One of the most frustrating aspects of making music today is toiling for hours in the studio to make a pristine recording and craft a perfect mix, only to end up selling your music to an audience that mostly listens to compressed audio files through tinny-sounding ear buds.
And even though full-size headphones are growing in popularity, more thought seems to go into their colors and looks than their sound quality. The new Mo-Fi headphones from Blue Microphones are a welcome exception to the rule, designed to provide true audiophile sound quality when used with portable audio devices.
Like Blue’s outstanding studio microphones, their Mo-Fi headphones boast a distinctive design that’s as beautiful in form as it is practical in function.
The amply padded earpieces entirely enclose the ears and are angled and ear-shaped to fit snugly and comfortably. A knob on the headband allows users to adjust downward compression to keep the headphones in place. The most important and distinctive feature is the built-in amplifier with 240mW of output, 10Hz to 20kHz frequency response and extremely low total harmonic distortion.
The 50mm fiber-reinforced dynamic drivers deliver frequency response of 15Hz to 20kHz. The amplifier’s battery is charged via USB, and a three-way switch provides on (amp power on), on+ (bass boost) and off (unpowered) settings. Two audio cables (one with iPhone/iPad controls), a USB cable, AC-to-USB charger, 3.5mm-to-1/4-inch adaptor and two-prong airplane connector are also provided.
I own and use pretty much every imaginable style of headphones, including pairs designed for studio monitor applications, DJing and home audio. I’ve used those headphones with my iPods, iPads and iPhones with mixed and generally disappointing results, but these Blue Mo-Fi headphones absolutely blew (pardon the pun) me away. I listened to songs I know quite well as well as music I’ve recorded myself, and I’ve never enjoyed such incredible detail from compressed audio before. The bass boost setting delivers deep but clear bass that retains the definition of higher frequency audio instead of obliterating it like most bass functions do.
Although Blue Mo-Fi headphones are designed primarily for use with portable iOS devices, even audio professionals will want to consider having a pair or two in their studios. From the exceptionally comfortable design that users can wear for hours to the removable audio cables that are easy to replace should they get damaged, these headphones are built to provide a lifetime of audio bliss.
LIST PRICE $350
MANUFACTURER Blue Microphones, bluemic.com
The built-in 240mW amplifier delivers crisp, clean audio to the equally impressive 50mm fiber-reinforced dynamic drivers.
A three-way switch on the left earpiece provides off (passive), on (amp on), and on+ (bass boost) settings for use with a variety of audio sources.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Blue’s Mo-Fi headphones are a revelation, delivering the absolute best sound quality from portable iOS audio devices and mobile recording rigs.