You’ve likely never heard of A-Audio, which only launched its line of luxury headphones last July, but the Miami startup has some of the best-sounding headsets you’ll find.
Most headphones can and should be graded on four main aspects — design, comfort, performance, and sensibility. A-Audio’s latest product, the $US299 Legacy over-ear headphones, excels in all these areas.
First, let’s talk about the design. It’s industrial-looking and rugged but modern at the same time. Available in two colours — Liquid Chrome and Matte Phantom Black — the headphones feature a mostly metal build highlighted by soft leather ear cups and an expandable leather headband.
I’ve tested several other headphones with similar builds, and these were among the most comfortable I’ve worn. The headband is snug without being too tight, and the device feels light and balanced on your head, even though it’s a bit bulky. As far as portability’s concerned, the headphones aren’t that thin, but the cups can be folded down and into the device, and this product ought to fit into most handbags.
Now let’s talk about sound, which is certainly the most important aspect here. In short, the Legacy headphones sound absolutely terrific. These are studio-quality headphones, no doubt about it, so pro and casual listeners ought to enjoy what these headphones offer.
The power behind this device is a unique “three-stage technology” controller, which allows listeners to switch between audio modes on the fly; those controls are accessible on the right ear cup, while the left ear cup’s magnetic cover opens to fit two small AAA batteries that power the device.
There are three audio modes, including normal audio, active noise cancellation, and a base enhancer.
The best mode by far, which I activated almost every time I wore these headphones, was the bass enhancer. The bass is obviously greatly emphasised, but this mode offers one of the most crisp and accurate soundstages I’ve ever heard on any pair of headphones or speakers. All varieties of music sounded crystal clear, whether it was classical music from Chopin, rock and roll from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers or hip-hop from Washington D.C. rapper Wale.
I heard new layers of sound in songs I’ve heard a million times before — I was transported. Highs and mids sounded crystal clear. But due to the nature of the device, it truly drowns out the world around you; this could be dangerous, obviously, if you want to use headphones for work, especially if other coworkers or colleagues regularly need your attention. It is difficult to hear anything outside of these headphones, but if you’re looking for an immersive experience, this is a solid offering.
In all, A-Audio’s Legacy headphones have pretty much everything you could ask for out of a headset — it even has remote controls and a microphone that will work with any mobile device (not all headphones do this, believe it or not). The product is comfortable to wear, it’s relatively stylish but still neutral, and most importantly, the high-quality sound is what kept me coming back for more.
The price point is as “premium” as the product itself: At $US299, they’re not exactly the cheapest headphones out there (there’s a wireless model of these headphones that costs $US379 — coming soon). But while I tend to prefer in-ear headphones, I seriously couldn’t wait to throw on A-Audio’s Legacy headphones to listen to all of my music. They’re better than most headphones on this best-of list; if you want to get the most out of your listening experience, either professionally or casually, this product will not disappoint.
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