Gadget review: Pioneer SE-MX9 headphones

THESE headphones replicate the clubbing experience but don’t bomb the bass.
Pioneer's SE-MX9 headphones benefit from a refined, metallic design. Picture: ContributedPioneer's SE-MX9 headphones benefit from a refined, metallic design. Picture: Contributed
Pioneer's SE-MX9 headphones benefit from a refined, metallic design. Picture: Contributed

Pioneer SE-MX9 headphones

Price: £249.99

WITH a reputation for producing high quality audio setups for nightclubs, it seems natural that Pioneer should try and replicate its hard won ideal ‘club sound’ for listeners on the move. Aimed at the premium end of the market, its SE-MX9 over ear headphones - the flagship model of four new headphone options from the Japense firm - boast a graceful design but pack a satisfying punch, delivering a powerful audio performance that will best complement music with a thumping 4/4 beat that’s also heavy on the treble.

While the majority of manufacturers opt for either black finishes for their headphones or, conversely, a range of garish primary colours, Pioneer have opted for an altogether more refined aesthetic. Our review unit came in a striking bright silver finish, one of three options available, including a copper colour. The build quality feels substantial, with the ear plates made out of solid aluminium and a silicone headband ensuring the unit is light without being flimsy.

The bass feels full and fat but also exacting

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Linking them up with an iPhone 6, it soon becomes clear that Pioneer’s heritage in manufacturing DJ equipment has translated well to the SE-MX9s. The headphones make use of two 50mm drivers and technology from the company’s HDJ range. The result is low ends that feel full and fat yet exacting. Cranking up the volume - and the output on the MX9s goes high - Derrick May’s Beyond The Dance sounded authentic to a club experience, with no trace of distortion.

Bass is the SE-MX9’s calling card, but Pioneer have made sure the rest of its sound field does not play second fiddle. Treble comes through loud and clear through the mix and, for the most part, the headphones do a very good job of representing the mid-range. With rock and pop music, the combination also works well, although acoustic and classical output flags up an occasional lack of emphasis in the mids.

Pioneer’s latest offering combines excess and precision

On the move, the unit is comfortable to wear for extended periods. The cups cover the ear well while the generous padding allowed for two to three hours of continuous use. The jacks and cable designs are also resilient, although from a design point of view, the use of bright red in the headphone cable seems at odds with the subtle, brushed metallic appearance of the actual phones themselves.

Overall, the SE-MX9s are a welcome change for a pair of headphones marketed at clubbers. The bass is in full evidence, yes, but the engineering ensures low notes are defined and measured. This is a pair of headphones offering a well judged combination of excess and precision and if you value the sonics of great dance music as much as you do the euphoria of it, they represent a fine option.