Headphone Review: Pioneer STEEZ 808

[IMG]

Big bass! Small bass! Medium bass! Everyone seems to want a different amount of bass. Pioneer has created a really interesting headphone that plans to address this problem. They will let you choose your own bass levels with the new STEEZ 808s. The new STEEZ series was designed for DJs to use. The 808s are on the high-end of the STEEZ spectrum offering dual drivers and a pretty affordable price.  Read on for the full review:

Specifications

  • Drivers: Dual Dynamic Drivers (40mm Woofer; 30mm Tweeter)
  • Frequency Response: 8 – 28000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 ohm
  • Sensitivity: 104 dB

In The Box

  • Pioneer STEEZ 808 Headphones
  • Cable with Remote and Mic
[IMG]
The 808s don’t come with many accessories… Actually, they come with none.

Design

Pioneer goes out and uses a well-known design with the 808s. It’s no doubt that they took some aspects from the Beats. I feel, however, that they didn’t just take, they improved upon it. Subtle ripples in each of the earpieces form the shape of a nob, but reflect light similar to the bottom end of a CD. This ripple adds a beautiful aesthetic design to the headphones and keeps the 808 from being boring and plain. The color selection is another huge plus as well as the slate color reflects and adds depth over the Beats. The design is absolutely beautiful. In a way, I think the 808’s design makes the Beats look plain.

[IMG]
The design of the STEEZ outdoes the Beats at their own design.

Design: ★★★★★

Audio

Four total drivers drive sound directly to your ears on the 808s. The adjustable bass knob allows users to select the amount of bass they are most comfortable with. This causes the headphones to have multiple sound signatures, and thus multiple scores. Since the knob changes the power of the sub-bass, the 808s can have a sound that is anywhere from well balanced to a really dark signature. Although the bass level can be set anywhere, I will be testing the headphones on 3 bass settings, Minimum (0%), default (about 60%), and Maximum (100%) to give you a full view of what the sound is. I generally listen around 25%.

[IMG]
The bass knob allows you to adjust the bass to turn a brighter sound to an extremely warm one.

Bass

Min: The sub-bass offers beautiful texturing that is delicate in every way. A nice tight punch is coupled with a stronger impact to create a nice bass balance. The bass really never goes out of line and is extremely controlled, the exact opposite of what you’d expect a DJ headphone to be. The bass is more accurate than it is fun, but can lose its presence at times.

Score: ★★★★½

Def: As you turn up the bass knob, the sub-bass is boosted and the result is a sound that is fuller and more solid. The texture still has its fluidity with the knob on the default setting, but has more thickness and body to it now. The impacts is stronger as a whole, but now can overshadow the punch. The end result of this is a punch that can seem lost at times. Presence is stronger here, an improvement from the minimum setting. The bass remains controlled at this level which is a nice touch.

Score: ★★★★½

Max: Turning the knob to the max forces the sub-bass to be maxed out. You begin to hear a more solid sound, but it never really washes out the texture in any way. Punch is entirely gone now, and it’s really just impact. It seems as if the sub-bass can wash out the higher bass. Overall, the bass still remains controlled and composes itself well. Although there will be a moment or two when it feels overdone.

Score: ★★★★

Mids

Min: The midrange leans towards the brighter side with the bass knob turned all the way down. Detailing is superb throughout, but in no way is it up front. Clarity of the higher mids can be veiled by the high end though. Dynamics are strong, but definitely can be slightly stronger while energy remains at its highest for both the vocals and instrumentals. Energy can be a bit much as they are more prone to sibilance with the bass at the lowest.

Score: ★★★★

Def: With a boost of the lows, the sub-bass helps warm up the vocals and help balance them out a bit. Clarity really isn’t affected here, neither is detailing. Dynamics are a little improved with the bass boosted a little as well. Energy remains strong throughout, although the bass boost does help tame them a bit. Sibilance is gone from the sound which is a big plus.

Score: ★★★★½

Max: With the lows boosted too the highest, the midrange warms up quite a bit. The midrange, as a whole, smoothens out. Some clarity is lost in comparison to the default and minimum setting, but detailing is still left untouched. With the full boost to the lows, dynamics are reduced, but not gone by any means. Energy is also lost as well, but still remains strong. Even with the full bass boost, the midrange remains great and is fun to listen to.

Score: ★★★★½

Highs

Min: The highs offer a bit of energy with the bass at the lowest setting. The main focus being on the higher splashes and sparkle. That said, these have an absolutely beautiful sparkle. It isn’t picture perfect as they can smear at times, but still wonderful nonetheless. Snare smashes are better heard, but could be better balanced with the rest of the high end, and spectrum for that matter. Overall though, the highs are a joy to listen to. Sibilance is kept to a minimum, but can still pose a problem

Score: ★★★★

Def: With the added bass, the snare snaps seem to recede a little further and smearing is a little less. Nothing that is bad by any means, just another flavor of sound. Sparkle remains strong, but sibilance is reduced a bit overall as the low-end boost seems to tame the highs a bit. That’s not to say that the sibilance is all gone.

Score: ★★★★

Max: Bringing the lows to the max level tames the treble a little too much. Yes, they are not sibilant by any means, but they have lost just about all their energy and sparkle them. There is a shimmer of light, but a shimmer just isn’t enough. Sibilance is removed entirely however, so that’s a good sign. Extension is lessened even further as well. At the max, I would say the highs are good, but extremely laid back, a little too laid back.

Score: ★★★★

Audio: ★★★★½*

*The Audio score is based on the audio setting that produced the best sound.

Build

The 808s come bundled alone. That is, they come without a case or any other accessory to protect them from the outside world. I do wish that Pioneer would have included something to hold the headphones in; anything is better than nothing, especially for these headphones.

The entire headphone is made of plastic. Although this works well for the housings, and is enough to protect the 4 drivers within both housings, it is as far as the protection really goes. The hinges, axles, and every other moving part is plastic. The slider used to adjust size is made of plastic and feels pretty weak. The headband is the same way. The plastic looks beautiful, but it just doesn’t seem strong at all.

[IMG]
The plastic looks gorgeous, but it really isn’t that strong.

The cable, on the other hand, does make me a little happier. The cable doesn’t seem to tangle at all, ever. It has a nice thickness to it and feels strong. Strain reliefs are present on both sides as the headphone jack is thick, flexable, and strong just like the cable. Although the jack is straight. The best part of the cable is that it’s replaceable. That means if the cable goes bad, the headphones are still good. 3.5 mm plugs are used for both ends of the cable.

[IMG]
The cable is actually pretty good quality, especially compared to the headphones themselves.

Although the build of the headphones themselves seem very bleak, the build of the cable is really nice and keeps the build score higher up than it should be. After all, a cable break is more likely than an actual headphone break.

Build: ★★★★

Comfort

Pioneer’s selection of plastic does help keep the weight down, which in turn adds to comfort, but that’s as good as it gets. The 808s have many problems concerning comfort. The padding on the top is a nice touch, but it really just isn’t enough and can cause problems after a while. Additionally, the pads that are used for the ears are hard and stiff. After about 30 minutes, I start getting some discomfort. I can’t really wear these headphones for more than 45 minutes; after an hour and they have to come off. If there is one area that the 808s need fixing on, it’s definitely this area.

[IMG]
Despite the padding, these headphones are quite uncomfortable after a short time, I don’t want to image them with less padding.

Comfort: ★★★

Value

Design and sound are what these Pioneers have going for them. A brilliant design that puts the Beats to shame, and a sound that… Well, the Beats are already shamed for sound. The sound out of these is right on par for the price range; I would even say it’s a little high. The build may not be the best, but it’s passable, although I would want a little better build for the price. The main concerns are with comfort. Not being able to wear them comfortably for over half an hour is a huge turn off. A 3-button remote and mic is included for all iDevice users as well which makes things a little more convenient. Despite all the negatives, the tunable sound, and aesthetically pleasing design do keep the value up.

Value: ★★★★

Final Thoughts

There are a few things that plague this headphone, and would keep me from a recommendation. If you can get around the comfort issues, these are definitely an amazing pair of headphones to wear. The 808s offer a dazzling design with a sound that is not only adjustable, but sounds good on just about any bass level. They are made for bass lovers, but will also suite any causal listener as well.

I’d like to thank Katherine for the product sample.

Overall Score

[IMG]

Pioneer STEEZ 808

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Katherine for the product sample.
Post a response / What do you think?