While in attendance at CES, Tony and I had a thought. I know, strange, we think. While the next latest and great Android device is awesome to see, review and read about, many people we talked to were more about the accessories that they could afford now and could use for years to come. So we went on a mission to amass a collection of over-the-ear headphones from varying price ranges to see who has the best style, design, sound and bang for the buck. We set our sights on two price ranges to make it the most accurate comparison we could. In this comparison review, we are going to cover 3 various manufacturer headphones ranging from $50 to $60. Tony and I both were fortunate enough to both receive the same headphones in most cases so we can both speak from experience. With out further adieu, let’s get started.

Incipio f38 Hi-Fi Stero Headphones – MSRP $49.99

The Overview –
Incipio makes a wide range of accessories for iOS, Blackberry, eReaders and Android. They are primarily a case company that many of you may know very well. They have recently ventured into the headphone arena with their f38 Hi-Fi Stereo Headphones.

Specs –

  • Driver Unit – 38mm neodymium
  • Freq. Response – 10 Hz-20Hz
  • Impedance – 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity – 95dB (+/-3 dB) @ 1kHz
  • Max Input Power – 200mW
  • Weight – 5.4 ounces
  • 46” tangle free cord
  • Standard 1.5mm jack and ¼” adaptor

The Good –

The ear cups covers your entire ear and sit nicely on your head. They are light weight and look great. The mids and highs are very crisp and clear. The arm band that goes over your head is covered with the same synthetic leather that the ear cups are cushioned with. Where they stand out in design is the way the actual speaker housing looks and the single piece steel headband that runs up and over that connects the ear cups. I don’t feel like I have to be extra careful when putting them on my head. They adjust easily and weigh so little that you almost forget they are on your head. They sound really clean when at full volume and block out outside noise with ease.

 

The Bad –

While Incipio states they offer ‘deep bass’, I just wasn’t feeling it. I tested them out for a few weeks on various MP3 players, my Android device and my PC with various genres of music. While the bass is present, it isn’t the head rattling type. Yes, I adjusted various levels on the EQ’s on all test locations to push them. Increasing the bass didn’t produce more thump, it created a fair amount of distortion. When lowering the volume of your tunes the sound drops off quickly and doesn’t sound as clear at lower volumes.

Final thoughts –
For listening to acoustic, rock, punk and other sorts of tunage that isn’t bass orientated, they sound great. If you are a bass head and like to feel your eyes rattle while you are listening to your tunes then we suggest you skip these. They look great and feel great, but just don’t have enough oomph in them.

 

Rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars. Design, fit and full volume sound is what earned the stars. Along with the included 1/4″ plug and stylish suede carrying bag. Lack of bass and significant volume drop at lower levels is what hurt them.

Where to buy – All five color options are available at myincipio.com for $49.99. If you prefer a deal, you can snag a set from one of the Amazon links below. As usual, under cutting the suggested price. For $30 they are a great deal if you need something comfortable, stylish and without the extra frills.

Vivick Magic Sound PW 600’s – MSRP $59.00

The Overview – Cherry/maple wooden design body. Adjustable headband design, foldable for easy storage and portability. Premium sound quality, classic and sleek design. High intensity listening experience with crisp, clear sound and deep bass. Works with every iPad, mp3 player, CD, portable DVD, PSP, MD, and Laptop. Gold-plated 3.5mm audio jack for premium, no-loss sound connection to your audio device.

Specs –

  • Driver Unit – 37.8mm
  • Freq. Response – 15Hz-23KHz
  • Impedance – 64Ω
  • Sensitivity – 85±3dB
  • Max Input Power – 100mV
  • Cord – 2m Mylar cable

The Good – The ear cup sits quite nicely over your entire ear and completely eliminates any surrounding noise from invading your listening space. The head strap is comfortable, as well, allowing for extended periods of use without that sore spot you get from some less-comfortable headphones. I’ve been known to sit under a pair of headphones for hours at any given time, so comfortable headphones definitely strike a chord with me.

The sound quality of the Vivick Magic Sound PW 600’s is right in line with what you’d expect from headphones of this caliber. Nice, subtle lows and crisp, fine hight notes make for a great listening experience — and as we all know, the sound quality of the music we listen to is just as important as the music itself. That being said, Vivick did a great job incorporating sound quality and comfort into this product.

 

The Bad – Unfortunately, the Vivick Magic Sound PW 600’s aren’t going to win any fashion competitions anytime soon, but hey — would you rather your headphones look good or sound great? Fortunately, Vivick covered the second base for us. Additionally, the head strap feels a little cheap, making it vulnerable for an easy break if you’ve got a bad case of the butterfingers.

Additionally, there is no clear indicator as to which ear cup goes on your right and left ear. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s an annoyance to me, so I figured I’d list it here. Otherwise, we’re looking at a very solid pair of headphones.

Final thoughts – If you’re not too concerned about looks, the Vivick Magic Sound PW 600’s are well worth the $59.00. Don’t buy them if you’re looking for something that travels well, as they seem a bit too fragile for my liking. These are great around-the-house headphones.

 

Rating – 4 out of 5 stars – Based primarily on the sound quality at high and middle volumes. Build quality is a slight downside, but for those of you that like style, and aren’t an active headphone users, they are great.

Where to buy – Oddly enough we picked these headphones up to review from Vivick. Suggested MSRP was provided with the demo unit, but locating a source to purchase them yourself is a tricky one. We weren’t able to find store locations or online retailers at all.

Urbanears Plattan’s – MSRP $60.00

The Overview –
The Plattan series oh over the ear headphone from Urbanears were designed to give you a classic look. The ear cup doesn’t cover your entire ear, but rather sits on your ears. That shouldn’t detour you from checking these out though.

Specs –

  • Driver Unit – 40mm handmade
  • Freq. Response – 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance – 60 ohms
  • Sensitivity – 115dB
  • Max Input Power – 50mW
  • Weight – 5.4 ounces
  • 47” tangle-resistant fabric cord
  • Standard 1.5mm jack
  • In-line mic with 1 button control
  • Zound Plug for music sharing
  • Collapsible

The Good – The head band is separate from the ear cup adjusters which are a steel wire that slides up and down to adjust to your head. each ear cup swivels back and forth to fit correctly to your head and ear shape. The padding on the ear cups is super soft and covered with a synthetic leather. While the cord and the headband are covered in fabric to match the color scheme you choose. I picked up a set of white ones, while Tony got some black ones. You may also notice the cord that attaches to each ear cup is also covered in fabric. It is the attention to the small details that make them look great. With the ability to collapse in on themselves makes transporting them easy and not awkward. The addition of the Zound plug located on the opposite speaker, along with the small Zound extension cord that is included, lets you easily plug a second set of headphones in for sharing tunes or a movie.

 

The sound is by far the greatest thing about these. The mids and highs are clean and crisp, while the bass is solid and deep. They can make your cheeks vibrate. They offer a big “real room” sound quality that the others couldn’t match. Overall sound quality is superb at both full volume and middle to lower levels.

The Bad – While white looks like an amazing color, the fabric does get dirty over time. Being made of fabric makes cleaning a nightmare. I used a toothbrush and damp wash cloth to clean them. Best suggestion would be to get a dark color version. The in-line mic only offers a 1 button solution for answering/muting/disconnecting calls or pausing/playing your music. Which failed on my Galaxy S, but appear to work on Blackberry and iOS.

Stormy Says – Out of the three headphones in the 50-60 dollar price range, these absolutely sound the best for all genres of music. They fit comfortably on your head and don’t over squeeze your ears while still maintaining enough pressure to stay on your head while rocking out. While they are at the top end of the price tag, they are worth every penny. You can’t hear anything but the music you are listening too. I don’t recommend crossing the street with these on. While I can’t use the one button feature for control, the mic still works and I can take calls. All callers said I sounded great and having headphones that block out other sounds, I could really concentrate on the call and not be distracted.

Tony Says – I’m definitely glad I picked up the black pair, as they still look as beautiful as the day the did when they came out of the box. The Urbanears sound great, but be warned, they did get a bit uncomfortable for me after extended periods of use. They just seem to sit a bit too tightly against my ears, but it’s not painful enough to make me not want to use them.

These headphones have secured a spot in my PowerBag as my on-the-go pair. The body design makes it easy to store them in my bag and they’re sturdy enough to alleviate my fears of breaking them in transit. As Stormy mentioned, these headphones are worth every red cent. Don’t pass up on them if you’re looking for something that looks and sounds amazing!

Final thoughts – All around great sound for any type of music or audio enjoyment. In-line mic is a great addition, along with the additional headphone ‘Zound plug.’ If we had to recommend anything to drop your hard-earned money on that you will absolutely fall in love with for the price, these are it.

 

Rating  4.5 out of 5 stars – Sound quality, design and additional features puts the Urbanear Plattans the best bump for your buck out of the three.

Where to Buy – You can order then directly from Urbanears if you desire. There you can see all of their products and various color options. They can be found in a number of retailers around the globe, there is a retail location locator via their site as well. For those of you that like a deal and shop Amazon often, you can snag these up in all color options as well.

Talk about a lot of work! We are very grateful to the manufacturers that let us review their products. Being able to put a set of headphones in a similar price range through their paces makes reviewing them and rating them a lot easier. Feel free to leave comments about any of these below and feel free to ask any questions you have. You will also find a rather large photo gallery below of images we took, but didn’t include in the review. Have a look.