Impressions of JVC SU-DH1
First of all these are just my opinions so keep that in mind. I an not an audiophile with a golden ear, but I have a better ear than most. I enjoy quality audio and I am usually able to pick things up that others cannot. I currently have Klipsch Reference Series speakers in my HT (RF3-II's which are dual 8" for the fronts if that helps).
Tried it out using Audio Technica ATH A500's and Grado SR125's. I played FEAR demo, COD3 single player and multiplayer, Blacksite Area 51 demo, Bioshock demo, Heavenly Sword demo, and Resistance: The Fall of Man single player. The movies I tested were Alien vs Predator and The Fifth Element using the same scenes repeatedly and switching the DH effects on and off.
The effect of the JVC is not like sitting in the middle of a 5.1 system at all. You simply cannot get that effect out of a pair of headphones. What I experienced was that it sounded more like you were hearing the sound in a room instead of through the headphones. It sounded quite a bit more like an echo, especially for voices. I did not care for the effect for voices though because it seemed to decrease the clarity and overall quality of the voices. They were no longer as clear and did not pack as much punch so to speak.
It also makes the volume a lot louder when you switch the DH effect on. The sound does seem to surround you more when the effect is on. I think that is the main benefit of the effect. It is great for action scenes with lots of gunfire. Again, it is not like a 5.1 system, but it is an agreeable surround effect that adds somewhat to the experience.
One thing I noticed in games was that when the effect is not on and a sound is coming from one side, then all of that sound will end up coming through the speaker on that side. When you turn the DH on it seems to even the sound out some and it no longer comes just from one side. In some instances, it is actually more difficult to tell where a sound is really coming from with the DH effect on because it is blending the sound a bit so it sounds like you are hearing it inside a room more than from just the left or right speakers of your headphones. So I am not sure if it is really helpful for multiplayer games, but I am not an avid online player nor am I very good at them so your opinion may differ greatly.
As far as the headphones are concerned the AT's are closed and the Grado's are open. The AT's are very comfortable and the Grado's are not as comfortable but I bought some soft pads for them and this helped quite a bit. I thought the Grado's were slightly more detailed and the AT's had more thump perhaps only becuase they are a closed design. Otherwise, they were both very enjoyable to listen to and it is hard to pick an overall winner.
I also own the SpeedLink Medusa 5.1's for my PC so I played through the FEAR demo on my PC so I could compare it to the experience on the 360. The Medusa's are not as detailed. Muddy by comparison. The surround experience though is very good. It did a good job of locating sounds. It did not echo and the sound was not in stereo but not blended to such a degree that you did not know where particular sounds were coming from. The Medusa's are very comfortable as well. The volume output is really low however.
So it is a mixed review for me. It is fun to play around with but I do not think it is essential. It may help gamers who are better than me. I would buy it again if it was cheaper. I think I will end up keeping it but I have not decided yet.
I would heartily recommend the AT's or the Grado's though.
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