Review: Design Flaws Let Headset Down

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Audio Technica Headphones SQ5 have a neat little tagline on the front of the packet that states “Unique squared design for elegant simplicity. The latest way to keep music at your side”. However, while it may be the ‘latest way’, it’s far from elegant and simple.


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The headphones produce a quality sound; I thrashed my IPod, CD player, DVD Player and Laptop at extreme volumes and retained a mostly clear and concise sound – MP3s with very heavy bass giving a tiny hint of distortion. So, sound-wise, the headphones are up to speed more than meet that requirement for consumers. However, there are some serious design flaws that negate the quality of the sound.

Those who buy products for the aesthetic will probably avoid this pair of headphones like the plague. They are big, bulky and the unit I reviewed have a hideous orange and black colour scheme (although there are two other colours in the range), which means they look more at home on a building site than hanging out the end of the latest Ipod/MP3 device.

Serious sound freaks will also be annoyed due to the aforementioned design flaw. While I liked the quality and the clarity of the sound, the large encompassing earmuffs surprisingly don’t block out much surrounding sound. That is a small thing really, sometimes it’s good to have some essential external auditory experiences making it though such as; car horns, crying children and footy scores for example.

 


But beyond that, the serious flaw is that the large and ugly plastic casing creaks – every time I moved my head. I did not notice it on music or movies, being focused on the sound and the plot. Yet, when I played Counter Strike with them for three hours, I kept hearing a sound like someone walking on creaking floorboards – but faintly, like it was out in the corridor.

I kept looking around, knowing the sound did not belong to the game (where you are trained to listen out for gunfire and footsteps). After a few times I shook my head and discovered the cause of the noise was the headphones. After coming to this realisation, it was all I could hear and it really annoyed me.

Overall I commend the quality of the sound but the look, the creaking noise put me off the product. Others may not be so fussy, or may just play loud music on it, fine for Metallica, not so much for Piano Concertos.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 


Frequency Response: 10~25,000 Hz
Output sound pressure level: 102.5 dB
Maximum input power: 800 mW
Impedance: 40 ohms
Weight: 170g

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Audio Technica SQ5 Headphones | $149 |  | www.tag.com.au

For: Nice clean audio, little or no distortion on high volume music, games or similar devices.
Against: Ugly design; very annoying creaking noise
Verdict: Great sound, poor design.


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