1MORE H1707 head­phones

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Triple driv­ers — two ac­tive, one pas­sive — might make a head­phone too com­plex for its own good. But 1MORE pulls it off, with these lovely over-ears.

Well here’s a turn-up for the books — the mis­sus, who has never to our rec­ol­lec­tion com­pli­mented any head­phones be­fore, like ever, an­nounces that those gold head­phones I left out last night? They look re­ally nice.

High praise, and we’re in­clined to agree. Our art team also gave them an rare thumbs up for a de­sign which sits on the right side of the bling bor­der­line, pro­nounc­ing them “slightly nau­ti­cal” and iden­ti­fy­ing them as cop­per rather than gold. And we reckon there’s a hint of cy­ber­punk in their shiny cop­pered head­shells and Allen-bolt con­struc­tion, with those al­ter­nat­ing black and cop­per rings run­ning down to their cir­cu­lar earpads and the sup­plied cable’s gold­plated cop­per-ended mi­cro­jacks that slide obliquely into their con­nec­tion points. The cable is braided be­low where these sep­a­rate wires join, though there’s no mi­crophony or in­line con­trols for call-tak­ing here.

Of course, while looks are good, the sound is crit­i­cal, and 1MORE has taken an in­ter­est­ing ap­proach here in sev­eral ways. Firstly de­spite look­ing open, with a view to the coil­ing in­nards through plas­tic spi­der work on the outer earshells (a sports-car wheel de­sign, in­sists one branch of 1MORE), there is a layer of solid clear plas­tic which closes off the sound. So these are closed head­phones that won’t an­noy your fel­low com­muters with tizz-tizz.

Sec­ond, there’s a whole lot go­ing on in there, with three driv­ers in each head-shell — an ac­tive 40mm aero­space-grade ti­ta­nium-com­pos­ite driver and piezo ce­ramic tweeter, plus a pas­sive ra­di­a­tor, this last de­scribed as a “bass re­flex unit”, which makes you won­der if they’re ac­tu­ally fully sealed or not, since bass re­flex de­signs use a port. The outer edge of each head­shell is also marked ‘Tri­dent Bass Re­flec­tor’, but this Nep­tu­nian tech­nol­ogy gets no ap­par­ent elab­o­ra­tion else­where. The three driv­ers ap­pear to be con­fig­ured in line, from ra­di­a­tor at the back to tweeter in the front; there’s no odd an­gling to be­tray such com­plex­ity, and other than their ti­tle and the lovely ex­ploded en­gi­neer­ing draw­ings that are a mark of 1MORE’s snazzy pack­ag­ing, you’d not guess they were any­thing other than con­ven­tional.

One thing the sep­a­rate tweeter can claim to de­liver is sky-high highs — their quoted fre­quency re­sponse ex­tends to 40kHz, so high-res music fans can hope to en­counter if not ac­tu­ally per­ceive these ex­trem­i­ties of sound, should their play­back soft­ware per­mit. (Ja­pan’s High-Res­o­lu­tion As­so­ci­a­tion has cer­ti­fied them for high-res.)

But we put all the style and tech claims aside and just set­tled down to en­joy the 1MOREs. Their in­ner beauty proved to match their outer charm, de­liv­er­ing a highly nat­u­ral sound from top to bot­tom. Their tight punchy bass had just a mod­icum of use­ful em­pha­sis way down low, but no re­sul­tant bloat, just a clean ris­ing pro­gres­sion into a pure and vo­cal-friendly midrange and on up to highs which didn’t seem soft­ened or cur­tailed in the man­ner of so many closed de­signs.

They were able to de­liver the res­o­nance of the big cen­tral synth bass and sur­round­ing swirl of LCD Soundsys­tem’s Amer­i­can Dream, and to sep­a­rate the many lay­ers of the full-on verses of the Foo Fight­ers’ re­cent re­lease Run, which showed their grace un­der pres­sure, keep­ing the snare snap solidly cen­tral and vo­cals clear, or as clear as their stu­dio treat­ment in­tended, any­way. They make good work of the re­cent Mid­night Oil re­mas­ters — whizzing the flanged per­cus­sion ef­fects of Red­neck

Won­der­land around our ears while keep­ing the

low bassline run­ning and gui­tars crunch­ing away; you could spend far more for such res­o­lu­tion and open­ness, so this is top work for the price. Im­ped­ance of 32 ohms and sen­si­tiv­ity of 104dB en­sures you have plenty of level to crank your tunes even from por­ta­ble de­vices.

Not that it’s all built just to party — there’s sub­tlety too. Their com­bi­na­tion of speed, tim­ing and tone made for an im­pec­ca­ble ren­der­ing of Gersh­win’s mag­nif­i­cent solo pi­ano roll of Rhap­sody

in Blue (his own per­for­mance, dou­ble tracked on a pi­ano roll and re­played through a Yamaha Disklavier in a mod­ern record­ing), the pi­ano tone solidly un­der­pinned from the bass fig­ures up to the per­cus­sively-edged high-note in­ter­jec­tions.

And es­pe­cially notable in ab­sence were any peaks or troughs in re­sponse, no box­i­ness here, no lumpen up­per bass; in­deed after an ap­par­ent lift of very low bass these de­liv­ered an amaz­ingly flat per­cep­tual sweep right the way up to the lim­its of our hear­ing — this even­ness be­ing an ex­tra-spe­cial achieve­ment given the mul­ti­ple driv­ers in here. This re­sponse played well to jazz and clas­si­cal, with cym­bal taps pure and only slightly lack­ing airi­ness on Chick Corea’s Aus­tralia Pi­ano Con­certo, dy­nam­ics only slightly re­duced com­pared with far more ex­pen­sive ref­er­ence mod­els.

Com­fort was also high, al­though a wider head­band would prevent the sin­gle con­tact point at the top of the head from the pro­tein-skin­wrapped band, though this wasn’t too in­sis­tent even in the long term, and the earpads proved won­der­fully comfy, fully en­clos­ing our lar­gish ears with a min­i­mum of in­ward pres­sure, just enough to ef­fect a good seal to the head.

Easy stor­age per­haps isn’t their strong suit — they fold foetally into a sup­plied hard car­rycase, but this case is sim­ply enor­mous, with a slightly smaller foot­print than the case that comes with Bose QC35s, say, but fully dou­ble the depth. At 10cm wide the case wouldn’t fit in our day pack, so we stowed the head­phones loose in the soft bag that comes Vel­croed inside the enor­mous case, with their head­shells piv­oted slightly flat.

1MORE has mainly in-ear mod­els on its books so far, for which it has gar­nered great praise, but we now rarely, for sev­eral rea­sons, re­view in-ear de­signs. Given the suc­cess of these overear wired mod­els at the price, we hope they’ll ex­pand fur­ther in this di­rec­tion, so we can en­joy more of the im­pres­sive value and en­joy­able music de­liv­ered here from the H1707s.

Triple the ac­tion – sep­a­rate tweeter and woofer plus a pas­sive bass ra­di­a­tor in each head­shell, a care­ful bal­anc­ing act achieved with great suc­cess.

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