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JVC HA-RX900 review: Big-boy headphones with a budget price tag

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The Good The JVC HA-RX900 is an affordable headphone with a comfortable fit and smooth performance on rock, jazz and classical music.

The Bad The bulky design and superlong cord aren't suited for travel, and the lack of low-end boost will likely disappoint fans of bass heavy genres.

The Bottom Line The JVC HA-RX900 is an excellent over-ear model that will impress listeners shopping for a low-cost headphone to use at work or in the office.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Sound 7.0
  • Value 8.0

Review Sections

The JVC HA-RX900 is an affordable headphone with a large footprint that really lives up to its full-size name. It lists for $100 USD, but online it can be found for $63 in the US, £57 in the UK and AU$87 for our CNET readers in Australia.

The HA-RX900 is certainly the big boy of the group compared with the dimensions of other over-ear contenders from Sony , Sennheiser , Panasonic and Audio-Technica.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Design and features

The headband works in two parts with a thin wire structure on top and a thick, perforated pleather pad below that helps with the initial fitting. The ear-cups themselves also cover your ears with a lavish aesthetic; if you prefer subtlety, opt instead for something like the classic Sony MDR-7506 instead.

Design references are subjective, of course, but these rank just above the drab Sennheiser HD-280 Pro in my look book. Small details like contrasting gray-and-black finishes align well with the silver adjustment hinges and the variety of materials used to build the whole thing (rubber, pleather, canvas, plastic and bits of metal), but I just can't shake the notion that JVC used a group of air traffic control headsets as models for the design.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sartorial gripes aside, the HA-RX900 do have a legitimate weight disadvantage at 12.8 ounces (0.36 kg), and I found myself missing the weight class of the 8-ounce (0.23 kg) Sony MDR-7506 when I felt the cord pulling on the left side of the HA-RX900 during long listening periods.

That could be because of the massive 11.5-foot cord itself dangling from the left earcup that really puts these in the "at-home" or "at-work" class only -- like the Sennheiser HD-280s, I wouldn't recommend them for mobile use, especially since they don't fold up or come with a carrying case.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Still, there's something to be said about the cushioned headband that adjusts easily with a tug that conforms to the shape of nearly any head size. Like any synthetic leather, the cups tend to heat up after prolonged use, so I recommend taking a break every hour or so to rejoin the world and allow your ears to cool off.

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