The NAD HP50 are good critical listening headphones with a unique look and a decently durable design. They have a well-balanced sound and a stable fit that's good enough for sports, but they're a bit too tight on some heads. They also do not block a lot of noise so they won't be the ideal headphones to use on loud, noisy commutes but on the upside, they do not leak much.
The Nad Viso HP 50 have a unique look and a decently stylish design that feels well-built. They're lightweight and easy-to-use with a simple control scheme that provides all the essential functions. They're also surprisingly stable for an over-ear due to their tight fit. Unfortunately, this also makes them somewhat uncomfortable during longer listening sessions. They make your ears fairly warm if you use them while exercising, and their somewhat bulky design doesn't fold into a compact format to make them easier to carry around on your person. On the upside, they come with a pretty sturdy hard case, and they're well-padded, making the tight fit a bit more bearable.
The HP50 have a stylish and unique look that feels well-made. They have a thick, cylindrical headband, and flat, square-ish ear cups that make for a decently low profile fit for an over-ear. Their color scheme also stands out with a brushed aluminum finish for the headband frame and bright red plastic casings for the ear cups. Overall, they're an eye-catching headphone, but the casings of the ear cups feel a bit cheap once in your hands.
The NAD Viso HP 50 are well-padded and decently lightweight but uncomfortably tight. They should be good enough for casual listening, and the large ear cups fit well around most ears. Unfortunately, the headband doesn't extend far enough to accommodate all head shapes and sizes, and the hinges swivel in the opposite direction of typical over-ear headphones, like the BeoPlay H6. However, unlike the H6, the swivel stops at 90 degrees with no leeway in the range of motion which contributes to the tight feel of these headphones. On the upside, the soft pads of the ear cups makes the tight fit somewhat bearable but they won't be the most comfortable headphones to wear for very long listening sessions.
The NAD Viso have a simple 3 button set-up that provides all the basic functions; Call/music, track-skipping, and volume control. They do not have any additional features, but the in-line remote buttons are responsive and deliver decent feedback.
The Nad HP50, like most closed-back over-ear headphones, will make your ears a little warm after an hour of continuous listening. It's about average for an over-ear with faux leather padding and closed-back ear cups, but this also means they won't be ideal for more strenuous activities. They will make you sweat a bit more than average.
The Nad Viso HP 50 are not the bulkiest over-ears, but they do not fold into a compact format to save space. The ear cups lay flat which could be handy in some situations but doesn't make them more portable. They're too cumbersome to casually carry around on your person unless you have a bag or backpack.
The build quality of the HP50 is decent but not great. They have a sturdy and flexible headband that's reinforced with an aluminum frame which makes them decently durable. The hinges also feel sturdy and not loose like some of the other over-ear headsets we've tested. Unfortunately, the ear cups, although dense, are covered in a plastic casing that doesn't feel as durable as the rest of the design. Also, where the ear cups and the hinges meet has a limited swivel range which may cause the plastic casing to crack under moderate stress. Overall the build quality is decent but not as sturdy as the Oppo PM-3 or the Beoplay H6.
These headphones have a tight fit on the head which doesn't move around much once you have them on. They're stable enough for jogging and come with a detachable audio cable that will disconnect if it gets hooked on something. However, since they're still fairly bulky over-ears, they will not be the most suitable headphones for intense exercises and workout routines. For example, lying down for a bench press or leaning at an angle will sometimes make the headband shift, which may need readjusting, but compared to other over-ears they should be stable enough for running.
The NAD Viso HP50 is a very good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a deep and punchy bass, with just the right amount of thump and rumble. Their mid and treble ranges are quite neutral and well-balanced, which is important for a good reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. However, their bass delivery is prone to inconsistencies, especially if you wear glasses and they could also sound a bit thick on vocals and muddy in the mid-range. Also, their treble is a bit recessed and lacking in detail, and like most other closed-back headphones, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage. On the upside, they have excellent imaging.
The Nad Viso HP50 have a great bass. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Accordingly, sub-bass is within 0.8dB of our neutral target, indicating a deep bass with just the right amount of thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres like Dubstep, Hip-hop, and film scores. Mid-bass is also flat and well-balanced, which is important for producing the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums. However, high-bass, is overemphasized by about 4dB, adding a bit of clutter and boominess to the mix. Also, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.
The mid-range is very good. The 3dB bump in low-mid is actually the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis, which thickens vocals a bit and adds some muddiness to the mix. Mid-mid and high-mid are relatively flat, but over our neutral target by about 1.5dB, making the overall sound a tad mid-rangy.
The treble of the Viso HP50 is great. The response is quite flat, but slightly uneven throughout the range. Low-treble and mid-treble are underemphasized by 1.2dB, placing the level of detail, brightness, and presence of vocals, lead instruments, and cymbals just south of neutral.
The frequency response consistency is sub-par. In the bass range, the maximum amount of deviation on our five human subjects at 20Hz is more than 12dB, which is quite noticeable. The drop in bass was especially pronounced on the subject who wears glasses. So if you have long hair or wear glasses that could break the air-tight seal between the headphones and your ears, you could experience a decrease in bass delivery. However, they are decently consistent in their treble delivery across multiple re-seat, with the maximum deviation of about 3dB below 10KHz.
The imaging is great. Their weighted group delay is at 0.19 which is very good. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This indicates a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase responses, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, and video game effects), in the stereo image.
The soundstage is mediocre. The PRTF graph shows a average amount of pinna interaction, and there is even a good amount of depth to the 10KHz notch. However, the accuracy of the activation is not good. This results in a soundstage that may be perceived as small, but not located entirely in the head. Additionally, due to their closed-back design, their soundstage won't feel as open and spacious as that of an open-back headphone.
The harmonic distortion performance of the NAD HP50 is great. The overall amount of THD is quite low, throughout the range. The lower amount of THD in the bass range at 100dB SPL could be either due to noise in our system, but could also be due to the tightening of the diaphragm under heavier loads. The sharp peaks in the treble range however, could make the sound of those frequencies a bit harsh and brittle.
The Nad Viso HP50 are passive headphones that do not block a lot of noise. The ear cups create a fairly decent seal around of your ears, which prevents a good amount of leakage and higher frequencies from seeping into your audio. Unfortunately, like most passive designs, they cannot cancel the low rumbling noise of an engine or the ambient chatter of a noisy environment so they won't be the best headphones to use on busy commutes or in a loud, lively office. On the upside, since they do not leak much, you can mask some of the ambient noise by playing your music at higher volumes.
The isolation performance is sub-par. The Nad Viso HP50 don't have ANC (active noise cancellation) and isolate passively using only their ear cups. Therefore, they don't isolate in the bass range and will let in all the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, where most of the speech sits, they achieved about 5dB of isolation, which is inadequate. In the treble range however, which is occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they achieved about 32dB of isolation, which is good.
The leakage performance is very good. The significant portion of their leakage is between 400Hz and 3KHz, which is a relatively broad range and covers portions of both the mid and treble ranges. However, the overall level of leakage is very low. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage will peak at around 45dB SPL at 1 foot away, which is below the noise floor of most offices.
The NAD Viso HP50 has an average microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound noticeably thin, but quite detailed and easily understandable. In noisy environments, however, they will struggle to separate speech from background noise in loud places like a subway station. But they will perform well in quiet and moderately loud situations.
The Viso HP50's mic has a decent recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 508Hz suggests that speech recorded or transmitted with this microphone will sound noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 16KHz is excellent and along with the mostly flat response means that speech will have the right amount of detail and brightness. The dip around 10KHz negatively affects the presence of sibilances (S and Ts), but it won't affect the intelligibility of speech.
The in-line microphone of the Viso HP50 is below-average at noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 16dB. This means they perform best in quiet and moderately loud environments, but they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in very loud places.
These headphones are passive with no active components. Therefore, they do not have a battery life and unfortunately no app support for added customization options.
The HP50 does not require a battery.
These headphones do not have a compatible app or software. If you want a wired headphone with app support, try the Logitech G430.
The Nad Viso HP50 only connect via a wired 1/8TRRS audio cable, which does not have microphone compatibility with Xbox One or PS4.
The Nad Viso HP50 do not have any Bluetooth capabilities. If you want Bluetooth compatible headphones, check out our best recommendations here.
These headphones have a 1/8TRRS iOS audio cable that does not have microphone compatibility with consoles. If you have a headphone/microphone port on your laptop or tablet then you will have microphone access but for desktops, you may need an adapter.
The Nad Viso HP50 do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
These headphones do not have a wireless range since they only connect via a regular audio cable with an in-line remote.
These headphones have a wired connection with negligible latency.
The Nad HP50 have a simple, wired design that's easy-to-use and decent for most use cases. They have a good, well-balanced sound for critical listening and a unique look that stands out and feels sufficiently well-made. Unfortunately, they're a bit too tight on the head for some listeners, and their build quality doesn't feel as durable as some of the other closed-back critical listening headphones that we've tested. They also struggle a bit in loud environments so they won't be the best headphones for noisy commutes.
The Beoplay H6 are well-designed headphones with a better build quality than the Viso HP50. They're slightly lighter, more comfortable and feel more premium than the Viso but they also have a worse sound quality that's not as balanced in the treble range. If you care more about comfort and a more polished design, go for the B&O Play H6, however, they do not sound as good as the NAD Viso and they're considerably pricier for almost the same performance overall.
The Oppo PM-3 is one of the few planar magnetic closed-back headphones. They have a better build quality that feels more high-end than the HP50s. They're also considerably more comfortable with a looser fit and better ear cup pads that you can wear for hours and not feel any fatigue. Sound-wise, the Oppos are a little sharper which may sound a bit piercing on already bright tracks but they deliver more bass and a better-balanced mid-range. The NAD Viso are significantly cheaper than the PM-3, but the tight fit may be a deal breaker for some. If you have the budget, the Oppos are a great alternative, with a more durable build quality.
The Sennheiser HD 600 are good listening headphones with an open sound and a balanced mid-range. They do not have as much bass so they may not appeal to all listeners, they're also limited by their open design so they won't be suitable at all for commuting and loud environments. In this case, your choice will depend more on what you need as a critical listening headphone. If you want something versatile that you can also use outdoors and for other use cases then get the NAD Viso HP50. However, if you're main use is just critical listening, then the more comfortable fit of the HD 600 and the better open sound may be worth the higher price tag.
The Sennheiser HD 598 Cs are the closed back variant of the popular HD 598. They have a decently balanced sound that's slightly sharper than the HP50 but is still great for critical listening. They have a good over-ear fit, with well-padded ear cups that are a lot more comfortable than the NAD Viso, but their build quality doesn't feel as durable or as unique. If you want a more comfortable closed-back critical listening headphone, then get the HD 598Cs but the Viso are a great alternative at about the same price.