Review: Definitive Technology Symphony 1 headphones
3.6Overall Score

Price (RRP): $699
Manufacturer: Definitive Technology

Audiophile speaker brands are gradually getting in on the headphone world, and the latest brand to give it a try is Definitive Technology. Are its Symphony 1 headphones a masterpiece, or something else altogether?

Features and performance

New to the headphones space but sitting in audio for quite some time, Definitive Technology has certainly taken its time to bring its audiophile expertise to the world pop personal audio, and it is finally doing so with a pair of headphones, the Symphony 1.

Definitive says the pair of headphones “embodies the precision and purposeful engineering that Definitive Technology” is known for, so here’s hoping that translates to floor-standing speaker excellence for your ears.

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Certainly the design is interesting enough, with an aluminium frame covered in leather with more leather on the circumaural ear cups with some plastic blocks extruding from each. This plush design makes for a comfortable fit, though one that can also get a little hot if you go walking with them on.

Fashion sense on these is a little mixed for us — more on that later — and we’re not thrilled by the controls, but the audio is what should matter most, so let’s get right into that area.

Testing with the 2016 GadgetGuy Sound Test revealed a rather interesting personality for Definitive’s Symphony 1, a pair of headphones named possibly due to how it handles some of the richer music as opposed to the highly engineered tracks.

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Starting with electronic, there’s no doubt that these cans are clear, though it’s quite interesting to see how much priority has been given to the bottom end, which can end up making the Symphony 1 headphones warmer than other cans.

In Imogen Heap’s “Headlock”, the bottom end of her electronic tone playfulness was distinct, and the mood surrounding this section was never lost, even if the mids weren’t as distinct or clear, lost in the middle.

Demi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer” continued this trend, revealing a solid punch for the bottom end with bright highs and a volume of sound that makes the cans feel warm.

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That bottom end is where the priority is, at least from these ears, and it’s a loud and booming soundscape, so much that the Symphony 1 cans almost have an ominous feel to them, which we felt in Lovato’s track, as well as the modern R&B of The Weeknd, the latter of which offered detail without the fuzz in the especially booming bass.

Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” felt a little removed in comparison, while Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was clear and close to balanced with a slightly subdued bass and almost adaptive chorus.

In fact, Michael Jackson’s track started to paint a picture of fairly flat sound for the Symphony 1 headphones, because the recreation we were getting was more like that of high-end speakers, and flat speakers at that, perhaps with a little more bass pushed on.