Chinese Takstar are not so well known in our latitudes, but the price of less than 300 for a pair of plano magnetic headphones arouses a natural curiosity. Because they usually tend to have one more digit in the price.
Planagnetic (or “planar”) headphones can be compared in both construction and sound to electrostatic headphones. In conventional headphones, the driver is built as a small speaker unit. In a planar headphone, the diaphragm is an ultra-thin foil that is stretched out in front of a powerful magnet. This means that the membrane can be made very easily and that it is affected evenly over the entire surface.
It allows for a very distortion-free and weightless reproduction. But planar headphones often cost a small fortune due to their advanced design. Audeze and HiFiMan are some of the most famous fans of planar headphones, but also T + A has recently joined the club with the enormously expensive Solitaire P.
Takstar HF 580 is similar to the latter in appearance, but costs only one-fifth, so expectations are set a little lower. In fact, the HF 580 is the cheapest planar headphone we have seen to date. It can be suspected that the HF 580 is mostly intended for the domestic market when the text on the packaging and in the manual is in Chinese. Fortunately with English translation below.
Luxury and comfort
Otherwise, the build quality is not spared, and if I had got the headphones in hand without other information, I would have guessed at a much higher price. The earbuds are large and high-gloss black. The headband is lined with thick artificial leather. Two types of ear pads are included: one in airy fabric, the other in a silver-colored, woven material. The comfort of both is top notch.
The cable, which is fixed, is rubber coated to prevent it from winding. It seems almost a little too good, because the cable is so thick and strong that it can be difficult to straighten the bends when it has been rolled up. With a length of three meters, the cable can reach all the way from the stereo to the easy chair. And that’s fine.
The weight of over half a kilo leads us to the heavyweight class, but fortunately the weight is well distributed, and the abundant padding means that the HF 580 does not feel heavy on the head.
For home use only
It is one of the rarities that today we find headphones without a built-in microphone and remote control for the mobile phone. On the other hand, that kind of modern nonsense will be thrown away here. First of all, the Takstar HF 580 is not a headphone that you take with you on the bus or bicycle. For that it is too big, heavy and delicate. And secondly, it should preferably have a proper headphone amplifier to perform its best. Here it does not hold with the headphone output (if it exists at all) on the mobile.
The sound quality
The first thing you notice is the huge bass. Not heavy and dominant as in DJ headphones, but powerful and deep. Timpani is served with print, and wall-to-wall heavy like Pestilence and Plague with Judas Priest gets a Wagnerian grandeur. It’s almost on the verge of being too much, but also just almost.
The midrange is really nuanced and undistorted. It gives a natural sound to both voices and instruments, and even when things go awry, things do not get messed up. Even the smallest details are hair-raisingly precise when Jonathan adds the voice to the half-mad King George III in You’ll be Back from Hamilton.
In the upper layer come the opposites. The HF 580 is actually well-resolved enough at the top, but it is a bit overshadowed by the great midrange. It can in some cases give a slightly stuffy and less airy impression. On the plus side, it can be said that there is never anything that can make the headphones sound sharp or ongoing.
However, the treble also reveals that the Takstar HF 580 is picky about what it connects to. At the headphone jack of a mobile (Huawei Mate 10 Pro), the sound becomes flat and dark. Connected to a full-fledged stereo amplifier, the details at the top are better, and the bass more controlled.
Before we get too picky, we must not forget to look at the price. We are dealing with a planar headphone at a fantastic low price. In this perspective, what you get is impressive. A close comparison can be the really successful Ollo HPS S4, which has a slightly more analytical sound, but not as much charm as the Takstar HF 580.
Takstar HF 580 is an exciting acquaintance, with some obvious qualities at a price that is difficult to compete with. The build quality is very good, and you get surprisingly many of the planar principle’s strengths without the otherwise obligatory wallet pain.
If you are looking for an analysis tool, you need to keep looking a little more. For that, the HF 580 is too heavy in the bass and muted in the top. If, on the other hand, you want to relax in the easy chair with classical rock – or for that matter with classical orchestral music – you are on the right track.
We are not in the high-end class, but it is difficult to find many classic wired headphones that give the same value for money.