This HP50 is a closed headphone but with the use of the RoomFeel technology it sounds like an open headphone. RoomFeel was created to translate the warm, open sound of live performance directly into your private headphone experience, and that is exactly what it does. And how?! I have heard open headphones sounding less open than this closed HP50. In this price range, and maybe even beyond, this is the closed headphone with the most open sound I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Not only does it sound open but it is a very linear and flat tuned headphone. It’s not cold sounding but I wouldn’t really call it warm either, maybe just a little. That might be disappointing for some of you but I swear this headphone sounds good. It delivers a great level of detail on a black background and it sounds very clear with enough air around the instruments. Sound stage is pretty good but it is wider than it is deep. Balance and 3-dimensionality are very well executed for a closed headphone.
Bass has good impact when called for but it doesn’t have the biggest of bass. Personally I find it to have enough body but the real big bass lovers will probably want more. Quality however is pretty darn good. But like I said before it is a linear and flat tuned headphone, so think in those lines.
The mids I had to get used to a little. I’m a fan of the thicker smooth mids and of course a flat tuned headphone doesn’t have those. So for the first 10 minutes my brain is telling me to pick up another headphone but then it kind of realizes that what it is hearing is really good and it embraces the HP50 sound. Depending on the source or amplification used the mids also behave differently. In example on the AK120II you get more of a thin sounding mid-section, missing some body, which is rather surprising. However straight from my Samsung S4 (I love its headphone out), the Cypher Labs Theorem 720 (or Duet) and the AK240 the mids have more body and sound thicker. With the mids, just like with the bass, you shouldn’t forget the flat tuning but thanks to the linearity it sounds in perfect harmony with its bass. So far so good!
The HP50’s treble is good and reasonably extended but it is not the most sparkling or lively. It however is perfectly in line with the rest of the headphone but for me personally it could have been more extended, but mostly more alive.
Everything combined this headphone sounds superb, sure the treble could have been even better but you can’t have it all I suppose. Some people say it isn’t musical but I really cannot agree with that (only with the AK120II it wasn’t sounding at its best). It isn’t the most portable of headphones on the market but within the $300 price range it sure is one of the best sounding ones. Looking at closed design headphones, this should be in everyone’s top 3.
It’s fairly different from the B&0 H6, Sennheiser Momentum or the B&W P7. I still love the H6 but that one isn’t tuned as linear and flat as this one. The HP50 has the better sound stage but the H6 is a great all-rounder with a less flat curve. The Senn Momentum was overly warm and has a centered sound with under par bass and the P7, like the H6, was pretty darn good overall as well but had booming bass. If I had to choose one out of these four, I would choose the NAD HP50. No doubt whatsoever, even if my brain has to get used to it every time for 10 minutes, it is the best one in the end.
I already touched a bit on amplification and the HP50 doesn’t strictly need any. As mentioned I love how the NAD headphone sounds straight out of my Samsung S4 and the same goes for the Cypher Labs Theorem and AK240.
The NAD Viso HP50 can be bought and auditioned at one of the NAD reseller shops. It still costs $299/299€ new but it is worth every single USD/€. I have seen them sell for around 220€ online though. I wish I had gotten to review this headphone earlier. On top of that it is going back to ANDBenelux.com, who I thank for supplying the sample. It’s a sad day at the office 😉