These $250 headphones use the same technology as $1,000+ headphones

We at Tech Insider love it when we come across a gadget with something a little different about it. 

The Sharkk Bravo headphones may look like normal headphones, but inside each ear cup are electrostatic drivers that are normally used in headphones that cost $1,000 or more. 

The result? Unbelievably clear, crisp, clean sound for the Bravos’ $250 price tag.

The Sharkk Bravos recently began its Indiegogo campaign, where you can snag an early-bird pair for $200 that will ship in October 2016.

I gave the Bravos a listen for about a week. Here’s what I thought.


These are the Bravo electrostatic headphones made by a company called Sharkk.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

Sharkk is mostly known for making budget and mid-range bluetooth speakers, so it comes as a total surprise that the company made electrostatic headphones, which are usually very expensive and fairly rare as a result.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

For reference, here's how regular headphones with coned drivers look and work.

With coned drivers, there's a higher chance that the cone can move around in a way it's not meant to, which can lead to a muddy distorted sound -- represented by the curvy frequency line in the GIF.

And here's how an electrostatic driver works. An electrostatic driver uses a super-thin diaphragm that moves when a charge surges through it. Because the diaphragm is suspended between two metal clamps, the diaphragm only moves in the way it's supposed to.

Electrostatic headphones usually need an amp and a large connector with three pins to draw enough power to make the diaphragms move.


But Sharkk managed to get the Bravo electrostatic headphones to work with a regular connector.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

And they sound exceptionally clear.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

The Sharkk Bravos reproduce deep, rich, and incredibly clear bass; it sounds great for bass heavy music. That said, the Bravos might not deliver the powerful bass punch from a drum kit's bass drum.

Compared to my trusty Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones, the sound from the Bravos might seem a little more distant, almost as if I was listening to music in a larger room than I'm used to. However, the Bravos respond well to equalization changes, so I could tweak the sound (especially the mids) to the way I like it.

Highs and trebble are fantastically clear and bright, and the overall sound is well-balanced.

The ear pads go over my larger-than-average ears, and the Bravos are very comfortable. They never got too hot around my ears and the headband isn't too tight.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

So far, everything about the Sharkk Bravos is great except for the build quality, which isn't what someone would normally expect for a pair of $250 headphones. They're a bit cheap looking, and the plastic components don't feel very premium.

Antonio Villass-Boas/Tech Insider

Also, the leather bands are somewhat tacky -- a questionable design choice.

Antonio Villas-Boas/Tech Insider

Would I use the Sharkk Bravos as my primary pair? I would, as they sound fantastic. However, I'd be a little disappointed with the cheap materials if I had just dropped $250 on them.

If you already have a great pair of headphones that you love and sound great, there's wouldn't be any reason to ditch them to buy the Bravos. However, if you're in the market for new headphones and you're willing to spend up to $250, you should certainly consider the Bravos for their superbly clear and excellent sound.

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