Big. Bad. Bass
That is also how Phonaudio introduce their sound section of this headphone on their website. I completely agree, these have big, bad bass. I don’t know why they use the word bad, maybe they are just that honest. While I can’t fault them for achieving what they set out for, an absolutely over the top low end that just engulfs the midrange and your music. I don’t think it is tastefully done. These are purely a headphones with a bass as focus. It does have enough treble to create a V shaped sound signature yes, but that is still an uneven V shape in favour of BASS.
Now the top end of this product has a slight exaggeration and a metallic timbre. The exaggeration is not exactly too prominent because regardless of the track you only ever notice one thing but the treble can sometimes shine enough to take a little piece of the limelight. The treble itself is most prominent just after the midrange, which shares its tinny tone and we don’t get any obvious or fatiguing peaks in the treble. To be fair if it had a more natural tonality it would suit the headphone very well, well it still does in reality. Going onto the midrange and I was saddened to find it to be a pretty washed out area of the headphone with no individuality. The lack of character could perhaps be described as dryness but in reality I think it is just the after effects of such a hard hitting bass. The only saving grace in the midrange is it does have just about enough distinction to it. Although it is very pushed back in the grand scheme of things, you can at least make out what is going on, which is not something I cannot always say for some cheaper bass cannons. What you can make out has the heaviest nasal effect to it though, especially on male vocals which sound as if they are just odd.
The bass isn’t something for the masses but if you’re a hip teenager who doesn’t just think bass is all that matters but knows it or you are so into Tyler The Creator and want to recreate how his gigs just drown you with bass over anything else then maybe you will be a candidate for these headphones. I say this because why the majority of less educated in audio such as most of my friends think all they want is bass and would answer that in a survey, giving them a choice between some of my headphones proves that is very much not the case and they enjoy a clearer more balanced sound, just with a healthy and extended bass. – A very interesting phenomena.
Elevated would not be the right word to describe the low end of the PHN100 because it is boosted into the stratosphere, perhaps even further into space than that. It is swollen from the start of the bass and hangs on pretty deep as well. Notes don’t distinguish themselves from one another too well, with decay lingering so long. It does have soul to it though and the bass gives a thickness and richness right across the sound of this product.
Seriously though I find these headphones a very hard listen. The bass starts to give me a headache very quickly and I stress myself straining to hear past it. Twenty minutes of these and I need to catch my breath.
For Serious Bassheads Only (Maybe Not Even Then)
I am pretty sure you can guess I don’t like the sound and I don’t think that is the only problem these headphones have. I will be honest I really don’t know how they can ask £189, the whole package just seems overpriced and not to the quality levels demanded. While they said they set out to do what others are doing but better, I can’t help but question what they are actually doing better here. I mean these are just another headphone in a crowded market aimed at people that are not looking much further the latest celebrity endorsed cans. Even “if” (a big IF at that) the styling of these did appeal to them over the rest, or they did want the mega bassy signature, I just don’t think they are ever going to get the marketing budget to get near usurping the major commercial players. That is the sad truth of this ever growing industry and these not impressive headphones.