Vega headphones
OF COURSE, IYI{AT we've all
been waiting for here in the hi-fi
world is another pair of budget
headphones, isn't it? Pardon the
c).nicism; it's just that all the trade
information organisations are telling
us that the world has gone bonkers
for them and so a number of
manufacturers have jumped on the
bandwagon. Right now, sales in this
sector are so strong that it's not a
case of if a brand is going to do
headphones, it is when!
The market leadeq just in case you
hadn't noticed is Beats. Dr Dre
seems to have captured the pulse of
the audio buying public. He has
malaged to do what only very few
others do, which is sell a good
product for the price of a truly great
one. This leaves a space for equally
'good', but cheaper products to
come in, basking in the reflected
glory of the lead brand, in the hope
of hoovering up some of the sales.
This pretry much describes these
Nine Audio cans. Indeed, you'd
think the people behind this new
name had its eyes on this very prize,
as tlese headphones aren't
dramatically dissimilar in general
design, aesthetics, build qualiry or
indeed sound. Rathe4 the price
that's a key differentiating factor
- as you can buy an iPod nano with
the change you'll save compared to
the Beats! For f60, they're well put
together - nothing remarkable, but
result is cheap and cheerful with a
headphones themselves have two
minijack sockets, which means you
Serious headphone tlpes will
never regard these as satisfactory
but then they're likely to be using
fB00 Sennheisers or suchlike. In
absolute terms, treble is a little
veiled - as the specs show it rol1s
off quite early - and is a little
unsophisticated too in absolute
terms, but again it's inoffensive and
that's the main thing at this price.
The midband is nice and energetic,
with decent detailing and a
genuinely bouncy and rhythmic gait
devoid of hardness or grain. Bass
is big and animated, without
overpowering. lUlrcn She Smiles by
Plantlife bounces along with the
percussion syncopating nicely with
the keyboard work and vocals.
can plug the cables in to either the
left or the right side - a jolly nice
touch for any southpaws.
The 40mm drivers are said to be
'custom engineered', and sport the
far less fragile feeling than many
My only caveat is that the black
polished plastic earcups may not
remain in their original pristine
state as long as you may wish; for
this reason the white and red option
may be the one to go fo6 as it won't
show scratches as easily
Gonna makeyou sweat
The earcups get the usual vinylcovered foam padding, it's
a litde sweary with extended
listening, but you can pay f750 for
a pair of Stax and have the same
problem. The connecting cord feels
slightly rubberised, so it doesn't
make - and feed in - nasry noises to
the headphones themselves. It has
the usual iPod remote button and
microphone built in, and gold-plated
3.5mm minijacks either end. The
E6O j.'
usual neod)rmium magnets, and
appear mounted in closed enclosures.
This gives what Nine Audio ca1ls
"passive noise isolation", which is rme
enough, but it also means the
headphones should have a tighte4
tauter bass, at the expense of a little
bit of efficiency Quoted sensiriviry is
110dB and impedance is 32ohms;
overall frequency response is put at
100H2 to 10kFIz. I find the Vegas
fairly easily driven by a range of
devices, including an iPod nano and
iPad - although for hi-fi use a decent
headphone amplifier is no bad thing.
Given the slightly plasticky feel and
the out-of-nowhere nature of this new
brand, I didn't hold out high hopes for
the sonics. But as it transpires, they
sound really rather good for the price.
Aithough I wouldn't have them above
any decent f300 design, I've heard
several f150 phones that don't really
do better. The Vegas have an
enjoyably honest and direct sound
that is fun to listen to and doesn't
offer up any obvious unpleasant vices.
hs sins are more those o[ omission,
rather than those of adding
unpleasant sibilance or grain. The
satisi/ing sound.
Vegas baby!
Overall then, the Vega is ideal for
portable work - it's pretty obvious
that it has been designed to sit on
the end of a smartphone and/or
iDevice and thls is where it shines. In
this role, it has a sound that's just as
good as trendier branded products
that cost an arm and a leg. And yes,
it also partners a budget hi-fi system
or all-in-one nicely, showing an
instinctive love of music. Offering
very good sound per pound, it's well
worth considering if you can handle
the shame ofwearing headphones
that don't have the brand-of-the-year
written all over them! DP
2014 Hl'lichoice 119