Review: Steven Slate Audio VSX Modeling Headphones

Review: Steven Slate Audio VSX Modeling Headphones - THE headphones for mixing and mastering. It is a Closed-back Headphones with Modeling Software - Mac/PC VST

The Steven Slate Audio VSX System comprises fairly linear modeling Closed-back Headphones and software that conjures good profiles of real recording studio rooms and well-known headphone models. Sound crazy? It is.

We have tested the system and summarized everything important for you.

An Overview

The Steven Slate Audio VSX system consists of closed over-ear headphones with beryllium neodymium drivers that cover a frequency range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and a software plugin that can be used with recording software such as Apple Logic Pro X or Steinberg Cubase can be used.

The plugin provides various virtual rooms or mixing environments and headphone models to assess audio material in acoustically poorly optimized rooms or on the go. Of course, the headphones can also be used without a plugin.


Weight 270 g
Price (RRP)
Essentials Edition: 369.00 euros (RRP)
Platinum Edition: 529.00 euros (RRP)

design, circumaural
Frequency response  20 Hz to 20 kHz
Impedance 37 ohms
Special features ANC; ambience mode; IPX4

3.5 mm jack cable, adapter to 6.3 mm jack

Transport case

Areas of application of the Steven Slate VSX:

Steven Slate Audio’s VSX headphones are ideal for home studio owners with acoustically poorly optimized rooms and audio engineers who travel a lot.

First impression and scope of delivery

Due to its sleek and modern look, I find the Steven Slate Audio VSX to be quite visually appealing. A stylish and stable transport case is included in the scope of delivery. It has a useful storage net that offers space for the 3.5 mm jack cable and an adapter to the 6.3 mm jack.

The headphones are made of black plastic and have a notched height adjustment. The earpieces can be rotated and tilted 90 degrees to reduce the pack size of the sound supplier.

Ear pads and headband are padded and covered with imitation leather. I rate the processing quality as good – with room for improvement. For example, the height adjustment could be a bit more robust. However, the Steven Slate Audio VSX should easily survive every day in the studio without major injuries.

The scope of delivery includes – in addition to the Steven Slate Audio VSX:

  • transport case
  • 3.5mm jack cable
  • Adapter to 6.3 mm jack

Steven Slate Audio VSX: Comfort and more

For this review, I had the Steven Slate Audio VSX on my ears for quite a while. And even after a few hours of listening to music, I found the wearing comfort quite pleasant, despite my somewhat warm ears due to the closed design.

The comfortable ear pads are large enough to leave enough room for my ears, which are too big. The headband, which is also padded, nestles gently against any head shape, and the contact pressure is neither too strong nor too gentle.

The low weight of around 270g protects the neck even after long listening sessions. With an impedance of 37 ohms, the Steven Slate VSX can be easily operated on smartphones.

So-called Acoustic Ported Subsonic technology is used to support the low frequencies. This supports the low-frequency ranges and improves the reproduction of the sub-bass range.

The commissioning

After registering and entering the registration code, the VSX plugin can be downloaded via the “Steven Slate Audio Center”. The basic sound of the headphones is quite linear, so users should listen to a few hours of music to get used to the standard sound of the Steven Slate Audio VSX before using the plugin. This helps when the respective mixing environment is later compared with the basic sound.

To use the plugin with the different mixing environments and sound profiles of the available headphone models, you need a digital audio workstation such as Apple Logic Pro X or Steinberg Cubase with VST support.

After opening the recording software, load the plugin into the last plugin slot of the master. To quickly switch between the Steven Slate Audio VSX and the studio speakers, you should read the routing instructions in the support area of ​​the manufacturer’s website carefully.

By the way: If you open the plugin for the first time, there is an explanation of the most important settings that you can call again anytime.

Steve Slate Audio VSX: The VSX plugin

Steven’s Mixing Room is the first virtual room you’ll find yourself in after opening it. Depending on the size of the ear canals, users can adjust between three ear profiles at the top links. The “Average” setting worked very well for me.

If a room or headphone model is loaded, there are differences to the basic setting, which can be activated via bypass. To counteract volume jumps during switching, a controller allows adjustments.

The 3D binaural effect can be set using the “DEPTH” control. The further to the left, the drier and closer the sound. In addition, a bypass of the plugin when exporting the music can be activated in the settings – practical.

“Browse Rooms” opens a selection of mixed environments that can be freely selected. Five environments can be placed on shortcut keys. In addition to mixed environments, cars, headphone models, and even a nightclub can also be selected.

The Steven Slate Audio VSX Essentials Edition was available for our test. The following sound profiles can be discovered here:

  • Steven’s Private Mix Room
  • Sonoma Studios
  • LA club
  • Luxury SUV car
  • 770 headphones model
  • Pod headphones model
  • HD Linear 1 & 2

You can easily purchase new sound profiles via the available Marketplace. The Platinum Edition includes all settings available now and in the future.

By the way: A five-band EQ can also be activated. Depending on the setting, users have up to three modes available. In Stevens Private Mix Room, for example, you can switch between near-, mid-, and far-field or, with the SA-770 headphones, the impedance from 80 ohms to 250 ohms.

The sound

When I started working with the Steven Slate Audio VSX system, I had to remove the headphones from time to time to check that the music was coming from the headphones and not my studio speakers. Wow.

The Steven Slate Audio VSX System is truly one of the best and most innovative products I have tested in recent years. I didn’t expect such a complex sound.

The first thing I did was listen to a song I just got back from a mastering engineer and then listen to old mixes of my songs. I also played a playlist of my favorite songs through the Steven Slate Audio VSX.

The assessment of many available virtual settings in comparison to the “real” variants is almost impossible since the respective original is not available for comparison. But what my ears were offered here was very impressive.

Despite the closed design, the Steven Slate Audio VSX delivered a good three-dimensionality. I also found the reproduction of the bass range successful, and the guitar and vocal sounds were multifaceted across the different modes.

The Verdict

The perfect collaboration between the headphones and the plugin is the great strength of the Steven Slate Audio VSX system. The many available settings work very well and help when evaluating music.

The processing quality of the headphones could be a little better, but that’s the only point of criticism on my part. I really liked the software’s ease of use and chic look.

For home studio owners with acoustically poorly optimized spaces and audio engineers on the go, Steven Slate Audio’s VSX headphones are perfect.

  • Great sound properties
  • Good selection of mixed environments
  • Software and hardware complement each other almost perfectly
  • Innovative overall concept


  • Room for improvement in terms of processing quality

REVIEW Steven Slate Audio VSX

SOUNDPoints (out of 100)
Neutrality (2x)87
fine drawing (2x)85
impulse behavior88
dynamic behavior85
bass depth88
Sound quality (50%)86
Comfort (25%)83
Processing (15%)78
Equipment + service (10%)85