As a college student, I see a lot people who use earphones and headphones. Of those that use headphones, a good majority of them use Beats by Dr. Dre. This irritates me immensely, as it goes to show that most people these days will buy something because it’s a brand name they know and they “look cool” as opposed to doing research to look for the best product. Also, having been to Thailand and bringing back faux Beats headphones (cost me $20), most people don’t hear the difference between those and real Beats headphones. Bloc & Roc hopes to bring not only a great looking headphones, but headphones that sound great and are comfortable to wear and use, and are durable enough to last. Note: I reviewed the Galvanize S1 headphones, however the S2 are exactly the same except for the design on the outside of the earpieces.
Bloc & Roc Galvanize S1
The first thing that strikes you about the Galvanize S1 are their design. There is no loud branding, but just a sleek, minimalist design that I think is largely absent from headphones these days, and something that I appreciate greatly. The outside of the earpieces have a circular, almost spin metal, design that are premium looking, but still minimalist. The insides of the earpieces are padded with a comfortable protein leather that I could wear for long periods of time without getting the painful feeling on my ears that I normally get with other headphones I have used (and that has led me to usually use earphones instead). The padding on the top has a nice high-grade faux leather that is comfortable while wearing. They are light, but feel solidly built. Whether on my head or around my neck, I would hardly notice they were there except for when music was playing.
The headphones just feel premium and well made, as they should be. Each set of headphones are hand-built in Britain with all of the core materials coming from Britain. Here’s the process from their website:
The Galvanize series consists of two distinct designs; S1 and S2. Each speaker chamber has been crafted from a single piece of British 6082 aerospace-grade aluminium. Once machined, these are hand prepared and then anodised in either black, red, grey or plated in 24-carat gold. All models come with soft protein leather ear pads and the 24-carat gold Deluxe Editions also feature supple British-sourced lambskin leather headbands.
So each set you know have been examined closely by someone before being sent to the consumer. Much like how a Ferrari is built.
The case the headphones come in is really nice, and immediately makes you feel as though you’re dealing with a premium product. Along with the case is a canvas travel bag (below) that are just big enough to fit the headphones in to keep your headphones protected while being stowed in a bag.
The auxiliary cable (below) is covered in a fabric that keeps it tangle-free, which is a nice touch. It is also only plugged into the left earpiece, not only making it less likely for you to get tangled, but also makes it easy to differentiate between the left and right earpiece (though that is labeled on the inside of the band).
Bloc & Roc says that the 40mm dynamic drivers took over a year to develop, and boy does that show. I happened to have these while I was home for the holidays, and had my family all check these out. Each person that listened said they had a very pleasant experience, and not just heard but felt the music well. My uncle even said these were better than his Bose earphones!
My experience was much the same. I have found myself reaching for these headphones as opposed to my previous favorites even while not reviewing them. Whenever I’m listening to a song, I can clearly hear the highs, mids, and lows, and while the bass is present and felt, it is not over-bearing so that it takes over the sound, but rather complements it (another thing that irritates me about Beats-loving audiophiles).
Voices are crisp and clear, and I can hear them through any music and sound. While watching movie trailers and other non-music videos, I can hear the multi-directional sounds working well for as close to a “surround sound” experience you can get with headphones.
To be honest, there isn’t much to say about the sound performance of these headphones, but that’s a good thing. They work really well and they are a pleasure to use, and there has not been a time where I have felt disappointed because I didn’t hear something from these.
The only other thing to note is the in-line mic and button on the cord. I actually received a call before going to test it myself, and the person on the other end heard me clearly and well. The button also works, allowing you to pause your music and play it again without having to reach for your phone (this is on a 2013 Moto X using Google Play Music).
One of the best parts about these headphones is its price. Most well-built, good sounding headphones that are durable and comfortable run over $250. On blocandroc.com, these will go for $180 (includes S2, but excludes the 24k gold headphones, which are $360). For the entire package, that’s a great deal. Considering you’re getting headphones that are hand-built Ferrari style, great sound, and will last awhile, this is one heck of a deal.