Table of contents:
- Headphones in general
- Look & Design
- Main Specifications
- Sound quality
- Positive feedback from owners
- Negative owner reviews
Modern headphones have everything that a lover of high-quality sound may need. But there is no one - the soul. Many audiophiles will agree that the warm analog sound is much better than today's "digital". But after all, such a sound is made not only by the appropriate amplifier, but also by authentic headphones. Some music lovers believe that there is nothing better than Soviet headphones (and audio equipment in general). Oddly enough, but there are quite a lot of such people. And all of them still use Vega (or Amfiton) amplifiers, Radiotekhnika speakers and TDS-3 headphones with pleasure. By the way, it is worth talking about the latter separately. For they symbolize an entire era. Let's start with a general description of the model and touch on its history a bit.
Headphones in general
TDS-3 headphones were first released in 1984 by the legendary SovietConcern "Electronics". At that time they were a breakthrough in the field of the Soviet sound industry. And this is not surprising, since the technical characteristics (and the design itself) were brazenly copied from similar headphones manufactured by Yamaha. In principle, this was common practice in the USSR. And no one hid it. Nevertheless, the TDS-3 sold well (probably due to the complete absence of an alternative) and had a good sound. Today, headphones of this kind do not look very attractive. But not for those who love vintage. It is worth noting that TDS-3 are the best-selling lot at modern domestic flea markets. Audiophiles believe they can achieve that "legendary" sound with their help. It's possible. But only if you use an old vinyl player and badly scratched records. However, we got carried away. Let's move on to a review of vintage headphones from 1984.
Look & Design
Soviet TDS-3 headphones have an outstanding design. At least that's how it was at the time of their release. Oblong cups, thick plastic, no hint of an open design. The ear pads are made of soft and elastic material, covered with artificial leather (or something similar to it). The color of the headphones could be very different: from pale green to red. There were also black models. But most were yellow. The phone holder was made of metal, but was covered with artificial leather. Inside this very skin was a semicircular perforated material,which gave softness. Thanks to this, it was possible to wear headphones for a long time and not be afraid that your head would hurt. And now you can move on to the technical characteristics of the TDS-3 headphones. They are quite interesting, as they can give an idea of the quality sound of the past.
Soviet TDS-3 headphones, the characteristics of which we are now considering, at one time belonged to Hi-Fi category audio equipment. So, they should have had decent parameters. And it almost is. With one small exception: in the TDS-3 of the original design, simple paper speakers were installed, which a priori could not create high-quality sound. Nevertheless, somehow these headphones managed to sound decent. It's probably all about the features. The reproducible frequency range is 20 - 20,000 Hz. This is an excellent result. Not all modern headphones can boast of this. The nominal resistance is only 8 ohms. This suggests that even a laptop can shake these headphones. Without any amplifier. True, there will be no sound from the built-in video card. The nominal power of both speakers is 1 mW. This is unrealistically much for headphones. These are the main technical characteristics of the TDS-3 headphones. Now we can proceed to the description of the sound quality.
So, let's move on to the most interesting - the sound quality that these headphones provide. Not to say that everything was great. PaperDynamics expectedly spoil the whole picture. When playing any genre of music, an acute lack of low and high frequencies is noticeable. Only the middle ones stand out well. All this makes the sound flat and lifeless. The only thing you can listen to with these headphones is audiobooks. Although even there they will not master the full sound coloring of the reader's voice. In general, the sound quality is poor. However, this is only the beginning. After opening the headphones, it was noticed that the factory wires (thin and extremely poor quality) were almost completely rotted. It was decided to replace them with new ones. High-quality modern wires were installed. And then the headphones sounded! There was depth, the required bass and excellent high frequencies. All that was required was to change the wiring. In general, the TDS-3, the characteristics of which were analyzed a little higher, turned out to be not so simple and were still able to produce high-quality sound.
Positive feedback from owners
Now consider the comments of the owners of TDS-3 headphones. Reviews about this device are rather contradictory. Those who have spent some time on their refinement and know how to handle a soldering iron are quite satisfied with these headphones. They note that the TDS-3 even bypasses modern headphones in the middle price segment in terms of sound. True, I had to replace the wires and solder a good Jack connector. That's when the headphones really sounded. Especially with an external sound card when playing FLAC, APE, WV and other lossless formats. It is easy to agree with this statement, sincethe potential of these headphones is already known. They easily outperform most modern Chinese tweeters. And this is an undeniable fact. However, not everyone is happy with such a rarity. There are those who are not satisfied with these headphones.
Negative owner reviews
TDS-3 stereo headphones have almost as many negative reviews as positive ones. They were left by those who were not satisfied with the sound quality, the shape of the headphones and their color. If one can agree with the first statement (and only if no procedures have been carried out to modify them), then the rest of the reasons for dissatisfaction look insignificant. In terms of comfort, the TDS-3 fit better than the lion's share of today's headphones. Even with prolonged wear there is no discomfort. The design of the device does not meet modern standards, but it is worth considering that they were released more than 30 years ago. Small external flaws are more than compensated by excellent technical characteristics, high-quality assembly and high ergonomics of stereo headphones.
So, we have reviewed vintage headphones TDS-3. They were released back in 1984, but still can provide high-quality sound. Especially after some modification. In any case, they are an order of magnitude higher in class than the vast majority of modern analogues. And that says quite a lot.