Beats by Dr Dre headphones have dominated the market of hip hop listeners over the past year or two. And while these and other hip hop-geared listening devices are normally suitable for general use they can be a little heavy on the bass when you might want to focus instead on the upper ranges or the nuances of guitar solos. So for rock listeners seeking a little more subtlety to their sound, or a brand they can better identify with, come Motorheadphones, made by Swedish-based Krussell and tested and approved by the members of Motorhead, now in their late sixties, to provide an optimal sound and broad range for heavy metal and softer genres.
Do they succeed? With the official Thailand launch date only days away, we take a look at two of the five phones in the product line, the top-end Motorizer Headphones and the affordable Trigger Earphones, and put them to the ear test.
DESIGN AND BUILD
Both are designed for durability. Motorizer headphones are solid, robust yet flexible, made of metal and hard and soft plastics but with their velour ear covers they are quite comfortable even for long listening sessions. The design is also adept at cutting out external noise, so you're left at peace within your private bubble of noise.
The earphones are made of metal to withstand years of use, come in three different metallic colours and are clearly designed to resemble bullets. While not as ideal for long hours they are very comfortable for portable earphones. They come with three sizes of ear tips to fit perfectly and provide optimum sound. Their lightweight and sleek design make them ideal for slipping into bag or pocket for on-the-go use.
The top of the line Motorizer, one of three over-ear phones in the line, come with woven cords of 1m and 2.5m long, which can fit into each other for added length with no loss of sound quality. They also have a microphone built into the "Controlizer", a three-button (volume control, pause, skip, rewind, etc) control panel in the cord that works well with iPhones, iPods and iPads and a few other smartphones and devices. If you get a call while listening, it doubles as a phone control that can take, end or block the call or even take photos. Product info says these phones are designed with DJs in mind, which seems an odd contrast to the heavy metal branding.
Another oddity is that the Motorizer, with its bulk making it less likely to be used with hand-held gadgets, works in perfect tandem with iPhones, while the Trigger has no such control board. The Trigger is one of two models of in-ear phones, and is aimed more at hand-held devices, with a 9mm driver for 50mW of input _ still plenty loud enough for on-the-road listening. With its 40mm neodynamic high power speakers, the Motorizer can handle input power of 200mW. Both have mini-jacks, and the Motorizer comes with a 6.3mm jack adaptor. The Trigger is a very light 15g, while the Motorizer weighs in at 238g and bears less portable dimensions. All five products come with a two-year limited warranty.
Not having a Motorhead album to hand, we tested the head- and earphones with jazz, rock, pop and even classical music. The Motorizer especially had a superb crisp sound, offering at all volumes we could muster a smooth warm bass, bombastic drums, clear mid-range and distinct high end. It feels at times as if the instruments are being played next to you in a soundproof room.
The Trigger, understandably not as comfortable as the velvety Motorizer for hours of non-stop listening, nevertheless offers a warm low end, clear mids and a well-defined high end, performing well for its size and price.
"These are headphones designed to deliver everything louder than everything else but with the sort of range, clarity and true rock reproduction you'd expect from a band of road warriors," or so claims the packaging. Does the product live up to the claims? If you're looking for an upper-end sound at a mid-range price, the Motorheadphones certainly deliver. The packaging is designed to impress and sway some of the more rebellious, rock-loving but well-heeled consumers; nevertheless the head- and earphones do offer a comfortable design and clear, crisp sound that just begs to be amped up.
As Motorhead bandmates Lemmy, Mikkey and Phil say, "If it's too loud, you're too old."
Motorheadphones will launch in Thailand on Thursday, with prices ranging from 1,650 for the Trigger to 4,260 baht for the Motorizer.