Product Type: Numark headphones
Newest Review: ... on reputable headphones I owned several pairs of the HF125's some of which came free with Numark turntables and mixers purchased at diffe... more
More Dodgy Imperfection Than DJ Perfection!
Member Name: Nar2
Date: 19/11/12, updated on 19/11/12 (50 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap price, good decals & detailing, separate DJ large cups, thick single cord.
Disadvantages: Too much treble, not enough bass, cord is too short for other devices, flimsy in places.
Claimed as an ideal beginner set for musicians and DJ artists I was attracted to the low cost price of Numark professional headphones as well the promise/claim. I know of Numark quite well having used some of their audio mixing equipment but I was not aware they made headphones.
Nar2's Quick Skip Product Spec
* Model: Numark KF-125 DJ Professional Headphones.
* Lightweight & double banded with a leatherette top headband.
* Adjustable 7-height control & 40mm Mylar speaker cups.
* Separate DJ cups fold inwards for use of specialised ability.
* Rubberised, comfort sponge padded ear cups & able to mould to the head and ears quickly.
* Single 2 metre length cord and small headphone jack with larger jack adaptor also supplied.
* My cost price £8-95 from EBay seller (£4-95 from Gaz.co.uk, up to £10, £12 online elsewhere.)
General Design & Quality
For the cheap price I paid (and I've just noticed that a UK company are selling these headphones for nearly half the price to what I paid for) I wasn't expecting a great stride in quality and design - not after the similarly priced Philips SHP 1800 "Flight" headphones. However, I have been pleasantly surprised with the sheer durability and robustness that Numark have produced these headphones with.
From a distance, they could look like my Sony MDR V300's with the way the silver painted ear cups and black contrasting plastic trim has been organised here and the company brand is proudly stamped on each cup as well as the black stretchy-feel leatherette headband. Numark are evidently proud of this product for all that they've gone to the bother of adding details that mimic other rivals on the market. You'll find "L" and "R" on each side of the headphone where the pull up/down ratchet 7 position height adjusters are located and in general the headphones feel substantial and far more pricier than they cost!
The cup hinges that allow each headphone cup to fold inwards could do with a bit more quality though. Though oval shaped and look quite organic in their approach, they feel quite flimsy and initially I felt they could break at any time, especially if amateur DJ artists are relying on using just one ear cup when mixing music. There are supposed to be designed fit for purpose, but a thicker plastic arm would suggest better durability with long term use.
To fully test how good these headphones are, I've set my Numark headphones with quite a mammoth task of usage, from listening to quite a few different styles of music, from mono-1940's Christmas songs to the classically entertaining "Armed Man," by Karl Jenkins to rock music, disco music and lots of R'n'B to get the bass speakers moving to the beat. My Numark HF 125's have also been used to practice on a neighbour's nearly new, but seldom played digital Yamaha Clavinova I have my eye on as an early Christmas present to me! So, it has had its work cut out where using other devices are concerned and early on I can see why these headphones are better suited to beginner and amateur DJ artists.
This is because the sound quality is generally good where stereo imaging is concerned but it really depends on the music where the Numark HF 125's shows up some lack of quality when it comes to listening in general. For example, with classical music which is largely absent of bass unless you have music that has been purposefully written with plenty of Timpani and double bass string or brass instruments coming in also helped by an expanse of acoustics, I find that there is too much treble and not enough grounding that gives classical music, an imperious, rich and inviting quality.
Where R'n'B style of music is concerned, which I'm including acid jazz bands like Incognito into the mix here, I find there just isn't enough body to the sounds that the music imparts. The Numark's are great for general use, but if you're looking for thumping thick bass that doesn't distort and a wall of sound, you won't find it with the Numark HF 125's claimed output. For most of the time, the sound is muffled and too dry for my liking.
Tinny brightness is usually associated with pop music, and I found another downside to the HF 125's where they just don't seem to be bright enough with much needed bass added, almost imparting the kind of sound tinny in-earphones give off despite the girth of the ear pad rings. Numark may claim that their speakers are "40mm Mylar," types but it goes completely without notice when no bass or mid gain is present - to the point that it takes away the warmth and bouncy fun aspect when listening to pop music, making you usually feel involved when listening.
Although clarity isn't an issue with lyrics or the notes that singers are ad-libbing without actual words or certain notes, I find that there is an issue with clarity where the other instrumentals are concerned. Sometimes depending on the music involved, there simply isn't enough power for other instrumentals to come through cleanly enough.
Thus, whilst the Numark HF 125's look good, they lack a suitable bass warmth that adds gloss to generally most styles of the music I've put these headphones through and whilst other premium headphones are able to manage music and offer a different sound with a thicker dampness and more body, Numark's HF 125 won't set the world on fire where its sound for listening to music devices and built in sound settings are concerned.
However, where the Numark HF 125 seems to be more at home is with my digital electronic music instruments, from my drum machine to digital keyboard and digital piano. Generally with GM sounds, there's a good electronic reverb built in and I've been impressed with these headphones for being able to impart the quality intended. It is a pity though that at the top end, noise will happily leak out of the headphones and thus not exactly the best if you want headphones to practice in peace but without annoying anyone else present, in the process.
Although it is good of Numark to install a single and thicker cord than normal with these types of larger headphones, the HF 125's suffer from a cord that is too short when using with any other device other than a player or sound mixer that is close to you. I found it extremely difficult using these headphones with devices where the headphone socket is sadly fitted to the rear. Restriction in being able to play a keyboard or listen to music with older units can therefore be a major pain! This is probably at best to why the Numark HF 125's are more suited to DJ's where their equipment is directly in front or to the side of them. But, when used with other devices where the headphone socket is placed farther away, you may feel quite restricted.
Numark also claim that the HF 125 headphones has a cord that is "tangle-resistant," but in such a short time I've owned the headphones, the cord can become tangled up quite easily if using with computer devices and mixing equipment. It isn't as tangle free when winding the cord up around the headband to minimise damage, after use either.
Another issue that I have found is with the leatherette style foam rings that surround the speaker cups. They are comfortable up to a point, and though the adjustable speakers have a claimed 7-point of heights available with its seamless mechanised ratchet built in, I find that comfort can be compromised. They're not as sore as the thinner pads fitted on the Philips SHP 1800s though, which is saying something, but at the same time the rings can feel too clamped onto my ears and head regardless of the height adjustable settings available. Set at a higher position, the Numark HF 125's can't seem to get a closer fit to my head, sliding downwards and not at ear level. When set at the right height though, there's still a heavy feeling of being clamped in and it isn't before time that my ears are beginning to get hot without any air passing through from the speaker sponge.
I would love to award these headphones with five stars on price alone reflected by the cost price I paid and several different cost prices online that show this product isn't that expensive and quite a bargain. However, Numark's promise of a first time, ideal beginner set headphones for an aspiring DJ have got the job half done here. If there is any kind of device that these headphones work well on, it is solely with digital pianos, electronic synths and other digital music instruments that have a headphone facility.
Whilst these headphones seem to be well-designed on paper and not at all heavy to use or carry in use, the sound quality needs a lot more thought when it comes to listening to music. Bass fitted headphones don't require a thumping vibration to prove that they are powerful, but with DJ style headphones, one can easily assume that bass vents and bass has been added to such a product. Sadly for Numark, they may have met their mark on a cheap cost price, but when it comes to actual sound quality and bass, it's more of a case of a black mark against them. Thanks for reading. İNar2 2012.
Summary: A budget set of DJ style headphones that are too muffled and lack bass warmth. Be warned!
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