Ever thought that your in-ear headphones look a bit dull? That they don’t stand out enough? That they don’t fit your personality? No? Me neither.
Quarkie, a British headphone brand, has launched its first collection of headphones this year – and they look rather different to anything else on the market, featuring snakes, bolts and eyes. Yes, snakes and eyes. Priced at £69 they are not designed as a gimmick; Quarkie claim to have an excellent quality headphone here that just looks unusual.
They are designed to offer studio quality sound. I’ve never been involved in studio sound recording (sadly!), but I can say that these are incredibly clear, they provide an excellent clarity to the notes. They also have a lovely bass sound, but it is not overwhelming, it’s just there as it should be. The four sets of ear pieces means you should get a decent fit, which helps with sound quality too, and means they are comfortable to wear and won’t fall out when exercising.
When LincsGeek was trying these out he noticed a bass riff at the start of a well-listened to track he’s not heard through headphones before. Unsure, he went back and tried his Sennheisers and no, he couldn’t hear it on them. He also tried my Phonak Audeo headphones through which he could just about make it out (now he knew what to listen out for), but it was very feint.
You do get a bit of sibilance with these headphones, which is a little off putting at times. Some say headphones need many hours of use to “burn them in”, which means this may disappear with time.
I do prefer a material cord on headphones, it’s less liable to break or crack. The cord used on these, though, gives a lot of noise when it rubs on your tshirt when walking about – I end up holding the cord still to stop this happening. Quarkie have included an in-line control which works with my iPhone phone functions and the music player, but I can’t understand why there is no volume control with it – I can stop/start/skip tracks but not turn the music up or down.
These are annoyances though, overall the sound coming from these headphones is very good, they are a pleasure to use.
But the very thing these headphones are being marketed on is the looks. They are a fashion statement, and a fashion expert I am not. These cats eyes ones are all sparkly and totally bling – something to make you stand out from the crowd. And I’m not sure I want to stand out that much.
I think I imagined something smaller. There’s a little inlay on my Sennheisers which can be silver, black or white depending on which colour you buy. When I saw the pictures of these I think I thought the cats eyes on them would be that size – like a small earring, a bit more subtle. But they’re absolutely massive! I expect the driver for the headphones is in that space, which is why the headphones themselves are like that. Not discrete at all. I wonder how big the snake ones are? A bit scary!
So for sound quality absolutely, these are excellent. But for looks? Not for me. I will be using these regularly, but only in the privacy of my home.