Australian-based Audiofly delivers its first over-ear headphones. They’re a bargain.
Out of Australia and into the US market has Audiofly boldly gone, creating a brand reputation that has been bolstered by the involvement of musicians using their in-ear monitor designs — and recently The X Factor in Australia signed up to use Audiofly’s flagship IEMs for all its contestants.
We have been waiting a while now for the company’s first design which surrounds the ear, an experience we prefer to shoving things down our delicate canals, and here at last, after extensive voicing development, is the AF240. You can see the price in the panel below right — we didn’t know this until our review time was nearly complete. Our listening notes included small issues in the difficult upper bass/ lower midrange area, but we loved their musicality, their wide open sound, all very enjoyable at what we expected to be a price somewhere above $500 in today’s slightly bonkers headphone market. So to discover them at $250 RRP was both a surprise and a delight — at that price they are a spectacular find.
They certainly seem built beyond their price, with strong polycarbonate shells (black or ‘vintage white’) that swivel flat for storage, and thick aluminium alloy struts passing up into a thick and leather-covered headband, sitting nicely with very comfy memory foam earpads sealing sound both in and out. Inside they use a 40mm single-membrane neodymium-backed driver, which results in 16-ohm impedance and 103dB sensitivity — you are not kept short of level with these headphones, even under the rumble of the daily commute. The connection is made via the company’s proprietary fabric-covered Audioflex braided cable, most certainly a luxury at this price, though the inline remote lacks volume controls — it does have a mike, but only one control button to hit once for pause/play, twice for next track, thrice for previous track.
The sonic delights lead with a powerful energetic sound supported by strong and deep but not dominant bass, which descends into the required 30s of hertz for Neil Young’s ‘Walk with Me’, while also passing the Leonard Cohen test of keeping the rasping mids and highs in a single voice with that underpinning bass. They do not congest easily, delivering the detail and complexity required for kd lang’s ‘The Air That I Breathe’ with flying colours, even at high levels where many headphones will flatten out the chorus crescendos — here the AF240s kept the layers distinct and the backing vocals separate and stacked.
Had these been $600 headphones, we would point harder at a slight softness and bulge in the upper bass, occasionally a midrange that was less forward and crisp than pricier designs, partly simply overwhelmed amid the sheer exuberance of the entire response here. But at $250, that is small beer. These Audiofly overears are powerful, rich, immensely enjoyable, built beyond their price, excellent value. It’s what we always seek to find in headphones — great performance at the price.
The AF240s have been absolutely worth the wait, and they herald Audiofly as a brand beyond IEMs. More please. JF