Phil Jones Bass H850 Headphones
Jonathan Moody • Bass Musician Magazine • November 2015
As musicians, we’re always looking for the best quality sound, whether that’s in our rig or in something as simple as a pair of headphones. And as bass players, we’ve amassed quite a collection of headphones that may work in some environments (like casual listening) but fail at others (private practicing).
Thankfully, Phil Jones Bass has released the World’s first pair of Headphones Dedicated to Bass Players with the H850 Headphones. Combining style with the trademark PJB high standard of quality, these headphones are an ideal addition to your equipment, at an enticing price point.
They are well made and look very sleek; if you didn’t know it, you’d think they cost a lot more than the $100 price tag that these sport. They feature a removable cable (which I find incredibly helpful) and excellent acoustic isolation, which I noticed right away as I put these on. I also noticed how comfortable this pair of headphones was to wear. Oftentimes, the ones that look good don’t always feel good, especially when you’re using them for an extended period of time.
Okay, so they feel good. But how do they sound? According to the PJB Website, the H850 are the “first pair designed specifically to bridge the gap between high-quality music and deep and clear bass,” and I found that to be incredibly accurate. Upon using them for casual listening, I found the response to be excellent across the board, especially in keeping the bass frequencies focused and tight. You could hear everything and, in true PJB fashion, it sounded amazing. First test was a success.
The second test I ran the H850 headphones through was to use them with the PJB Big Head mobile headphone amp for some late night practicing. Again, the headphones excelled in the application that they were designed for. My bass was clear, present and punchy with a focused low end. Adding in an auxiliary sound (either the metronome or something from the playlist on my iPhone) didn’t muddy up the sound at all, or cause any distortion. They made practicing in this type of environment enjoyable.
If you’re just looking for a great sounding set of headphones that you can also use as a practice tool, the PJB H850 Headphones will do it. But, after taking the call to sub on a couple of theatre gigs where you’re relying on headphones for personal monitors, I felt this was the ideal final test to not only hear how they’d handle this gig, but also find out how comfortable the headphones would be after a two and a half hour show.
In the theatre pit, these headphones once again excelled and exceeded my expectations. The clarity that I already knew was there was still dependable; voices from a couple doors down were clear and audible, and all the other instruments sounded great. Usually the problem with using a regular pair of headphones in this application is that everything starts to sound muddy and compressed; not so with the H850. I have used a number of different headphones and in-ear monitors in this exact setting, and the H850 are the one set that have sounded the best. The comfort level with the H850 was also well above expectations; even with really nice monitors, after a while they start to become uncomfortable.
The PJB H850 Headphones are an indispensable piece of equipment for ANY bass player. They are ideal for those practice sessions where using headphones is required, provide excellent reproduction for studio and theatre work, and are great for just casual listening. They also retail for around $99.95, which make these one of the cheaper gear purchases you’ll have to make.