The little bit of Motown we listened through the Definitive headphones only cemented this, as did Radiohead’s “Exit Music”, which offered up a moody, wispy recreation, which is pretty much exactly where it needed to be.
Jazz and classical is, however, more or less where we expected the Definitive Technology Symphony 1 headphones to ring true, especially given the name.
Fortunately, that was exactly what we found, with a clear and solid balance in music that hasn’t been overly engineered or heavily mastered to the point of losing its individuality.
In Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, you get the feeling of the drums performing nearby, and the bass doesn’t push on past the keys in the mids or the horn in the highs. There’s a sense of equilibrium here, and it remains in our other jazz test tracks, as well as the classical we push through.
Our final track in the list — Nigel Kennedy’s 2015 edition of Vivaldi’s Winter in “The Four Seasons” — is as clear as we’d ever want it, but also feels a little like you’re listening to the music from a distance. It’s not that there’s a wall separating us from the players, but that we’re a little further back than we’d like, rather than sitting next to them.
All up, not a bad experience, though one that definitely elicits its own personality, and one that really appears to come to life when listened to music that is engineered well.
One point worth noting here is we did most of our testing with noise cancellation switched on, which does a decent job of quelling most of the world, though does tend to push the sound a little differently. It’s a minor thing, but you find the highs get picked up more with noise cancellation on.
Noise cancellation is also quite strong in that suction feeling you get across the skull, and this can lead to a little discomfort, though we found we got used to it as time wore on.
The design also grew on us, though they’re not the best looking cans we’ve ever seen, we’ll say that much.
We walked with them on through the streets of Sydney for a few weeks and we’re not sure you’d call these stylish. They’re black and heavy with metal rods connecting the cans to the band, and really, they look more like the sort of thing an audiophile geek might wear in the comfort of their own home or on an aircraft.
Out in public, they’re a little odd, and given how easily they pick up scratches, probably not the best thing for going walkabout in.