Takstar PRO 82

back to measurements
home

post separation

NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
The shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

Frequency response (tonal balance) is the most sound-determining aspect of headphones. A horizontal line shows audible neutral response in the plots on this website. Deviations in different severities at different frequency bands have an effect on the sound character.
The bigger the deviation the stronger the effect.

Below an aid to help determining the sound character of headphones with relation to the frequency response.

sound descriptions mine

 post separation
Takstar PRO 82 monitor

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Takstar PRO 82 monitor is a headphone targetted at professional monitoring and not at the Hi-Fi market.
It comes in black and silver versions. That does not mean it cannot be used for Hi-Fi, it just means it has better properties for monitoring during recordings in a studio. It also is not really suited for doing the final mix on it. It is the successor of the renowned PRO 80.
There are 3 ‘bass levels’ ranging from ‘just north of neutral’ via ‘bloated/overly warm’ to honky/fat/boomy’.
I would just keep it at setting ‘1’ (most neutral) and think the other settings are completely worthless for Hi-Fi sound.

The headphone is quite comfortable with its soft and comfy pleather pads and padded headband. It can fold flat to one side for more portability in a case/bag.
The cable is 1.6m long and pretty free from microphonics (mechanically conducted  sounds by rubbing against clothes). It has a 2.5mm TRRS connector on the left earcup  side (which yanks out pretty easily when the cable is pulled) and a 3.5mm TRS plug on the other side with a 6.3mm adapter.
The 2.5mm TRRS connector is wired internally so a balanced cable can be used when plugged in.
The pads are made of high quality faux leather. Inside there is memory foam to ensure a comfy and good fit. A good seal is essential for the sound quality. A small ‘leak’ means the sub-bass is gone.
Isolation is very good and leakage to the outside world almost non existent. The latter is depending on the position of the ‘bass level slider’ which basically opens up the cups slightly.
The looks are typical for studio headphones and seem based on the Sony monitoring line.

There are 2 ‘versions’ floating around. The current version is more ‘desirable’ than the older one. Both versions are very similar sounding but NOT exactly the same.
The silver one (further below) is clearer and somewhat sharp sounding and is less resolving (finer details) and is most likely the earlier version (which also exists in black) as the current version, which also exists in black and silver versions.
In this case the silver version is the early one and the black version the current one.

specifications:

Type: Over ear, closed
Usage: Home, studio, portable.
Driver type: dynamic
Pads: replaceable, (fake)leather
Collapsible: No, but the cups can fold flat on a table.
Headphone connector: 2.5mm TRRS connector
Cable entry: single sided (left side)
Cable: 1.6m terminated in 3.5mm TRS jack with 6.3mm adapter, (2.2m for early version)
Driver size: 40mm (33mm membrane diameter)
Colour options: black and silver
Inner Pad dimensions: depth = 20mm, Width = 42mm, height = 60mm, oval shaped
Max. power rating: 0.05W (50mW)
Max. voltage: 1.2Vrms (3.3Vpp)
Max. current: 43mA
Max. S.P.L.: 113dB
Impedance: 28 Ω
Efficiency: 96 dB/1mW (111dB/1V)
Weight: 237 g. (without cable)
Clamping force: low
Accessories: Ø3.5mm to Ø6.3mm gold-plated connector,  cloth bag, manual, warranty card, comes in really nice aluminium case.

Subjective sound description:

The Pro 82 has a warm/full sound signature when set to setting ‘1’ (all ports closed).
Bass sounds full and realistic (balanced) but is not super ‘tight’. The bass certainly is not bloated or wooly or poor sounding, on the contrary it is better than on most comparable priced headphones.
The mids are neutral and have a slight warm tone to them with good clarity but it lacks in ‘presence’, ‘finesse’ and ‘details/nuances’. The sound is dynamic as in not compressed or ‘muffled’ sounding as some closed headphones do. The mids thus are a bit ‘distant’ sounding (as in sounds coming from a distance as opposed to standing closer to a stage) and have a very slight ‘hollow’ character to it when coming from better headphones.
This ‘hollowish’ effect is only audible when switching between headphones, not when listening to it exclusively.
It is a headphone one can easily ‘adjust to’ meaning that when you listen to it exclusively for a while it sounds nice and balanced.
The treble is not elevated nor subdued but exactly on the correct level. It can have a slight ‘sharpish’ edge to it with some recordings. This can be improved by putting 1 ply (of a 2-ply or 3-ply sheet of toilet paper) in front of the driver (between the driver and pads). The difference is very subtle.
The ‘tone’ of this headphone is pleasant and slightly ‘fuller’ sounding than neutral but the ‘finer detail’ and ‘nuances’ in instruments are a bit subdued. It does not have the resolution of higher-end headphones. It does not have to either when used as a monitor.
Monitors are usually played pretty loud and in that case it is desirable that the 3-5kHz region is lowered a bit to prevent the sound from becoming ‘shrill’ at louder volumes.
Louder volume levels it doesn’t do very well either. The 20mW rating (50mW max.) is a clear indicator as well.
On the ‘2’ setting the sound becomes ‘bloated’ and on ‘3’ setting it sounds poor with a ‘fat’, ‘hollow’ and overly ‘bassy’ sound.
These 2 bass boost settings may just work quite well when using it as a monitor to get some ‘fullness’ in the sound of an instrument but for Hi-Fi these settings are worthless.

Measurements:

Below the frequency response of the Pro 82 (Left, Right)

FR black 1
The channel matching is not that great. This probably had something to do with the mounting of the baffle. After inspecting both drivers to see what caused this difference and finding nothing strange, the measured level difference was gone.
It was checked multiple times with a few reseatings on the test jig to see if it wasn’t a measurement error. Also the difference was quite audible with the center sound (voices etc.) leaning very much to the left. A difference of 3dB is quite audible. Something must not have been assembled properly ? In any case I did not see anything weird.
Below measurements after re-assembly. (Left, Right)

FR black 1

Channel matching is good. Bass extension is excellent. Well below 10Hz. Mids are also very neutral and quite ‘linear’ up to 2kHz. Above 2kHz the output drops and with it the ‘details’ in the mids making the sound ‘laid back’. Above 6kHz the treble has some peaks and dips. The 10kHz peak gives it a ‘sharpish’ edge to some instruments/recordings.

On each cup there is a ‘bass’ setting. Both cups need to be in the same setting of course.
In the ‘upper’ position (left picture below) the ports are closed, in the middle setting (2) only one small port is opened by the slider that covered it. In the bottom position 2 ports are open (setting 3). The picture on the far right shows what the ports look like from the inside.

ports

Below the difference between the 3 ‘bass settings’. All ports closed (setting 1), only small port open (middle setting), both ports open. (Left channel is shown). About 3dB difference per setting.

FR 3 settings black

Getting a good seal is very important when using this headphone. The soft memory foam earpads (cushions) help. Below the Right channel is shown. Normal seal, wearing glasses with thin ‘arms’, wearing glasses with ‘thick’ arms, bottom part of the pad slightly lifted.

seal

As can be seen getting a good seal is paramount for a good sound quality.

output resistance / damping-factor

As this is a dynamic headphone the frequency response can be amplifier output resistance dependent when certain higher output resistance amplifiers are used.
Instead of showing impedance plots, which are hard to interpret properly when it comes to assessing the effect in the real world, the Pro 82 is measured via a low resistance output (0.2Ω) and a high resistance output (120Ω).120 Ohm

On a higher output resistance amplifier the output level will be 15dB lower. To compensate for this the amplifier is cranked up to the same level (at 1kHz). This way the plots are overlaid and it is easier to see how the tonal balance changes.
As can be seen the tonal balance changes when connected to a higher output resistance amplifier. You get about 4dB more bass and a bit more warmth as well.

Below the distortion measurements of the Pro 82 in setting ‘1’ (Right channel).

DIST black setting 1

The plot above shows the level differences between the signal (upper trace around 90dB SPL) and the harmonics. Most people prefer to see percentages instead of level differences so below the exact same plot except ‘normalised’ to the actual signal and level differences given in percentages.

DIST black setting 1 percent

Distortion levels (3rd order which is a ‘clipping’ kind of distortion) in the lower frequencies are quite high but is as expected from smaller diameter drivers.
This clipping alike distortion is caused by the enclosure being fully closed and the air trapped inside can’t move as freely. This restricts the maximum excursion of the driver membrane which shows itself as 3rd harmonic distortion (clipping).
Percentages above 1% are generally audible. 5% third harmonic is definitely audible.
The actual 2nd harmonic distortion above 200Hz may well be lower than 0.4%.
A shortcoming of my measurement rig.
Distortion levels above 100Hz remain below 1% .
All in all average performance in the bass area when it concerns distortion.  Decent performance from 300Hz right up to the upper treble range.

Below the distortion measurements of the Pro 82 in setting ‘3’ (Right channel)

DIST black setting 3 percent

The 3rd harmonic bass distortion is lowered because the excursion of the driver is less limited with the port being open which allows for air-flow and thus less damping.
2nd harmonic distortion in the bass inscreases as the damping near the ear and in the enclosure becomes less similar.

Below the CSD (waterfall) plot of the Pro 82 in the ‘neutral’ 1 setting.
Left and Right are overlaid, the measurements were taken before the balance difference was sorted.

CSD black setting 1

Below the CSD (waterfall) plot of the Pro 82 in the ‘bass boost’ 3 setting.

CSD black setting 2Step response, Square-wave and impulse response

What is pretty obvious is how the lingering of the mids (between 500Hz and 1kHz) is worsened in the ‘3’ setting. The ‘2’ setting gave results between these 2 plots.
The 4kHz dip is a resonance in disguise. Above 3kHz there seem to be quite a lot of resonances the worst one at 9.5kHz. I suspect break-up may be the root cause.

A different plot is the spectrum plot. This basically is a CSD (Waterfall) plot but viewed from above where the level differences are colour coded instead of being in the vertical axis. Also the frequency range of the spectrum plot is wider (from 100Hz instead of 500Hz). The time span is also bigger in the spectrum plots and expired time is shown from below to top where in the CSD the time is shown from rear to front.
Below the spectrum plot of the Pro 82 (Right channel) in the ‘neutral’ 1 setting.

Spectr black setting 1 L

At around 1kHz, 2kHz and 4kHz there is some low level lingering visible. Bass up to 250Hz also shows quite a lot of lingering.

Below the spectrum plot of the Pro 82 in the ‘bass boost’ 3 setting.

Spectr black setting 3 L

Only the bass levels seem affected it does not seem to worsen in the bass boost setting.  As the initial level is higher the lingering  also seems worse. What is obvious is that it bleeds into the mids.

Step response, Square-wave and impulse response

Below the step response of the Pro 82 in the ‘neutral’ 1 setting. Only the left channel is shown which performs fairly similar to the right channel.

STEP black setting 1

The step response is actually decent. The horizontal line shows the phenomenal subbass extension. The line is as good as horizontal which is rarely seen. What can be seen as well is the initial rising edge is at about the same level as the mids to subbass. Some ringing is visible.
The peak after the initial rise shows there is some emphasis of higher frequencies. This is caused by the ringing in the frequencies between 3kHz and 15kHz.
The elevated part just after the initial rise is evidence of the somewhat ‘sharpish’ treble in some recordings.

Below the step response of the Pro 82 in the ‘bass boost’ 2 setting.

STEP black setting 2

The bass boost (rising of the middle portion of the plot) is obvious.

Below the step response of the Pro 82 in the ‘bass boost’ 3 setting.

STEP black setting 3

The bass boost is way to much. The initial rise is now 7dB lower than the bass/mids which makes the tonal balance anything but ‘neutral’ and ‘bloated’.

Below the square-wave response at 40Hz and 440Hz as well as a 100μs pulse response.
On the left in the ‘1’ setting on the right the ‘3’ setting.
The measured signal should match the applied signal as close as possible.
The slight time delay is actually caused by the speed of sound. It takes approx. 100μs for the sound to reach the microphone.

SQR 82 pro orig.pngIn the 40Hz plot the bass boost is clearly seen. What’s obvious as well is how the 440Hz (mids) reproduction differs as well. It doesn’t look like a squarewave at all any more.
The 100μs pulse shows a decent rising edge. It does not reach the target level but comes close. The membrane has trouble going back to the neutral line. The pulse is widened by about 50μs. This may well be some evidence of the lack of ‘resolution’ as the higher frequencies are ‘smeared’ a bit in time. In the bass boost setting ‘3’ the impulse response does not change but the neutral line is not reached for milli-seconds.

current version, early version (or fake ?)

The website from Takstar has a ‘anti-fake check‘ which suggests fake models may be floating around. As this check is there for every component they sell chances are slim there are fakes of this model around. When the code on the white box of the silver version, bought from a reputable online headphone weshop in Spain (via Amazon UK), was entered a message appeared that Takstar should be contacted and the supplied code was out of date.
That does not mean it is a fake but from the displayed message it is still totally unclear whether it is genuine or not. An omission from Takstar ?
Why not simply get a message it is genuine instead of ‘out of date’ and you have to contact Takstar ?

The Black version was bought later directly from the Takstar Store on Ali Express.
The Silver version is most likely an early version. The later version seems to have had a (silent) revision. I have no idea why Takstar would not call it the PRO 82-N or any other suffix when such a major change (totally different driver) has occurred.
Not totally strange for companies to do such a ‘silent’ change/upgrade, certainly for Chinese manufacturers. They seem to have trouble in communicating this kind of things.

The owner of these headphones already concluded they sounded different and sent them to me to analyse them.
These 2 versions did sound different. The silver version had a slightly different tonal balance and more clarity and also was ‘sharp’ sounding in the treble in a lot of recordings. Not everyone will be able to tell the difference as the tonal balance is more similar than not.
I also noticed the treble was coarser and less ‘refined’ and also lacked ‘resolution’ a bit more so than the black version did.
Do note that the colour of the headphone does not say anything about the headphones being current, older or possibly fake. In this particular case the black version is current  and the silver version is older.

Some measurements:

below the difference between the silver (early) and black (current) version.silv vs black 1

These look quite similar right up to 2kHz. The silver one has 1 to 3 dB more bass though.
The biggest differences are in the area where the 4kHz dip is. The silver version has much less of a dip.
At 5kHz there is a 10dB difference. This explains the difference in clarity. The treble energy above 6kHz is quite a lot higher in the silver version. This explains the ‘sharper’ edge in the sound. It does not explain the coarser sound and lesser ‘resolution / detailing’ which should be ‘better’ on the silver version when one would draw conclusions solely based on the frequency response.
I have been modifying the silver version which removes the sharpish character.
It involves installing an electronic filter inside the cups or in an external cable.
Further below the details and measurements with the filter.

Below the distortion measurements of the silver Pro 82 in setting ‘1’ (Right channel).

DIST silver setting 1

The plot above shows the level differences between the signal (upper trace around 90dB SPL) and the harmonics. Most people prefer to see percentages instead of level differences so below the exact same plot except ‘normalised’ to the actual signal and level differences given in percentages.

DIST silver setting 1 percent

Distortion levels (3rd order) are about the same (5%) for the lowest frequencies but at 200Hz the distortion drops below 0.05% where the driver of the black Pro 82 is still above 0.3%. For compartive reasons below the distortion plot of the black Pro 82.
Distortion wise the older version thus is slightly better than the current version.

DIST black setting 1 percent

Below the CSD (waterfall) plot of the silver Pro 82 in the ‘neutral’ 1 setting.
Left and Right are overlaid.

CSD silver setting 1

The ringing around 4kHz is clearly worse than the black version (shown below). Above 6kHz the ringing is worse in both time as well as amplitude.

Below the CSD (waterfall) plot of the black Pro 82 in the ‘neutral’ 1 setting for comparative reasons.

CSD black setting 1

Below the spectrum plot of the black Pro 82 (Right channel) in the ‘neutral’ 1 setting.

Spectr silver setting 1 L

This plot shows a somewhat better behaviour around 900Hz but otherwise they look quite similar. For comparative reasons below the plot of the black Pro 82.

Spectr black setting 1 L

Below the step response of the silver Pro 82 in the ‘neutral’ 1 setting. Only the left channel is shown. The newer (in this case black) version is slightly better in performance.

STEP silver setting 1

When the plot above (silver version) is compared to the step response of the black Pro 82 (below) one can see the silver version (above) has more ringing, both higher in amplitude and longer lasting too. The silver version (above) also has a treble emphasis, more overshoot of the initial rise and has a tiny bit more bass.
The black version below is the ‘better performer’ here.

STEP black setting 1

Below the square-wave response at 40Hz and 440Hz as well as a 100μs pulse response.
On the left the plot of the black version in ‘1’ setting on the right plot of the silver version in ‘1’ setting.
The measured signal should match the applied signal as close as possible.

SQR 82 pro fakevsreal.png

The slightly bassier response of the silver version is seen in the 40Hz square-wave. The 440Hz square-wave of the silver version shows much more ringing. Higher frequencies in smaller amplitudes (as in music is always the case) would be overpowered by the ringing.
The 100μs pulse response shows a higher initial rise and a higher amplitude and more and longer lasting resonances. These would mask (over power) smaller signals which is the smoking gun to the lack of ‘resolution’ and ‘finesse’. Those small signals are masked by resonances of frequencies that excite the mebrane to resonate.

Driver differences

Below some pictures showing the differences between the (current) black version and the (early) silver version. On the left the black driver (rear side on top, front side below) and on the right the silver version.

comparo drivers

It doesn’t take much effort to see the obvious differences between the drivers.
The rear side shows a completely different magnet assembly and rear damping scheme as well as its chassis.
Also the impedance differs. The black version is 28Ω  (DC resistance) where the silver version is 32Ω  (DC resistance).
The front of the driver is also quite different. The black version (on the left) has a transparent mebrane which differs in shape also. The silver version (on the right) has a matte mebrane.

The driver below is from the Takstar PRO 80 which is 50mm instead of the 40mm from the PRO82. It bears some resemblance to the early PRO 82 and are most likely made by the same manufacturer.

Pro80 driver
The plastic grille on the black version is made a bit ‘neater’ when examined up close and is thinner. The middle part is easier to push down than the middle part of the silver version. That grille seems to be slightly thicker and coarser made of a different type of plastic as well. (Below the inside of the black PRO 82)

IMG_2337

The cable differs as well. But Takstar has been supplying a shorter cable (1.6m) recently where the silver one came with a 2.2m cable with a nicer looking metal 3.5mm TRS plug and a screw-on 6.3mm adapter.

Another thing that differs is the pads. At a first glance they appear quite similar but they aren’t. The one on the right is from the silver version and is less oval. The depth of both pads is 20mm, the inner width is 42mm in the black version (on the left) but 45mm in the silver version (on the right), height is 60mm in both pads.

IMG_2341

The pleather looks and feels the same. The memory foam inside differs though. The foam in the black version returns to its normal shape quite a bit slower than that of the silver version when compressed the same amount and released at the same time.
The foam also differs in compression. When the same weight is put on it the silver pad compresses more (is softer) than that of the black version.

But that’s not where the differences end. The retaining ring is also made of different material. The black one (on the left) has a transparant ring with tabs in it where the silver one has a black ring. The holes around the tabs are also different in size as well as the ‘sticthing’ being slightly different. The newer version ‘clicks’ into position a bit better and is a bit harder to remove as well.
IMG_2340

The biggest issue with the early model is the elevated treble response.
Below a solution that can be built into the cup of the headphone or in an (extension) cord.

Pro82 old filter

Below a comparison between the stock silver version and with the filter.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While the treble peak is removed the headphone still lacks ‘resolution’ and ‘finer nuances’ a bit more than the current version but on the other hand has more ‘presence/ clarity’ and thus is a bit more ‘forward’ sounding than the current version which is more ‘laid back’.

Below the difference in impulse response.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The CSD also improved. Red +Blue is the silver version without the filter, the red only CSD is from the version with the filter.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With the filter the sound is a bit more pleasant than without it but still not as good as the current PRO 82.
That does not mean the PRO 82’s are poor sounding, certainly not for the money.

Conclusion

The Takstar Pro 82 monitor is quite well suited for its intended purpose… monitoring during recordings. Not as suited for making final mixes on it despite the tonal balance being quite good.
It can be used as a Hi-Fi headphone and will certainly sound better than some other headphones in the same price range. Those not demanding the highest resolution and are looking for a laid back and ‘warmish’ pleasant neutral sound for a decent price this headphone is good option. The comfort is high and build quality is decent to good.
The imbalance (which fixed itself after disassembly and assembly of the baffle) does not give confidence in the production quality assurance though.

A good seal is essential. No good seal, no good bass/fullness. People wearing glasses may miss out on the deepest lows.
Those looking for a high quality analytical sound will be disappointed as that it does not do as well as some other headphones. That’s quite normal in this price range.
It is also a non issue when used for monitoring, in that case tonal balance at higher listening levels (subdued 3-5kHz area) is more important.

It’s power rating of 20mW (0.02W) is quite low (max. 50mW by the way). Also its impedance is a bit low for a proffessional headphone.
After applying a continuous test signal for about 30 seconds (1.6V = 80mW) after the 120 Ohm measurement the voicecoil was burnt and the driver destroyed.
Be carefull with this headphone on any amp that can produce 100mW or more.
Proffessionals sometimes use headphones as ‘mini monitors’ lying flat upwards on the console or hanging around their neck while playing them loudly. One expects at least 1 or 2 Watt ratings when they must survive this. The Takstar driver will give up rather soon under these conditions.
Isolation, comfort and build wise they would do well in small home studios on a budget.

Thus not really recommended for studio usage (power rating only) and not really recommended for audiophiles either (lack of finesse).
What audience is this headphone perfectly suited for one could ask ?
Its high efficiency, low impedance, good isolation, pleasant fit (can wear it for hours) and portability especially with the ‘bass boost’ option make it quite suited for portable usage and home usage.
When driving these directly from a phone this may even be a good headphone. Also quite suited for a relaxed listen.

There are other options in this price range as well.
The whole package (comfort, build and sound) can be called good in this price range.

The current version is somewhat better sounding than the early version.

How to tell them apart. There  is no need to open up the headphone.
Only the pads need to be removed.
When the pads are removed and looking at the membrane it is easy to distinguish the newer from the older version. The early version has an opaque (matte) membrane (picture below on the left), the later version has a completely transparant membrane (picture below on the right).drivers front.JPG

Driver change

As the newer model driver was destroyed by the squarewave test (50mW was exceeded) the enclosure became a candidate for a driver transplant. As I had a few drivers lying around and found a pair with almost the same diameter I stuck those into the enclosure.
No idea where the drivers originally came from.

The results were kind of surprising. Below the frequency response of the transplanted PRO 82 (Left, Right) in the ‘1’ setting.

FR

Surprisingly close to the original black driver. Original black PRO 82, transplanted drivers.

FR black vs other

Bass extension (below 30Hz)  is a bit better in the orginal version.
Mids are a tie. Treble seems to be extended a bit better.

Below the 3 settings. pos1, pos2, pos3.

3 settings

Slightly better extension on the original at the bottom, treble extension better on the replaced driver.

Below the distortion plot of the replaced drivers.

DIST L pos1

For completeness also below in percentage.

DIST L pos1 percent

2nd harm. distorion is not somewhat worse than the original. 3rd harm. dist. about the same. Note that 2nd harmonic distortion is less ‘harming’ to the sound than 3rd harm.

Below the CSD. (Left and Right superimposed)

CSD pos 1

Below the spectrum plot.

spectr pos 1 R

No alarming resonances. Better than both original drivers (both old and new)

Below the step response.

Step L

It is quite close to the newer version of the PRO82.

It looks like the enclosure (+ pads) play quite an important role in how the PRO82 sounds. The transplanted version sounds very close to the new and older PRO82.

Baffle swap

Thought it was funny to swap the baffle/drivers from the enclosures. This is what you get.

baffle swap.JPG

 

post separation
back to measurements
home

 

Advertisements