Tidal Power has joined the ever rising headphone market with the launch of its Wave 5 planar magnetic headphones. Most headphones you’re aware of are driver-based designs, like loudspeakers. Not the Wave 5.
Planar magnetic headphones use a particularly skinny and lightweight diaphragm to breed sound, as an alternative of the extra conventional driver. A magnetic system drives all the floor of the diaphragm evenly in a pull-push method. Within the case of the Wave 5, the diaphragm’s measurement measures 56mm and can reproduce notes from 16Hz to 50kHz. Tidal Power says that the magnetic construction is a matrix double pole and makes use of neodymium magnets.
The Wave 5 headphones have a high-quality, all-metal building, however this leaves the headphones tipping the scales at 480 grams. The outer headband’s metallic skeleton has the corporate’s brand laser-cut in an alternating sample. Touching any a part of the headphone’s metallic skeleton will switch vibrations into the headphone cavity. In different phrases, you may hear it. In case you prefer to lie down carrying your headphones, or put on them whereas performing some work that requires transferring round, you’ll positively encounter this. Something touching both arm of the “Y” cable produces the identical impact.
A secondary, self-adjusting, imitation leather-based headband auto-tensions to your head. With this design, you’ll get strong clamping strain to the edges of your head like recording-studio headphones. Simply bear in mind that some would possibly discover the strain a bit a lot. For me, I bought considerably uncomfortable carrying the Wave 5 after lengthy listening classes.
The ear cups rotate 90 levels in order that the headphones can fold flat. The ear cups themselves pivot freely to fine-tune consolation and adjustment to your head. The ear cups connect magnetically, and guiding pegs be certain that they match completely to the ear cups.
Regrettably, the magnets usually are not as robust as those Bowers & Wilkins uses across its headphone line. I unintentionally knocked the magnetic ear pads off quite a lot of instances throughout my evaluate interval. In case you’re plan to fold the headphones flat so you possibly can slip them right into a backpack, be certain that the ear pads are nonetheless connected once you pull them out. If and when Tidal Power updates the Wave 5, I would prefer to see a stronger magnetic maintain within the new mannequin.
The ear pads appear giant from the surface, however they’ve a slim, oval opening, just like the capital letter “O” on a serif font. The left and proper aspect partitions are thicker than the highest and backside. Your ears don’t match into a pleasant giant cavity like different circumaural designs. After I wore them, the ear pads touched my ears and pressed them down.
The Wave 5 are an open-back design. Which means the ear cups have a gap to the surface world and don’t create a totally sealed cavity like closed-back designs. Usually, open-back designs create a larger sense of area and soundstage depth. I didn’t discover that to be the case right here. The Wave 5’s sound was extra ahead than most different open-back designs I’ve reviewed. In actual fact, after I in contrast the Wave 5 to Oppo’s open-back PM-2 planar magnetic headphone, the Oppo PM-2 delivered a extra relaxed and spacious musical presentation.
The Tidal Power Wave 5 include a tough case, a 1/Four-inch adapter, and a smooth pouch to carry the included three.5mm “Y” cable. Most headphones that embody a Y-cable separate the left and proper audio sign. That’s not the case right here. Each arms of the cable carry a full stereo sign (as indicated by the 2 stripes on the three.5mm tip and the 2 stripes on every arm). The respective ear cup is aware of to separate the left or proper channel from the cable.
Sadly for me, the cable that got here with the Wave 5 was faulty out of the field and would typically lower out sound on one of many ear cups. The defect was in step with a cable that’s had an excessive amount of stress utilized to the connector. The corporate despatched me a brand new cable, which labored simply high quality.
I did discover some issues with the 2 units of cables. The nylon-braided cable is much stiffer than most. It should are inclined to hold a form or twist as an alternative of falling in a supple method. The three.5mm plug on each cables was additionally barely bent. I observed it when taking a look at it straight on, and it had a slight bend when plugged into any of my digital audio gamers. Tidal Power would possibly wish to look into the Q/A course of wherever these cables being manufactured.
Planar magnetic bliss? Not fairly.
I examined the Wave 5 with an Astell&Kern AK70, Sony NWZ-A17, and Pioneer XDP-100R high-res audio gamers utilizing largely high-res FLAC and ALAC information and a handful of AAC-encoded music information.
Listening to Natalie Service provider’s Ladybird (16-bit/44kHz AAC), Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II ( 24-bit/96kHz FLAC), and Pink Floyd’s Want You Have been Right here (24-bit/88.2kHz FLAC) gave me an excellent indication of the Wave 5’s sonics. The headphone’s total character was clean however darker and with much less air than I do know is contained in acquainted supply materials. It is as if the Wave 5 tries to clean out musical tough edges, nevertheless it does so by making use of a slight veil over the music. Orchestral works like Star Wars: The Power Awakens soundtrack (24-bit/192kHz) suffered on this regard.
Bass was managed and effectively outlined; the kick drums, nevertheless, lacked strong dynamics and punch. The distinction was noticeable after I in contrast the Wave 5 to Oppo’s far more expensive planar magnetic PM-2 headphones, which did a much better job. To be honest, it isn’t unusual for open-back headphone designs to be a bit bass shy.
In case you’re the sort who likes digging into the main points of your music, then you definately’ll get pleasure from firing up your favourite tracks with the Wave 5. Microdynamics throughout the audio spectrum have been good. Taking part in the high-res model of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, the complicated combine present in each monitor got here by properly. Nonetheless, I regularly famous that the one space the place (for me) the the Wave 5 fell quick was the refinement and delicacy I’ve skilled with planar magnetic cans.
Turning to Patricia Barber’s “A Style of Honey” and “Too Wealthy for My Blood” from Cafe Blue, the Wave 5 didn’t elevate the tracks to their full potential. The midrange and prime finish simply could not attain the purpose of sonic bliss that dearer planar magnetic headphones can muster. I felt as if the three-dimensional character inherent in vocals and devices bought compacted.
Price an audition
The Wave 5 ship planar magnetic expertise and strong construct high quality at an affordable worth level. In case you’ve craved to expertise a pair of planar magnetic headphones however been turned away by their price, then the Wave 5 definitely deserves an audition. By any measure, the Wave 5 are a strong worth.
Whether or not or not you like their sonic character can be a matter of private desire. I discovered that the Wave 5’s sonic character inclined in the direction of the euphnoic, with a bent to clean out recordings. For me, they didn’t ship the breadth, pleasure, and openness I’ve come to anticipate from my music. For many who discover Tidal Power’s Wave 5 to be a bit underwhelming, then you definately is likely to be higher served by saving a bit extra and spending the additional $100 for Oppo’s PM-3 planar magnetic headphones as an alternative.