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"Woodphones" - Something you don't see everyday.

A Review On: Woodphones - by Blake Graham

Woodphones - by Blake Graham

Rated # 398 in Over-Ear
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
White Lotus
Posted · 976 Views · 3 Comments

Pros: Options, design, comfort, open/airy sound, bass filters.

Cons: lean sub-bass, subjective looks, a few other niggling things.

Foreword:

I'm a production manager, but focus mostly on sound engineering and installations. I install and tune a lot of P.A equipment, and also mix live acts. My work environments consist mainly of:

- live venues,
- concert halls,
- bars
- nightclubs.
- festivals
- events

I've taken a huge liking to headphones – recently, it's been full-size headphones. I like the idea of having my own personal PA system that I can tweak and tune. With Rockbox being in such advanced stages, and great software applications around, you can really seem to get any sound signature you wish out of a rig.

 

***THIS IS AN ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE REVIEW, YOUR OPINIONS MAY VARY***


 

Enter, the Woodphones.

A hand-crafted, highly customizable pair of headphones, complete with tunable pass-port. To get a brief idea of how deep the customization is, here are the choices I had to choose from:

 

Tunable bass port (various filters included) - I believe mine is the only model (so far) to have this feature.

Type of wood - (African paduk, babinga, purple heart wood, mahogany, and I assume others) - My choice was hard maple. 

Colour of pads - (they appear to be Beyer Dynamic pads) - I chose grey.

Design of inside of the cup - I let him use his own designs.

Words to be engraved on the inside - I chose my own nickname.

Colour and material of headband - my choice was a light tan/brown leather. 

Driver type - Mine are dynamic, but Blake hinted at an upcoming Planar magnetic model.

 

 

 

 

 

Packaging and accessories:

As this was a demo model, I'll let this slide – but I'll get the nasty stuff out of the way first. BG, if you're reading this, please don't package headphones like this in future:

 

It gave me a heart attack opening the box. Luckily the name-plate was the only thing that sustained damage.

 

Speaking of name-plate, this was a delightful touch:

The nameplate material varies, depending on which type of wood you chose your headphones to be made from.

 

BG and I discussed where to store the filters, and he had the idea of storing them in the rear of the name-plate.

 

 

 


Build quality:

Well, I guess this is one of the main reason you are reading this – there is no denying that the design is certainly striking. I've shown them around, posted them to a few different website, and this pair has had a very mixed, albeit mostly positive reaction about the aesthetics. 

 

They feel solid, well-built, and sturdy. I've had them for a few weeks now, and they haven't come apart at all.

 

The inscriptions are pretty amazing:

 

 

And BG is more than happy to work with whatever design principle you might be interested in.

 

I'm (by no means) a professional when it comes to wood. I have stained furniture before, and have a a few pairs of wooden headphones. It's worth noting that Uncle_Erik had this to say on these headphones (click to expand):

 

Harsh words, and although Erik was argued with at the time, it is worth considering that BG is not a master woodworker, he is a college student. I'm also a big fan of Uncle_Erik, and his opinions.

Moving on:


Quick foreword about sound/fit/comfort:

It may be easier for the readers of this review, if I compare these cans to well-known headphones, in hopes that you can read into my subjective remarks, and hopefully try to be able to make up your own conclusion. I will be comparing the Woodphones to the DT770, and the HD600 - they are popular choices.

 

I'm well aware that they are all very different headphones, in varying price brackets, but I'm also well aware that they are very widely purchased, and a lot of people can relate to them. I feel that it's the easiest way to relate my experiences with the Woodphones to you guys.

 

Worth noting: to change the bass filters, the pads must first be removed.

 

Feel/comfort:

Despite them being solid wood, they are slightly lighter than the DT770 and HD600:

 

Woodphones: 235 grams

DT770: 294 grams

HD600: 266 grams

 

The Woodphones do not have a clicking adjustable headband – it is a self adjusting/stretching type (similar to the Fischer FA-011) but more comfortable. The leather helps here. I personally prefer a headband that I can adjust freely when I'm not wearing them, but that's just my personal choice. Even for my large head, the headphones can stretch over my ears with relative ease.

 

Speaking of my ears, they ever-so-lightly touch the inside of the cup. Not usually a big deal if there is a layer of material over the cup, but in this case, there isn't. Woodphones offered me a smaller volume enclosure, apparently it tightens up the sound a little – but at this stage, I wouldn't want any more pressure on my ears.

 

The clamping force is lighter than on the DT770, and it shares the same pads. It feels quite similar, when in an upright and regular listening position.

 

The DT770 isolates better, due to the seal being tighter. I would probably put this down to clamping force.

 

In short, if I were asked if these were a comfortable pair of cans, I would reply “for the most part, yes. I have far more uncomfortable pairs.”


Sound:

But who cares about the headphones if they don't compare sonically, right?

 

Sub-bass:

Compared to DT770:

Light, low-impact. It varies a with the bass-ports, but even with the very “open” bass filters, it's not gut-punching like the DT770.

 

Compared to HD600:

The woodphones are a little lean compared. Deep kicks on the HD600 have a little more sustain to them.

 

 

Mid-Bass:

Compared to DT770:

Same story applies here. The DT770 has the sub and mid-bass thump that really help it out with electronic music, and the Woodphones feel a little recessed compared.

 

Compared to HD600:

A little similar in this regard. The sub-bass feels very similar in terms of impact and texture.

 

Mids:

Compared to DT770:

The DT770 definitely takes a back seat, and is more recessed here. The texture of the Woodphones is brought forward, and you almost forget that it's a closed can. The DT770 feels a little veiled and “bassy” when compared.

 

Compared to HD600:

At similar volumes, the HD600 has a much wider sound-stage (yes, it is an open can). The HD600 feels a bit more textured and detailed in the mids. They are definitely not a “night and day” difference in the mids, however. Other than sound-stage, the mids are quite similar.

 

Highs:

Compared to DT770:

Again, the DT770 feels a little recessed by comparison. The Woodphones are almost bordering on “sibilant” compared, but not quite. The detail retrieval feels more accurate on the Woodphones, albeit a little bit more fatiguing over time.

 

Compared to the HD600:

Not quite as smooth as the HD600, but definitely is peaking interest. I daresay there is a little more detail on the Woodphones here. The mid/highs have a definite emphasis, over the more “neutral” and “natural” sounding HD600.

 

Overall subjective opinion of sound:

A great companion for classical, acoustic recordings. I wish I had my Grados here to compare them to, I have a feeling they would be quite similar. I'll update with a comparison when I get my hands on them again (could be a little while).

Whilst not being a “heavy hitter” in the sub-bass department, I feel that they shouldn't be used for electronic or bass-heavy music. Fans of a vocal, detailed, acoustic experience: these might be worth looking into.

Combined with the fit and comfort, it's an enjoyable experience, that some may find fatiguing after long listening sessions.

 

Conclusion:

A subjectively great looking can, with a ton of customization options. An emphasis on upper mid/highs, with high detail, that some may find fatiguing after a while. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A big thank-you to Blake Graham for the review pair. He's only a college student - hope all goes well for you, mate. 

 

Keep us in the loop about updates you make to the product!

 

Discussion thread is here:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/703703/woodphones-by-blake-graham-first-look

3 Comments:

Nice review! Thanks, Lotus!
Love the way they look.  Great review!
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