QUAD ERA-1

Focus-Science and Technology - - INNOVATIONS -

Uniquely, Quad’s first-ever head­phones de­liver their sound us­ing not a mov­ing coil as in ‘dy­namic’ hea­phones, but a ul­tra-thin, elec­tri­cally ac­tive di­aphragm, of the type also found in the Bri­tish hi-fi stal­wart’s ac­claimed elec­tro­static loud­speak­ers. That alone marks them out as spe­cial, but the hard clamshell car­ry­ing case, leather-en­cased metal head­band, metal-grille earcups and sheep­skin ear cush­ions also scream qual­ity the minute you look at them.

Quad claims its tech­nol­ogy gives the ERA-1 head­phones a more “nat­u­ral and ac­cu­rate” sound. It’s cer­tainly a warmer, smoother sound than their ri­vals here: you’ll never ex­pe­ri­ence ear-strain, although they are quite heavy. There’s no fault­ing their def­i­ni­tion right across the sound spec­trum: high notes are bright with­out ever be­ing shrill or pierc­ing, mids are lovely and crisp, but per­haps the big­gest sur­prise was in the bass de­part­ment. Th­ese are open-backed cans, and by Quad’s own ad­mis­sion, re­ally op­ti­mised for vo­cal and acous­tic record­ings – yet for sheer bot­tom-end welly, we sim­ply couldn’t fault them. Bass tones did per­haps lack a lit­tle ‘bite’ at times, both on the drum & bass and the Chic al­bums, but then we were test­ing a fac­tory-fresh pair and Quad rec­om­mends run­ning the ERA-1 head­phones in for a lit­tle while, so that would al­most cer­tainly im­prove over time. All told, this is one very classy set of cans in­deed. 9/10

Type Cir­cum­au­ral, open back, pla­nar mag­netic Fre­quency re­sponse 10Hz-40kHz Weight420gPrice£599.00 De­tails quad-hifi.co.uk

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