Final Up to date on January 22, 2019 by Aether
I’m not an audiophile by any means, however as I discover myself spending an increasing number of time in headphones (each listening to and recording podcasts), I believed it was time to improve to one thing past the mediocre earbuds that got here with my iPhone. I had tried a lot of completely different manufacturers and kinds — Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Sony, open again, closed again, on-ear and over-ear — however one thing concerning the KEF M500s caught my eye immediately. Once more, not being an audiophile, I had no concept that KEF was a near-legendary British loudspeaker firm, nor did I’ve any concept that the M500s have been their first foray into constructing headphones. The design alone — clear strains of exactly machined aluminum with easy black fake leather-based accents — regarded as if they’d been making headphones for years. The value appeared truthful, and after doing a little bit of analysis and studying different evaluations, I made a decision to organize them. They arrived the next day — Amazon free someday transport FTW — and earlier than I had even opened the field, I knew I used to be going to like them. I’m an enormous fan of intelligent, well-designed packaging and KEF completely nails it with the M500s.
The outer slip cowl is fantastically designed and options silver foil embossed KEF branding and a beautiful hero shot on a entrance flap that’s cleverly secured with magnets hidden between the interior and outer layers of the sleeve. The again aspect of the flap accommodates detailed specs, an exploded view of the distinctive driver meeting and a chart exhibiting the M500’s spectacular near-flat frequency response.
The gatefold field containing the headphones is basic matte black, devoid of any element, save for the shiny KEF brand on the backside proper nook. Pulling the small loop of black ribbon opens the field to disclose not the headphones themselves however reasonably a easy half-oval, matte black onerous shell case, adorned solely with the identical shiny black brand discovered on the field.
A observe about particulars: The extent of care and thought that KEF places into the packaging even extends to the blow-molded plastic insert that holds the onerous shell case. Reasonably than mildew a easy symmetrical housing, an additional little bit of house was carved out on one aspect to accommodate the zipper pull (which itself is clad in branded rubber, reasonably than merely left naked). It’s a small element, and though I’m speculating right here, I believe it speaks to how KEF approaches not solely the design of the product, but additionally how they need the product to be skilled at each stage from the viewpoint of the client. Bravo.
Contained in the zippered case, you’ll discover the headphones themselves, two removable 1.3m tangle-free flat cables – one with iOS play/pause and quantity controls – an airline adapter and a 3.5mm to six.3mm adapter. One of many distinctive options of the M500 – along with the machined aluminum body – is what KEF calls their “multi-directional Sensible Hinge,” which not solely permits the ear cups to fold inward for transport, but additionally permits them to rotate 90° and lay flat. As I discussed beforehand, I had tried a lot of different on-ear and over-ear fashions however discovered the M500s to be a few of the most comfy headphones I’ve worn – actually probably the most comfy on-ear. Regardless that I put on glasses, the pivoting reminiscence foam ear pads conform properly, blocking out a stunning quantity of ambient noise, whereas the clamping stress is such that I’ve been in a position to put on them for a number of hours at a stretch with out stress or discomfort.
By now you could be considering, “Yeah, yeah…that’s all nicely and good, however how do they sound?” In a phrase: very good. The M500s characteristic 40mm neodymium drivers tuned to ship response from 20Hz to 20kHz. Once more, I’m no audiophile however in my preliminary evaluations, each style of music I sampled was dealt with brilliantly. For instance, bass strains in Younger The Big’s “Thoughts Over Matter” are resonant with out sounding boomy and keyboards and results soar alongside frontman Sameer Gadhia’s voice, reasonably than overpowering it. The piano in the beginning of Sting’s “A Sensible Association” is heat and detailed with out sounding coloured and the horns are refined but nonetheless distinct with out sounding harsh. Whereas they don’t have the widest soundstage you’re more likely to hear, particularly in a closed again headphone, listening to classical works similar to The Planets by Holst (significantly “Jupiter the Bringer of Jolility”) has been an absolute pleasure, with nice separation of devices and crescendos that swell the sonic panorama to a spot that belies the dimensions of those on-ear cans.
Coming from a pair of inventory Apple earbuds, the KEF M500s are a revelation – actually every little thing sounds model new, from podcasts and audiobooks to any sort of music I’ve thrown at them. I used to be a bit apprehensive at first concerning the worth, however after spending every week or so listening to them, I’m satisfied that they’re value each penny. For $299 retail, you’re getting impeccable styling, supplies and a spotlight to element, all-day consolation, portability and, most significantly, clear, clean response and a refined sound high quality that rivals and even exceeds dearer options.
- Wealthy, detailed sound
- Clean response
- Implausible design
- Extraordinarily comfy
- Soundstage could possibly be bigger
- Is likely to be a tad costly
KEF M500 Headphones
• Drivers: 40mm
• Frequency Response: 20Hz~20kHz
• Sensitivity: 103 dB±4dB (IEC-318 at 1KHz)
• Weight: 7.3 ounces
Final replace on 2020-10-14 at 19:18 / Affiliate hyperlinks / Photographs from Amazon Product Promoting API