Blue Sadie Review - Headphones with a Secret Weapon!
Aug 8, 2018 at 10:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

RockStar2005

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Got a chance to try out the Sadie headphones by Blue over the past week. The Sadie is a genuine audiophile headphone by Blue, a company known primarily for their top-of-the-line microphones, which recently got into producing headphones as well. A couple years ago I also had a chance to try out the Blue Lola headphones, and was pretty impressed by them as well. The Sadie however has some upgrades and new features to offer, but also costs $150 more. Below is my review of the Sadie. To say the least, I was NOT disappointed................

Looks & Presentation: The Blue Sadie comes in a cube-shaped box which is just as premium as the Sadie itself, as are the accessories, which include two straight cables (4' w/ mic ((made for Apple, but works on Android as well)) & remote and 10'), a MicroUSB charging cable, a 3.5mm to 6.5mm adapter, and a very soft but padded suede/velvet like pouch. Very classy! But what's that charging cable for?? We'll get to that in a minute!

The headphones themselves are a work of art, much like the Lola. Not only does Blue like to name its premium headphones after women, but they also have an equally alluring look all their own. They say the look of the Sadie (and Lola, and others) is inspired by the suspension found on a Formula One race car, and it definitely does succeed in making that look work! Through the use of metal and high-quality plastics, Blue achieves a very luxurious aesthetic that sets them apart from the more ubiquitous looks that most headphones come in. I really feel that the silvery-blue finish is a great color choice for these headphones as well!

Features: What makes the Blue Sadie stand out from the Lola is the inclusion of an audiophile-grade amp, which has not one but two modes to choose from, On & ON+. This is where that charging cable comes in! Blue states it takes up to 4 hours to charge the Sadie's amp if it's on empty, though I charged it using a wall charger vs. my computer, so it might be faster that way (plus they come somewhat pre-charged too), but the amp is supposed to last up 11-12 hours, which a few pro reviews verified to be true. While the Sadie is charging, the Blue logo on each side's ear cups lights up (flashing) as well, which looks pretty cool too. (More on how the amp's two modes affect the sound below.) Even when the amp is on (in either mode), if you take the Sadie off, a special built-in sensor detects this and automatically powers down the Sadie until you put them back on. Awesome feature! Blue knows how integral the amp is to the Sadie's sound quality, so they were wise to add this feature in!

Why this amp feature is so important has to do with the power/voltage output of most popular smartphones sold today. Even though many modern smartphones come with pretty good to great DACs (Digital to Analog Converter), the fact is, many of them still have weak amps. It doesn't matter how great your DAC chip is if you can't hear what it's doing clearly enough. This is where the Blue Sadie's built-in amp saves the day! I checked, and several smartphones in 2018 are listed as having weak headphone amp outputs, as per Phone Arena. These include phones by: Sony, Samsung, OnePlus, ZTE, & Huawei. Samsung's is the loudest of the bunch, but it could be louder. If you have any of these phones, the Sadie is DEFINITELY for you! But if you have an Apple iPhone, LG V or G series phone, or HTC, which have pretty loud outputs, you STILL will benefit from the amp as far as I can see b/c the amp on the Sadie is analog, which is known for giving the listener a warmer and more clearer sound signature. The fact is, the amp on the Sadie is extremely likely to sound better than the one on your phone. Not just louder, but better too! This is because the amp on the Sadie is custom-matched with the 50mm speaker drivers it uses. So in either case, the amp should be used at all times IMO. The fact that the Sadie has only 32 ohms of impedance or resistance (which is very low) makes it an even better match for smartphones since so many other mobile-friendly headphones have the same or about the same rating.

Comfort: Due to Blue's chosen way of manufacturing these headphones, the Sadie comes in a special multi-jointed design which lends itself greatly towards a pretty strong comfortable experience. Instead of adjusting the headphones manually to your head, the design makes it so the Sadie automatically adjusts to your head once your put it on. The ear-shaped ear pads feature a leatherette exterior and memory foam interior, which feels really nice and soft. The headband is also plush and soft. The Sadie weighs just under a pound, which is more than most headphones, and that comes from having the amp on-board. However, I didn't really feel that weight so much at all because of how comfortable Blue designed these headphones to be.

I read somewhere that Blue made some improvements to the design since their first wave of headphones (Mo-Fi and Lola) were released, and I will say I think I do notice a bit more comfort on the Sadie than the Lola, but only a little. Fortunately, the Lola were pretty comfortable too, so it's all good! (Note: Despite what some sites say, the Sadie is actually not the new Mo-Fi. That is the Mix-Fi apparently.)

Sound: Using my "Magic EQ" (see Beyerdynamic DT 1770 EQ which is the main one) to EQ these headphones to really bring out their best sound (which is something I wish I had done with the Lola back when I tried them out), I quickly realized just what a spectacular pair of headphones the Sadie really are! With the amp off, they still sound great, but not their best IMO. It's when you reach up and rotate that amp switch when things REALLY start to get interesting! In either amp mode, the sound quality and volume INSTANTLY is taken up a few notches. The soundstage is widened, the sound gets even fuller and clearer, and the experience more grand!

So what's the difference between On & On+?? On simply turns on the amp. I had my LG V30 (in High Impedance Mode, for any LG fans out there) at 50% to be safe, and the amp definitely took it up a few notches to say the least, both in volume and quality, making it quite loud! This is good if you're listening to more bassier tracks. The On+ feature brings in something special to the sound: it adds a "touch" of bass vs. infusing an overall (and overwhelming) bass boost. Where three bands on a 10-band EQ are usually designated for bass, On+ only boosts one of them. The result is a subtle bass boost in the "right spot" which made SEVERAL of the tracks I listened to sound even better!! Blue states On+ was specially made to recover the bass sound lost in records that were put out on vinyl during the days Elvis, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin (and earlier even). So if you're a vinyl/record lover who listens to music from this era, On+ was made for you! In most cases, I had the Sadie on On+. On was good for more acoustic tracks where even a bit too much bass could kill the sound. The fact is, bass really does matter, which is why I have four alternate versions of my Magic EQ to choose from, and why having the choice between On & On+ is so critical to the Sadie's overall value and success.

The Sadie offers a very full, clear, and detailed sound presentation with the amp on or off, but definitely more so with it on. The bass is isolated and present (and when it was too much, I just went back to On), the mids are very crisp & clear, and the treble offered plenty of sparkle and detail as well. The soundstage was pretty wide, though not as wide as my Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro, but those also normally cost $200 more too. Still, the soundstage was definitely wide enough to lend a high level of instrument separation, something I've found to be quite important when it comes to rating one headphone from another. There was no stepping on any toes here.............the instruments all stood out from one another, but still at the same time blended together quite effectively.

Minor issue: When testing out the phone mic on the Sadie, there was some issue where the person I spoke to could hear their own voice echo back now and then. Clarity was ok but great on my end too. Not sure why this happened, but even though it did, I don't think it should stop anyone from checking these out as it could've just been some kind of fluke too. IMO, the Sadie offers way too much for this to even matter, but I thought I'd mention anyway.

Conclusion: The Blue Sadie was a real joy to check out and listen to! Some reviews have said the $700 Blue Ella headphones are even better, but they've also said at that price point you can find nicer sounding headphones. But at the Sadie's $400 price point, you would be HARD-PRESSED to find an equally fantastic headphone that offered as much in terms of aesthetics, features (that amp!!), and sound quality! Even in 2018, many popular smartphones still don't get loud enough, but this is no longer an issue anymore. So I HIGHLY recommend the Sadie for everyone to try out!

(Blue currently offers a "no questions asked" 30-day money back guarantee WITH free shipping too on all its headphones, so you really have no excuse not to now do you?? :L3000:

UPDATE: Just found out that Blue DOESN'T cover the shipping back to their location in California. So it's not 100% free, but still a good offer nonetheless.)
 
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Oct 24, 2021 at 10:51 AM Post #2 of 5

buzzbuzz

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By the end of 2019, I managed to acquire a harem of Blues - Ella, Lola, and Satellite (Satie). Sadie does not make the cut because she is too similar in price to Ella. Ella and Satie share that "temperamental" control dials, Ella especially. Lola, however, is a tough cookie.
 
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Oct 24, 2021 at 3:04 PM Post #3 of 5

RockStar2005

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By the end of 2019, I managed to acquire a harem of Blues - Ella, Lola, and Satellite (Satie). Sadie does not make the cut because she is too similar in price to Ella. Ella and Satie share that "temperamental" control dials, Ella especially. Lola, however, is a tough cookie.

That's cool!

So far I've tried out the Lola and then just recently also tried out the Ella, which you can read about here. (Note: I stopped EQ'ing my headphones about 2 years ago b/c now I only buy neutral-sounding ones vs. ones that need EQ'ing. They tend to sound better, and I don't have to fuss with EQ'ing, which I really don't like doing anyway.)

I should mention too, when I bought the Ella, they were on sale for $439 (tax included) on Amazon. Where now they are closer to the $699 mark.

I would say without much doubt, the Ella is the best headphone Blue sells. Planar magnetics tend to sound the best (I currently own the open-back HiFiMan Sundara), so I'd bet it even outdoes the Sadie (aka Mix-Fi, aka Mo-Fi). I did enjoy the Lola a lot too, but to me, the Ella offered a better sound experience.
 
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Oct 24, 2021 at 3:54 PM Post #4 of 5

buzzbuzz

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Yeah. Ella has design problems, mainly the plug/rotating dial combo control. And the price was dropping. I brought Ella for $275 in 2018. Later on in 2018 I learned Logitech had brought out Blue Microphones for mere $110m. I had a feeling that would be the end of Blue headphone lines

Then I found an open boxed Blue Satellite on eBay in 2019 for a jaw-dropping price of $50. I like Satellite a lot. Then around Xmas 2019, I brought Lola (new) at Amazon for just $60. Of course, Ella is the best. Hope that dial/plug would last.
I think all my Blue headphones are collectables now. :)
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 1:38 PM Post #5 of 5

RockStar2005

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Yeah. Ella has design problems, mainly the plug/rotating dial combo control. And the price was dropping. I brought Ella for $275 in 2018. Later on in 2018 I learned Logitech had brought out Blue Microphones for mere $110m. I had a feeling that would be the end of Blue headphone lines

Then I found an open boxed Blue Satellite on eBay in 2019 for a jaw-dropping price of $50. I like Satellite a lot. Then around Xmas 2019, I brought Lola (new) at Amazon for just $60. Of course, Ella is the best. Hope that dial/plug would last.
I think all my Blue headphones are collectables now. :)
Yeah. I remember reading about that dial issue too. Since I'd returned it, I didn't have it long enough to say it happened to me though. They should've done a better job on that, cuz of course ppl are gonna use it. It's like the main defining feature of the Ella too.

$275? Nice!!

Oh wow, they did?!! I did not know that. I have bought a bunch of Logitech products over the years too, like my desktop computer speakers, computer mice, etc.

Yeah sounds like you found the stuff during a transition period perhaps? Right now the Lola is $150 on Amazon. Satellite is $288. lol (Both new).

Perhaps they are? lol I dunno what the future is for them, but they sure were (and are) interesting! And they still have the BEST headphones ad I've ever seen too! ROFL!
 

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