Many of you might not know Italy's RCF, but that's ok, what's important is their DNA in pro audio. These guys make speakers and mixers, and they are excellent at it, this has carried over in their new Iconica headphone line they have done in conjunction with legendary DJ / Producer Benny Benassi.
We got a chance to get our hands on a pair for a test run and here are the results.
Aesthetics & Build Quality
The Iconica is a slick looking pair of headphones, with squarish slightly rounded ear cups and minimal color palettes with matte hardware. There are two simple colorways, black (pepper) and white with subtle logo placements on the rotator hinge, and Benny Benassi spelled out on the underside of the headband. These are very elegant looking headphones with a very minimal approach to design.
The overall build quality is apparent as soon as you get your hands on the units. A good balance of high-grade plastics and metal hardware keep things light and sturdy. The Iconica's feel like they could take the abuse of a professional DJ but aren't overbuilt with additional materials that weigh other headphones down like the Beats by Dre Pros. The earcups and headband pad are leather, not a synthetic that is always a nice touch especially when they come in under the $200 price point.
Wearability & Features
The Iconica's come with two cables (one with a mic/remote and the other is longer with some coil at the base for DJing), a quarter inch adapter and very nice carrying case.
One of the first things that I noticed about the Iconicas is that the clamping force is a bit intense for extended use. A stronger clamp is fine for a DJ headphone as you are trying to isolate the outside noise and these do that very well considering they are an on-ear headphone. The clamping force and natural material on the ear cup create a tight seal that is super helpful when mixing. Over time, the force will most likely chill out a bit making them a little more wearable for casual listening, at least, I hope so.
The Iconica's feature cable ports on both the left and right side of the earcups which gives you more flexibility. The earcups also each have a rotating mechanism on them so you can rotate one side up to listen to the monitor when mixing, a simple but often overlooked feature.
Per usual I tested these headphones out with a variety of genres to get a better sense of how they are tuned. Since these are being sold as a DJ monitoring headphone and were done in collaboration with Benassi, it was pretty obvious that they were going to sound the best with electronic dance music, and they did.
I preferred them with more electronic productions like Hip Hop, some pop and, of course, EDM. The bass was powerfully present and balanced with the mids and highs well, which is a huge for getting more complex mixes just perfect. Many high-end DJ headphones forget to give you a well-balanced headphone and put too much emphasis on lows and highs.
Huge props to Benny and RCF for getting this sound really dialed in for DJing, especially with a pair of on-ear headphones. The headphones are ok for casual listening as well but just don't perform as well with Rock, Punk or any more dissonant types of music.
I appreciate that you can use these cans for both casual listening and DJing, because traveling with two pairs of headphones is not always practical unless they are buds.
The RCF / Benny Benassi collaboration on the Iconica headphone is a success in my opinion. The headphone is priced right, does what it's supposed to do very well and is priced reasonably at roughly $180. The design is clean, construction solid and other little details like real leather make these stand out from the heard. The clamping force is a bit much but for my taste but makes sense for a pro headphone; hopefully, it will lighten up a bit over time.
If you are in the market for a pair of dual-purpose headphones that work for both DJing and casual use, the Iconica definitely should be one of your considerations.