Most of you have probably never heard of Blue, and those of you that have know them for their high quality mics, not headphones. After 20 years or so in the music business, the Blue brand has stepped out of their comfort zone (or maybe into it) with the new Mo-Fi headphones.
Why now? Maybe because the timing was perfect for a product that was all about improving the listening experience from your mobile device due to the compressed audio files.
Many music fans have seemingly forgotten that music used to sound a LOT better before we started porting it around on our phones, or streaming it. It’s not so much a digital vs analog thing - even CDs sound infinitely better than MP3s, hence the hiked up price of old school Sony Discmans and a slew of high performance CD players like the Marantz CD6005. It’s really all about the devices we are using to listen to the music and the audio formats feeding into them.
The fact is, most people don’t want to migrate to bigger audio files and will never migrate away from listening to MP3s on their mobile devices. So enter the “compromise”. Aka the Mo-Fi stage left.
Blue has tackled one of the biggest problems for today’s music fan, the lack of a powerful amp inside your mobile device. Yup, your little iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. just doesn’t pack a punch, and combined with compressed audio, it really can leave your listening experience a little flabby. Kind of like a Coors Light vs. a proper full flavored IPA.
So that’s where the Mo-Fi or Mobile Fidelity headphones come in. They are loaded up with their own amp to give your music that extra juice to sound much more full and rich.
I’ve spent a LOT of time with these and put them against several models of headphones in my collection. The Mo-Fi’s stand out in a HUGE way with their boosted sound, incredibly defined lows, mids and highs, and overall range. If you want to truly change the way you listen to and experience music, this is the most cost effective first step other than a DAC+Amp combo.
How do they look?
At first I was a bit perplexed and even put off a bit. These things are full on. Like getting a full frontal from a Cylon Centurion kinda full on, and if you don’t get that reference, here is a picture. In a word, these are “intense” looking, but that kind of adds to the mystique a bit. It all makes sense once you put them on, trust me.
How do they feel / fit?
These are what you might call a stay-at-home pair of headphones. They are large and in charge. So while the sound they deliver is incredible they are not exactly the headphones you are going to want to rock on the subway or walking around. Not so say you can’t walk around with them, they are just better for your desk or kicking back at home. The Mo-Fi’s also come with a nice carrying pouch to port them around in, with plenty of room for the headphones and cables. Main point here is that when you wear these headphones, you really want to put all your attention on what you’re listening to, not ducking some thug who is intent on headphone-jacking you.
The headphones are comfortable for their size and bulk, but do bring on fatigue after an hour or two of use. I used them for some marathon sessions and had to take them off every hour or so to let my ears breath a bit. The headband is also equipped with a dial that can increase or decrease the tension (and also the noise leakage supposedly, although I didn’t notice that as much). There is a nice pad on the top of the headband that helps make longer sessions more comfortable and the adjustable arms help you zero in on the right fit.
How do they sound?
They sound fantastic. These things are beefy for a reason - they need to hold an amp inside of them. The headphone has three modes for your listening pleasure; passive (non amplified mode), active (amplified) and enhanced bass (amplified+).
These headphones have to be charged with a micro USB cable (included) and boast 12 hours worth of play time when fully charged. The headphones automatically kill the power when they are taken off and go into “closed” position. This helps extend the battery life siginifcantly over a week or so with frequent use. If you are traveling and can’t get to a plug, don’t worry, they still work great without being charged.
Passive - This simply means the amp is off and you can listen to them like you would any normal pair of headphones. They still sound great but it’s kind of like eating a pizza without toppings, you could... but why the hell would you? To me this should be called “emergency” mode, only to be used when you are off the grid without any other options.
Active - This means the amp is on in its regular setting and it has a nice, even sound. It's what audiophiles would call the most acurate sound you can get with the Mo-Fi’s.
Enhanced - This is for those of you that like a little bit more bump with your bass, and it is best suited for hip hop and electronic music in my opinion - stuff that really puts an emphasis on bass.
Should I Buy Them?
Can I say FUCK yes? Yeah, just did. These are not inexpensive, nor are they out of reach. The price tag ($350) relfects the quality build and components much more than other headphones at this price point. You actually are getting what you are paying for in this case, unlike some other headphones that are more brand driven.
These are the headphones built for people that just love music and consider it as important as water, food, air, etc. You are not going to get much better in this price point so these are most definitely worth your consideration.