1MORE H1707 headphones
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.