One of my audiophile pals couldn't stop raving about the Phil Jones Bass H-850 headphones, so I requested a pair for review. Yup, the bass is all there, seriously deep and plentiful, but the bass isn't overdone. There's lots of headphones with pumped up bass, but too often it's muddy and bloated -- the PJB H-850 never loses its grip on the lowest notes. The Phil Jones Bass Web site makes no bones about it: "PJB H-850 headphones are the first pair designed specifically to bridge the gap between high-quality music and deep and clear bass." Musicians can plug the headphones into their amp for practice or studio work, but the PJB H-850 can also be used by anyone to listen to tunes.
Jones has been playing bass for 40 years. He worked briefly for Boston Acoustics and designed its flagship loudspeaker range, the Lynnfield series in the early 1990s. In 1994, he founded Platinum Audio, which made high-end speakers and studio monitors. Now, his current company, Phil Jones Bass, offers an extensive line of bass and guitar amps and speakers and the PJB H-850 headphones. Jones continues to design audiophile and home theater speakers for his Pure Sound company.
I'm not a bass player, but I love bass, and cruising through A Tribe Called Quest's "The Low End Theory" album quickly demonstrated the PJB H-850's bottom end prowess. Yeah, it's all there, and unlike my Sol Republic Master Tracks headphones the PJB H-850 has midrange and treble detail. This headphone isn't dull or soft, resolution from the bottom to the top octaves is consistent. Daft Punk's "Lose Yourself to Dance" low-end thunder knocked me over, and the rhythm section's mighty groove never let up. My Sony MDR-V6 'phones' bass was full and deep, but the PJB H-850's bass definition and punch pulled ahead. The PJB H-850s imaging was recessed and hollow, the V6 brought the sound into focus. It may have been designed for bass players, but the PJB H-850s treble is brighter than the V6's.
The PJB H-850 is a full-size, over-the-ear headphone, it features 40mm drivers, and impedance is rated at 32 ohms. This lightweight plastic, closed-back design has nicely padded ear cushions and headband. I found it more comfortable than the V6 to wear for extended periods of time. The user-replaceable cable plugs into the left ear cup. Curiously, I didn't like the PJB H-850 with my iPod Classic, the sound was too thin, but at home plugged into my Schiit Audio Asgard 2 headphone amp the PJB H-850 bloomed.
The PJB H-850 is available directly from the Phil Jones Bass Web site for $99.95.