Are the parrot ziks any good?
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haggis219

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Or are they just another pair of crappy overpriced cans with cool looking features?
 
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MalVeauX

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iAmCalm

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Quote:
Or are they just another pair of crappy overpriced cans with cool looking features?
I had a chance to try these yesterday at a demo station in a Brookstone store - if there's a Brookestone near you perhaps you can check for yourself.
 
I'd never heard of them before. 
My first impression was "Wow, great looking set!"
The build quality is good, they feel solid without being too heavy despite their large size.  They headband adjustment is smooth and the eary cups seem to naturally seal nicely over the ears without too much pressure. 
Moving along, there were questions about features -
 
The micro usb port for charging is a nice touch.  However, they take a proprietary 3.7 volt Li-Ion battery pack.
I guess the cornicopia of features demands the juice that cant be had from a AAA.
The battery pack is replacable which is a plus, (as opposed to not being accessible at all), but a new one goes for $30. But the proprietary nature just turns me off.
 I already simple charger for basic  NiMH and NiCad AAA, AA, C, D, 9V, etc. and I pile of batteries to my son's toys and my ANC headphones running.  Enough about that.
 
Speaking of ANC, let's talk about that for a sec. 
I'm familair with both Sony and Audio Technica ANC's, used mostly for travel.  What I never thought about was that both of these have a positional on-off swich, which allows me to tell whether or not ANC is on without looking.  Plus they have each have a bright little red LED that lights when turned on.
The Zik has a single pushbutton that is in the same position whether the ANC is on or off.  This makes it hard to tell whether it's on or off. 
I know what you're thinking, it should be easy to tell just by listening whether the NC is on or not.  That was the odd thing.  They isolate pretty well, and I actually couldn't tell easily whether or not they were on without out looking.  Another odd thing is that the volume level drops significantly when NC is active.
 
So as for sound:
I'm not really in the market for another set of ANC's so i was primarily focussed on the sound with NC turned off.
The isolation was good, as mentioned above, and the sound quality was not poor.  I'm open to feedback on my next point, which is that I think their strength is not bass.  The mid range was good, and they produce a certain quality of imaging that that allowed me to hear nuances in some of the more intricate tracks on Led Zeppelin II and Electric Ladyland. 
The crisp bass line from Daft Punk's "Voyager", which I always put through every headphone had the idenitity I've come to know so well.
However, all that said, these felt like they were missing something - for me.
 
Tech:
It's a free country, so I'm going to go ahead and say they went overboard with the tech.  Keep in mind, this all the gadgetry has got to be a component of the price.  My guestimate is that there's $100-$150 of non-driver tech in a pair of these at least.  So I'm guessing if all you care about is sound, these ought to be thought of as $250, not $400 headphones.
All this tech, mind you, is geared towards use with a smart phone.  there's an integrated mic for phone calls - no biggie.
Also there's a feature to pause, play, change track and adjust volume, all by sliding your finger against the surface of the right shell.
We're they really took it to the next level of gimmic-dom is automatically pausing the music (played from a smartphone) when the headphones are removed, and starting it up again when you put them back on.
 
Bottom line.
If you're in the market for a portable set, you don't mind large cans, and phone controls trump sound quality, these could be for you.
As I said, I tried these in Brookstone, where they were on display right next the  Beats Studio ($299).  I'd written off Beats because of their fashion caché, but I decided to try them to contrast with the Ziks.  Putting them through the same paces.  If I had to buy one of the two, I'd go for the better overall sound, and simplicity (including phone controls and ANC) of the light and compy Beats Studio, and save myself $100 to put in my amp fund.
 
cheers,
-r
 
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obobskivich

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I've played around with them a few times - IF you're going to use all (or most of) their features, they're a good value for the price. If you're just interested in them for the sound, I would say move along. They don't do anything terribly unique - they have a fairly laid-back and leveled out presentation that seems to lend itself to acoustic types of music, it's nothing offensive or garish to listen to, nor is it super colored in a pleasing way (it isn't like Grado or Ultrasone with their very unique sound signatures). They look nice, they're relatively comfortable, and they sound better than a lot of modern garbage (e.g. Beats) that has recently proliferated. But again, the $400~ they cost certainly does reflect all of their various gizmos as well (and they really do feel like they're from the future compared to a lot of headphones as a result).

If you want a good ANC headphone, Bose is basically the first and last component of that discussion, and if you want something for at home use and sound quality and/or comfort are the primary considerations, there's quite a lot of other options out there.

EDIT

One more point - the ANC on them isn't terrible, but it isn't perfect either. I'd regard it better than a lot of the dime-a-dozen "we have ANC" rappercans that are out there, but it isn't to the "noise, what noise?" level of the Bose QuietComfort headphones. They're about on par with the Klipsch M40 in terms of isolation from what I remember (and I preferred the M40 sonically); unfortunately both of those headphones (the Zik and the M40) end up costing more, weighing more, and being less comfortable than the QC15 - so it kind of defeats the purpose of them *just* as ANC models. The M40 have the ability to run with or without ANC (something the Bose, and many other ANC headphones, cannot do), and the Zik are wireless (among other things) which should be considered as well. Like I said, if ANC is the only point in looking at these, or if sound is the only point in looking at these, they pretty much fail for the price. But the entire package does a very good job.
 
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haggis219

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Wow. Thanks for the feedback and depth guys. I was curious about the entire package, but sound is definitely the most important aspect of a pair of headphones. I'm pretty new to the audiophile world so Just wanted to know what other people thought of them. I probably wouldn't blow that much just yet, especially since i just got m-100s, but I saw an ad and was interested if they actually did what was said they did well.
 
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obobskivich

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Wow. Thanks for the feedback and depth guys. I was curious about the entire package, but sound is definitely the most important aspect of a pair of headphones. I'm pretty new to the audiophile world so Just wanted to know what other people thought of them. I probably wouldn't blow that much just yet, especially since i just got m-100s, but I saw an ad and was interested if they actually did what was said they did well.

I think by and large the answer is "yes" - they're unique and they offer a lot of nice features. But they're imperfect. If you just want a nice sounding pair of headphones I would at least look at other options; if you still want the Zik at the end of the day though, they aren't a bad choice. :)
 
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There's a pair on the American Amazon... For a markup of $100 with $50 shipping. No thanks for now. 
 
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I absolutely loved these Zik's and wish they would fit my head.  My head is a little narrow, and the headphones were going everywhere when I walked.  In search of the Bluetooth Headphones with Noise Canceling, I gave up.  The headphones were too heavy or didn't fit right on my head when I moved around.  Then, I had the epiphany that if I don't move around, I might as well get a wired set.  I ended up with the Bose QC 15's.  There's nothing like it when you are in a busy restaurant or airport, and you want to get away.  The Parrots did Noise Cancel about as good as these.  The UE 9000's did not cancel like the Parrot's or Bose's, but they sounded better than the Bose and about the same as the Parrot's.  The app on the iPhone is cool for the Parrot, but you really don't use it that much after a while. 
 
I really hope Parrot comes out with another version soon that will fit my head.... 
 
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