WeAretheSuperlativeConspiracy. That’s what WESC stands for. What started out as an apparel company, the Swedish caterers of underground/street clothing ventured to headphones. They aren’t a brand new company, but if you haven’t heard of them, don’t feel ashamed, their international ventures are just starting. While we were at CES, I got my first tastes of WESC as we got to view their stylish-looking line. Today I review the Maraca, yet another clash of old and new.
Sure, they don’t have rhine stones or come in pink, but WESC is a clothing company and as such looks are well… fairly important. The headphones come in a beautiful matte white finish with aluminum trim. The rectangular cups are finished in a matte white with white leather resting on your ear. The headpiece is white, with the rare black text on the inside reading, “WeAretheSuperlativeConspiracy.” Thin coiled white wires run down to each cup and single white wire runs out of the left cup. WESC places there logo inside the earphone and metal plates on each side discretely hide the logo, but it wouldn’t be hard to pick up the headphones on first glance without knowing who’s responsible for them, which is better then the alternative we suppose. WESC includes a shorter wire and an extender, which is rather convenient. More convenient is the headphones ability to fold up, which we would say it does better then any other headphone we have tested.
On The Head:
The headphones are pretty heavy for only having 40mm drivers, but, the weight is fairly average as far as I’m concerned. The largest issue is a combination of the square cups and my ears, which may or may not be “large.” The end result is a combination that doesn’t allow my ears to fully go inside the cup which creates two negative results. First, at some points the headphones aren’t the most comfortable, but, after playing around I can usually find a moderately comfortable position. The larger problem is the seal. While seal is a topic discussed mainly with IEMs, it’s definitely important for full-size headphones. The lack of a decent seal means not only does my music flood out, but the sound isolation isn’t great. Looking at the headphones, I feel that WESC could have slightly increased the size of the headphones without a huge effect on looks, but even the slightest bit would dramatically help my the seal.
I’m not going to lie, there is a fairly diverse collection of songs that get used to test headphones. All of the audio products that I review get 100 hours of burn-in for fairness and consistency and in the end they all seem to get the same batch the songs. We aren’t proud to say that one of them is Lil Wayne’s A Mill. Why you ask. Well for starters, the song has a fairly distinguishable (and excessive) bass line that can really push the low-end to some pretty extremes. It is much easier for me to compare each headphone’s unique signature, when I can compare specific songs. Additionally, sometimes I like to dance while reviewing headphones. (Okay, I made that up.) Anyways, this is the part where I talk about the sound and we shall start with A Milli.
Where’s the Bass? Seriously, Where’d it Go?
That’s a really good question and at first I had no clue. My first thought, is the bass is escaping through the headphone and that’s because it is. The lack of seal means that much of the low-end disappears. If you don’t think pads matter when it comes to sound reproduction, you are very misinformed and the WESCs unfortunately highlight this. When I press down on the headphones forcing a seal there is a (at a minimum) two-fold increase in bass reproduction. It’s odd, because the way the aluminum is on the headphone, the cups are prevented to going back to what I would find to be the ideal angle for music reproduction. While I was expecting an over abundance of bass, what I got was lackluster to say the least. My largest problem with the bass has to do with depth, particularly the lack of it. The bass, unlike the mids and highs, is rather shallow creating an odd and not pleasurable soundstage.
But the Rest is There.
The reality is that if WESC were to do the Maraca II, the mids and highs can be left alone for my likings. While there is a real distinctive signature that at rare occasions borders the term “harsh” – the mids and highs are pretty good. The soundstage isn’t the greatest, but I generally feel that has to do with the low-end’s problems. Vocals are natural sounding, at times some of the upper ends of the highs can overextend themselves, but I have little complaints. The mids, while overwhelming the bass, provide a nice compliment to the highs – leading me to believe (once again) that it is in fact the lows that are the problem.
At the End of the Day
I am disappointed. I assumed we were going to get a bass-heavy headphone and what I got was furthest from the truth. The detail of the sound and the depth that the headphone allows for is extremely underwhelming and leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps I am “too harsh” on WESC’s Maraca, but we hold the headphone to the scrutiny of sound and fit like every other headphone, not just looks. Some songs the Maraca performed well, but the large majority had some sizable flaws. The bass is easily the culprit no matter what we song I played. Even some acoustic songs became victims of the lack of low-end. By no means is this anywhere near the worst headphone I have ever put on my head, it’s probably closer to middle of the range, but I’d be lying if I said I was happy with it. At its $50 price point there are plenty of other headphones I’d recommend over it, starting with the Panasonic RP-HTX7. There is no specific user that I would recommend these headphones to and I would highly recommend sitting down with them for some time before purchasing. They are available on Amazon for $70.