24 November 2013

FEATURE: On me 'ead, son!

Headphones as cool as the weather.

It's getting cold and soon Christmas will be upon us. That is why you're probably shopping around for a pair of headphones that will not only let you listen to Slade, Wham! and Wizzard but also help to keep your ears covered and warm.

To that end we have found a bunch of over-the-head cans and tested the festive crap out of them.

Monster N-Tune

This neat pair of headphones from Monster possess a good combination of chunky, solid cans with a very flexible and comfortable head strap. We had a go with a Candy Lime Green pair, with other vibrant colours also available. If you're looking for something subtle, these aren't it.

The sound quality on these babies is excellent and reminded us what we had been missing from using in-ear earbuds these past few months. The range was impressive and even at high volume levels there was hardy any disturbance.

Speaking of which, they weren't half loud, mum. We found that we had to actually turn down the volume on our phones and mp3 players when first trying them out; no doubt an indication of just how well the N-Tunes reproduce sound.

So amazing quality coupled with good (if rather bright) looks. Comfy too.

Around £100

Visit www.monsterproducts.com

Velodyne vQuiet

If background noise is a bugbear of yours then these might be the 'phones for you. Velodyne's vQuiet are vPretty and promise to be vGood at noise cancelling.

Slick and black (or grey) they are a pleasure to wear and have quite a low profile over the ear. They also fold up vWell therefore reducing the space taken up in your bag - always a concern for the headphone user.

In terms of musical reproduction we found them vCapable but we weren't initially blown away like we were by the N-Tunes. That all changed as soon as we caught the morning bus to the office.

The roar of the engine, the screams of the school kids, the coughs and splutters of Ted the creepy guy who sits at the front - all these sounds were massively reduced. It allowed us to listen to (and actually hear) our favourite music without having to crank up the volume.

Perfect for the jet-setting train-hopping traveller, Velodyne's vQuiet also look a bit like headphones that Batman would use. Double win.

Visit www.velodyne.com
Around £200

Musical Fidelity MF-100

Already masters of the in-ear musical experience with the EB-50 earphones, British company Musical Fidelity have now moved into the headphone world with the MF-100s.

Classic, no-nonsense styling is once again the order of the day with these cans, and we like the brushed metal and toned-down head band. Ever ones for service, Musical Fidelity have included an extra pair of Alcantara ear cushions if you fancy swapping out the standard leather set. Both are extremely comfortable.

The sound was rich and deep and of all the headphones we've reviewed here the bass was by far the best. We were also pretty impressed by the vocals these things chucked out. It was like have George Michael right in our ears. "Last Christmas..."

Although Batman would prefer the Velodynes and Justin Bieber would love the Monsters, we would think the average grown-up Joe would shoot for the Musical Fidelity; simple looks concealing staggering engineering. Well done all.

Around £119
Visit www.musicalfidelity.com/mf-100

BONUS: HMDX Jam Fusion Bluetooth Headphones

As a wee treat we thought we'd throw into the mix a pair of bluetooth headphones as well. Although we've yet to find a pair of bluetooth cans that can match the oomph of their wired contemporaries, we were still pretty excited the give HDMX's latest set a go.

Straight from a 1980s sci fi film, the Jam Fusion headphones certainly look like they definitely should be bluetooth, or at least what Lobot from Empire Strikes Back should wear around his bald head. They're square, have a nice chunky head band and, well... look all future-y. Man.

Connecting to a bluetooth device is a doddle, as it is with all modern wireless devices these days. Once connected you get a fairly standard range of 30 feet and a slightly better than standard six hours of battery life.

In terms of sound quality the Jam Fusion were pretty good actually. We never expect all that much from bluetooth headphones but we have to admit that HDMX have built themselves a fine pair of wireless cans here. Although nowhere near the quality offered by the three pairs described above, it was still acceptable with very little disruption and loss of signal.

So if wires are the last thing you want dangling around your face, HDMX's Jam Fusion Bluetooth Headphones could be for you.

We bet Santa would use bluetooth.


Visit www.hmdxaudio.com

So, be they for Christmas gifts or self-giving gifts (best kind), we hope you've found something you'll enjoy putting your head into this winter. As ever, you're welcome dear friends.  
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