Pioneer appreciate you’re a busy individual who might not have the time to queue for ages to get to an exclusive nightclub on a small Greek Island. So they thought they’d bring the club sound to you, with their new range of SE-MX9 headphones, which is bold in both sound and design.
The over ear design is as loud as The Hacienda but thanks to comfortably padded cups and a cushion under the based of the headband they don’t feel anywhere near as heavy as they look. The metallic design adds a touch of class to proceedings and implies robustness – I was happy to drop them causally but they’re not quite sturdy enough for brusque treatment – these are headphone more geared for fun than the rigours of work. I loved the detachable cord, especially as you can twist the fitting to lock the cord into the cup. There’s a regular cord which is coiled, giving you a fair bit of distance from your music player. And there’s a shorter cable with in-line controls and a microphone, enabling you to control your Android or iOS smartphone on the go.
Pioneer promises the 50 mm drivers deliver “tantalising trebles and powerful bass” – but so do all headphones these days. If the aim of the SE-MX9s was to transport you to a nightclub atmosphere, then they certainly deliver. There’s a really wide sound stage and you can feel the builds and drops of dance music really well. It feels a tad silly to do, but if you close your eyes you can float off and get a decent sensation of “being there”. The bass is punchy without being overpowering, so all the instruments in the mix get a fair crack of the whip.
To nitpick the SE-MX9s fall down slightly when listening to speech-based material like podcasts. It’s not inaudible, and sounds great but lacks the crisp details of slightly flatter monitors. I like being able to listen to Radio 4 and hear the public school. But as a pair of “club” headphones they are close to perfect.
The SE-MX9s are available now, with more details at Pioneer