Takstar Pro 82: An Underdog Champs

I was thinking on getting a pair of headphone that is like TH900 but less harsh. I have always been a fan of TH900, but sibilance has been an issue since the first day I had them. The bass and the low end, yeah! the low end is AH-mah-zinggg. The clarity is detail and precise, but the highs doesn’t let me enjoy the music as much if not paired with the correct amp. Then, I decided to sell the headphone and get something that I could tolerate with. Then two weeks before the semester ended, I decided to go through the TH900 thread on Head-fi that leads me to this. Honestly, I don’t expect that it could better my other headphones that I own (or owned) especially at $80. But, I guess it is too early to judge.

Order process and the package

It took almost 3 weeks from the day I ordered and received the headphone from Aliexpress. I got them from the original seller, Takstar Audio, and they are easy to reach. Not bad at all compare to my other experiences ordering from China through different other websites. There are many options upon ordering, I get myself a metal hardcase with an extra 8 bucks. It was originally $72 but with the hard case, it added up to $80. I also find that the silver color looks more premium than the black and decided to get the silver. It arrived with the headphone in a metal hard case inside a Takstar packaging box. The case itself is pretty dope. A custom metal case that is made only for Takstar pro 82; Takstar Pro 80 might also fit the bill, but no other bigger cans can fit the case. I tried to shove my Beyerdynamic T90 and it doesn’t fit. Maybe something like ath-m40x or Sennheiser HD598 could fit the case since they have oval shape cups.

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It also comes with standard accessories: 2.2m cable of 2.5mm to 3.5mm, a ¼-in adapter, a carrying case, a manual book and a warranty card. The manual does explain the bass boost functionality; it has 3 bass levels that elevates the 20-200Hz to 3 or 6 db on the second and third level. The cable comes with a standard 2.5mm to 3.5mm jack. Interesting enough, the 2.5mm out has 4 poles instead of the regular three poles. I am not sure if it’s a balanced out but there’s no different than other regular cable.

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Features

  • Ø40mm new NdFeB driver features high sensitivity, wide response range and large

dynamic

  • Adopts high polymer coating diaphragm, pure bass, penetrating mids and exquisite

highs

  • Soft and comfortable headband and ear pads for long time listening without stress
  • Ergonomic design fits different head shapes
  • Designed with 3 level bass adjustment function, user can adjust the bass according

to the music style to exert the best performance

 

Specification

Transducer Principle: Dynamic

Driver Diameter: Ø40mm

Impedance: 32Ω±15%

Frequency Response: 10Hz-20KHz

Sensitivity: 96±3dB at 1KHz

Max. Power: 50mW

Rated Power: 20mW

Cable: Ø4mmX2.2m

Adaptor Plug: Ø3.5mm+6.3mm

Net Weight: 237g (w/o cable)

Info taken from http://www.takstar.com

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Build and Comfort

I really like the silver Pro 82 because it has a premium look to it. With a 237g headphone weight without cable, it is lighter than my HD6XX. When you wear them, I swear that it feels even lighter than its weight. Despite the glossy metal looks, it is made mostly with plastic material; it does have a metal headband covered with a leather that stretched well. The thin earpads might be an issue to some but it fits perfectly to my ear. Honestly, this is the most comfort headphone that I’ve had on my head so far. Don’t let the thin earpads fool you; the comfort of this headphone is amazing!

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Gear used

Source(s): Tidal master, Foobar, Pioneer XDP-100r

Dac(s): Holo Spring Level 3 Kitsune Edition

Amp(s): ECP DSHA-0

Headphone(s): Beyerdynamic t90 Balanced recabled, Modded Sennheiser HD6XX and SDR mod HD800

Extra(s): Singxer SU1

 

How do they sound?

Uniquely neutral with a slight fun sound to them. They resemble my past Fostex TH900 with non-fatiguing treble and better mids but less extended bass. It has a good tonal balance that allow you to listen to any music genre without missing anything. The clarity and imaging are amazing as you can pick up every detail that lies in the song with ease. It is difficult to find a headphone with this amount of detail for below $300. Soundstage is way above average especially with a closed back headphone. There are three bass level as I mentioned above but I personally prefer the standard level as it gives cleaner bass compares to 3 and 6 db increase in the bass. The treble is tuned perfectly as if the guitar is played in front of you, not lacking in detail here. Did I said that they never fatigue? I have heard the Audioquest Nighthawk with mojo in the past and I thought that the Pro 82 is a step above them with my current setup; it is not generally fair as my current system is better compare to the last time I auditioned the Nighthawk but just want to give an idea on how good this headphone is at its price.

 

Songs

Princess Chelsea – Cigarette Duet

I truly enjoy the headphone with this song as most of my other headphones is less punchy I would say. The drum hits just right and not overwhelm by any means. Good separation between both male and female vocals and with the soundstage size, everything just seems right. Although, it could be grainy at times due to poor recordings.

 

Lorde – Ribs

This song has a good sound separation across the spectrum and The Pro 82 benefits the song with its above average separation capability. The vocal flows really well with the busy background while not losing any bass extension. Treble is well controlled, but it could sound a little messy on the top end sometimes.

Queen – Another one bites the dust

This is an interesting recording as every mic is used close to the instruments and vocals that makes everything seems too close to you. A wider soundstage is needed for a more immense experience and Takstar Pro 82 did great, better than my HD6XX and come close to my T90 but less so than HD800. Thumping bass and strong male vocal response make this headphone flourished.

Kap Slap – Harbor

Treble could be an issue with electronic songs with V-shaped headphone. The Pro 82 does have a good and clean bass extension although it does not go low like TH900. It also doesn’t have those shrilling treble that fatigue your ears like TH900, HD800 or most Beyerdynamic headphones. The treble is there but never harsh that makes it works perfectly with EDM or electronic genre like Harbor by Kap Slap.

Madeleine Peyroux – Dance me to the end of love

A typical vocal jazz song requires a great vocal singer accompanied by jazz instruments; a headphone that could excel in both aspects are crucial for an enjoyable listening experience because it could be dull if it is too analytical or missing vocal strength with bassy headphone. The Pro 82 has a good tonal balance without being too analytical or v-shaped.

Sia – Candy Cane Lane

This song has a busy background that mix with a standout female vocal. HD800SDR mod is my preferences with this song because it has a great imaging to point out every single instrument being played without disturbing the main singer. It could add sibilance to some headphones and that is the reason why I preferred the SDR mod but as I mentioned, the Pro 82 never had an issue with sibilance recording. I am surprised that the Pro 82 did it pretty good but not in HD800SDR class. The Pro 82 has lusher mids and fuller sound even though the background might be too busy for the headphone.

Senar Senja – Dialog Hujan

Guitar timbre in this song is amazing accompanied by engaging male vocal and the Pro 82 did a great job in acoustic song. Two things that I seek in every headphone with acoustic song are good separation and engaging mids.  Takstar Pro 82 does have both and at this price, it does surprisingly well. All you need is a good system that could bring out more microdetail from the song. Because, the mids is a little recessed when I compare the Pro 82 with HD800.
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Amped or un-amped?

To my surprise, the Pro 82 scales greatly with better system. I had it pair with my main setup

Tidal master > Singxer SU1 > Holo Audio Spring Level 3 > ECP DSHA-0 balanced out > Takstar Pro 82

and it sounds amazing, just like any mid-tier headphones Beyerdynamic T90 and Sennheiser HD650 that sounds awesome with the setup. Not lacking at all but perfectly fit in the system. I compared the setup with my two other sources, Pioneer XDP-100r and Galaxy S6 Edge, straight from the 3.5mm out and found that the bass is less clean and the mids are more veil. The drum hit is losing power and I am not enjoying the guitar timbre as much as I did with my main setup. I would say that it lacks nuance across the spectrum. It performs like a $200 headphone with XDP-100r and much lesser with S6 Edge.

How do they compare?

VS Beyerdynamic T90
Power and Clarity; two of the T90 traits that I really enjoyed even after almost two years of owning. The Pro 82 lacks in both but has a better treble extension that never harsh. I once thought that the Pro 82 has a similar sound with T90 but found that they are different headphones altogether. Bass in T90 is cleaner and more precise accompanied by amazing clarity in the mids. Whilst, Pro 82 has more quantity but not necessarily accurate and has more engaging mids despite lacks in clarity. Pro 82 has a tad wider and taller soundstage but T90 has better separations. If I only need one headphone, Pro 82 is a better choice than T90 due to its performance with any music genre. But, If I want to have more clarity, airy and focus more on reference sound, T90 is a better choice in this case. The T90 headband adjustment is kinda off, it is not really a big deal but annoys me at times while Pro 82 has a metal frame that will stick after being adjust. Both have great comfort but Pro 82 is better.

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VS Sennheiser HD6XX (modded)

Laid back with engaging mids are what making me keep the HD6XX, but I always hope that it could do better in treble. Both have good tonal balance and bass quantity but Pro 82 does it better in bass section; cleaner and more precise. The stock headphone has a good mids but it improved with simple mod ( Takstar Pro 82 mod in Head-Fi ). However, HD6XX has a more engaging mids especially with songs that focus on vocal, but Pro 82 seems to have more detail that makes the HD6XX sounds a little veil. The upper midrange is more concise in the Pro 82 that leads to more pronounced treble but never overdone. It is not laid back like HD6XX because it appears to have forward sounding. Yet, HD6XX is airier due to its open back feature. Kudos to Takstar on getting rid of the sibilance while maintaining a good treble amount. The clamping force on the HD6XX seems a bit too much but the Pro 82 has amazing comfort that can make you forget that you’re wearing a headphone. I enjoy both headphones and will alternate them depends on moods. Honestly, I don’t favor one over another in long term listening session.

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VS Sennheiser HD800 SDR mod

Awesome clarity and huge soundstage. HD800 has advantage in these two aspects and with the right system, it will be the only headphone you need in life. The Pro 82 has a good detail but HD800 is more resolving but could also have unpleasant glaring at times. The Pro 82 sounds a little recessed compare to the HD800 but it has meaty sound to it; while HD800 can sound a little thin with songs that has bass thump. HD800 no doubt has a more accurate sound and great string timbre that I really like when listening to classical, jazz, and any busy songs. It picks up everything in the song while Pro 82 might miss some minute details in the same song. HD800 imaging and soundstage is a win hands down, in fact, only few headphones can better HD800 in this case if not none. But, I enjoy the Pro 82 more as it has a U-shape sound and works like a charm with any genre. Bass in HD800 is more accurate but Pro 82 has more quantity and bass thump. The treble in Pro 82 is pleasing with no sibilance while HD800’s treble could be annoying with stock mode. Interesting enough, both headphones scales greatly with better system. Both have amazing comfort, but I would put the Pro 82 comfort a level above HD800. If you want something that has more analytical sound and money is not an issue, I would go for HD800; but, if you want a fun headphone under $300, look no further because Takstar Pro 82 got you covered.

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VS Massdrop x Fostex TH-X00 Purpleheart        

Bass quantity and low-end. Fostex TH-X00 line up along with TH600, TH610 and TH900 are well-known with their great bass and low-end. TH-X00 PH has a good amount of bass but I found that Pro 82 has a cleaner and pleasing bass. The soundstage on TH-X00 PH goes wider and taller that provides more breathing space between you and the singer. To my surprise, despite the better soundstage, Pro 82 has a better imaging. The engaging mids with amazing clarity on Pro 82 makes TH-X00 slightly recessed and distant. I remember that the top end is fatiguing on Fostex headphone but less so with my system. With the smoother treble, I really enjoy TH-X00 PH and decided to listen to them for another 30 minutes before I put the Pro 82 back on. Then, I played the same playlist again but through Pro 82 this time. I realized that I missed the meaty and lush sound with TH-X00. TH-X00 PH has thinner sound but better upper midrange. It has more micro detail in the treble, albeit fatiguing in long hours of listening. The Pro 82 is more forward sounding and has a pleasing treble extension. I enjoy both headphones but no doubt that I enjoy the Pro 82 more than TH-X00 PH in most songs. Do they have the same sound signature? I would say no because Pro 82 is forward sounding with a slight U-shape sound while TH-X00 PH has a larger soundstage with V-shape sound. Pro 82 wins in both isolation and comfort but only by a small margin. Is the TH-X00 a worthy upgrade from Pro 82? If you’re looking for a better low-end and soundstage while sacrificing the clarity and mids, I would say yes. Otherwise, I would say no.

 

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Overall

For its price at $72, it is an absolute no brainer. It is difficult to find a headphone that scale so well at this price point. While some companies out there moving towards a high-end product that could only satisfy one percent of the consumers, there are still companies like Takstar that aim to bring an excellent quality product at a more accessible price. Again, I can’t suggest this headphone enough to anyone out there that want to know what does price/performance really is. I am looking forward to listening to any future products from Takstar, maybe a Takstar Pro 84? We never know.

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