A while back we had the pleasure of giving the world a first look at Phonon’s second offering, the 4000 headphones. In that review, I mentioned that Phonon was in the process of releasing an alternative ear pad for this new model. They posted a sneak peak on Instagram, and just I couldn’t wait to see what they were all about.
I’ll admit, I have been in possession of the new pads for a while now, but I wanted to give them a proper test before writing this review. My tests took place at a couple of recent gigs. The first being at Lot 613 in LA and the second being Spin Nightclub in SD. I tell you these specific places because they are both very different in build and the way they display sound. Lot 613 is essentially an empty warehouse, with no real acoustic treatment. Whereas Spin is a proper nightclub that has been around for a while, producing the standard club audio treatment. Obviously both were loud, but the dynamics of each setting were perfect for this test.
So, first thing's first. These pads are a memory foam wrapped in soft leather, really providing a luxurious feel. Now, as I also mentioned before, the original pads for the 4000s are extremely comfortable as is. I have zero qualms with them at all, and in fact, I actually like how they are low profile. But, that is the beauty of this company. Just when you think they couldn’t provide something better, they do. The replacement pads are extremely lightweight, and don’t add any real extra bulk. They are like little pillows of pleasure for your ears.
Now for their test results. As I said, these pads are nice and thick, providing a fantastic cushion of isolation. Where the original pads did well on their own, the replacements are even better. Even with the booth monitors blaring, I could here exactly what i needed to without having the headphone level being more than half way. I usually don’t like to wear my headphones when I don’t need to, but the pads make them so comfortable, I just left them on. Now, as I said in the last review, I’m personally an over-ear kind of guy. I just like the feeling of having my ears enclosed. One major thing that I love about these replacement pads, is that they make the 4000s really feel more like over-ear as opposed to on-ear.
For the sake of a fair review, there are a couple little things I will admit I am not a fan of. First, I personally would prefer the pads to be just a tad firmer. This is extremely nitpicky, and something most would probably disagree with, but I just like a ever so slightly firmer pad than these. Second, and again nitpicky, is that sometimes when you put the headphones on, or press them against your ear, there is a little vacuum which creates a moment of silence that is a little off-putting when it first occurs. I think a slightly firmer pad would prevent this from happening.
Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with the replacement pads. They really take an already amazing product to the next level by providing an even more comfortable and luxurious experience. They improve already great isolation, and make the Phonon 4000s look even more attractive.
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