Disclaimer: I am not an audiophile, I make music amongst other hobbies and prefer balanced sound to... whatever you want to call it you creeps.
Got a crazy deal on the Incase Sonic's so I picked up a pair because I love the look and feel. The initial price of the Sonic is $149 (i got them much cheaper) but to be perfectly fair I think they are absolutely worth $100-$149. The build is very unique/sturdy, and these are probably the most comfortable full-size headphones I have ever worn. I am also very partial to grey and orange so it was hard to resist these beauties:
One sentence. "Simple, great materials, feel good, built good."
The one piece seamless headband has just the right amount of flex but is still quite solid, for this reason they don't fold up but the one piece design is fantastic. Simplicity is often overlooked in headphone design, so much random shiny plastic used for no reason. Definitely not the case on these. The exposed (but very well protected) wiring allows the ear cups to be adjust quite a lot, they should be able to fit anyone pretty easily I think. The Sonics are incredibly comfortable. The suede/memory foam of the ear cups is something other manufacturers should definitely take note of I think. The shape and size of the ear cups work very well for me as well, fit over my ears quite well in any scenario. The cable is detachable, includes a very nice mic/remote setup like you are used to for any smartphone setup and the mic actually sounds pretty good. It only attaches on the left ear cup and both included cables have nice right angle 3.5mm 4 pole TRRS connectors. Would have been nice to have some more options/lengths of cable, but the included cables are the perfect length for working on a laptop or player in the pocket setups. I already have extension cables that work well for me for desktop setups while making music, so this isn't a problem for me at all. Being Incase, they come with a very nicely made soft case that has some simple pockets and the nice faux fur material Incase uses in other bags they make. I don't ever really use hard shell cases so this works for me also. The funniest part about the Sonics is how beautifully packaged they are, and I will just leave it at that (don't want to spoil it for future purchasers).
One sentence "Balance is what is most important to me, and these deliver on that, they are clear, they expose badly mixed music, and make good stuff stand out."
Setup: Usually a MacBook Pro, Apogee One, and Apple Lossless source.
I was so pumped on the look and feel and comfort of these things I would have probably picked them up even if they sounded like garbage to be honest, but they definitely didn't disappoint in this area. I don't really believe in how in depth some people get with sound reviews so I will keep it simple. I listen to a huge different range of music. Hip-hop (think The Roots, Black Star, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus), Jazz (Billie, Ella, Louis, Thelonius), Classical, Electronic, Ambient and sprinkle in music from almost every other genre. (Except country, polka, and dub step, haha) Lots of different types of soundtracks as well (Ennio Morricone, Alberto Iglesias, Clint Mansell, John Murphy). Way to broad to mention everything, so if you are interested in these and are interested in my opinion on a certain genre or artist, just let me know, I will be glad to have a listen. Here is a list I often listen to when trying out new headphones/speakers:
I think Incase's description of these..
"Engineered for music lovers who expect a refined audio experience no matter what they listen to, Sonic over-ear headphones combine high performance acoustics, sound isolation and exceptional comfort into a graceful design."
..is actually perfectly accurate. There are headphones that may make some types of music sound significantly better but I think these work well for everything. They are very clear and can take a lot without any distortion. They aren't noise canceling (thank god) but they do a good job of canceling out the right types of sound. You will hear a little leakage if you are sitting right next to someone wearing them but the isolation is good overall. I am a big fan of the Apple dual driver in ear monitors, and had gotten pretty used to that "in-head" soundstage when on the go, so it is definitely nice to have that expanded a bit. My best description for these in terms of soundstage is "I am the conductor of a small orchestra on my desk". Definitely does more than just place sound in your right and left ears. I also use a very nice set of Yamaha studio monitors (HS50m) which obviously give a bit larger stage. I am a person who will never understand open headphones. They are for at home listening, they are ******* loud, just get full-size speakers. Just like my Yamaha's and addiem's they give a nice flat sound that still sounds interesting. This is always what I am after in sound, give me what the musician made, and if I want I will adjust it to my own taste, I will. I don't want my headphones or speakers to make the decision for me I want to make it myself. Sometimes I may want a little more impact from bass on certain tracks, but then I jump to another track and the impact is there. I was glad to experience this as it makes me comfortable to use them as monitors while making music as well. It is up to me to make my music sound the way I want on a neutral setup. If you make music on $1000 open headphones or bass monsters people listening to your stuff on earbuds will usually think it sounds like ****. These are a good balance I think. I can present stuff comfortably to a wide audience without having to listen to it on everything. They aren't marketed as studio monitors, but if they were I think they would do just fine. They can be worn for hours on end, listened to for hours, aren't trying to make things sound better, and are very clear. I guess they are just missing the longer cable and the words "Professional" marked on there somewhere in shiny text..
As I mentioned, I am not getting into detail on how the lows, mids, highs sound. I don't think it is relevant as everyone's ears are quite different and my taste is right in the middle. One thing I absolutely do always look for is the ability to present that lovely resonating low end while the mids and highs are going, and these do this very well. Ennio Morricone is probably the best example of this (as are many other film composers). Balance is what is most important to me, and these deliver on that, they are clear, they expose badly mixed music, and make good stuff stand out. Balance not only in sound but in the whole package, most headphone designs are absolute garbage. These are lovely, built well, and sound the way I want them to sound, couldn't be happier.
There aren't many non-sound companies that get into the sound game with intentions other than making some money. I think Incase has great intentions with these and should absolutely be taken seriously in this market full of hilarious endorsement deals. I definitely trust a company that makes a well designed variety of products over a company that makes over designed over price cables. I do get interested in the technical details though and have contacted Incase to see if they can provide any other details on the 40mm drivers.
I would be happy to provide some real world pictures of anyone is interested in any specific details just let me know!
Edited by circa86 - 1/1/12 at 11:58pm