Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
By Far the Best Buy this Year
on 15 August 2012
This is the first pair of On or Over ear headphones that I have ever bought and I spent a ridiculous amount of time deliberating over a pair of headphones to buy and initially started with a budget of around £20-£30. I knew a fair amount about the sound quality of in-ear phones and as such felt that this would be a fair initial budget.
However, after looking into products for a while and trying a few pairs in store I felt that I should up my budget and started looking into Audio-Technica's which were highly recommended by a friend of mine along with Sony's Sennheisers and Skullcandy.
It took me weeks to decide on a pair as I'm a student currently without an income and felt that making the right choice was quite important. I would consider myself a bit of an audiophile but not necessarily with the experience of those buying top of the range £150+ headphones but I am heavily involved in different kinds of music and have been for years so have a fairly well tuned ear.
These WS55's have ended up being exactly what I was looking for in portability, comfort and sound quality so I'll just run through some of the features/feels around the headphones to (hopefully) give you an idea of how these phones feel to use.
The WS55's are a pair of Over ear (around ear - the pads are pressed against the side of your head) headphones but are still compact enough to not look stupid in public. They have a soft padded leather(/faux leather i'm not sure) ear pads that wrap around your ears comfortably but snugly along with a leather padded adjustable headband. After a very long time of use (5+hrs) I can sometimes feel pressure around the ears as the band does press relatively tightly around the head, but this can be gotten used to surprisingly quickly and is usually only when I'm wearing glasses. The earcups also swivel to fit the head (and to flatten the set which adds a huge amount of portability). These aren't, however, the sort of headphones you'd leave around your neck, even fully extended this can feel very tight.
The build is mostly plastic, but are of an incredibly sturdy and high quality. I feel that I could quite happily throw a pair of these headphones into a bag for a fairly rough journey and they'd survive fully intact much unlike some of the other portable headphones I've tried. The inner headband is metal so there is less chance of damage there. The design of the headphones is also great.
Now this is by far the most subjective part of buying any headphones as people have very different tastes. I, however, was looking particularly for some solid bass (not too overpowering but enough to feel) clear strong mids (particularly voices and samples where appropriate) and treble without overly piercing of the latter. I listen to a wide range of music (from Folk through Classic Rock, Punk, Ska, Hardcore, Metal, and Death Metal to House, Dubstep, Electo and Hardstyle and mixes of the aforementioned genres) so a fairly balanced sound is important to me. The key reason for me going with the Audio Technica brand was the vast quantity of reviews praising the clarity of the sound of their products and, I have to say, the WS55's delivered. I was slightly worried that they could be too bassy or a little tinny in the highs from some reviews but, as far as I'm concerned, after some burn in, these are ideal, with perfectly balanced bass and stunningly clear (and I really mean that, I was genuinely shocked to hear the difference between these and those I'd tried ZX600s Skullcandy Aviators etc). Sound isolation is unbelievable, with full volume on ipods etc hardly being noticed in a room of people silent and trying to check sound leakage, perfect for use on a train or bus trip.
Overall these are perfect for me, and I would recommend them to anyone, I also looked at the WS55i's thinking of on ear instead of over ear and supposed better balancing of sounds but I'm glad I saved the £20.
I can, however understand some people (who are looking for different things) may not like them for one reason or another so I'll list the things that (didn't bother me but) could leave something to be desired:
The cable is split to both earcups rather than run through the headband.
The cable is quite short - roughly a foot longer than an arms length so is fine to reach an ipod in your pocket but won't necessarily provide great freedom of movement if hooked into a pc.
The band is relatively tight on the head (this is only really a problem if you want to use these for a period of time in excess of 7 or 8 hours and is fine again after around a 15 minute break).
If you're on the fence, go for these :)