Accutone Picses Band Review
Accutone caught my attention mainly through an IEM that they had released which had some pretty novel features. I soon realized that they were a British company and that appeals to me as now days it is rare for a company to come out of where I was born. There history is quite odd for a headphone company and they actually started there life many years ago making headsets for telecommunications company and now they have obviously seen the boom in the headphones market with the likes of beats and decided to get in. The have 4 IEMs in their range and one headphone that is an on ear design, the pices band and the one I am reviewing. Another thing about their range is that they have different classifications for their headphones and this is a Class B and therefore for bassheads and has a super bass sound signature. When they originally asked if I would like to review this they informed be it was Class C for clarity so I was a bit sad when I say it was now a bass headphone and that is not really where my preference lies.
I would lastly like to thank Ada at Accutone for sending me this for review, before starting this review.
The set-up I have used is the 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. I also have paired these with a few other amps such as the MiuAudio MRB. I have also used this with the Altman Tera Player!!!
The design is clearly inspired by everyone’s favourite headphones, the dreaded Beats by Dre Solo. Is this a good thing, well I do think that the beats are stylish and cool looking to an extent but these are not the beats and in this tacky orange, they look a bit silly because the Accutone ‘a’ is not the beats ‘b’. Anyway these come in black and white as well but the orange does not do it for me, unless I am using it with the Terra Player with its orange buttons and then I have a silly grin on my face.
As for the actual build quality, this is something that the Solo failed at and I had mine replaced after just a few months when I owned them back in the day. The cable keep in beats theme with the flat cable but although it is not that flexible, it is actually rather strong and has a sleek metal housed gold plated jack with a really nice flat strain relief. One thing I will worry about is the inline mic as it is made of what feels like cheap plastic and does not have a too flushed seem, metal buttons do not quite make up for this. The strain relief going into the headphones is rather small but present and does its job.
As for the actual headphones construction I am rather impressed. They use a combination of both metal and plastic so that they do not weigh too much but are solid where they need to be. The yokes and the headband is a plastic which is not the strongest but the ear cups are metal and feel very solid indeed as are the bottoms of the headband as well as the hinge where it folds on. Anywhere that I could foresee problems they have covered with metal and I am very happy with this and can say that they are better built than beats Solo/Solo HD.
You get a really nice pleather case with these. It is white with orange seams and compliments the design of the headphones well. It is a cool case and although it is not the most protective case at least it is a design I have not seen before and looks awesome and stylish.
As far as on ear headphones are concerned this is my main problem always and why I have never truly loved any. This is mainly due to the clamping force and overall fit of them. Some clamp to hard and end up being painful but we do get a seal but some clamp way to little and therefore we do not get the seal that was intended and therefore a lack of bass. At first I thought that I had found a nice compromise because I instantly got a good seal and was not having too many problems. Then I started to have the clamping force pressure and started needing more and more breaks. These do clamp rather hard.
Now because of their all plastic head band I am not to sure on loosen the band up like can be done with the V-mod M-80s as I may worry of them breaking.
There are some more problems in regards to comforts over than the clamping force that does finally get to you. One that really stands out is the pads are rather firm and the lack of cushion does not do any favours. Another would be the headband is also on the firm side. They also still do have fair bit of metal on them and with the metal on the cups; they are getting squeezed on your ears.
Because of the clamping force and the closed back design, these are actually some of the finest isolating on ears that I have heard, minus the rock it r-shield which are in a different world to every single headphone in terms of isolation.
So these are actually good if isolation is a problem, if it is a major concern then I will say get some r-shields, a over the ear headphone or a Beyerdynamic DT1350 over this but this is not shabby.
Microphonics (Cable Noise):
The flat cable on this headphone is dead quiet and you will not heard anything from it when it or if it rubs on anything you’re wearing him. Perhaps the least microphonics flat cable I have yet to hear.
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 don’t make any irrational decisions after listening to them out the box.
These are far from what I was expecting with the Class B, bass categorizing of these. They have no mid-bass super boost but a slight tilt in the bass that extends flat down to a slightly boosted sub-bass that makes rumbles and deep slams a bit over exaggerated but nothing extreme. Mids are a tad recessed but in genres like acoustic where bass is not very present, these gain forward mids that take the stage very nicely. Overall we have a bassy signature as the treble is not boosted to make it V shaped but the concentration is in the lower bass regions and it is not that far ahead of the rest of the frequencies. The one main problem though with these is the overall clarity and refinement does just not compete with other headphones in the category, close but not quite. These actually do however have a lot more clarity when there is not an excuse for the sub-bass to jump ahead of the rest of the show.
Soundstage and instrument separation:
I am going to start with saying that the instrument separation is on the not so good side so everything feels a bit swirled together or when the music is anything to fast, however when the pace is slower you can really tell how large the soundstage is for a closed on ear and actually has a really nice bit of width to it which surprised me.
As I have mentioned before these are the Class B for bass model of the product range (or one of) and the boasts of super bass left me expecting mid-bass that was so huge that everything else is lost behind it. In fact that is far from the case and these remind me of a headphone version of the Beyerdynamic XP series. This is because the bass extends down flat for the most part and then picks it up a bit in the sub-bass territory for a nice rumble and slam that does not make the bass feel over the top, one downside of this though is it sounds a little bit un coherent from the rest of the frequency response.
The mid-bass is a tad boosted over the mids and highs but far from boomy or over powering. However it is still not tight and fast and but dreary, un-textured and slow but still lacking power. Mid-bass lacks any sort of nice warmth either and it does give the concentration over to the sub-bass, it is not of that great quality.
Sub-bass quality on the other hand is rather nice as I have already mentioned and rumbles strongly and deeply which is great. Goes down deep enough that I will not complain it lacks any low-end extension.
The mids are actually really nice. Because of the sub-bass sitting above the mid-bass, I perceive it like there is a whole where the mid-bass should be to an extent so it makes the mids stand a bit more forward and vocals sound actually rather present while being lush with a nice warmth. Overall the mids are a bit ‘reccessed’ but this a very little problem.
Timbre is a tad distorted and the overall clarity and details are a bit lacking and nothing really shows anything special, it sound rough on the edges and a bit false as well.
The treble is a bit understated and sounds artificial and tinny. It is inline with the mids and lacks any real sparkle because of an early-ish roll off. However it keeps enough extension to eek these away from the darkness (or a dark signature).
We have a headphone that surprised me for its sound quality and I was very thankful for that (that= no huge mid-bass over blow). The sound is not tragic but I cannot tell you like it is anything to get excited about. It does actually sound great when the sub-bass is not present in the music to become the main concentration and the music is actually really nice but the sub-bass can get a bit carried away. It is actually not far off the sonic performance of the V-moda M-80 in both sound signature and the fact it is designed to look cool but the m-80 is just more refined and at the sane price the m-80 would have to be the way to go.
Source dependency of these headphones did make some of it rather hard, as I have a Tera Player in my possession for a short amount of time I paired them up for quite a bit and they do just not go together at all, with lower bit rate music and my iPhone 4 however, these really come out there shell a bit and become a lot more lively and I guess that is what there purpose is, pair with a nice smartphone, and sound a lot better than beats while looking similar because these crush beats on so many levels. I do not think that Accutone have done a bad job and these sound okay but are flawed and I was not lying when saying they are close to the M-80. For a bit cheaper these could be a contender b
Edited by Swimsonny - 10/12/12 at 3:43pm