I have to get something off my chest before getting too far along with this review. I beg you not to judge me too harshly.
Okay, here goes…. I don’t care how eco-friendly the new On1 supra-aural studio monitors from Thinksound are. I honestly don’t.
Yes, they have a hand crafted natural wood casing and the company’s mission is to create headphones with the smallest eco-footprint possible by using renewable resources and recyclable materials but for El Kaiser, that‘s all just icing on the cake.
Now before you start flooding my email inbox with strongly worded messages of disappointment and anger, let me just say for the record that I care DEEPLY about our planet and respect the effort of companies like New Hampshire based ThinkSound for minimizing their impact on the environment.
I do my best to limit my impact as well but when you get right down to it, it’s all about the sound for me. It’s ALWAYS about the sound. In that regard, the On1 headphones do not disappoint. They are both earth-friendly and great sounding headphones.
Included with the On1s are two Kevlar reinforced, tangle-resistant cables. One of the cables is a standard cable with 3.5mm stereo plugs and the other has a single button microhone and music control for iDevices. The cables connect to the right ear cup as opposed to the left, which is what appeared to be the default for cans with single stereo cables, and it takes some getting used to. Another minor quibble is that ThinkSound did not include a ¼ inch/6.3mm adaptor to use on home stereo equipment. Yes I have a drawer full of them but still, it would have been nice to have one that matches.
The headphones are light, stylishly designed and surprisingly durable. The On1’s padded metal headband is flexible and can be stretched flat or coiled tight but will spring back into shape allowing for comfortable extended listening sessions.
The soundstage is generous and the overall sound is accurate and transparent with an especially well articulated low-end. If the song calls for a tight bass sound, then that’s exactly what the On1s deliver. If the track wants to bring the boom, it’ll bring the boom too. The high end is crisp, not harsh, which I suspect will smooth out after a breaking in period and the mids are smooth and clear.
At $299 dollars, ThinkSound On1s are obviously an investment in quality sound and not a disposable pair of cans you toss in your bag for a commute. According to Aaron Fournier, President and CEO of Thinksound, the company developed their own plastic molds instead of using existing off the shelf designs from their manufacturers in China, which contributes to the higher cost.
The On1 headphones are exceptionally good headphones for all styles of music and while not inexpensive I can say with sincerity I have paid more for worse sounding headphones.
Listen to my take on the Thinksound On1s and another set of eco-friendly headphones from manufacturer House of Marley on this week’s episode of Pop Tech Jam.