What do you look for in a pair of high-end headphones? Many audiophiles will point to fidelity, longing for accurate reproduction of an audio source. Fashion-forward folks may crave a sleek design or something emblazoned with a logo of a brand that represents hip. Thrifty readers might argue that it all comes down to the bottom line and getting the best buy for their buck. They say you can’t please all of the people all of the time but with their new Icon Wireless headphone, A-Audio has certainly shot for the moon.
Upon opening the box, you can sense that you’re about to handle a premiere product. The headphones are packed with care inside of a luxurious case that houses all of the included goodies. The cans themselves weigh just under a pound (.80lb to be precise), which makes them ever-so-slightly lighter than the Pro model of Beats By Dre, a similarly-priced competitor. While there are two different color options, I received the Phantom Black, which I prefer to the Liquid Chrome alternative, and was immediately taken by the smooth matte finish. The underside of the headband is memory-foam quilted and appears rather couture, if I may say so myself. The A-Audio logo is featured on each ear-cup and, as somebody who favors minimalistic design, is something I could have done without. With that said, the neutral color-scheme did make for a very clean aesthetic and they did an excellent job of integrating the transport controls subtly into the earcups. So, they look great… That’s nice, but how do they sound? I slipped these bad boys on and went to work, enjoying a bit of Google Play Music as a tester.
The Icon Wireless headphones sound absolutely wonderful. I connected to my Samsung Galaxy S4 via Bluetooth (the Icon Wireless support 4.0 technology and a range of 30ft) and was blown away by the gorgeous, rich sound. As someone who creates music, I sincerely appreciate a full-spectrum approach to audio and these headphones deliver. Bass is reproduced accurately out-of-the-box and with the Bass Enhancer functionality, one can even customize their own level of oomph. Mids are clear and highs are present without being too harsh. Once I took them off, my ears craved being back in these headphones. Quite simply, they sound like luxury.
The stats boast a 12-hour battery life but, quite honestly, I wasn’t away from a charger for long enough to put that claim to the test. I’ll take A-Audio’s word for it. There are cables included in the packaging that allow for a wired audio experience. I decided to see if there was much difference between the quality of Bluetooth and tethered passive mode, and am pleased to say that both are pristine. The active noise cancellation feature certainly helps drown out ambient noise but I don’t think anything short of gun-range protection could eliminate the clamor of New York City streets. I could see this feature being absolutely ideal for airplanes or public transit, though. Call quality, thanks to the included Control Mic, is clear and conductive to conversation. With all of the attention paid to every other area of this product, I wouldn’t expect anything less.
Overall, I’m enamored with these headphones. They may very well be the most comfortable, warm-sounding, headphones that I’ve ever used. The fact that they’re wireless only further elevates their prestigious status. They look, feel, and sound like class — even though wish I could get a model without the logo so prominently displayed. The flip-side to luxury, however, is the price. Retailing at $379.00, these are no impulse purchase. If you’re on the fence about dropping nearly four hundred bucks, do yourself a favor and try them out. A fair warning, though: You may never be able to go back to life without them.