The W4s simply sit on the ears rather than cover them – Beyer DT100s they certainly are not. Yet the drivers can swivelled round for quite a snug fit which helps with noise isolation, which could be better, but not a major problem in low-key environments.
Breaking sound barrier: low cost doesn't have to mean cheap sounding
Sonically, the W4s have good definition and separation. This is possibly an effect of the “Super-Aural Driver Positioning”, which as the name suggests, is designed to optimise the listening experience. According to Audio Chi, thought has gone into the driver placement to deliver a natural output that adds more depth to the sound. The company suggests it’s “three dimensional… just like being in a live performance”. While I wouldn’t go that far, there is a certain airiness to the response.
No doubt the top-end performance helps to enhance this spacious effect, yet the mid-range seems to lose some clarity with vocals, especially male ones that can sound a bit flat. The lower frequencies are vibrant, not too overwhelming and do the job, however, something is missing from the bottommost depths. This was especially noticeable when listening to Drum ’n’ Bass, where you really want to feel the low end. But then again, these are headphones and there will always be limitations with the bottom end performance.
The mid-range could be better defined but overall, the sound quality is above average, especially for the price. While they don’t exactly deliver monastic noise isolation, for £50, the Audio Chi W-Series headphones represent good value for money and are definitely worth a listen. ®
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Bowers and Wilkins
Audio Chi W4
Because "Audio Chi" sounds infinitely cooler than "AKG" - this will help you to be hip and cool. (I'm not taking the piss too much, I've never heard these headphones so they might blow the AKGs away for all I know...)
16 Hz - puh...
I like my crazy 3Hz Sony MDR-XB700 cans. I bought them because a coworker bought a JVC set that were rated at 6Hz, must... stay... ahead... But you have to find insane hip-hop to hear anything that low. One such hip hop 'tune' actually has the entire headphones fluttering in and out.
And yes, for those that may be concerned, I have some Sennheisers HD500 in case I want more balanced sound. But they only reach 14 Hz. Puh.
Which sound better? If you have tried them both and found the AKGs better then please let us know.
Though if your point is that El Reg should have run a comparison with another set of bins then I agree.