In continuation of the theme of headphones presented in the last edition’s review of the Logitech H800 wireless headset, a study comparing six different headsets was conducted. The study required a group of willing participants to rate each headset on a traditional scale of zero to ten for a list of relevant categories.
The categories covered included: comfort, mobility, noise cancellation, sound quality, and overall final score. Each of these subjects was given a specific definition during the course of the study in order to apply consistently to each type of headphone being tested.
Comfort was defined as measuring a lack of strain or irritation to the user’s ears due to the device’s hardware itself and purely independent of volume or sound produced. Mobility described the ease and confidence with which the tester was able to move around while wearing the headset. Noise cancelation was a simple measure of the amount of noise isolation provided by the earphones. Sound quality measured the participant’s satisfaction with the sound produced by the headset over a small variety of videos including one podcast, one song focusing heavily on bass, and two songs providing a competent mixture of different lyrical and tonal elements. Finally, the testers were asked to give each headset a final score accounting for all subjects previously listed as well as any additional points of consideration that might not have been specifically covered such as the aesthetics of the headpiece or the amount of feedback present during moments of audio silence.
The headsets tested during the study include the Logitech H800, HBS-760, Skullcandy Ink’D, Beats Pro, Turtle Beach X12, and Audio Technica ATHM30.
The Logitech H800 is a wireless on the ear headphone with USB and Bluetooth functionality. The HBS-760 is a wireless in the ear headset that connects via Bluetooth. Skullcandy Ink’D is a brand of wired in the ear earbuds that plug into the audio jack. Also using the audio jack, the Beats Pro,Turtle Beach X12, and Audio Technica ATHM30 headsets are a collection of wired over the ear headphones.
So with the rules set and the track prepared, it is time to see which headset comes out of this competition on top.
With an admirable showing right out of the gate across all of the headphones in the comfort category, no single headphone lagged significantly far behind the others. All the headsets tested were given above average scores in this category with no outlying scores besides the HBS-760, which seemed to stumble out of the gate due to the tester’s discomfort with the untraditional neckband it provides. Additionally, a couple of the participants expressed displeasure regarding the Beats’ above average weight and the force with which it pressed against their ears.
The mobility category saw the beginnings of a significant separation in the competitor’s scores as the free moving, wireless variants began to pull ahead of their wired countered parts. While the H800 and HBS-760 easily took this portion by storm, receiving praise for the ease of motion they provide, the wired headsets struggled to keep up. The Skullcandy and Beats had an especially hard time in this category due to the testers disapproval of the Skullcandy’s inconveniently short cord and sheer weight of the Beats which resulted in awkward movement.
Similar to the comfort category, the noise cancellation test saw nearly identical ratings across the board with no one headset overtaking the other. Instead, all of the headsets overtook the H800 as it tripped over its own shoelace and rolled into a well-placed tar pit on the side of the track. Any lead that the H800 had gained from the mobility category was lost nearly twice over by its miserable performance in the cancellation portion, leaving the HBS-760 to enjoy its slight lead over the other competitors.
However, this lead dissolved quickly upon entering the sound quality test. While all of the headphones were given above average ratings, the Turtle Beach, Beats, and Audio Technica headsets all put forth a wonderful showing in this category, which left the testers notably impressed.
With the competitors virtually neck and neck, they approached the final category of the study. Designed to measure the overall performance of the headphones across every subject relevant to each tester’s listening pleasure, this was the last chance for each headset to prove its superiority over the competition. With the finish line in sight and the participants boosting it on, the Turtle Beach headset pulled ahead in this final category with the Beats coming in a close second and the Skullcandy huffing and puffing as it lost some of its steam in the overall scoring, as some testers complained about hearing static feedback during silent portions of the testing.
The Turtle Beach X12 headset finished the study in first place, with a respectable lead on the Audio Technica ATHM30s, which came in second.
Following close behind the Audio Technica headphones, the Beats Pro and HBS-760 both scrambled across the finish line with chests puffed out and legs pumping in an effort to get that last extra inch on the other. It was a photo finish worthy of the silver screen as the onsight judges reevaluated the video, determining that the Beats hand won out against the HBS-760 by the width of the fancy “B” inscribed in the tracksuit it had worn to the competition. Sometime after the photo had been reviewed, the Logitech H800s crossed the finish line with a torn pant leg and tar covering parts of its face. Bringing up the rear, the Skullcandy Ink’D headset followed shortly after the H800 bringing the test to its official end.
After the study, the Turtle Beach X12 was given a metal made out of genuine pyrite, the HBS-760 proclaimed the Beats Pro to be its “eternal rival” and now trains every day to receive the extra .01 needed to defeat it, and the H800s got a new pair of pants.