Group test: Wire­less Head­phones

Ca­ble-free lis­ten­ing is a lib­er­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and here we’ve got four head­phone can­di­dates to whet your ap­petite. All sup­port Blue­tooth apt-X, so the son­ics should be good, and all in­clude tele­phone and reg­u­lar wired func­tion­al­ity

Future Music - - CONTENTS -

1 Nu­ra­phones use a rather novel com­bined over ear and in ear de­sign. This is cou­pled with an app-based (iOS and An­droid) set-up process that pro­files and tai­lors the head­phone re­sponse to your hear­ing. You can choose be­tween said pro­file or a generic sound, and also en­hance your pro­file us­ing Im­mer­sion mode, which con­trols the amount of bass sent to the over ear driver. The Nu­ra­phones’ min­i­mal­ist de­sign pro­vides just two touch-sen­si­tive but­tons (the Nura logo on each side), and set­ting func­tion­al­ity for th­ese (start/stop, track ad­vance and so on) is again within the app. Al­though we’re not con­vinced by the over reliance on an app we can’t fault the Nu­ra­phones for iso­la­tion and sound qual­ity, which in pro­file mode is awe­some.­ra­ VER­DICT 9.1 2 The Flares are the only ear bud de­sign in our four, but what a de­sign it is. Flare Au­dio have gone back to fun­da­men­tals, de­sign­ing a ti­ta­nium ear­piece module that’s cou­pled with one of three user-se­lected and fit­ted ear foams. Each ear foam de­sign (au­dio­phile, uni­ver­sal and ev­ery­day) of­fers slightly dif­fer­ent son­ics, dura­bil­ity and com­fort, and comes in three sizes for a snug fit. Blue­tooth use re­quires you to plug up the clip-on mini module, and this in­cludes three multi func­tion but­tons to ac­cess the typ­i­cal start/stop, vol­ume and track ad­vance op­tions.

Son­i­cally the Flares are the most pre­cise of our four and, al­though they are a bit bright for those who like to crank up the vol­ume, it’s ob­vi­ous why they’ve picked up en­dorse­ments from top pro­duc­ers. www.flareau­ VER­DICT 8.7 3 Avail­able in six colour op­tions, the MW60s ooze class from the head­phones them­selves right through to the branded carry case, ca­ble box and be­spoke ca­bles. Qual­ity con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing leather, steel and alu­minium, make them rugged and rea­son­ably weighty, and the lamb­skin and mem­ory foam ear pads are up there with the most com­fort­able we’ve tried. A num­ber of func­tions, in­clud­ing play/pause and vol­ume, are achieved us­ing the three on body but­tons. Plus Blue­tooth pair­ing is straight­for­ward.

The snug fit pro­vides ex­cel­lent iso­la­tion and, al­though the quoted bat­tery life isn’t amaz­ing (16 hours), re­li­a­bil­ity at dis­tance is very good. The sound of the MW60 is best de­scribed as warm and, al­though we found the high fre­quen­cies a lit­tle edgy at times (specif­i­cally via Blue­tooth), the over­all imag­ing and in­stru­ment sep­a­ra­tion is won­der­ful. www.mas­ter­dy­ VER­DICT 8.5 4 Noon­tec’s Hammo Wire­less is the cheap­est head­phone in our test, but th­ese are very de­cent cans ir­re­spec­tive of price. Blue­tooth set-up is sim­ple, as is get­ting to grips with the three mul­ti­func­tion but­tons. The bun­dle in­cludes a semi rigid carry case and there are also ca­bles for USB charg­ing and wired use.

In terms of com­fort, th­ese are the least in­va­sive of our four and, al­though this means iso­la­tion isn’t the best, the light de­sign is very com­fort­able – great for ex­tended lis­ten­ing, as is the 50 hour bat­tery life. Son­i­cally, the Hammo is rea­son­ably up­front with well-tamed bass and ex­cel­lent high fre­quen­cies. www.noon­ VER­DICT 8.9

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