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Picked up a pair of RadioShack AUVIO CH102 "Retro Stereo Headphones"

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 






So my girl wanted these because she liked the way they looked. I did a search and made a thread and no one had heard them.

Well, I thought they looked pretty nifty too but also the modding possibilities seemed endless.





As I was bringing these up to the register at my local RatShack the clerk looked at me and with great enthusiasm exclaimed "Those are awesome!"


I was kind of excited by this - finally someone who has heard these things...

Me: So they're pretty good, eh?

Him: They're awesome, man!

Me: So you own a pair or just listened to a demo or...

Him: No, no. There's a guy who comes in here all the time that owns a pair. Every time he comes in you can hear his headphones blaring.

Me: ??? So... uh... He let you listen to them? I mean, he let you try them on and listen for yourself, right?

Him: No but every time he comes in it's like there's a small pair of speakers in the room!

Me: Um, OK. I'll take them... I guess.


As soon as I got home the first thing I wanted to check was isolation. So I turned them up semi-loud, put them on my girl's head and ZAP! Gone. The music was barely audible. So I took them off her head, turned them up stupid loud and put my hands over the pads. ZAP! Nearly as low as they were before. If the cashier at RadioShack was telling the truth then his friend will be deaf in a year or two max. Despite being semi-open (four tiny little holes per cup) these things really barely leak at all. They're not quite as good at keeping noise out but I'd still say that they're better than average in this regard.

I'm still letting them burn in a while longer so I'm just going to give very brief impressions of the build quality, comfort, etc. But first about the looks. I'll let you decide for yourselves.


What comes in the box...





Colors...





Without color plates...




Pads...






Build quality/durability - 8

These phones are very well built for portables. Even though they're mostly plastic, the plastic is thick and tough. Compared to most phones the material used is softer/less brittle. Think of the difference between a CD jewel case and a DVD case and you'll start to get the idea. I wish more manufacturers would use a similar material. These absolutely trounce my Koss TD60 (old & new) Optimus Nova44, JVC Flats, Sennheiser HD238's and all of the various other portables I have in build quality.

The one glaring fault in this regard is the pleather on top of the headband...



It is very thin and rubs off very easily. Mine already have a small spot on them where the pleather here has rubbed off. Luckily, the earpads seem to use a thicker, more durable pleather. Like most other problems with these phones the headband is easily moddable which I will explain in detail when I post mods.


Comfort: 6

The supraaural pads are kind of square-ish and take a bit of getting used to. The headband is nicely, if sparingly, padded so it's no bother. The clamping force is just right for me. It's tight enough to stay put but not so tight as to cause discomfort. Like most things though YMMV.


Would I recommend these?

That depends. If you are totally against modding then no - these must be modded to sound their best, period. A child could perform the most important of the mods though.

If you are willing to perform a couple of VERY simple mods then maybe. If you want some phones to rock out with these are pretty damned awesome. They have the most powerful, aggressive and just plain monstrous bass of any portable I've ever listened to. They do very well with rap as well.

Well, that's all I have time for now. More later...

post #2 of 19
It has a retro-look in my opinion.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I took my pair back in to get a replacement without the flaw on the headband and they sound completely different - like they're not even the same brand of phone.

They sound more even now but the tremendous bass is gone and the treble is much more laidback and tame straight out of the box.

Seriously, joker was right when he said "...who knows what's really underneath those cups."
post #4 of 19
Hah. Variation between individual units doesn't really come as a surprise in phones of this caliber. Interested in more impressions of the sound.

Oh and I like them best without the color plates. Were black ones that hard to include ?
post #5 of 19
spray paint ;p
post #6 of 19
Those things look so unbelievably tacky with the color plates installed but without them, they look pretty cool, with just a hint of sophistication.

Here's hoping they sound pretty good.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljokerl View Post
Hah. Variation between individual units doesn't really come as a surprise between individual units in phones of this caliber. Interested in more impressions of the sound.

Oh and I like them best without the color plates. Were black ones that hard to include ?
I guess but I expect a little more consistency for $40. lol and that's the problem - which ones should I give my impressions of? I suppose it will be the new ones since I have them and won't have to rely on poor audio memory. Plus, the new ones are flatter across the spectrum and I'd bet that's what they were shooting for since there was no mention of "Extra Bass" or "Little Bass Monsters" or anything like that.

My brother likes them best without the plates as well. I'm kind of partial to the cream myself. Besides, how am I going to create a constrained layer without the plates???



Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post
spray paint ;p
No, no... vinyl dye!



Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGame21x View Post
Those things look so unbelievably tacky with the color plates installed but without them, they look pretty cool, with just a hint of sophistication.

Here's hoping they sound pretty good.
The hideous lime green plates are getting hit up with black ASAP.
post #8 of 19
i wasnt kidding actually one of my roommates in college spray painted his laptop cover to make some kind of image on it and it worked out pretty well so i assume it would go the way way here :P
post #9 of 19
Wow... just realized how badly I butchered that post. Time to switch to IEMs and take a nap.

Also, in my experience glossy plastic like that doesn't really hang on to regular spray pain that well. I would maybe take some high-grit sandpaper to it first.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post
i wasnt kidding actually one of my roommates in college spray painted his laptop cover to make some kind of image on it and it worked out pretty well so i assume it would go the way way here :P
Oh, I wasn't kidding either. Vinyl dye will be much better for this application. You don't have to worry about sanding and priming because it seeps into the plastic and never rubs off - even on parts that move and rub together.




I just got a new pair and they're still burning in so just a quick word about the sound of these with a totally unfair observation. These have rendered my JVC Flats completely unlistenable. I know that the Flats can be had for next to nothing but the MSRP is $19.99 I believe and that's what I paid for them at Wal-Mart.

OK so they're still half the price but they're pretty well lauded on this forum. Well, after listening to the AUVIO phones for awhile the Flats just sound SO thin and anemic by comparison that I can't be bothered to listen to them any longer. Music through the CH102's has body, foundation and a fullness of sound that is completely missing from the Flats.

I have a feeling that my friend will love the JVC's though.
















I really have no idea why it was these phones that made me feel the way I do now about the Flats. Almost all of my phones are fuller and have more bass than the Flats but it wasn't until listening to the CH102's that listening to the Flats became intolerable. Go figure...
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Uhhh... Yeah, the bass is definately back. WTF?
post #12 of 19
It looks so pretty, does it make your ears hot? I wish it's a bit more "Teletubby", oh, it's actually pretty enough.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by david1978jp View Post
It looks so pretty, does it make your ears hot? I wish it's a bit more "Teletubby", oh, it's actually pretty enough.
You are hilarious, but no, they do not make my ears hot at all.
post #14 of 19
Hi Olimoronio,

Just wanted to say thank you for the great recommendation!! Got a pair yesterday and the first thing I did was pull off the thin black cloth covering the drivers and replace it with some black foam that I picked from a pair of old Sennheiser PMX 100 's (which these guys are replacing). Just as per your recommendation here.

All I can say is I am lovin it so far and even the burn-in is'nt complete yet. They were listed for $39.99 but RadioShack has sale on these right now and I got them for 10 bucks less!

Thanks!
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oh wow. Awesome! I didn't even see this post before. Really glad I could help.

I bet you're into rock, metal and/or hiphop, huh? These are THE phones for that kind of music. Brand names be damned.
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Picked up a pair of RadioShack AUVIO CH102 "Retro Stereo Headphones"