If there was ever anything that annoyed me about portable music, it’s cheap ass headphones. I know sometimes you get caught out there and you have to buy some on the run occasionally, but cheap headphones can totally ruin music for a two big reasons.
You’re probably playing some “music” nobody else likes but thanks to your poorly made headphones, everyone can hear every single word of your crappy music, even on the loud subway, even though you’re at least 10 feet away from others. Second, you’re already listening to an mp3 and the quality of your music needs all the help it can get to stretch itself into the realm of CD quality sound. (Tough luck trying to get that big echo record sound. We’re out on that). A good pair of headphones can bring out the lows and treble highs without sounding like noise.
You may prefer ear buds with noise reduction or ear muff style, over-the-head phones that block out sound. If you’re at the gym, those may not be the most conducive to getting your workout on (and not breaking your headphones). This column is about introducing you to the latest in headphones of all varieties and brands.
This week, we take a look at Griffin Woodtones over ear model. We took the headphones through a variety of situations to discern what the optimum situation would be for the Woodtones. The earmuffs flaunt a soft leathery cushion. The shape is rectangular, more in keeping with the dimensions of a normal ear than the normal round shape. The muffs are huge and engulf your ears, but they aren’t heavy and the fit is tight enough to block out other sound.
There is a leather strap that stretches according to how long your head is so that the fit is solid. They don’t leave your ears sweaty or your head with headphone marks. The over ear models feature 50 mm moving coil neodymium magnet drivers for powerful sound and they swivel over 90 degrees in either direction so that sudden movements won’t knock the detachable cord out.
First, we plugged them in to the laptop for the first Monday Night Football game, which featured the Eagles putting a beating on the Washington Redskins. Crowd noise was a constant that ebbed and flowed with big plays but the announcers were stereo crisp.
Then we took the headphones to the sound system to hear the latest Curren$y offering, Bales, featuring his homie Young Roddy and production by the red-hot Harry Fraud. Fraud laced the project with cavernous landscapes, a weird atmospherics. Most headphones account for the bass bottoms. The Woodtones caught all the subtleties of sound that Fraud sneaks into the background of his constructions. Spitta’s lazy drawl at the end of his lines are as audible as Roddy’s rear throated higher pitch.
From there we took the same album to the Galaxy S3 with similar results. The sound did not degrade at the higher volumes to a visible extent. The sonic tenor of the album went from Rock guitar driven grooves like The War on Drugs and the muffled drums of 100 Spokes to the digital rhythm of Mo Money and the Chipmunked chorus of Walkie Talkies with its echo chamber bars.
Bottom line, the Griffin Woodtones bang. They are too big to walk the street with, you’ll get beat over the head after you get lost in the hood or you’ll be so oblivious to the world you’ll get hit by a car. The cord is too long for you to be trying to get busy in the gym. But if you are in the crib, these bad boys will suit you just fine.
- Impedance: 32 ohms ± 15%
- Drivers: 50 mm X 2
- Sensitivity: 108 dB ± 3 dB
- Detachable 4ft. (1.2m) with 1/8″ (3.5 mm) stereo-mini headphone plug with control microphone.
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz