When it comes to buying a set of headphones it's very hard to find a good set under AU$100, with most "audiophile" sets costing from AU$200 and up.
While bargains such as the Grado SR60s exist, they look like they've been smashed about with the ugly stick. It's fitting then that the American company has now been challenged by a similarly high-performing pair with a "good face for podcasting": the BaDass HX003.
The strikingly metallic HX003s uses a 40mm driver and feature a one-sided cord. The look has polarised the crew here at CNET Australia, with comments ranging from "distinctive" to "it looks like you have a jaffle iron on your head". Well, the earpieces are rather square.
Build quality isn't the best, as though they may look like metal in the photos, they are of plastic construction and they feel a bit insubstantial when handling. The earpieces themselves also feature matte plastic ear cups, which, after use, look the way bus windows do when someone leans their face on them — all greasy. The headband is padded though and the headphones sit quite comfortably on the head.
But don't let the look and plastic-y construction of the headphones put you off, because the HX003s actually sound great for the price.
We see a lot of DJ headphones through these doors that pride themselves on their bass performance, but none so far have performed as well as the BaDass for controlling deep bass.
To use an example, at the end of the song "Life" by The Beta Band there is a descending synth bassline that almost every speaker and headphone gets wrong — either it over emphasises certain notes or just makes the whole part so overwhelming you just want to turn it off. Not so with the HX003s. Every note was measured and equal, and the instrument had an effortlessness we had rarely heard before.
These are quite detailed, yet still balanced headphones, and almost every genre will sound good. Only a slight metallic edge to treble means that they aren't quite "reference" quality, but you can't expect too much for only AU$80.
We'll admit, we were hesitant about how the HX003s would sound, but with use we've found them great for listening to music at work, and if you're brave, they are able to block out a decent amount of noise from public transport.
The BaDass headphones are available to buy on eBay, or for those who live in Melbourne the company has a retail store in Chadstone shopping centre.