It seems to be a growing trend within whatever segment of the market it is: a lifestyle accessory company. Names like: Nixon and WESC are the first of many that come to mind of companies who make watches, clothes, bags and… headphones. I’m not sure what the appeal is for companies to do that and some part of me believes that it isn’t as lucrative as it might seem given that branding superpowers like Monster Cable have shied away. Still, here’s another. This one comes from Breo, a British company that I really haven’t heard of. Still, I hadn’t heard of Thinksound, and we all know how that turned out. Today, my thoughts on their cutely named, de Janeiro headphones.
Out of the Box
Pretty straight forward. It’s a nice looking box, but it only includes the headphones. I’m unsure if this is appropriate or not. The advertising points to these being aimed at DJs. If that’s the case, a 1/4″ adaptor is a must and a case would be a good idea.
The de Janerios come in three color sets, I got the orange and gray option. The 44mm drivers are housed in gray plastic with a mirror finish. A Breo logo in rasberry (of all colors) oddly adorns the side of each. The drivers swivel thanks to some more chrome plastic with orange plastic holding the cups in place. Orange leatherette serves as cushioning. Despite housing fairly large 44mm drives, the headphones still look and feel small. Perhaps I’ve just been using larger headphones for too long, but my first thought was definitely, these seem small. For those wondering, the plastic seems sturdy. I don’t want to say I like it, because I don’t, but it’s a lot sturdier than others. It’s still thin though and as such, I have my doubts. The headphones survived what is a relatively medium use by yours truly, but it’s something to think about it. The top parts of the bands have l/r identifiers, something not on the press photos from Breo. However, mine were sans the Breo logos that adorned the headphones in the stock photos.
The world knows I’m not a huge fan of on-ear headphones. Whatever the case, people still buy them and as such manufacturers still make them. Given the fact there entire body is made of plastic, these are fairly light, which always help. The pads sit nicely on my ears and the amount of flex provided by the band means they don’t press down too tightly. I used the headphones for four hours, taking them off only once or twice, without problems – I’d say they are fine. The nature of the design means that the headphones can adjust to fit plenty of heads, which always a good thing. The obnoxiously long meter and a half cord provides near 2.5 feet of cable before forming the v-connection, which was odd to say the least. My other large gripe with on-ears is their inability to stay on, fortunately that was avoided as well. While I didn’t go jogging with these, they managed to stay on my head while walking around.
It was one of the better on-ear headphones, but it’s not great. While most low volume background noise can be muted when music is playing, medium to high volumes are still heard. Perhaps the most annoying part is the amount of leakage.
It falls into the ever-growing category of headphones attempting to provide bass-heavy sound with some sense of clarity at the other ranges. In all honesty, it’s what the industry needs. Most consumers want the bass heavy sound, but for so long those headphones that have provided this signature have had disgustingly awful clarity and terrible respects for detail. Without a doubt, Breo’s offering sits comfortably in this category, that being said, it’s a crowded segment.
The highs are actually my favorite part of the headphone. Guitar highs roll of smoothly. Unlike a lot of headphones, the highs are actually prominent. Joshua Radin’s Simple Times, actually sounds fairly vibrant. It’s by far the cleanest spectrum and makes my non-bass intensive playlist sound playlist rather enjoyable. Some electronic-esk songs definitely push the limits, but the reality is, the highs are quite good.
It’s definitely missing something. It gets the job done, but I really feel like the mids don’t jump off the drivers as well as the rest of the spectrums, and that’s annoying. Dispatch’s The General makes it quite clear the mids just don’t have as much detail as one would have hoped for. Furthermore, while the transitions between the lows to mids are quite smooth, the transition with the upper range is a bit choppier. At no point does the mids become harsh or overbrearing, but at no point do they shien and given the vibrant profile provided by the highs and lows, mediocrity is not pleasurable. For example, Coldplay’s Viva La Vida starts okay, before turning into a drowned-out disappoitment a minute in.
They have a similar effect as eskcuche’s control in that you can definitely feel the bass. Eminem’s Going Through Changes shows that there is more to the low-end than just bass and in that area the headphone excels. Furthermore, the bass seems to be more reigned in than a lot of other headphones meaning that you can listen to something other than Lil Wayne, which is always good. It’s not jaw dropping though.
In the End
It’s not for DJs and anyone that thinks these could suffice should stick to iTunes Party Mixes. The headphones are in a unique place. They aren’t the normal bass-heavy monstrocities that are targeted at naive consumers. Then again, they aren’t balanced. It would be a good thing I suppose, a bit bass-tuned, reigning in the bass-hungry consumers? Breo doesn’t have a U.S. distributor, meaning ordering these from the UK will set back you $70. That’s the problem… Under no circumstances, unless having swivel cups was a must, would I recommend these over the Panasonic RP-HTX7. The de Janeiros from Breo get 3.5/5 stars, unfortunately, that’s just average for this segment of an over-crowded market.