Numark PHX Pro Review

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Numark PHX Pro
Brief: Aging DJ headphone from Numark notable for the amazing versatility of its accessory pack and its modest price point

MSRP: $199.00 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: N/A (discontinued)

Build Quality (8/10): The build of the Numarks is representative of the majority of similarly-priced DJ headphones. The construction is mostly plastic with a bit of rubber on the headband. The headphones are flat-folding and collapsible and the joints feel smooth and precise. Though the similarly-priced ATH-M50, Denon DN-HP700, and Ultrasone HFI-450 all use slightly sturdier materials, the Numarks boast detachable cabling and screw-on pads, which add to their versatility. On the point of cabling, the Numarks ship with a trio of cords – 10-footers in both straight and coiled flavors as well as a 4-foot straight cord for portable use. All three cords terminate in a meaty L-plug a-la Sennheiser HD25-1. In addition, two pairs of pads are included – pleather and velour – as well as a pleather carrying pouch.

Comfort (8/10): The PHX Pro is a hair smaller than the average DJ headphone and the edges of the pads are a bit thicker than usual. As a result, the headphone is not entirely circumaural for me. Clamping force is medium in strength but the earpads and headband are soft and the headphones remain reasonably comfortable for some number of hours.

Isolation (7.5/10): The semi-circumaural nature of the PHX Pro slightly reduces the isolation the headphones are capable of providing but they still keep up fairly well with the other DJ cans.

Sound (7.75/10): Released back in 2004, the Numark PHX Pro was designed as a multi-purpose monitoring headphone that would match Numark’s mixers and yet be efficient enough for portable use. Indeed, the PHX Pro benefits from a dedicated amp far less than the similarly-priced Denon and Audio-Technica DJ headphones currently in my possession. More interesting, however, is the sound signature of the aging DJ headphone. The PHX Pro boasts a robust and full-bodied low end that acts as a solid platform for the rest of its sound signature. The headphones are rather fast and fairly aggressive, especially when it comes to mid-bass reproduction, but the bass can be toned down slightly by switching to the velour pads. Extension, both top and bottom, is quite good, though sub-bass is not nearly as strong as with the similarly-priced M-Audio Q40.

More remarkable, though, is the midrange of the PHX Pro – it is quite forward and rather lush in nature. Vocals come across very strongly which, despite the overall smoothness of the sound signature, results in a slight amount of vocal sibilance being detectable on certain tracks. Still, the midrange is fairly neutral tonally and surprisingly transparent. The treble, on the other hand, is bright and sparkly. The velour pads seem to accentuate the brightness slightly so using the pleather pair may be a partial solution for those who find the treble of the PHX too aggressive. Despite the bright treble, the mid-forward signature of the headphones, combined with the medium-sized soundstage, results in a slight lack of air in the upper registers. Overall instrument separation and detail are very good but the presentation is rather intimate on the whole and, like most mid-forward headphones, the PHX Pro can be slightly tiring for those used to more V-shaped balancing. Still, the headphone boasts a much more ambient and three-dimensional sound than most Grados or the narrow-sounding HD25. In addition, it offers an impressive dynamic range and does a good job of conveying subtlety when necessary. Personally, I found the PHX Pro very enjoyable for the type of sound signature it offers. Are there more technical headphones out there for the money? Sure. More enjoyable ones? Perhaps not.

Value (8/10): Though most retailers want around $100 for the Numark PHX Pro, looking around ebay and amazon can yield an open-box or even brand new set for as little as 2/3 of that. Numark’s generosity when it comes to pack-ins and the solid build quality, comfort, and isolation of the PHX Pro all make the headphone an extremely versatile listening device. A USB version is also available for those who don’t trust the audio output on their PC. In terms of sound signature, the PHX Pro holds its own fairly well against the ~$100 DJ headphones from M-Audio, Denon, Ultrasone, and Audio-Technica. Its sound signature is rather unique, with a robust low end, forward mids, and bright but not overly airy treble. Not everyone will like the Numark flavor, but those who do will have found a very competent multipurpose headphone for very little money.

Manufacturer Specs:
Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 108 dB SPL/1mW
Cord: 9.84ft (3m) straight, 4ft (1.2m) straight, and 9.84ft (3m) coiled , single-sided, detachable; Angled Plug
Space-Saving Mechanism: Flat-folding, collapsible

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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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