Pioneer’s SE-Master1 Headphones are Scary

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I believe that it is my honorable responsibility to keep an eye at the audio technology related industry and share my observations with my loyal readers about the gizmos that cost about tens of thousands of bucks. It is not so that I expect you to start spending your hard-earned stash of money on my recommended products but because it is always fun to know about the new arrivals on the block and the features they offer. More often than not, it is a thrilling roller coaster like ride but there can be a few occasions when it actually does get a little spooky. The Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones actually are frightening to be honest.


The Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones are available for sale at $2,500 and are being touted as Pioneer’s best ever headphones. They have been assembled in Japan by hand by the dexterous craftsmen of the country who are renowned for their meticulousness and attention to detail. There can’t be any complaints with regard to the design and built of the headphones. The Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones are massive in size and their pads would never come close to your ears so as to touch them. They are very light in weight and you may end up wearing them for several hours on a trot. Moreover, the memory foam in the pads boasts variable thickness that ensures extra comfort.


Here’s the rub though: It’s so much fun to wear them but it is not that much fun to listen. It is so because they have no chill. The Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones resemble such a friend who is so cute and loving but has a dreadfully shrill voice. You can’t spend too much time with such a friend. Can you? When I wear these headphones, I have to muster up all my courage, press play, turn the volume down and then breathe a sigh of relief once the headphones are taken off.

Let’s have a look at the frequency response graph of the Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones by Pioneer. It pretty much portrays all the wrongs that are related to these headphones. Pioneer! I am fortunate enough to still have my hearing faculties working, but those spikes to the extreme right are not at all suitable for human hearing. What they do is to convert the generally fancied high details into sharp tiny machetes of treble that stab at my ears all of a sudden. I envisage that a pair of headphones requires an obvious high end to make it look enthralling but Pioneer tends to have focused on the least pleasant and undesirable highs. The Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones seem to invert the order of priority in plenty of my favorite electronic productions, as they magnify the fizz and tinkle in the background and place it right alongside where actual bass drops are supposed to be.


With the Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones, I want to turn the volume of the audio up to enjoy a sound with more bass but once I endeavor to do that, I am attacked by the dreaded treble. What’s most frustrating is that it is not always horrible to listen to them. These headphones do not have any distortion and offer a pretty sharp audio experience. I believe that technically they are quite sound but when it comes to tuning, this is where they lag behind. They tend to give you a few minutes of soothing tunes and just when you feel that you are getting into the groove, they would start dropping daggers of harsh vocals on your ears as if the singer is pleading me to trust the headphones.

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The smartphone world includes a number of phones that are similar to Pioneer SE-Master1 headphones in terms of hardware characteristics and performance but it’s the software part where everything goes awry. The issue that Pioneer is going to face in the future is that there are not going to be those bug-removing performance enhancing software updates for these headphones as is the case with smartphones. At $2,500, the kind of sound these little dudes are dishing up means disaster.