Disclaimer: Verisonix provided a well-used N500 for the purposes of this review, free of charge. The N500 has an MSRP of 549$. You can find out more about it here: Verisonix N500.
I would love to begin and end this review with the following four words: these are good phones. When I popped these over my wife’s ears, she immediately bopped her head and burst out wow! The Verisonix N500 boasts one of the most well thought-out sound signatures I’ve chanced upon in about a year. It’s got the big, feather-edged bass of the Grado PS1000, followed by a rich, and neutral-leaning midrange, and a clear, extended high end. It is perfect for trance, and rich enough for vocal genres. It is speedy, airy, and packs in a good deal of 3D detail. It’s neither hot, nor heavy.
I’d like the review to end right there. And by rights, it should. It’s just that there’s this one hitch, endemic to companies apparently solely focused on sound, signatures, and bopping heads.
That hitch is fit and comfort – not that the N500 fits bad. Hardly. But hiccups pop up here and there. The Verisonix N501 droops low around the ears on narrow heads. The N500’s self-adjusting headband is no-nonsense and comfy. And its wood shells are pretty. But the metal chassis is rickety. It snaps and crackles and pops when you adjust it, or when you pop your ears or move your jaw. It’s sturdy and I expect it to hold together really well. But it makes loads of noise – much of which gets transferred to the wooden cups.
It would be great to have dampening material at the joints and fulcrums.
The N501 isolates more than the N500. The Verisonix N500 lets in the gentle constructions sounds of a solar panel installation 200 metres away with little more attenuation than a DT880.
It also comes with the same practical, semi-hard carrying case. The same tough, unlabelled cable, and 3,5mm to 6,3mm step up adapter we saw in the N501 fit in there. Which illustrates one of Verisonix’s strong points: compatibility across the line. Every model sports the same driver, but chosen based on tolerances for the model into which it will be installed. 3,5mm-terminated L/R connectors, being almost ubiquitous, are a great choice for home or professional HiFi.
Personally, I think the square-hewn N501’s wooden cups are prettier than the N500’s. Which leads me to my final point: while the N500 sits lighter on the head, its marginally isolating cups, and rattly chassis are serious points to consider. The N501 should fit the commute, and the studio better.
Both headphones fold up pretty tightly. What the N500 does that the N501 does not is swivel to the front and back. I suppose this helps you keep track of the mix and the crowd – if only was damped well enough to isolate the music from the crowd, and didn’t click clack when you moved, it would be the sleeper hit of the year.
Sound and more after the jump: