I did mentioned previously a friend of mine send me his Hippo CriCri for review purpose,after that,he sent me his Goldring DR150 with Vero cable for review as well. This review entry will mainly focused on performance of the headphone.
For your information,Goldring has already discontinued the DR series,while not sure is there any later headphone will came out,but it is not difficult for us to buy a new one in headphone store now anyway.
Description and Specification
DR150 is Goldring’s flagship and highest end offer in their lineup(Lets say,without the noise cancelling model) currently,while it is still cheap (About 140 USD in Amazon,and RM 470 in Malaysia).
There is some earphone,DR50 and DR100 sit below DR150,anyway,I think all of them were already discontinued. I directly copied Musicaacoustic specification and paste it here:
Dynamic open back design Impedance: 32 Ohm Frequency Response :18Hz – 20kHz Total Harmonic Distortion: (1Vrms @ 1kHz) lessthan 0.2% Sensitivity (1Vrms @ 1kHz) :110dB Weight (with cable): 330g 3 Metre Cable with 3.5mm/6.5mm plugs It has higher sensitivity and lower impedance than its looks.
Design,Build Quality, Comfort, and Isolation
Design wise,I love the design,especially the ‘opened back’ design. You can adjust the earcup(Up and down) to suit your ear position,this is a essential features(many of the headphone has this kind of design anyway) that suit the earcup to your ears. But what I really like with DR150 is the interchangeable cable,means that upgrade the sound is a easy thing.
Build quality of Dr150 gave a little bit of disappointment here,it looks like piece of high quality headphone in pictures but in real life,its build quality is flimsy. While it is made by plastic,the ‘open back grill’ is not really made of good quality material or what,although I don’t have any critical issue with build quality of DR150,but for those thought it will be a solid headphone,should read this briefly.
There is some minimal cracking/plastic sound as well,when I try to turn and adjust the ear cup and slider. When you shake your head with the headphone on your ears,you can heard some noise as well,but..why shake your head?
Comfort is good,I can wear DR150 on my ears for long time,it is good.It has some ‘cloth/Cushion ear pad’,and is really good. Isolation wise,this is a open back design headphone,so basically don’t expect anything excellent for DR150 in isolation. But it is not that bad,I have heard worse. Sound leakage is audible as well.
*I use the Original/Included QED cable for the test.
*DR150 has been burned in more than 100 hours.
*Goldring DR150 has been tested with Yu Long D100 II DAC/Head Amp (Sometime DAC only sometime both),Stoner Acoustic UD100 DAC,JDS Labs Objective 2 amp,ifI Ican,Bravo Audio Rock,Govibe MiniBox(Old Version) and Hippo CriCri,sometimes with Hippo Biscuit as well.
High : It has more than enough amount of high,for some kind of song,this is not really good,as the treble for me has good presentation but average extension,speaking of sparkling,I think it is not that sparkly,lack some true/critical clarity and transparency that I will like. But it is average to good,but if you are allergic to high frequency,this is not a headphone to you.
Mids : Mid is not recessed to my ears,vocal is good (Although I am thinking that vocal lack some body and texture,it is like ‘floating’ in the air and you can’t really ‘catch’ nor ‘hold’ it),instrument is clear,speaking of clarity,it is good,but not the critical as I like.
Low : Low is better than what I expected,I expect light bass but in the reality,DR150 give some good bass,for sure it can’t give those kind of excessive amount nor ultra-rumble bass,but I don’t find the bass is lacking. The only problem I have is lack of detail in low region,I played some double-bass oriented song and it fail to thrill me with detail of the double bass. Bass is good,and definitely better than what I expected,but DR150 lack some impact and body,as well as depth. Extension is average.
Sound Signature : DR150 is quite bright,but this is not necessarily a bad thing, I am kinda liking it. Don’t fooled by the open back design,the ‘sense of openness’ is actually quite lacking. For those who like R&B,dubstep or anything similar.
Soundstage : Again,don’t fooled by the open back design,soundstage of DR150 is quite narrow and nothing impressive,it is really narrow especially on width. Sound is spacious but nothing really impressed me,I expected something better for open back design headphone.
All tested tracks are in lossless format unless otherwise stated
鼓诗 – 阎学敏 （炎黄第一鼓）
This song is full with drum sound and it is a appointed equipment test track. So impact and depth of low region is quite lacking,it is there but simply not enough,especially when it failed to keep me ‘wow’ when drum played hard there.
Il Mare Calmo Della Sera -Andrea Bocelli (Vivere)
Voices of Andrea Bocelli is undoubtable Godsend. When he sang,it is full of emotion and expressive,a good headphone should at least make it nice to ear,DR150 do a good job,but not great. Lack some energy when Andrea lift up his voice at 4.00 minute.
Smooth Criminal – David Garrett (David Garrett)
David Garrett played some of the violin song that I am really love,just like Vanessa Mae,and Smooth Criminal is one of my favourite song.for me,DR150 has some problem to keep up with the song,especially the energy and speed,anyway,when i changed to Vero cable,things do improved.
You give good love – Whitney Houston (the Greatest Hits)
DR150 played ballad nicely and satisfying. Of cause,if I want to be annoying or picky,vocal performance can be better,but this is not necessarily as I enjoyed this song by much.
Paired with Vero Cable
The high is now more ‘diffusing’ and crisp,better sparkling and extend better as well. Clarity is also getting better. And all of the sound came in properly,and you can listen to every note and sound easier.
Detail in low region seems improve as well (Play double bass better than QED). Also,I have noted some rumbling for the low region with Vero cable,especially when I played 鼓诗by阎学敏,detail level is good,just lacking ambience.
The sound became less heavy and ‘hardworking’ (active,brisk) than how the QED was. OED is a respectable chord company but this time I have really disappointed with the cable that they paired with DR150(this might be caused by the budget that a already cheap pricing headphone give to QED),but the QED cable for DR150 is no way bad(Although it is really really long),it is just when came to choices,that is better cables,but this is what I like about DR150,the interchangeable cable feature.
In my pairing that I have matched with Dr150,my opinion is that Dr150 need something has a lot of energy(Not driving power but sound signature),dynamic and thick. I think JDS Labs Objective 2 has made a good match with it along with Yu Long D100 II and UD100 DAC,but I found the best match is still ifI Ican,this made Dr150 alive.
Good : Sound quality(If you like treble), Comfort level, Price, Good looking(Looks high end),Interchangeable cable, In this price range all three of the frequency spectrum actually performed quite well.
Bad : Not for fast PRT song that need good and punchy bass response, Flimsy build quality, Excessive long cable.
It looks like I am not impressed by the performance of DR150,but in reality,I like how it performed. DR150 simply lack soundstage,good mid,extensive high,detail in low region,but this is a headphone that will give audiophile starter a good start. DR150 at least played every genre of song at average level,you get what you pay,but I think,you get more than what you have paid. Means,I recommended this headphone for you,especially if you have more budget to upgrade to a better cable.
I like this headphone and simply think this is a excellent headphone for those who starting to appreciate music and wish to have audio that has good quality,and wish to step inside audiophile world, DR150 might be your best choice for your first ‘serious’ headphone,because I simply can’t denied that DR150 give some really good price to performance ratio.