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In a crowded market, independent companies have to find a way for their product to stand out.
I’ve been trying out EVEN’s H1 over-ear headphones for a little over a week now, and I can safely say they’ve nailed that.
When used optimally, these headphones can deliver the same level of audio quality as headphones that cost twice their price.
I say « use optimally » because there’s a smart bit of tech in these headphones that makes them different from most of the others I’ve tried. I recently wrote about the difference between passive and active speakers, and these headphones are an active pair.
These headphones need to be charged in order to work (certainly different from most wired headphones), and contain an internal amplifier. They also prompt you to create an « earprint » when you first turn them on, which will impact how that amplifier will work.
It’s a swift process that mimics a standard hearing test: Eight audio clips are played through one side of the headphones; they start at a low volume and you’re instructed to hit a button when you can first hear the clip. The process is repeated on the other side of the headphones, and then you’re all set. It’s best to complete this process in a quiet environment, so you get an accurate « earprint. »
Once the process is completed, you can toggle your earprint on and off by pushing a button with EVEN’s logo on the H1’s built-in remote. If you think your earprint is inaccurate, you can re-take the test at any time by double-pressing that same button.
So how do they sound? Until a couple days ago, I was concerned that the sound was all over the place. Sometimes it would be stellar, other times it’d be blown out. I’d toggle my earprint on and off and try to figure out what was going on. Then I realized that the volume buttons on the H1’s built-in remote weren’t changing my phone’s volume, but the volume of the built-in amplifier. I was effectively overloading it, leading to a blown-out sound.
Anyone who’s used a car adapter with their phone knows they have to negotiate their phone’s volume with the car’s stereo system. I didn’t realize this was the case with these headphones, but since I have, it’s been smooth sailing. There’s no real frequency bias with these headphones; the bass is deep and powerful (but not overbearing), midrange tones are especially pleasant, and treble isn’t tinny or irritating.
I’ve been able to listen to music without having to take a break because these headphones are very comfortable to wear. There’s enough padding for them to rest easily on your head, but not enough to make them feel bulky and heavy. The wooden look is also very sharp in person.
Where these headphones fall down is in the little nuances of songs, EVEN’s headphones present music very well, but you miss a little bit of fidelity than you would with a higher-end pair.
Another thing to consider is that you need to keep these headphones charged. They have decent battery life (about 8-10 hours), but I didn’t realize how long you had to hold their power button (it’s the same button you use to create your earprint) and they died on me a couple of times. To be fair, the headphones make a sound when they turn off, but I usually had them off my head at that point.
Still, if you’re looking for a sub-$200 pair of wired over-ear headphones, EVEN’s are a good buy. If you’re hard of hearing, or if one of your ears is more sensitive than the other, these are the only headphones I’d recommend.
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