Fischer Audio Draco Review
Recently I reviewed Fischers new Wicked Queen headphone which was plastic, tacky and mainstream sounding which was bass orientated and dark. This looks like it could be the little sibling from the same line of products but this is actually a fair bit older. They do feature quite a bright ecstatic look, which like the Wicked Queens will appeal to younger audiences and especially those who like the Beats series and Skullcandy headphones. In fact these have an uncanny resemblance of the very popular Skullcandy Lowriders.
These are actually very cheap at around £15, which is pushing how cheap you can get headphones with the cheapest Sennheisers being £20 for example.
The set-up I have used is a bit different to normal, as I have started using a new portable rig, which is the Hippo CriCri amplifier connected through a LOD to an iPod Nano 3G with Apple Lossless and MP3 on it.
I also used my old set-ups of my iPhone 4, Cowon J3 (with FLAC) and my iMac with my Objective 2 amplifier.
The design of these is trying to be hip and cool with Draco wrote down the side in an old font as well as the colour scheme. However everything just looks bad from the fact that everything is plastic and the red strain relief’s colour has faded. However what is nice is they are designed to fold really small and compact and the cups rotate like a DJ’s would.
The build quality is well, tragic. Starting with the cable the jack is quite nice (contradictive at first I know) with a right-angled jack, terminated with a gold plug and with a sleek but not to weak housing with a strain relief. It then goes to a flat beats by dre-esque flat cable that is actually rather strong and does not tangle. The y-split is also really strong.
Okay so, so far everything has been positive so why have I just but tragic above…?
So lets move onto the plastic headphones themselves. I would not give these to a baby in case they snapped them. The frame and headband are a weak thin plastic that just oozes being close to breaking. Every time you fold them up you worry about breaking them and I do not think there is any longevity here.
For £15 it is no surprise to receive no accessories.
Well these are all plastic and of course very light because of this, and I mean very light, I think I have had heavier coins. So for that reason they are almost non-existent on your head and never become bulky. They also have no clamping force and these ever become fatiguing. They do not have any headband padding but as these are so light, this is not too big a deal. The ear pads are pleather and are fairly soft and rest gently on your ears, I found these really comfortable.
The plastic is bulky though and these are not nice around your neck.
These are vented and sit on your ear and isolate well, nothing. I get better isolation from my open HD580s or my vented Sony MDR EX1000s. This was really disappointing and they cannot even isolate me typing on the keyboard let alone out in the town so I do not know what this limits these to be able to be used for. I guess they could work for running and as a fashion statement when out. Although I have found when out with them although you can hear around you, the music is still clear enough.
Microphonics (Cable Noise)
Absolutely no microphonics so that was great.
By what I am about to write I do not want to cause any upsets or arguments as this topic can be seen as a sour subject. These have had roughly 100 hours now of use and burn in combined. As burn in is not scientifically proven this all could be mental and happening in my head but in the case that it does happen I recommend burning them in as in my personal experience I have noted improvements which have a massive impact on my enjoyment factor, so dint make any irrational decisions after listening to them out the box.
Soundstage and instrument separation
The soundstage is free and airy but does not really extend to far out of your head, it does get there, but JUST. Now when I say this though it never feels small at all and nothing is tight and compact and there I a good sense of air present.
Now for £15 I thought these would be slow and muddy but this is far from the case and these are not fast by any means but nothing ever really blends together at any times and instruments are nicely kept apart.
The mid-bass is surprisingly balanced with the other frequencies with no peak present like I was expecting which was pleasant. The bass is actually not too big either at all and hit s rather soft as well but still hits fully. It is not the fastest either and sometimes it may miss a beat or two but it is harmless and does not sound bad.
Sub-bass is a bit difficult as these do not gain the right seal on your ears, a bit like a IEM not inserted fully and to experience any rumble you have to press to your head. However the extension is present for a fair bit before these rolling off.
I was actually really rather impressed by the mids. They are dry but also really airy and packed with energy even though they are again soft. Everything in the headphones really sits around the mids as the extension is not great but I do love the mids of these. Strings sound right because of the decay and how gentle they come across. Vocals are not flat and have a sense of dynamics to them and drums were a bit disappointing, as they do not sound like they have the right oomph. I also found them to be fairly thin and revealing and details was all right for most of the time for a sub £50 headphone and amazing at the price point. They are the center of attention and that’s how I like them, never overshadowed.
Now the trebles are smooth and present, completing a balanced signature but there is no hiding the fact how rolled of they are. They really do stop early and the average extension I expect from a £50 + IEM is loads more than we get here. Because of this cymbal crashes seem not all there and it dies sound wrong at times. It is though never harsh or sibilant and always smooth with a lack of detail and like the rest of the headphone, very soft.
Now I have not heard loads of different headphones but I have heard a few and these are the best I have heard at this price bracket and are as good perhaps as my Superlux HD681, and exceed them in enjoyment values, these had my toes tapping. They have the sound of £50 + and the build of £10 so I guess you get what you pay for. The one thing I do not get is that these are enjoyable and balanced while the more expensive Wicked Queen are dark and boring and inferior in sound quality even though they exceed in soundstage and bass, especially in sub-bass. Well if you want to pick up a cheap on ear headphone that is comfy with lovely ‘emotional’ mids and balanced sound then look past the bright colours, get a white pair and enjoy these.
This can be purchased from Top Dog Headphones in the UK.
Edited by Swimsonny - 9/16/12 at 8:02am