Over the course of the past 20 or 25 years, the use of headphones has grown in incredible ways. Jump on a subway in New York City and you’ll see a huge number of the now iconic white earbuds that come with every iPod and iPhone. In fact, Apple has done such a good job at imbuing those white earbuds with meaning that you can now buy knockoff white earbuds so that everyone will think you’re listening to an Apple product as you keep your Zune carefully hidden in your pocket.
Let’s face it though, as iconic and convenient as those little white earbuds are, they don’t produce the greatest sound you’ve ever heard, they can fall out easily, and they’re simply not all that comfortable. They are also, of course, not the only game in town.
In fact, Marc Ecko has recently released an entire line of headphones called UNLTD.SOUND. The line contains four different over-the-ear headphones as well as two in-ear models. That offers the consumer a decent amount of choice within the fashion designer’s lineup, and with suggested prices ranging from $59.99 for the top of the line Force headphones to $9.99 for the in-ear Chaos set, the prices are all pretty reasonable as well.
For our review, we received a Force headset in Graffiti White (it is also available in Gold and Camo Grey). With a 1.2 meter cable, travel bag, and volume controls on the cord, the Force set comes with just about everything you need to get going (for what it’s worth, all the over-the-ear sets are 1.2 meters and have a carry bag).
The technical details for the Force set are as follows: they have a 38mm speaker diameter, an impedance of 32 OHMS, maximum power input of 200mW, and frequency response of 10Hz to 22kHZ. They also feature noise reduction and mega bass.
Although perhaps a little shocking to look at initially, we quickly grew to like the appearance of the black graffiti on a white background. It helped that when we put them on we instantly found them hugely comfortable. Once we actually plugged them in, we were even more impressed – they sounded quite good, providing a noticeable improvement from the speakers of our handheld gaming device, and unquestionably sounding far better than our white earbuds. Sitting down and listening to a movie, music, or a game, every sound was clear and distinct, nothing was lost either on the high or low end. There was also a huge amount of bass present when the volume was turned up. Although increasing the volume on the headset cord doesn’t change the volume on your device (unlike your white earbuds), increasing the volume on the headset does not add any sort of hiss or distortion as we have seen elsewhere.
Even better than that for us, however, is the fact that after wearing them for several hours they were still just as comfortable as they had been when we first put them on. In our estimation, headphones not only have to sound good and not look inordinately foolish, they have to be comfortable as well, and the Force headphones certainly fit those qualifications.
While we have absolutely no complaints about the sound or the look of the headphones, we did run into some problems actually connecting them to our devices. The Force headset never sits fully flush with any device, there is always a little bit of metal from the headphones’ audio jack visible. Additionally, the Force headset does not connect to an iPhone 4 if the iPhone 4 has an Apple provided bumper. With an iPhone 4 bumper, the headset’s audio jack will simply not push far enough in to lock securely. The random scattering of other cases we had present for our testing worked with headset, but we wouldn’t go so far as to say that only the Apple manufactured case is a problem.
After testing them out, we can say that the reasonably priced Marc Ecko UNLTD.SOUND Force headset has found its way into our laptop bag, a place where real estate is at a premium. They are, sadly, not a replacement for our white earbuds, but whenever we are given the opportunity to use the Force headphones instead of the buds we unquestionably will.