Look out Bowers & Wilkins and Grasp & Dynamic—there is a new luxurious headphone producer on the town. Detroit-based Shinola is already a longtime model in watches and leather-based items, and has tried its hand at turntables and audio system, however with the Canfield assortment, the corporate is branching out to headphones. We examined the $495 Canfield On-Ear mannequin. From a design standpoint, the headphones look superb and really feel good initially, however can begin to make their presence identified throughout lengthy listening classes. From an audio perspective, you get an correct illustration of most mixes, however some listeners could discover they lack that $500 headphone sound, notably within the low frequency division.
If you are going to cost $500 for a pair of headphones, they higher look good. Shinola has that half down pat—these headphones look incredible. The supra-aural (on-ear) design is easy, but exudes luxurious. The earpads are reminiscence foam lined with lambskin—they really feel incredible. The headscarf is lined with actual leather-based, and the metallic parts are shiny stainless-steel. Briefly, the headphones have the feel and appear of a sports activities automobile’s inside, and Shinola’s alternative to make use of its lightning bolt emblem with out its identify solely provides extra enchantment and thriller to the look.
The pair we reviewed is the $495 brown leather-based choice—there’s additionally a black-and-stainless-steel pair for a similar worth, whereas a costlier all-black pair makes use of leather-based and PVD coating (that is bodily vapor deposition, a coating widespread within the watch world, that makes the headphones sturdy and appears good, too).
By way of match, the headscarf is a bit of tough to regulate—the slider is considerably stiff and tougher to maneuver round than is typical. The opposite difficulty is the earpads—they snap into place magnetically like we have seen with some Bowers & Wilkins fashions. Nonetheless, they pop off very simply. Actually, the primary time I put the headphones on, the correct earpad fell into my lap. It is pretty simple to make this occur, as a result of adjusting the headscarf requires some further stress, and the earpads are a pure level to use the stress to. When you lastly get a safe match that you just like, this turns into much less of a difficulty. And whereas the match is initially comfy, over longer listening durations, the earpads and headband can really feel like they’re exerting some noticeable stress and might develop considerably fatiguing.
Internally, the earcups home a 40mm dynamic driver in every ear, delivering a frequency vary of 20Hz to 20kHz. The included cable connects to every earcup and is removable, and thus replaceable, including some longevity and worth. There’s an inline distant at roughly mid torso, which makes working the buttons a bit of simpler as a result of you may see them. There is a central multifunction button that controls playback, monitor navigation, and name administration, and devoted quantity up/down buttons.
The inline microphone has its personal separate compartment, situated round chin degree—a call we not often see, however one that usually ends in higher mic sound high quality. Certainly, the mic gives above-average intelligibility—utilizing the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we have been capable of clearly perceive each phrase we recorded. There have been few, if any, audio artifacts—the one minor grievance is that the audio appeared to lack any low-end, however that’s us being nitpicky. By way of readability, the mic is superb.
Along with the cable, Shinola features a zip-up onerous shell protecting case that the headphones fold down flat into, in addition to a small felt pouch for the cable. For such a excessive worth, a second cable would’ve been good, or at the least a quarter-inch headphone jack adapter or airline jack adapter.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones ship stable deep bass response balanced with loads of larger frequency element. At prime, unwise listening ranges, the drivers don’t distort on this monitor, and at reasonable ranges, the bass depth nonetheless feels robust. Nonetheless, the sound signature would not enhance the bass wildly, so in case you’re on the lookout for a mega-bass thump, that is not what Shinola is providing.
Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a monitor with far much less deep bass within the combine, offers us a greater sense of the Canfield On-Ear’s general sound signature. The drums on this monitor can sound overly thunderous on bass-forward fashions, however by way of the Canfield On-Ear’s drivers, the drums are full and spherical with out feeling like they’ve acquired a lot boosting within the bass realm. Callahan’s baritone vocals get a super low-mid presence that does not push them into overly wealthy territory. The star of the present is actually the high-mid presence—it lends some treble edge to Callahan’s vocals, some brightness to the guitar strums, and a few further snap to the upper percussive hits. And general, it lends the sound signature stability. These are usually not severely bass-boosted headphones, however they ship stable low frequency presence when it is within the combine—and sufficient excessive frequency element to stability issues out properly.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” the kick drum loop will get a super high-mid presence that helps intensify its assault and permits it to slice by way of the layers of the combination. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with reasonable energy, nothing like a bass-boosted mannequin would push out on this monitor. The vocals sound glorious right here—all three performances get ultimate high-mid and excessive frequency focus with out ever veering into overly sibilant or vibrant territory.
Orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene in John Adams’ The Gospel In accordance with the Different Mary, get some added low and low-mid presence in a refined method—the decrease register instrumentation is pushed ahead a bit within the combine for some added physique. The highlight right here belongs to the upper register brass, strings, and vocals, that are delivered with crisp element. If the decrease register instrumentation did not obtain that slight push ahead, tracks like this might find yourself sounding brittle, however the finish result’s a full, pretty correct sound.
One be aware about audio high quality: These are on-ear headphones with a comparatively small earcup and the drivers can find yourself not fairly lining up precisely as they need to. In the event you’re listening to them and the bass response sounds prefer it’s actually skinny, strive adjusting the cans ever so barely ahead or backward—it could possibly make a critical distinction within the bass depth division.
By way of audio efficiency, the Shinola Canfield On-Ear headphones a robust listening expertise, with stable element within the highs and refined boosting within the lows, however nothing that places the sound signature into bass-forward territory. By way of design, the headphones look nice, however they will really feel cumbersome over longer listening durations, and there are some quirks like earpads that may simply pop off.
Are they well worth the worth? Sonically, they do not disappoint, however they be a part of a subject full of fantastic choices just like the }Grasp & Dynamic MH30 , the Blue Sadie, the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2, and the Acoustic Research AR-H1, a few of that are extra inexpensive. So whereas we actually just like the Canfield On-Ear, the value appears excessive. In the event you’re in love with the look, it is unlikely you will discover the audio efficiency disappointing, however for $500 or much less, there are many thrilling choices on the market.