Friday, September 23, 2011

Gear Up: iFrogz headphones and earbuds

You can imagine how happy I was last week to find a box at my desk full of headphones. iFrogz asked me if I'd like to take a look/listen at some of their products and I was happy to oblige.

So, I bring you the inaugural edition of Gear Up wherein I review music and audio gear of all kinds. This time, I'm taking a look at three models of headphones by iFrogz.

To test these puppies out, I picked two pieces of music. The Beatles' "Abbey Road' and this year's self-titled album by Bon Iver. Both have lush soundscapes, sweet melodies, vocals and deep bass and drums. Especially Bon Iver's "Perth," a song heavy with sound.

Mogul headphones
These babies are just about the top of the line from iFrogz. They retail for $69.99, but sound like they should cost more. Wearing them the first time, I could tell these were incredibly superior to the earbuds I've been using for the last year or so.

These headphones delivered both nuanced and rich pieces of music with incredible clarity as well as a good amount of low-end from the bass and drums. You really don't know how much of the music you're missing until you plug in with a good pair of headphones.

I could easily pick out different instruments and felt like I was getting the full experience of a song.

The headphones are mostly comfortable, but a bit heavy even though the body is constructed from plastic. They're not flimsy, but don't feel super-sold either, but I do enjoy the addition of the headphones' DJ-style mounting (the speakers rotate outward making it easy to hold just one speaker to your ear).

Rating: ★★★½ (out of four)

Vertex headphones
The Vertex headphones were comfortable, lightweight and had a sturdy metal construction as well as a full sound. They didn't quite have as much bass as the Moguls, but were still miles better than your standard earbuds.

These bad boys retail for $49.99 and that's about right. The addition of the inline microphone (great if you're listening to music on your phone) is also pretty slick.

One thing that I noticed that's neither a plus nor a minus: These seemed to be set at a higher volume than other headphones I've used.

Rating: ★★½ (out of four)

Timbre Pro earbuds
Easily the best earbuds I've ever used. The Timbre Pros have a speaker chamber made out of wood, which gives them a much more rich and warm sound compared to regular earbuds. At $49.99, these cost quite a bit more than standard earbuds, but they do sound better.

Of course, they're earbuds, so they don't have as much bass and everything sounds more blended together than listening on a good set of stereo speakers or standard headphones. But they're a great option if you're looking to upgrade.

The Timbre Pros have an inline microphone that I used several times with my iPhone 4 and seemed to pick up my voice a little better than the earbuds included with the phone.

Rating: ★★★ (out of four)

Gear Up is a regular column to review audio and musical gear and accesories including stereo equipment, earplugs, instruments and anything else music-related you can think of.

Have a product that you'd like us to review? Send it to Kevin Coffey, 1314 Douglas St. Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102.

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