A couple of years ago I got my hands on an early pair of the game changing Mo-Fi headphones from Blue, known primarily for their microphones at the time. The product design team and engineers at Blue wanted to make a headphone that you could disappear into the music with and one that would work well with modern day devices like iPhones, tablets, and laptops.
When I mean work well, I mean sound better, and that was achieved by a built-in amp to give you that extra boost, but even without the amp (in passive mode) the Mo-Fi worked quite well due to the great design of the headphone itself creating an almost perfect seal around your ear.
So the first things you will notice about the Sadie vs. the Mo-Fi is the comfort and design factors. The Sadie comes in a little lighter, and the memory foam around the ear cups seems to be softer and provides slightly more room for your ears, the Mo-Fi feels a bit crowded, heavy and stiff in comparison. These are very subtle tweaks in design but what feels negligible at first makes a big difference when it comes to long listening sessions.
The overall design is very similar with some refinements on the side of the ear cup which now sports a light-up logo that indicates the amp is on and working, so you don't get any nasty loud surprises when putting them on. The amp can make things VERY loud, so if the light is on make sure that your volume is lowered so as not to blow out your ears.
The headband has also been slimmed up for comfort and to reduce weight; there is no longer any tension control dial on the headband. The clamping force has been dialed in perfectly, and I was able to listen for a couple of hours and even lying on my back in bed with no comfort issues.
The three analog modes are still the same, passive (no amp), amp and amp+ which boosts the bass up a couple of notches. The isolation and speakers are so good that passive mode will probably suit a lot of people just fine, but it's nice to have the options to push up the low end a couple of notches for different genres and environments especially when you are listening to vinyl.
So is Sadie a big improvement over the Mo-Fi? I think that might be a stretch, but it is a better headphone with the overall tweaks in design and sound. Just like any good second generation product the improvements are just good enough to justify the upgrade for some, and exciting enough to lure back in those that might have considered the Mo-Fi the first time around.
It's like going from a good IPA to a better and more balanced Double IPA if you want to use a beer analogy. Which I like to do and the engineers at Blue appreciate these analogies, so this IPA is for you guys, err Double IPA.
The Sadie is a great desktop or lounge chair headphone, and for the real sound freaks, it's worth lugging around if you are going on long trips or going to be on your headphones a lot. A very handy feature is that the amp automatically turns off when the headphones are off your head, so even if you forget to turn off the amp they have you covered.
Overall the highs, mids, and lows feel slightly cleaner and more balanced, than the Mo-Fi and the bass boost on the Amp+ mode takes it up a notch. I guess I could say it's crisper overall?
The Mo-Fi was so solid in its first iteration that you really have to go back and forth a couple of times with the same songs to hear the subtle differences.
So what's the verdict here?
Blue has made some excellent overall improvements with the design and sound signature compared to the Mo-Fi. This headphone sounds just incredible, and despite its size, I'm willing to lug it around because it sounds so damn good.
The Sadie hits you with a rich, full and balanced sound that works with every genre I threw at it and sounds great with vinyl as well, just notch up the internal amp, and you will be in analog heaven.
I was able to do two to three-hour sessions with ease, but after that, my ears and skull needed a break.
If you own the Mo-Fi, I'm not sure I could say run out and get the Sadie, but if you are new to the Blue line-up, it's time to throw down your wallet as Sadie is worth every hard earned dollar and will be a very loyal companion for years to come.
If you have the Mo-Fi or Sadie's, here is a great playlist to listen to, a great range of sounds to vibe on and get a feel for the range of these great headphones.
Specs & Accessories
- Output power: 240mW
- THD+N: 0.004%
- Frequency response: 15Hz-20kHz
- SNR, self noise: >105 dB
- Noise: < 20 uV
- Battery capacity: 1000mAh
- Weight: 444 g (15.67 oz)
- Outer dimensions (closed): 21cm x 14cm x 12cm; 8.27” x 5.51” x 4.72
- Outer dimensions (open): 18cm x 29cm x 12cm; 7.09” x 11.42” x 4.72”
- Soft case with cable storage pocket
- 1.2-meter audio cable with Apple iPhone/iPad controls and microphone
- 3 meter audio cable
- 1 meter USB charging cable
- 3.5mm to 1/4" adaptor