The top of the line HRM studio monitors, and the main difference with the 7’s is they have larger ear pads, made with a hybrid memory foam and covered velour fabric. This provides a snug fit and ensures enough airflow and acoustic isolation for accurate monitoring. While this is optimum for studio reference monitors in use over long periods of time, it may not be ideal for DJs on the move in potentially sweaty environments. Otherwise the feature set is similar to the cheaper 5 and 6’s.
First Impressions / Setting up
The HRM-7s come in a box with two sets of cables (one coiled, one straight), as well as an extra pair of velour ear pads. They’re fairly light, much lighter than a pair of heavy-duty DJ headphones, and they sit comfortably on top of my head thanks to a headband that provides support.
The ear cups are huge, and cover my ears entirely – they provide a bit of isolation without totally blocking out the environment (remember, these are for studio work, not for gigging). I like the feel of the ear pads – past a certain point of use, I simply forgot that I had them on my head. That’s always a good sign.
The Pioneer HRM-7 headphones sound decent. I was pleased with the detail in the mids and highs – I thought they had the right amount of brightness when working with electronic music elements like hi-hats, cymbals, and other “shiny” tones.
There isn’t any earth-shattering bass here, and that’s a good thing: these headphones aren’t supposed to “hype” the lows the way a majority of DJ headphones do. Instead, what you get is a moderate amount of bass with enough detail to pick apart notes when laying down some basslines, and enough power to let you know that you’re working with a bass-heavy kick drum. If you’re hearing a “woolly” sounding bass here while you’re mixing a track, it means you’re most probably adding too much low end.
I do most of my production work on a pair of monitor speakers that I’ve got in my studio, but there are times that I track and mix using headphones, too. I have a pair of KRK KNS8400 headphones, and those sound fairly neutral, though I’m not a fan of its lack of low-end detail. I prefer the sound of the HRM-7 just because they’ve got a more “open” sound compared to the KNS8400, which, while decent, sound a bit choked in comparison.
The only thing I’m not crazy about with these cans is the size: they’re huge, and they’ve got no way of folding into a more compact size for on-the-go producing. I know they’re meant to be kept in the studio, but I love using them to the point that I really would like to take them with me when I go on trips and need to get some music done. That’s unfortunate… because now I’m just going to have to lug around a bulky pair of headphones when I go abroad. Highly recommended.