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Woodees Vintage Earphones Review

woodees vintage review

They look beautiful don't they! Earlier this week a pair of these fine consumer earphones arrived at The Pro Audio Web Blog HQ, and as with any output transducer products we review, a minimum 40 hour burn-in process has to be performed at a moderate level... Now this has passed beauties are ready and set to go for review.

First, what comes in the box? Well, after you tear open the brown cardboard vessel which contains the retail packaging, you notice a vibrantly designed box which matches the sunburst finish on the earphones themselves. Within the retail packaging you will find a posh looking, very high quality, brown leather pouch with the iconic Woodees 'W' logo embossed into it so that when you are not wearing the earphones you can safely and responsibly store them out of harms way. Inside this pouch is a tiny contact leaflet/warranty leaflet along with a small clip that attaches to the headphone cabling and the outfit that you are wearing - this is more handy than what you might expect; this tiny clip can limit unnecessary stress at the solder points in the earphones and at the base of the 3.5mm connection and can prolong the life of the product. The next thing you will find in the packaging is three sizes of earbuds in XS, S, M, and L. The earbuds that are initially attached to the earphone housing is the Medium size, and this finally leads me on to the fact that the earphones are the last thing inside the retail packaging; they have a very nice looking cord... more on this later.

Before you set out to enjoy hundreds of hours of music through your Woodees you must remember to do the most important thing... This is to make sure that you try out all the earbud sizes until the 'cinderella moment' happens. If you do not do this then then the audio you hear can be severely effected - particularly the bass response. Whilst saying this I have to say that, for my small ears, I could not find a bud that suited its environment totally. I was left with a little discomfort but I am sure that this may only effect a small number of 'Vintage' users.

When we think of wood that is incorporated into the design of an audio product, like there is here, the first thing that you may attribute to the overall tonality of the product is that it has a vintage analogue warming vibe. In a time where the style of designer ear/headphones play a big part in what an ear/headphone consumer buys, it is obvious that the styling of this product aims to balance out the equation with 'real' premium quality audio and style. With these first appearances considered the Woodees 'Vintage' aren't called 'Vintage' for no reason.

In the listening tests the most prominent feature of these buds is the bass presence; it appears to be rich and full. If you are switching from cheaper earphones or propriety earphones such as those included with Apple products then you will undoubtedly notice a remarkable difference particularly in this area. With the Woodees 'Vintage' earphones they have a bass presence that can be considered quite natural. The bass frequencies are not harsh, sharp or hard but instead appear to be lovely and round which quite happily sits itself within the overall earphone mix of a wide variety of music genres. As we move on to assess the upper frequencies, I think that this may be occasionally appear to have a bit too much sizzle on the very high end. It is not noticeable every second but if there is a break in the music with just drums then the hi-hat will be rather pronounced. For headphones in this price-price range they are almost unparalleled, the sound of electric guitars is sweet which may mean a slight pronunciation of the 2kHz frequencies and with this knowledge male vocals sit themselves in the mix and are easily differentiated. The mid-range balance seems to be quite focussed and with the aforementioned bass response and upper frequency mix I would overall attribute the word 'musical' to their performance. These earphones are designed to listen to music on, not perform pre or post production processes but I really do like the sound of these, I bet they would be great as a mastering reference consumer earphone.

Since Woodees sent me a pair of 'Vintage' earphones with the microphone and controller for iPod's etc. I have managed to test this out. Interestingly as soon as I hooked them up to my iPhone I received a very important business call, I was able to answer the phone and change the volume mid-call and the buttons performed well. In a separate call I asked the caller if they could hear me clearly whilst mid-call switching back to the proprietary iPhone earphones to compare. In both cases the caller was able to hear me clearly and effectively at the same quality. Following the call I performed a playback function test and the results of this are also positive. The buttons are clearly labeled and depress well, the housing of which may be a little under-protected and it does worry me that its housing is the weak link. If the housing was to become damaged then it is likely that the right earphone may not function.

With the positivity of the above said, the final attribute that is still awaiting review is the build quality. As an overall product they are good, initially the quality of the chord and metal 3.5mm connector is superb but there has been a number of complaints referencing the chord fraying soon after purchase. This might just be wear and tear but there is one other niggle. In critical listening exercises you want the Left and Right buds to be labeled; unfortunately they are not. There is a Woodees logo on the side of the buds and it is my guess that this is used as an indicator without reference. Overall the quality of the in-box extras is great and the finish is extremely nice. With only a couple of minor concern points The Pro Audio Web Blog rates the Woodees 'Vintage' a very high 4/5.

Edd Harris

Edd Harris - 28th February 2013

US RRP: $99.99 | UK RRP: £63.81

Editors Rating:

Four Star Award