When SMS Audio sent Prefix a set of 50 Cent’s new headphones to review, I decided to answer the questions I usually think about when picking out new headphones:
How are these different from other headphones?
The most significant feature of the SYNC by 50 is definitely the wireless streaming. The system works without any extensive setup. Plug a dongle into a sound source, touch two “S” buttons to link the devices and Kleer technology does the rest. There’s no noticeable quality different using the wire or wireless connections because the Kleer system can stream audio at near CD quality.
Each ear also has control buttons on the outside. The right has buttons for volume and changing tracks, while the left ear has the power and sync buttons. None of the controls work however, when you’re using the wired connection. And if you’re using the headphones wirelessly, you won’t be able to skip tracks unless you purchase an extra USB adaptor.
Does the wireless feature actually work?
It does. Switching between the wired and wireless modes is instant: the moment you plug the cable in, the headphones switch to that source. If you leave the wireless source playing—let’s say it’s plugged into your computer—when you unplug the wire it will click back on instantly.
The wireless feature may seem kind of gimmicky, but it’s actually kind of amazing around to use around your house. If you’re working from home, like I am writing this review, it’s convenient to keep listening when you get up from your computer to make coffee or clean up or do whatever you have to do. I imagine it could get a little awkward walking around the office with wireless headphones.
How’s the length of the wire?
About three feet, and one of the ends is a right angle. The one that came with my headphones is bright blue.
What’s in the box?
You get a pretty big box of stuff with these. There’s a carrying case, a cleaning cloth, a USB wall charger, a micro USB cable, a 3.5mm headphone wire, an airplane adaptor, and the wireless transmitter dongle.
What do they feel like?
Some other reviews have complained that they don’t feel as expensive as they cost. I’m not sure I agree. Both ear pads and the cushion on the headband are leather and in the press materials the manufacturer said the materials were chosen for strength. I haven’t harmed these yet, so I can’t confirm, but I do know the terrible feeling of accidentally snapping headphones, and these seem to stand up well to some twisting and turning.
What happens when the battery dies?
The upside to these not being noise-cancelling is that the battery is only used for wireless transmitting. Which means you could use these with the included wire indefinitely. To go to a travel scenario, this feature could keep you out from hunting for a plug in a busy airport.
Are they comfortable?
Yes. They are extremely comfortable. These are the over-the-ear model, so wearing them for extended periods is no problem.
How do they sound? (aka FIELD TEST)
1. 50 Cent’s Discography
This might be the clearest I’ve heard 50’s hits. The bass is especially well represented without taking over, and the highest treble only gets distorted at really high volumes.
2. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
Flying Lotus’s new record is the perfect test to see how the headphones handled more hectic production. The results were great. The layers felt detailed, and the bass was even more powerful than on 50’s tracks.
3. Death Grips – NO LOVE DEEP WEB
Timing worked in my favor this week. This record was the perfect endurance test for the headphones. It’s probably not surprising, but NLDW sounded the best at the highest volume of all three albums. The bass was powerful and the screeching synths didn’t get lost in the mix.
– Comfortable for long listening periods
– Everything is rechargeable via USB
– Great audio quality for wireless transmitting
– Controls on each ear don’t work without an additional purchase, which is actually less of an issue than you probably think.
– On the bigger side
– When using wirelessly, the headphones shut off after a minute without audio