For those of you who love playing music on the go and uncompromising on how it’s going to sound, we hear you at Music News Asia. While we kept getting the same question everytime we talk about our favourite music, we think it’s best to answer, once and for all – What are some of the best headphones we use to consume music?”
Apart from comfort and cool designs, headphones come in a variety depending on usage, affordability and most importantly, quality of sound. According to our friends at Tech Radar, the best headphones of 2018 are based on the best quality taking budget, flexibility and quality into consideration.
Today, I’ll be reviewing two around-ear headphones that I’ve been using over the past years working in A&R, reviewing music, talent management, public relations & communications, and to the current post as editor-in-chief of a music news publishing platform. The reviews will be focused on aspects involving the quality of sound, design and comfort.
Bose is a strong brand in the days when the audio market was striving to find product leaders from each category of products. I first purchased the Bose Triport headphone in 2008 when music CDs were my main source of entertainment in the family home. At the time, dad already owns an Epos speaker plugged into a Marantz PM700AV Surround Sound Amp where I was introduced to amplification of the bass – and things never seem to sound the same again. With Bose, epos and Marantz at the mercy of my ears, this headphone went through tough audio blasting, playing its best to impress. The mid-range Triport offered a positive mix between lightweight portability and comfort without compromising the quality of sound and the mids and highs still among the best when compared to other headphones in its class.
The good: Its three drivers are designed to deliver a specific range of sound from low, mid, to high depending on what music I was listening to at the time. Offering a relatively crisp and clear audio, it’s performance was put to the test and performed exceptionally well on its ‘surround sound’ when tested with a DVD movie on my PC.
The bad: Although the low frequencies are clearly audible and clean, it hasn’t provided the full level of bass often desired for electronic, disco and jazz music. It didn’t give that kick either on high frequencies becoming difficult to bear when the volume is set too high.
Sennheiser headphones are still held in high regard and a force to be reckoned with today for its modern efforts in providing some of the top audio qualities affordable and recommended by many. I’ve decided on the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless, in ivory, as part of a more minimalist fashion statement and also an upgrade – retiring my efforts of plugging in the conventional cable once and for all. Nevertheless, it still comes with an unconventional jack plug designed especially low profile for use with a smartphone. In its passive mode, the headset is at its more uncouth moment with rather diminished frequency range.
What sets this headset apart and pushes them into a bit of a niche and increased its cost is its broad array of features. It comes with the noise-reduction technology – NoiseGard, Bluetooth wireless NFC and aptX. The staggering 22-hour battery life when both Bluetooth and Noise Gard are activated, plus it’s 2 built-in microphones made all the difference when it is used outdoor or around noisy environment.
The price of the headset has gone through a fluctuation since the launch of its original version. On Amazon, it’s currently listed at USD$390 after discounts (Original price: USD$499.95). I would like to see the price dive over the next few years so that more people could get their hands on this amazing gadget.
The good: The low, deep and powerful sub bass are some of the best I’ve heard on a wireless speaker. Truly well represented, it never sounds overly heavy or out of frequencies and remains its crisp-clear lows even on fast-moving notes.
The bad: It’s higher-than-expected price projects lower-end noise-reduction gadget – similarly offered by Bose QuietComfort 35 – looks relatively hard to justify. Although the price has dipped some, it is still not the top-performing choice for its price tag.
While wireless may be the next cool thing, it’s more likely that I don’t need to take it with wherever I go, hence no need for wireless and will opt for an even lighter option – an earphone, and will most probably go back to the more conventional – a noise-reduction wired headset that would also sit alongside other gadgets in terms of price.