Mike

      Well can't agree with everyone right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply March 8, 2011

    Neonomide

    Hi! A very good article here!
    My beloved PX 100 seems to fall apart after a year of heavy duty usage and I’m thinking of upgrading to 100 II or something. I really like the deeper bass yet would like even a bit more and even more richer mids and higs. Any suggestions? Rock and classical are perhaps my top genres yet I do regularly others as well.

    Otherwise I have had Klipsch Image S4i and really liked the detail and balanced sound. It’s usage for me seems more limited though compared to foldable ones so I need an alternative. I also have had PX 200 II and did not like the lack of massiveness and bass.

    Also, have there been any noticeably differences after months of usage in the earphones tested compared to the time of reviews, by the way? I heard some require some usage before showing their full potential.

    Some notes and advice will be appreciated!

    • Reply March 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi,
      If you want a richer mids and highs, try the V-jays. If you want deeper bass, go with the PX100-II. I also listen to classical and Rock and I alternate between the two.

      Regarding that “time difference between use” also known as burn in, on most headphones the changes happen within the first few hours. But people have far different beliefs on this issue, and some will tell you that after 300 hours they will transform into a totally different creature. To each their own I guess.

      Cheers

  • Reply March 23, 2011

    Rick

    I can’t say enough good things about the V-Jays, simply awesome, i agree that they are the best portables out there. I would also like to give major kudos to Tim Maberly of Jays for the excellent customer service, I highly and strongly recommend these headphones and the Jays company.

    • Reply March 23, 2011

      Anonymous

      Glad you’re enjoying it, Rick.

      A friend of mine is currently on a hunt for a V-Jays after I loaned him my V-Jays. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply May 4, 2011

    JT_ANDYOUDONTSTAAAAP

    V-Jays sound soo good it’s unreal. They are bassy but at the same time very spacious and bright. The only thing that required getting used to is the way they look, PortaPro’s are much better (closer) fitting.

    • Reply May 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      I know. The V-Jays is unbelievably good. I think it makes the Portapro
      obsolete.

  • Reply May 21, 2011

    Aksek

    ย I agree with a previous comment about the AKG K420. I would be interested in hearing your opinion on these. Also how do the Senn HD228 compare?

  • Reply June 26, 2011

    P. J.

    Niceย comparison. Something that is worth mentioning: pads like on PX100II will likely disintegrate over time. I’ve had some Sennheiser gaming headphones (PC150?) which had the same pads and they are dust now.

    • Reply June 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      True. I missed mentioning it on the comparison.

  • Reply July 5, 2011

    Eskimoo

    any input for ultraportables “dynamic bass” HD218, HD220, and โ€œExplosive bassโ€ HD228 ? thanks

  • Reply July 8, 2011

    Guest

    I can’t understand how you say the porta pro sounds better than the “old” version, they have the same driver, its only diffrence is cosmetic.

    • Reply July 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sorry, where did I say that?ย 
      Do you mean the Portapro anniversary version?ย 

      • Reply July 8, 2011

        Guest

        yeah, the anniversary and the old one are the same the only difference is the box and the coloring. “The LE model has a more refined sound and a better bass performance than
        the regular edition, which justifies the price tag that it sells for.”

        • Reply July 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          I think I should’ve said the LE model then. It’s the bassier and
          smoother sounding one.

  • Reply July 26, 2011

    Syakir Zainol

    Mike,

    Jays V-Jays vs Audio Technica SJ55 which is better?

    • Reply July 26, 2011

      Anonymous

      Different headphones for different purposes.

  • Reply August 15, 2011

    Rez069

    Hey I just wanted to drop a line telling you that I bought the V-Jays only because I read about them here.
    I wanted to go with Koss Porta Pros first but since they sold me fakes Ive sent them back.
    I’m glad I found your site. The V-Jays are great.

    Dave

    • Reply August 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Rez
      Hope you enjoy the V-Jays. Sorry about the fake Porta Pros.

  • Reply September 6, 2011

    palimad

    PX-100 vs V-Jays

    I used PX-100 for 5 years now so I think I know their pros/cons. You preffered V-Jays here so I ordered them. In my opinion, Px-100 sounds much better for music I listens – hip/hop, acoustic recordings, electronic music. I really dislike the sound of snares on V-Jays and I find the sound of them much more harsh then PX-100s. ย Maybe there is just something wrong with mines.

    • Reply September 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      I see,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, palimad. I do still enjoy the PX100-II very much, I think it’s one of the best out there.

      • Reply September 6, 2011

        palimad

        or perhaps i am just used too much to sennheiser sound

        • Reply September 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes there is a certain smoothness that you only get with the PX100-II

    • Reply September 6, 2011

      Donunus

      I felt the same way about the V-Jays. You are not alone

      • Reply September 7, 2011

        Anonymous

        Yes I’m in the minority now.

      • Reply October 4, 2011

        Anonymous

        my humble opinion,

        Usually the one who praise V-Jays hear music genres that you didnt mention above,namely PoP, religious songs (oh my), classic, etc.ย 
        I don’t have any idea if V-Jays will excels PX100-ii on Jazz since sennheiser usually good at it with its smoothness & Thick vocal.

        for hiphop, R&B, electronic music with ‘somewhat’ hot trebles, using PX-s , AKG K403/402, V-jays will make ears hurts. This where cans with some degree of treble attentuation like K404 , HD202, shines. The balance just right.

        • Reply October 4, 2011

          Anonymous

          Good point, thanks!

    • Reply February 4, 2012

      Anonymous

      ย 100% agree

  • Reply September 26, 2011

    navii

    Hey Mike,

    Which headphones let you hear more of the outside noise, the V-Jays or the Aiaiais?

    I want to wear them at work and need to hear when people call my name. Thanks.

    • Reply September 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes I know what you’re talking about, sometimes we want headphones that leaks. It’s gotta be the V-Jays but if you even want more leak, go with this one:
      http://www.headfonia.com/sennheiser-adidas-pmx680/

      • Reply September 27, 2011

        navii

        Thanks Mike, I ordered the v-jays, but if they dont work well Ill look into the Sennheisers.

  • Reply October 4, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,

    Beyerdynamic got new portable, called DTX300p. It should be fun & musical at that price range. Anybody bought it yettt?

    • Reply October 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes I’ve seen some reviews of it. Perhaps we can include it the next time we have another ultra-portable shootout.

  • Reply October 7, 2011

    Timothy Vivero

    Hi mike,

    Do I need an amp for the aiaiai tracks? Does the sound quality of the tracks ย goes into a whole new ย level w/ an amp? Sorry i was just curious..

    • Reply October 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      Timothy,
      I wouldn’t worry about using the Tracks with an amp. If there is any improvement it’s mostly going to be a punchier bass, but the tracks is fine just as it is.

      • Reply October 9, 2011

        Timothy Vivero

        Thanks mike, and thanks for the article. It was like God answering my prayers!! You don’t know how hard it is to find comparison of portable headphones on the net. Your article my friend is a life saver for people like me who are new to the audiophile world.

        I have a last question though. Which one would you recommend for Hip-hop and RnB songs. Please dont include the k404, v-jays and Oldskool cause i can’t find it around my place..

  • Reply November 8, 2011

    Johnwood70

    Hi guys, do you think inline volume controls affect SQ? I am looking at the PX200II’s

    • Reply November 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Johnwood,
      It should affect it somewhat, but at the end the PX200-II are still one of the most refined portables out there so I wouldn’t worry about the volume control.

  • Reply November 8, 2011

    Johnwood70

    Hi guys, do you think inline volume controls affect SQ? I am looking at the PX200II’s

  • Reply December 14, 2011

    Zaid Saleem

    mike very helpful review again..ย 
    Tracks Vs PX-200 ii(PX-100 ii) – which would be more suitable for jazz/piano
    i prefer a clearer sound
    regards

    • Reply December 16, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Zaid,
      You should go with the PX200-II, or better yet the V-Jays.

      • Reply January 14, 2012

        James L.

        Just to add on, I tried a number of headphones at a local store today. Priced from V-Jays all the way up to HD558. I found the PX200-II and the HD558 to be the two most balanced headphones.

        To recap my experience: the PX100-II was very bottom-heavy and the bass was the most boomy of the bunch. The Jays on the other hand has a more top-heavy tone, comparable to the Audio-Technica AD700. The Grado SR80i was the most treble-heavy, which I found to be too shrill for longer sessions. The ATH-M50 was a nice closed can, but was a little too closed for my taste. Marshall Major was like the M50 but less refined. The HD558 really hit home with comfort, isolation, big soundstage and tonal balance all throughout the range. But it was the most expensive. The PX200-II was like a smaller brother of the HD558, and at half the price it was hard to beat.

        • Reply January 16, 2012

          Mike

          Thanks for sharing your impressions, James.ย 

  • Reply December 17, 2011

    Ferdy Setiawan

    like this review (y)

  • Reply December 28, 2011

    Jake

    Hi Mike, I actually bought a pair of Jays after being recommended by this site, but last week one of the pads broke away from the headband. Even though I found the sound to be amazing – as you said – I found the build quality was pretty flimsy. Anyway, which headphone do you think I should go for after owning a pair of these? I’m definitely willing to spend a little more money, and hopefully they’ll last me longer than a few months! Thanks

    • Reply December 28, 2011

      Ron

      The Jays drivers can be removed and re-attached to the headband.ย  If you push/pull them just pop in/out with a ball in socket joint.

      • Reply December 28, 2011

        Mike

        Thanks, Ron.

      • Reply December 29, 2011

        Jake

        Yeah that’s happened before, but this time the ball snapped from the drivers

    • Reply December 28, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Jake,
      Surprised to hear about the broken Jays! I think it’s the first case I’ve heard.
      Try the Sennheiser HD25-1. It’s built like a tank.

      • Reply December 29, 2011

        Jake

        Well for the time I had them they served me well! I was pretty disappointed when I saw what had happened, cheers for the recommendation, I’ll look into those Sennheisers.

  • Reply January 5, 2012

    Snapinho

    I have been using the PX 100 for some time now, and I really dig the versatile sound quality for a headphone in this price range. However, after using it while biking, sitting in trains, walking around, the (very flimsy, I may say) cable broke right where it connects to the jack. Does the PX 100 – II have the same sensitive connect? I would prefer if my new headphones lasted a bit longer than my current one.ย 

    Also thanks for the review, it really is a great help. Would you really recommend the V-Jays to people who listen to a wide range of music, or would the PX 100 II serve the same purpose just as well? Cheers!ย 

    • Reply January 5, 2012

      Mike

      The PX100-II is great, but I think cable durability is more or less the same as the original. If you want something really durable, try the HD25-1. It’s built like a tank.
      http://www.headfonia.com/sennheiser-hd-25-1/

      • Reply January 10, 2012

        Snapinho

        Thanks! I did read some mixed reviews about the PX 10o II, so I’m inclining more towards the v-JAYS. How would you say the Grado SR60i compares to the above?

        • Reply January 10, 2012

          Mike

          Well the Grado SR60i has a bigger sound for sure so I don’t think you can compare it to the ultra portables. Although the newer ultraportables here, the PX100-II and the V-Jays have a smoother driver than the one in the Grado.

          • Reply January 13, 2012

            Snapinho

            I listened to the SR60 today and indeed: that IS bigger sound! I was impressed for sure. BTW, what does it mean that the PX100-II and v-JAYS have smoother drivers? What’s the implication for the sound? Cheers. ๐Ÿ™‚

            • Reply January 13, 2012

              Mike

              Yes the SR60 never fails to impress (except if you’re an RS1 owner).

              As for the PX100-II and V-Jays having smoother drivers, well the implication is that sound is smoother on those small cans. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    Katun

    Is it wrong of me to say the PX100-II is my favorite headphone of all time? I mean, I compared it directly to the HD598 (one of my favorites) and preferred the PX100-II greatly. It’s now my “go to” headphone, and I haven’t bought another headphone since.

    • Reply January 13, 2012

      Mike

      The PX100-II is a great headphone, lots of fun, easy to drive, easy to enjoy. I think not so positive vibes at launch is what gives it the current mediocre status. I’d take it over the original PX100 any day of the week, and for sure over that overrated PortaPro.

  • Reply January 16, 2012

    James L.

    Hi Mike! Thanks for your great reviews and advice so far. I tried out a bunch of “enthusiast” headphones at the store and chose the PX200-II. It sounded the very neutral, and cost only half of HD558, which is the other headphone I liked.

    Anyway, I am a little bothered by the inline volume control. To have the best sound quality, is it better to:
    (1) Keep headphone volume at 100%, control the source output;
    (2) Keep source at 100%, control the headphone volume; or
    (3) Find a middle ground between the two?

    From what I learned, it is always better to have a stronger source signal. But on the other hand, if the headphone never had a volume control, I’d have to control the source.

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Mike

      James,
      If you want a simple answer, it would be best to bypass (aka set the volume to the max) the lowest quality volume control. Because low quality volume control distort the signal and by setting it to the maximum level, you’re “bypassing” it.
      However, with the Ipod and PX200-II, I probably wouldn’t worry about it. I’d just choose whatever is more convenient.

      • Reply January 17, 2012

        James L.

        Sounds good, that’s what I’ll do with the iPhone then.

        But let’s say I get myself a decent portable amp to use with my iPhone, laptop or desktop computer. What if full volume on the phones is unacceptably loud, and the amp has to be turned way down? Is it still good to keep the phones wide open? This is already happening when I plug them directly into my desktop computer’s headphone out. I have to turn the volume in Windows down to 20%, which sounds very thin on my speakers connected in parallel. (Crappy integrated audio that cannot control the volume of each output independently btw.)

        Thanks!

        • Reply January 17, 2012

          Mike

          Well that’s why I said I would not worry about the technical details and go with whichever is more convenient. If that means controlling the volume on the PX200-II inline volume then do that. I actually use the inline volume control a lot when I did this review. I enjoyed having that convenience.

          • Reply January 18, 2012

            James L.

            I’ll do just that. I guess Sennheiser figured that the effect of the inline volume control would not matter to the PX200-II’s intended audience, especially for the convenience it brings. More serious phones like the HD558 will never have an inline volume control.

            • Reply January 19, 2012

              Mike

              Yes, that’s right James.

  • Reply February 4, 2012

    Anonymous

    Thanks for the review. I bought a pair of V-Jays after reading this review (and many others including mainstream HiFi press) and I found them shrill; the sine wave between 3KHz and 5 KHz sounds more like a triangle wave – probably explaining the shrillness. Perhaps they need a lot of breaking in?ย  I greatly prefer my mk1 px100 more euphonic and much more comfortable. I was using Fiio E10 and E7, as my intended use is for my transportable listening setup for laptop and work. Glad I bought a spare pair of px100 before they disappeared, for me V-Jays are no substitute (not as good for transporting either), hopefully they will burn in and get more comfortable too.

    • Reply February 4, 2012

      Mike

      The Senns are darker and more relaxed on the treble. Some people find it too dark and boring. The Jays have more treble and it’s better for some people.ย 

      Looks like you are one of those “PX100 for life” guy.ย 

  • Reply February 9, 2012

    Anonymous

    Mike I wanna be wild so against your suggestions I ordered the Koss Porta Pro! I am really happy to see how they compare against the Sennheiser px90 that i own and I am familiar.
    The Porta Pro is a “storic” headphone that’s why i bought it. After a while I will buy the px100 ii and maybe the v jays.

    • Reply February 9, 2012

      Mike

      It’s a nice headphone. I’m just against the old driver. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply February 14, 2012

    Anonymous

    The Koss PortaPro what a headphone!

    I paid just 22 Eur shipping included. Out of the box they rocked with a huge bass and an overall engaging sound that blows my Sennheiser px90 out of the water.ย 
    The midrange seems good to my hear, the highs sounds a little attenuated.
    Maybe I can label the sound signature a little dark.
    As Mike said the driver is old so there are better refined headphones around.

    I think they are an amazing value for their price and if you are an headphone guy the portapro is a nobrainer purchase.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    ishank gulati

    Are akg k403 any good

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry I don’t remember if I’ve listened to the K403.

  • Reply March 19, 2012

    Ketan Krishna

    Would you recommend the PortaPros or the v-Jays for listening to classic rock and jazz mostly ?ย 

  • Reply March 22, 2012

    mikes62

    How does audio technica ath-es55 stack up against these headphones? I own the Sennheiser PX100 & Porta Pros and the es55 better both of them

    • Reply March 22, 2012

      Mike

      It’s quite comparable. Some of the headphones here, especially the open-back models like PX100, PortaPro, V-Jays have a more natural tone. However one area that the SJ55 does much better is on bass punch. None of the ultra portables, perhaps due to the non-sealing nature of their pads, can compete.

  • Reply March 22, 2012

    Fabio_Rocks

    I am back again! I got the Sennheiser px 100 ii and I want to share my impressions head to head with the Koss Portapro.ย 

    So big Snare Rolling… The Match Begin!

    SENNHEISER Px-100 ii vs KOSS Portapro

    After 10 hours of burn-in I am pretty sure that the Sennheiser is OVERALL the best headphone. The sound is more refined and is very smooth. The bass response is HUGE: straight to my Iphone the bass sound better than my Sennheiser hd 380 that is professional monitoring headphone 3 times the price. The sound signature you know is label as dark (not much treble presence) but it’s not a drama for me, it’s a plus, because i like dark sounding headphone, you can listen them for hours without being tired.Where the px 100-ii does not shine?The big disavantage is the speed. They are pretty slow and this is a problem with fast music.I Made this little listening test:1) Korn feat Skrillex – Narcisist Cannnibal (fast metal-dubstep)2) Burial – Archangel (slow Elettronica)First the Koss PortaproThey rocked with Korn giving an energy that really exite me to the point that i must dance with my head (LOL)With Burial the job is average the sound is ok but I feel that something is missing in the atmosfere.Now the Px 100 iiWith Korn I noticed really soon that i lost the energy of the portapro now the listening is more quite my head is not moving I lost the energy (sigh!) I don’t like it!With Burial I entered in another World. I was sourrounded by this huge bass. All is crystal clear and very emotional, this headphone is transmitting a lot of feeling to me.As Mike said they are two different headphone one is HIFI the other is ROCKIN so two different category.The Px 100 ii has a big advantage due to the smooth drivers and the brilliant Bass with the 80% of my music collection, ย they are a clear winner to me.I keep the Portapro for my fast music.The winner: Sennheiser Px 100 ii (score: 8)Koss Portapro (score: 7)Hope you like my Mini Review

    Cheers!ย 

    Fabio.

    • Reply March 23, 2012

      Mike

      Good review there, Fabio. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Reply August 8, 2012

      J

      Nice review – I had similar experiences. Here’s my take on the Koss Portapro vs the Sennheiser P100-IIi headphones.

      I had the Best Buy Edition Portapro that I left on a plane. I really like open air headphones for the office as I can keep them at a decent volume and still hear others around me when I need (read: don’t have to take them off often). Missing having them at work, I started my research to see if I wanted to get another pair – at this point I saw the many shootouts between the Portapro and the PX100-IIi.

      Koss Portapro: The passionate, albeit slightly flawed performer – The Koss Portapro phones were very impressive from the moment I first put them on. I first noticed the very deep bass – much like one hears when there is a subwoofer in a room. The bass continued to be elevated slightly muddying its way into the warm sounding mid range. The mid range felt appropriately balanced. The highs were appropriate given the clear warm focus of the headphones. Given this type of tuning, I noticed that some songs sounded fantastic with a crazy amount of energy, while other songs just didn’t seem to dial in. The soundstage was large. I would be remiss to not mention the very annoying problem where one of the headphones would very easily pop off of the headband. They also developed odd bass rattles on one side at random times. To their credit, Koss would have replaced them for free with a refurbished pair.

      Sennheiser PX100-IIi: The solid, unoffensive, reliable, all-arounder with Apple mic and controls – The PX100IIi are much more versatile across musical genres but lack the energy and strong mids of the Portapro. They are fairly unoffensive in everything that you will play on them and do it technically better than the Portapro. I can definitely detect a lack of mid range as vocals seem a bit thin for my tastes on some tracks. Ofcourse, the PX100IIi have the benefit of a built in mic and iPhone/iPad/iPad/Mac controls. To me this is huge as they are now useful for a whole other set of circumstances (I have the Shure s4i earbuds but their closed, earbud nature makes them feel odd for conference calls). All in all, for $55 on Amazon I think the PX100-IIi will fit the bill nicely for a set of well built, collapsible headphones with a mic and controls.

      Do you want the German car with its great performance and “lovable flaws/quirks”, or the Japanese car with feature-rich, reliable performance? While this comparison may be a bit of a reach, it really isn’t too far from my experiences. Fortunately, both of these can be had for around $50 or less so you can have both if you want!

  • Reply May 18, 2012

    dalethorn

    http://www.stereophile.com/content/sennheiser-px-200-ii-eq-headphone-review-dale
    Here in text and video is the experiment I did with the PX-200ii. The EQ’d result was so good you would not believe ordinarily, but here for your consideration….

  • Reply May 26, 2012

    Bruce Banner

    Great review!
    I own a Brainwavz M2 and I would like to buy a portable headphone. I like the bass of M2 but I feel it could do better in soundstage.
    Which one is better for mids,highs and soundstage, between Portapro and px100 II.
    How different are they in terms of sound signature from the M2?
    Thanks!

  • Reply June 19, 2012

    Fabio_Rocks

    I got 2 (yes two!) v-Jays in the mail today (Amazon error) On the first listening test the headphone seems a way too bright and on some track hurt my ears. The song “Hundred” from the artist The Fray was unlistenable because of that. Maybe they need some burn-in for sure to get off the sibilance. They are for sure the brightest headphone i have ever listened. So the first impression is not that positive. I will tell you later. Cheers:D

    • Reply June 19, 2012

      Mike

      Really? They have some treble but they are not that bright.

      • Reply June 19, 2012

        Fabio_Rocks

        I got very unlucky this time… I opened the second v-Jays to test the sound and the pad was broke! The sound was better than the previous one not harsh, quite nice, maybe too much treble than I like. The first one I think it’s defected in the driver. Anyway on 2 brand new v-Jays I have no one working that’s very weird. Maybe Jays is not for me. Cheers:)

        • Reply June 20, 2012

          Mike

          That’s really weird, Fabio.

  • Reply July 12, 2012

    Edward Wrigley

    Hi Mike, I’m a little confused on which headphone to get and need your help. I’m stuck on deciding between the Sennheiser px100-II, Sennheiser 238, AKG 518 and AKG K450 (all around the same price point). I know that both Sennheisers are open backed so taken that into account, but which has the best sound quality. I’m looking for an all rounder, that has good bass for electronic and pop music, but also good highs for soundtracks. Also a good seal is important so there is no loss of bass if possibke. Thanks!

    • Reply July 13, 2012

      Mike

      Edward,
      Electronic music tend to be mixed differently than soundtracks. If you have a good headphone for electronic it probably won’t work well for soundtracks. So you have to make a choice here.

      For electronic the AKG K518LE would be best
      For soundtrack the Sen 238.

      • Reply July 17, 2012

        Edward Wrigley

        Thanks Mike! I’ve decided to buy the Sennheiser 238.
        Just a quick note, I got a chance to listen to the Sennheiser 239’s today and I was wondering is the Sennheiser 239 a cosmetic update to the 238’s or is there also an improvement in sound quality? Thanks Again!

        • Reply July 18, 2012

          Mike

          Edward,
          I haven’t listened to the 239, but last time I was talking to the local Senn dealer and she said it’s just cosmetics.

        • Reply September 13, 2014

          Allan Marcus

          239s are open. 238’s are closed

  • Reply August 3, 2012

    George Lai

    I bought the VJays but the earpads are very uncomfortable. I solved the problem by putting the Grado S-Cush pads from my SR60 over them. For the record, my SR60 inherited the L-Cush from my SR325i which have new G-Cush pads.

    • Reply August 3, 2012

      Mike

      Good solution, George.

  • Reply August 8, 2012

    J

    Some nice reviews here. Here’s my take on the Koss Portapro vs the Sennheiser P100-IIi headphones.

    I had the Best Buy Edition Portapro that I left on a plane. I really like open air headphones for the office as I can keep them at a decent volume and still hear others around me when I need (read: don’t have to take them off often). Missing having them at work, I started my research to see if I wanted to get another pair – at this point I saw the many shootouts between the Portapro and the PX100-IIi.

    Koss Portapro: The passionate, albeit slightly flawed performer – The Koss Portapro phones were very impressive from the moment I first put them on. I first noticed the very deep bass – much like one hears when there is a subwoofer in a room. The bass continued to be elevated slightly muddying its way into the warm sounding mid range. The mid range felt appropriately balanced. The highs were appropriate given the clear warm focus of the headphones. Given this type of tuning, I noticed that some songs sounded fantastic with a crazy amount of energy, while other songs just didn’t seem to dial in. The soundstage was large. I would be remiss to not mention the very annoying problem where one of the headphones would very easily pop off of the headband. They also developed odd bass rattles on one side at random times. To their credit, Koss would have replaced them for free with a refurbished pair.

    Sennheiser PX100-IIi: The solid, unoffensive, reliable, all-arounder with Apple mic and controls – The PX100IIi are much more versatile across musical genres but lack the energy and strong mids of the Portapro. They are fairly unoffensive in everything that you will play on them and do it technically better than the Portapro. I can definitely detect a lack of mid range as vocals seem a bit thin for my tastes on some tracks. Ofcourse, the PX100IIi have the benefit of a built in mic and iPhone/iPad/iPad/Mac controls. To me this is huge as they are now useful for a whole other set of circumstances (I have the Shure s4i earbuds but their closed, earbud nature makes them feel odd for conference calls). All in all, for $55 on Amazon I think the PX100-IIi will fit the bill nicely for a set of well built, collapsible headphones with a mic and controls.

    Do you want the German car with its great performance and “lovable flaws/quirks”, or the Japanese car with feature-rich, reliable performance? While this comparison may be a bit of a reach, it really isn’t too far from my experiences. Fortunately, both of these can be had for around $50 or less so you can have both if you want!

  • Reply September 23, 2012

    cyborg drackle

    im thinking of buying px100 ii, nd had 1 ques. can i get same quality of bass, or even more in full size cans..-in the same price range? ๐Ÿ˜› sennhiseres r my first priority as they easily available in india (less time consuming) i listen to metalcore, hard rock nd a little rap, i need bass as i like the blend of base nd distortion. thks in advance mike

    • Reply September 24, 2012

      Mike

      Try the HD202 I think it’s cheaper than the PX100-II and it’s a full size.
      You can also try the AKG K518DJ.. It’s a little more expensive than the PX100-II, I believe around $90 USD.

      • Reply September 26, 2012

        cyborg drackle

        unn.. mike i already owned hd202i, nd i sold it to my frnd, lol i wasnt happy with its bass(maybe coz it was closed) even px-80 sounds a lot better than 202i… i had doubt as sm1 told tht px100ii r more bassier than akg518dj…..(me kinda basshead)
        can u help me out a little more, aftr tht i had to buy for sure..
        thx for reply dude

        • Reply September 26, 2012

          Mike

          Sorry I’m not really sure what you’re looking for here.

          You want really big bass? Try the ATH Pro700 Mk2.

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Julien Pansera

    Own Koss PortaPro and PX100-II.

    I’m listenning mostly to rock/metal/dubstep.
    It seems the Koss has better bass, tight, resulting in more straight to your face sound, with the kick drums for example.
    The PX100-II has a sound more spatial, more detailled maybe, but lacks tight bass and dynamics from the Koss.
    I would choose the Koss the sound and bass are more dynamic for my ears.

    As I like the Koss, maybe someone can direct me to a better headphones?

  • Reply December 12, 2012

    Domagoj Tokiฤ‡

    Kudos on review, now, my opinion ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have Sennheiser PMX100 (same sound as PX100) but they broke after 2 years of wear and tear. It was time to buy something new. First, i bought Koss KSC75, but I wasn’t pleased with them. They were very uncomfortable and the sound was good, but not even close to my old Senns. Looking over various reviews I came across this and I decided to look on ebay for v-Jays but I didn’t expect anything because lack of $. I had this insane luck of finding them for 30$ (auction – shipping included).

    I got them and didn’t like them at first because high tones were killing off my ears. After some time they burned in and got better, but highs were still a bit wild. Recently I fixed my old PMX100 ( PX100 ) and compared them. They are complete opposites. PMX100 has too much bass and it lacks detail, v-Jays lack a bit bass but it has much more detail.

    Now, after some time i discovered SRS Premium Sound on my laptop. After some tweaking, v-Jays lost all of it’s disadvantages. Bass is really strong (it works gr8 on dubstep, techno etc.) and highs aren’t that wild. The sound is really breathtaking, definitely better than PX100.

    btw.
    I’m using Sansa Clip for portable use but it isn’t good enough to use v-Jays on it’s full potential. On some bass overkill dubstep songs the bass can get distorted, but it doesn’t occur on my pc (laptop). On my pc (with SRS), the bass is clear, loud and boomy.

    • Reply December 12, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks Domagoj. If you find the Jays to be too hot on the treble, should try the PX100-II I think it’s much improved than the PX100. Not as well known as the original PX100 but I think that’s just due to marketing faults.

  • Reply January 7, 2013

    johnny

    i have to say..i owned vjays once but sold after several months..the treble and overall characteristics probably just isn’t for me..the treble is quite fatiguing after around half hour of listening..right now im using the px100-ii..it’s pretty laidback and comfortable for long listening..maybe i just love the sennheiser “warmness” ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply April 2, 2013

    radit

    hi, mike…
    that’s really nice review..but i have one question…
    i wanna ask you about sony mdr zx100….what do you think about it??
    thanks..

  • Reply October 7, 2013

    Oxfamer

    Thanks for putting the effort into comparing all these headphones. This article is a few years old so would you still recommend the Jays V-Jays as your top portable headphone? How do these compare to the Alessandro MS1/MS1i in terms of sound?

    BTW, I never would have thought of buying the Jays V-Jays without this article.

    • Reply October 7, 2013

      Mike

      Yes the V-Jays is still very good and I would still keep the ranking as it is today.

  • Reply September 15, 2014

    Tony Jones

    screw all headphones.none of them donnot have been around long enought.klipsch has been around longer than any of these new headphone/speaker companys.

  • Reply October 18, 2014

    Thorian

    Hi, Mike.

    Great review, but i was confused between getting a HD 218 or a PX 100. Preference would be a wide range of music, barring metal and electronic though.

  • Reply June 1, 2015

    Aggelos

    Another great article here! I ve set my mind for ultra portables, coz im on the road all day. But when I read about AKG 404 and that they are good for pop like music, I feel like i should ask whick is the best headphones for rock music? (rock and roll, new wave, hard rock and stuffs like that mostly) I really liked the AIAIAI Tracks, but still I want to make the best choice here. I would be more than glad if you give me your opinion!

  • Reply July 3, 2015

    Mike Zacierka

    After trying a lots of HP of any size I have landed permamentaly on AKG k404 the set which at this moment suites me best. 120 DB allows you to enjoy music in the way you have never been allowed with another compact HP’s. My music of choice is Techno House and some bass packed mainstream. In 50-
    100 EURO range you can’t get any better than K404

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