Reviewed on Apr 03, 2018

NAD VISO HP50 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
6.1
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Listening
5.7
Commute/Travel
6.3
Sports/Fitness
5.9
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
7.2
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Test Results
Design 6.8
Isolation 5.5
Microphone 6.9
Active Features not tested
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Easy-to-use and stable design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Tight and slightly uncomfortable fit.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

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6.8

Design

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.

Style

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.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.4 lbs

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.

7.2 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

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.

6.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.1 C

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.

6.2 Portability
L : 7.8 "
W : 5 "
H : 2.3 "
Volume : 86 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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.

7.5 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 8.1 "
W : 5.3 "
H : 2.5 "
Volume : 107.3 Cu. Inches

These headphones come with a good hard case that will shield the headphones against impacts drops and scratches. Unfortunately, the case, like the headphones, is bulky and not very portable.

7.0 Build Quality

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.

7.5 Stability

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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

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.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
7.0
Bass-Heavy
:
4.9
Warm
:
8.3
Bright
:
3.7
8.4 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.08 db
Dips
:
0.84 db
5.7 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
1.09 dB

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.

8.8 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.19
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.57
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.27
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
6.0

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.

6.1 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.06 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
3.89 dB
PRTF Distance
:
14.67 dB
Openness
:
5.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.6

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.

7.9 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.301
WHD @ 100
:
0.093
5.5

Isolation

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.

4.4 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-11.96 dB
Bass
:
0.93 dB
Mid
:
-5.47 dB
Treble
:
-31.66 dB

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.

7.8 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
34.95 dB

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.

6.9

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

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.

7.4 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
507.97 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.79 dB
HFE
:
16491.42 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.582
Gain
:
21.22 dB

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.

6.4 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
16.34 dB

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.

N/A

Active Features

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.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

The HP50 does not require a battery.

N/A App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones do not have a compatible app or software. If you want a wired headphone with app support, try the Logitech G430.

3.8

Connectivity

The Nad Viso HP50 only connect via a wired 1/8TRRS audio cable, which does not have microphone compatibility with Xbox One or PS4.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

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 wired connection with negligible latency.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 3.5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

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.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

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.

In the box

  • Nad Viso HP50 Headphones
  • Carrying case
  • Cable pouch
  • Audio cable (x2)
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Airline Adapter
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

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. See our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones, the best wired headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.

6.1 Mixed Usage

The HP50 are average mixed usage headphones. They have a simple, wired design with a well-balanced sound that's good for critical listening. They have a unique and decently durable design, and they're fairly lightweight and stable for an over-ear. Unfortunately, their tight fit may be a bit uncomfortable for some, and they do no block a lot of noise so they won't be suitable for commuting.

7.0 Neutral Listening

Good for neutral listening. The Viso HP50 have a well-balanced sound that packs a good amount of bass without drowning the instrumentals and vocals in the mid-range. Their treble frequencies are a little recessed, and the bump in high-bass/low-mid makes their sound feel slightly muddy and boxy overall. They also have a limited soundstage due to their closed-back design, but overall they should sound good enough for most listeners even the more neutral ones. Unfortunately, their tight fit may not be comfortable for very long listening sessions.

5.7 Commute/Travel

Below-average for commuting. They have a simple and efficient control scheme, and they're decently lightweight. Their passive noise isolation doesn't block enough noise for loud, noisy environments and they're a bit too bulky and slightly uncomfortable at times.

6.3 Sports/Fitness

Average for sports. The Nad Viso HP50 have a tight, stable fit that won't easily fall off your head but they're a bit too bulky for more strenuous exercises and sports. The ear cups also trap a lot of heat which will make your ears sweat rather quickly during workouts.

5.9 Office

Average for office use. They don't block that much noise which is not ideal for a busy office. However, they also don't leak much so you won't distract anyone in your vicinity if you listen to your music at louder-than-average levels.

5.4 Wireless Gaming

Average for gaming. They have a low latency wired connection but do not have an app or wireless capabilities which are typical for gaming headsets. They also do not have the best mic for multiplayer gaming. They're also a little tight on the head which may get a bit uncomfortable during long gaming sessions.

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