28
Aug
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If you and I think alike on the subject of "good sound," you probably found the title of this review, well, annoying. Audiophilism can be an annoying thing, and audiophiles themselves can be quite annoying about their audiophilia. It can be sort of like talking to someone who's really into, like, I don't know... cheese. Or something. You know what I mean - they don't just love it, it's part of their identity. And we should be thankful for those people, because it is they who lead us to experience wonderful and life-changing revelations like "hey, some goat cheese actually is pretty good!" or "wow, Grado headphones do look like they're from the 30's but sound amazing!"

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Blue Microphones' new Mo-Fi headphones are goat cheese. They are really goaty goat cheese - downright pungent. The MoFis assault your senses with their bold and shameless bigness - aesthetically, tactilely, and physically. Weighing a whopping one pound - that is heavy for headphones - the MoFis would be at home in the future... as we imagined it in the 1960s. This is not a bad thing. It's also a thing I would say about some of Blue's microphones, which can be expensive and gorgeous.

The MoFis, then, are already not for everyone. They are big, heavy, bold, and not wireless. They are also, speaking in the everyday sense, expensive, at $350. This makes them even more already not for everyone, in fact, they are not for most people. So please know before you scroll on down to the comments section that I understand this. I get it. "$350 for headphones lolol" is just sort of stating that this product isn't for you and that you wouldn't consider buying it to begin with, and while that's a totally understandable thing to think, it's not exactly valuable discourse.

For those people who might be interested in a premium headphone, the MoFis do offer some compelling advantages over pretty much any over-ear headphone on the market when used in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet.

Blue Microphone Mo-Fi Headphones: The basics
  • What is it? The first mainstream wired headphone to incorporate an internal amplifier solely for the purpose of sound quality.
  • Why is it? Because your smartphone, tablet, and laptop don't have very good amplifiers. Using a good amp makes your music sound better in various ways.
  • How much is it? $350.
  • Is it worth it? The MoFis are unlike any other headphones out there right now. For the right person, they may very well be worth the price of entry.

The Good
  • I love the way they sound through a smartphone or tablet. Even put up against my beloved Grados, the MoFis win every time. They really are outstanding for listening on mobile devices - that amp makes a very hearable difference.
  • For being so heavy (over 1lb), they're surprisingly comfortable, and they adjust to fit almost anyone's head. They even include a dial that controls the headband tension.
  • They're very heavy-duty - the entire folding arm and headband assembly is made from some sort of metal (my guess is steel).
  • ON+ mode (which adds extra bass and mids, but not a lot - just enough to give music more texture) is by far my favorite of the two active modes on the MoFis. My music has never sounded so alive and rich coming through a smartphone.
  • They come with 2 audio cables (one 1.2 meter w/ inline controls, one 3-meter without), a 1/4" adapter, a two-prong airline connector / attenuator, and a USB wall charger / cable.

The Not So Good
  • SO. BIG. These headphones are not the sort of thing you just leave hanging on your neck. They're large, heavy, and don't fold up very compactly. They come with a carrying bag, you'll probably use it.
  • There is significant RFI (line / radio noise) on some smartphones when the headphones are turned on but not playing music. The LG G3 is especially bad. You can get around this by only switching the headphones on when playing music, which eliminates the noise. More on this in the review.
  • Build quality seems a bit rinky-dink. They're heavy-duty, but sort of like an old pickup is heavy-duty: indestructible, but prone to random loss of trim pieces. This could just be early days sort of production issues, though.
  • The looks are not for everybody. Personally, I'm not in love, but I don't find them offensive or anything.

Heavy tracks

The first thing you'll think when you see the MoFis is "those are some big effing headphones." Even compared to Samsung's plusheriffic Level Overs, the MoFis look portly, and they are. Weighing in at over one pound, they're some of the heaviest headphones on the market, and on top of that they're just straight up large. For being in the super heavyweight class, though, the MoFis are comfortable and don't have fatigue much worse than any other big, over-ear headphones I've worn. They're not going to stand up to ultra lightweight on-ears for comfort, but they're pretty good.

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Side by side with Samsung's already-huge Level Over headphones

Even folded up, these are big headphones (and I say "folded up" in the limited sense that they do fold up), and you'll want something to carry them in. Around your neck, that one pound feels a bit heavier than on top of your skull.

The reason the MoFis are so heavy is, presumably, all the metal construction. The headband and folding arms seem to be made of enameled stainless steel, and as such they lend a feeling of great durability and strength. Still, the plastic piece under the arm of the right ear popped out on my review unit and snapped one of its plastic hinges (it still sits in there OK, it's just slightly loose), and the action of the folding arms themselves has a substantial amount of play in it. Neither of these things affect comfort or listening, they're just not lending a feel of superb fit and finish. There are some random spots on the headphones where I've found errant glue, and the mode switch can feel pretty vague sometimes unless you really twist it good.

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Kind of broken plastic cover thingy

Most of these quirks - which is what I'd call them, since they're not really harmful - are what I would chalk up to early production issues. Being that the MoFis are built in China, Blue is probably still working out how to get the most consistent result possible on the assembly line, and in refining certain hardware pieces to feel a little more tight and polished. I'd cut them some slack, because the rest of the product is pretty amazing.

The one thing I'm not so in love with functionally on the MoFis is the headphone jack setup. You have to use Blue's included cables with the MoFis because the jack that plugs into the headphones isn't a standard 3.5mm stereo, but a much rarer 2.5mm 4-conductor jack. Adapters would be an option, but Blue has recessed the jack itself deep inside the headphone so that the cable doesn't put pressure on the jack when it's pulled on (smart choice for durability, not so much for interoperability). So, don't lose those cables. One of them is also 3 meters long, so don't worry, musicians / DJs.

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Strange 2.5mm 4 contact cable with extra long base

Amped up

You'll notice that the MoFis have a microUSB charging port and a little switch on the left ear labeled "OFF/ON/ON+." As a reasonably normal person, you would likely assume this means the MoFis are wireless headphones with wired playback capabilities, but they're not. The MoFis are 100% wired, 100% of the time - this switch controls an amplifier in the left ear phone housing, which is why the MoFis need a charging cable.

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The MoFis are the only wired headphone I'm aware of shipping with a battery-powered amplifier not being used for noise-cancelling purposes, so this makes them inherently interesting. Blue is an interesting company, and they don't usually make products outside of their primary business (studio microphones) that don't cater to a specific need or provide some sort of enhancement over existing options on the market. The company's Yeti USB microphones have dominated the product category for years now because they're simply unrivaled for features and quality. Blue wants MoFi to do the same for mobile audio experiences.

Why would you want a headphone with its own powered amp? That really is the key question, and it's one many people outside of the audiophile world would probably never ask to begin with, because analog audio tech isn't exactly in vogue quite like it was 40 years ago. The simple answer is "it makes things sound better." The long answer is, well, longer. This is all strictly analog, by the way: there's no DSP or other digital trickery involved.

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With over-ear headphones especially, your smartphone or tablet's built-in amplifier that sends signal to the headphone jack has a fair bit of strain being put on it. This is because driving big headphones takes more power than, say, a set of earbuds - this should make sense intrinsically to most people, just as a function of the size of noise-producing element (the driver). When your smartphone or tablet is operating at 80-90% of its maximum volume, that amplifier is already well past the point at which it will begin noticeably distorting the output signal. Smartphones and tablets will likely never have very good amps in this sense - feeding signal from a smartphone into high-impedance headphones will probably always result in some distortion. These devices are so small that they simply don't have the room (or power to spare) for a good headphone amp.

As an illustration of just how real this limitation is, the Nexus 5's headphone amplifier can put out 22.24mW of power at maximum (the iPhone 5 manages 32.46mW). This is more than enough to drive most earbuds and even some low-impendence on-ear headphones without much distortion. The MoFis, though, feature a 240mW amplifier. That's more than ten times as powerful as a Nexus 5's. While that doesn't necessarily mean it has ten times the output range before distortion occurs, it does mean there is a whole lot more headroom you have to play with, and that the volume output (level of amplification) from your phone can be set much lower (and thus less distorted) since the MoFis provide their own amplification. With the MoFis, I set my G3's volume to 30% for comfortable listening, as opposed to the 80-90% my Grados require.

From transistor to tympanic membrane

The question is whether Blue's method works in practice as much as it does on paper. After a few days of testing back and fourth between several sets of headphones, smartphones, and an iPad, I'm fairly convinced it does. The MoFis provide superior detail and what I would call "tightness" compared to the same track listened to on my Grado SR80is, and in the ON+ mode, provide more texture and mids and lows that the high-impedance Grados just can't seem to pull down on a smartphone. The Grados also suffer from rare instances of clipping at the very high output volume they need to work with a smartphone.

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The MoFis, on the other hand, just work once they're turned on. They provide truly excellent instrument separation, very good soundstage, and extremely natural-sounding mids and highs that are sometimes lost when my Grados were pushing the smartphone so hard. I tried this with both a Galaxy S5 and an LG G3 and achieved similar results. On my iPad Air, the difference was less noticeable, but I'd say it's still definitely there. The MoFis are going to be the headphone to beat when paired with a smartphone - they're just that good.

Compared to Samsung's $350 Level Overs, forget about it - the Blues absolutely crush them for fidelity and dynamic range. The Samsungs sound compressed, empty, and gutless by comparison.

Does the advantage over the Grados translate to the passive, unpowered mode, though? Not quite. When plugged into my desktop PC's sound system, consisting of a Schiit DAC and an Onkyo stereo amplifier-receiver, the Grados showed once again that they really are the best value in the business. Their wide open soundstage and extreme sensitivity allowed the Schiit and Onkyo to shine, producing sound that was more natural and less grating. The SR80is are a bit of a freak in this regard, though, being open-backed and very high-impedance - they were designed for a stationary, high-end audio setup. In passive mode, the MoFis sounded more muted, had a narrower soundstage, and simply weren't as pleasing to listen to. As for using them in active mode when already hooked up to a sufficiently powerful amp, there's no reason (you'll actually just make things sound worse).

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So, does that make the MoFis a bit of a rip-off compared to traditional passive headphones? Well, that's sort of like comparing a Fuji apple to a Granny Smith - in the culinary world, each is suited to a particular purpose better than the other may be. Big, high-impedance passive headphones with open backs (Grados) are a decidedly niche product, and aren't nearly as well suited for some situations as the MoFis are. The MoFis are without a doubt the better choice for listening in public (no noise in or out) and are simply superior for listening on devices like phones, tablets, and laptops because of their built-in amplification.

In that sense, the MoFis are really the first wired headphone designed specifically for high-quality listening on the go. This isn't an advantage to be ignored - there are a sizable number of audio purists toting around headphone amps with their phones and tablets (V-Moda even sells a $600 DAC/amp/case/battery combo thing) out there, and the MoFis are a product that says "you don't need to do that anymore." That's compelling. They could also be seriously interesting to those in the music creation or editing business - you'll be able to get a more realistic feel for tracks no matter what device you're listening or working on.

Bad noises

As I mentioned in the "not so good" header, the MoFis can produce rather grating electronic noise when hooked up to certain devices. The LG G3, which has known issues producing RF interference in line-out audio gear, is by far the worst offender of all the phones I tested. The issue did not present when the MoFis were in passive mode (off), but only when turned on. Even then, if music was playing through the headphones the inference vanished - it was only an issue when the system wasn't playing back audio. And no, it wasn't just the sound of the music muffling the noise - it did just go away.

I also noted a very slight "buzz" when the MoFis were hooked up to the Galaxy S5 and I'd touch the screen. Again, the issue wasn't present while audio was actually playing.

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The other issue I ran into is that on the G3, at least, switching the headphones into ON/ON+ mode often caused the phone to believe there was no connected audio device at all. Switching to off or unplugging the headphones fixed this, and switching to the active modes once music had already started playing resolved the issue.

This isn't something Blue can really control, so I don't blame them for it, and sort of comes down to the fact that some phones and tablets weren't designed to be hooked up to actively amplified wired headphones. I found no device, however, where the headphones outright wouldn't play or experienced interference that persisted during audio playback - they were always crystal clear when the tunes started pumping.

Curiously, there were zero issues at all with interference when using them with my iPad Air, which is probably a testament to the fact that Apple tends to care much more about audio performance and compatibility with 3rd party audio accessories than your average Android OEM.

Ending on a good note

Despite their occasional quirks, I really do love the MoFis. They produce amazing audio when paired with a smartphone or tablet, and that's exactly what they're built to do, not something you can say of really any other wired on-ear headphone out there right now. Like I said, Blue has a reputation for building products that just do things competitors' don't, and not simply for the sake of it - the MoFis are a very serious and unique headphone in an increasingly mobile-focused personal audio market.

At $350, they're well-above the price many people are willing to pay for a set of headphones, but they're still less than the cost of buying a good discrete mobile amplifier and set of closed-back audiophile headphones, and a lot more convenient, to boot. And as audiophile headphones go, $350 isn't crazy, even if it isn't cheap.

The thing about the MoFis for me is that, at the end of the day, my music has never sounded this good played through a smartphone. Sure, I can sit at my desk with my computer's discrete DAC and amplifier and wear my Grados, but the MoFis let me have a comparable experience wherever I can take my smartphone, tablet, or laptop. As someone who loves good sound, that's a seriously attractive proposition, $350 or not.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Matthew Merkle

    I really question the need of a built in amp for today's headphones. Many headphones are much lower impedance than models you'd find a decade or two ago. Even my Shure SRH840's, which pretty much stomp the Grado mentioned in the article, aren't THAT hard to power, even with my Nexus 5.

    In addition, the article brought forth a bigger problem of combining an amp with smartphone DACs: god awful wiring. Electrical noise and grounding issues just gets amplified with everything else. I'd rather see headphones with a USB adapter that bypasses the DAC of these devices. THAT would be truly innovative.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      The problem there is that support for USB audio-out on smartphones is very hit and miss, even the really legit solutions are still basically "hacks" in way or another. The chance that mainstream adoption of something for audio out other than a 3.5mm jack will happen for smartphones and tablets is basically zero. The chance that we will eventually see a standard on smartphones that does data, charging, audio, and video is there, but that still relies on the creation of peripherals which take advantage of the standard.

      I agree re: interference. With so many models, it's impossible to know what's going to cause issues. In this case, the G3 has known and documented issues with line-out audio, though I think it's more the exception than the rule. The issues I pointed out in the S5 are far more benign and can basically be ignored, it doesn't affect the experience.

      • Matthew Merkle

        Android L is actually supposed to bring USB audio support, and iOS already has it. They're probably not compatible, but neither are the cables, so it'd just require a choice of one or the other. The hardware support is really poor but hey, someone's gotta do it first. That's what makes it innovative.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Yeah, but we have little idea what "support" for it means in L. A lot of devices don't even have USB OTG, so they may not even be able to take advantage of it. Android is also still lacking true low latency audio.

          I'll take an attempt at a universal workaround over waiting, personally. I know these headphones aren't for everybody, but I absolutely love them, because I can get better audio here and now, even if it isn't the *best* possible solution.

  • splityouratoms

    You don't have to be an audiophile who raves about 2,000 dollar power cables to their setup to understand sound and what makes it attractive.

    Saying stuff like "They produce amazing audio when paired with a smartphone or tablet, and that's exactly what they're built to do, not something you can say of really any other wired on-ear headphone out there right now" is just a testament of how little you know about what's available out there, and suggesting that amplifying a signal twice is acceptable (once on your phone, and again on your headphone amplifier) just cements the idea in my mind that you have no idea what you're talking about.

    For 350 dollars you're BOUND to find something that sounds AMAZING with a portable device (V-MODA XS, Beyerdynamic DT1350, Audio-Technica ES700 or IM03 if you want IEMs). There is absolutely no reason why someone needs their signal amplified two times, and if you're an audiophile who carries around an external DAC for your smartphone, then you already know what's good and what isn't.

    Shame you didn't talk about how repairable they are. Most headphones just require a recable if they break, I can't imagine anyone other than Blue knows how to repair the amplifier in these things in case it breaks.

    So yeah, it may sound amazing, but I guarantee you it doesn't sound better, and that it's going to be more of a pain in the ass to maintain than other headphones in its price range.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      No point in reamplifying? So you're saying portable headphone amplifiers have no reason to exist and in no way improve the quality of audio from a smartphone or laptop, which they are widely used for? Don't be ridiculous - this is just hate for an idea you don't believe works based on.. absolutely nothing. Have you used them? No? Then please, provide your sound, scientific reasoning here.

      • splityouratoms

        Hey David. Yes, portable headphone amplifiers have a reason to exist, and plugging them in to a smartphone or tablet is not one of them. You even noticed this yourself, you just didn't attribute it to the right cause: "As I mentioned in the "not so good" header, the MoFis can produce rather grating electronic noise when hooked up to certain devices"; that's what amplifying a bad signal twice does, it brings noise and other things to the table which you don't want. You can't have quality audio if you depend on your source amplifier to sound great AND THEN aplify that greatness. It's just silly and pointless.

        There are some portable DACs that don't require external power (like the VMV Magic DAC) and that are compatible with android. If you decide to use an external DAC with your smartphone, THEN it makes sense to amplify that signal, because you know it's going to be nice and clean. Amplifying an already amplified signal is not going to improve it, sorry to say. It will provide more current to your headphones, which will give you clarity because they get more current at lower volumes, but it won't make them sound any better. Plug these headphones to your desktop DAC and I guarantee you it will sound better, even if it's a budget DAC.

        I don't have to listen to them to know amplifying a shitty signal twice is a demonstrably horrible idea. If you want more proof than the empirical proof you got with the EMI noise, I can refer you to NWAVguy's blog, which is filled with useful information that I'm sure will help you understand and review audio equipment better, particularly headphones: http://nwavguy.blogspot.mx/

        And for people who want good portable audio: invest in better portable headphones instead of buying an amplifier. If you're going to carry around premium headphones with high impedance, don't be stupid and get a better source than a smartphone.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          And, by the way, Jude at Head-Fi loves these things, too, technical arguments aside: http://www.head-fi.org/t/732029/mo-fi-headphones-from-blue-microphones-multi-link-amplified-headphone-goodness-head-fi-tv and finds the amp extremely quiet - unnoticeable, even. It's not like Blue stuck in any old amp and called it a day here, they set out with a purpose to this design, and specifically had their eyes on mobile usage, where a discrete DAC is not something that most people will find practical. An amp is not the perfect solution to all mobile audio problems, with that I agree, but it's also not without benefit, even when your source audio isn't outstanding. It's addressing a real problem in mobile audio (big headphones, small, lackluster amps), and it does so in an interesting way.

          • splityouratoms

            And Jude has shown in the past that he's rather OK with sacrificing the users if it means pleasing sponsors. At one point Schiit's Asgard amp had a very real possibility of FRYING users' headphones; Jude banned the people warning users of this very real possibility, even after they provided SCIENTIFIC proof about this. For more info, see here: http://nwavguy.blogspot.mx/2011/07/banned-at-head-fi.html

            This is all obviously internal drama that most people don't ever hear about and I don't blame you for not knowing, but Jude is not a credible reviewer and will never be.

            You were on the right track when you started the article: audiophiles tend to make the hobby part of their identity, and as such, they will defend the idea of needing THIS cable, or THIS amp or THESE sources, even if there's no measurable way of knowing if there's an improvement or not. Audio is electricity, it's measurable and it's predictable, otherwise there wouldn't be so much variety in tuning on headphones and amplifiers. You can decide which sound signature you like best and stick with that instead of doing all these things to make X headphone sound Z way.

            Blue is providing a solution to a self-created problem. If their headphones need an amp is because they designed them that way. I don't doubt that you really enjoy them or that they provide good sound, what I'm saying is that you can definitely do better for the same price, and not lug around a set of really heavy headphones for portable use (lol?) with your smartphone, and which you will need to return to the manufacturer in case they ever fail, because only they know their shit and have spare parts for them.

            350 dollars will get you a LONG way in portable audio, and will scale with any equipment you may have at home or at the office. If you don't like being practical about your purchases, I guess it's fine, but at least be upfront about it and include that sentence in your article, so people don't go buy a sbupar product because a reviewer likes to throw money away.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            I absolutely see what you're saying, but the fact remains that many people out there buy ridiculously large headphones and then run them at 80-90% volume from their wimpy smartphone, because said smartphone is all they use for listening to music, and distort the crap out of it. A lot of people don't even listen to music on laptops anymore. The smartphone or tablet is where the vast majority of music is being listened to these days, and Blue's just making a product that responds to this trend.

            I completely agree there are better ways to get great sound on a smartphone. I own a few good sets of IEMs (I love my RHAs and loved my Etymotics before I broke them) and even reviewed Logitech's UE 900 which, I think, are just outstanding. http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/10/04/logitech-ultimate-ears-ue-900-earbuds-review-mind-blowing-sound-less-than-brilliant-ergonomics/

            Still, most IEMs under $350 aren't going to give consumers and many music enthusiasts the bass response or isolation they've come to enjoy from closed-back over-ears, and so companies are left with a choice: make overpriced, underperforming plastic crapcans that boom a lot (Beats) or go wireless. Blue chose a third way, and I really think the way they chose is, of all the ways you can choose to make sacrifices, the one that results in the most likeable product.

            Of course, a lot of it all comes down to opinion.

          • splityouratoms

            Even if we remove IEMs from the equation, you're left with DT1350s, ATH-ES700s, XS', HM5s, and even Beats Solo 2s. All of wich are efficient enough to be driven really comfortably out of any flagship smartphone (unless we assume someone with a 150 dollar smartphone chooses to buy a 350 dollar set of headphones, I think it's safe to just limit audio interest to flagship devices).

            Truth is, people who care about audio do not rely on a smartphone for it, and if they do, they consider audio quality when making their purchase. To imply that people who care about audio enough to buy a pair of high-impedance headphones only listen to music through their smartphone is just silly to me; you're mixing and matching demographics in order to justify your opinion on a product.

            I'm glad you liked the headphones and that they appeal to your preferred sound signature, I honestly do. I just couldn't read so many misconceptions about audio equipment without clarifying stuff for your readers. Hopefully they learned something from our exchange and will be able to make a purchase that better suits them. Have a good one :)

          • Charles

            "If their headphones need an amp is because they designed them that way."
            There are all sorts of trade-offs involved in speaker design. Speakers present a complex load to the amplifier that interacts with the signal through back-EMF. You can simplify the load a lot by sacrificing accurate (as opposed to resonant) bass response, but I suspect they didn't want to do that. There are lots of different approaches to this problem, and they all have their own disadvantages. Including an amp makes the phones bigger and heavier and introduces power problems, but it means they're supplying the drivers with a known set of characteristics, which gives them more freedom in other aspects of the design.

          • http://www.tohodo.com/ Tom

            For what it's worth, Sound & Vision's Lauren Dragan also published a review on these cans and liked the sound with the amp OFF best. Go figure :)

          • jazz1

            Thanks for the tip on the review! I just received them and will test them out after they charge.

            Wow, on the reviewers preference for the amplifier off. If I find that is the preferred listening state they are going back. I mean why have something that heavy and large unless the drivers are so good you put up with the extra baggage for the sound? Did I just describe orthos ;) I wish I could afford a good set of those.

            I did like the reviewers take on the design and looks. But the no amplifier preference is going to bug me until I get a listen in about two more hours after the thing is fully charged.

          • http://www.tohodo.com/ Tom

            I guess Lauren, as with most audiophiles, prefers the "flatter", more natural sound that you get with no amplification. I suppose the ON setting is for those who prefer more oomph in their music, and the ON+ setting is for bassheads who grew up on Beats.

          • jazz1

            I posted some observations over at Head-Fi. Oddly I'm finding these headphones more compelling when hooked up to my desktop amplifier and DAC (power off on the Mo-fi). I had only hooked them into my desktop system for yucks. I didn't expect how good they would sound on my desktop system. I've never heard orthos. I'm fantasizing that these might give a little bit of ortho sound (rich mids and fat bass) even though I understand they are not orthos. All in all the sound is rich, but not sloppy. Has a little bit of tube equipment sound to my ears with my equipment and AIFF files.

            For me the built-in amplifier, for mobile use, is just frosting on the cake when used with my IOS devices.They even sound better than my B&W P7's using the same equipment desktop equipment (Music Fidelity M1 & PS Audio GCHA). My main cans are still the Senn. HD-650 for my desktop system. But these Mo-Fi have earned a place next to them.

            I may sound more enthusiastic about these on this forum than I did on Head-Fi. That is because I've spent more time with them this long Labor Day weekend.

            As large as they are I find them great in bed comfort wise. Maybe the clamping attribute pays off when you go horizontal. Usually my pillows get in the way of even my smaller headphones (Senn. HD-650, P7, and P5).

            I hope so third parties come out with some high end cables, but I guess the proprietary connections will slow that down or prohibit that from coming to be. Yes, I know I'm a sucker for add ons. I'm not trying to start the age old cables are cables debate. I hope Moon Audio is listening.

            So for now Keb' Mo' and Mindi Abair are really sounding good on my desktop system with the Mo-Fi. I know Blue is pushing this as a mobile solution, but I just wanted others to know there is desktop rig potential here.

            I hope more Mo-Fi users will comment.

  • flosserelli

    Meh. I'll stick with my Audio Technica ATH-M50 cans.

  • TrogdorTheMagnificent

    They really missed the boat by not sticking a USB DAC in these things... I guess if you want to hear every single pop and hiss coming out of your crummy headphone jack these make sense, but this is a hard sell for anyone who's even slightly audiophile savvy.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      The point is in making high-grade mobile audio more accessible, which I think they succeed at. A DAC would put this off-limits to anyone but hardcore audiophiles - and basically make Android a no go - and that doesn't really sell a lot of headphones.

      • TrogdorTheMagnificent

        Hopefully Android L will fix the compatibility issues . In a year a hypothetical pair of headphones with a combo USB / Lightning DAC would be compatible with most phones on the market, that would be an extremely compelling product.

        • splityouratoms

          I think most smartphone DACs are more than capable of delivering good-enough audio for portable use. If anything, OEMs should strive making better DACs for their products, instead of consumers having to look elsewhere and spend more money to get quality sound out of their devices.

          • TrogdorTheMagnificent

            Mobile phones are such electrically noisy beasts a clean analog output would require shielding that would add weight and expense, a tradeoff that might not thrill many. I'm of the "rip it out and don't look back" mentality when it comes to the headphone jack, I personally would be happy to do without the "mediocre audio/Pressy" hole. I wish the jack-less iPhone 6 rumors were true to help kick the industry along, I presume I'm in the minority opinion, though.

        • primalxconvoy

          No it wouldn't. Most people wouldn't be interested, in the same way that they're not interested in 3D tvs (or to a lesser extent), blueray.

          People wouldn't be able to connect those earphones to most other devices so they wouldn't buy them.

          • TrogdorTheMagnificent

            I don't think we're even close to talking about "most people", this clearly isn't a mass market product. Although if/when the iPhone forgoes the headphone jack, that could be a different story.

      • splityouratoms

        Hey David. Sony just announced a pair of headphones with an integrated DAC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Z22atOB0E&list=UUsmJ-6uyV8HDxO0BmPWk-kQ

        Since Android L supports native USB Audio, I hope to see you review them soon. They can be a huge game changer.

    • sweenish

      USB DAC before L is pointless. I think we will start seeing some maybe around the next version.

      • TrogdorTheMagnificent

        True, but why even bother with this in the first place? Seems like they're setting up their less-savvy customers for a ton of buyer's remorse in the near future.

  • kabloink

    $350? I think I will keep using my $15 Koss KSC75s.

  • DirkBelig

    >"Mo-Fi headphones are goat cheese. They are really goaty goat cheese"

    I LOLed.

    These are waaaaaaaaay out of my price range, but I can see the case for $350 headphones that sound good over fashion toy junk like Beats cans which cost as much are are more fashion accessory than audiophile device. (Which is why Apple buying them makes total sense.)

  • David Brideau

    I like cheese.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Me too.

  • b0b

    Thanks but I'll keep my good old JVC HP-DX1000:

    http://static.bootic.com/_pictures/1568790/jvc-hp-dx1000.jpg

  • Big Tony

    Viper4Android provides plenty of bass and sound quality. Not to mention the Nexus 7 Flo does have decent audio although not to loud stock.

  • primalxconvoy

    For me, good mobile ear/headphones need a built in mic (for voice calls), noise cancellation (for the train/bus/plane/etc) an easy and protective way to store them in a bag and strong build quality.

    Looks like these lack most of those features, so I wouldn't pay 100 dollars, yet alone over 300.

  • hocestquisumus

    I hate 'audiophiles'. Those people who insist they can tell the difference between a 320 MP3 and FLAC on the subway with their 2 euro iPhone cans. They will go on and on and on about it while clearly demonstrating how little they actually know. Pretentious gits most of them. However, some are easily spotted because they are wearing such huge headphones out in public, screaming I AM AN AUDIOPHILE LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME!!!!!! at everybody else.

  • dan in pdx

    What I would like to see is for audio-oriented smart phones to offer the type of combo analog/optical 3.5mm output jack like apple does on the airport express. Then it's a simple cable swap to use an amplified headphone (with similar combo optical/analog input and integrated HQ dac) while bypassing the phone's internal DAC/amp. Or external DAC/amp with "legacy" headphones.

  • Sokudoningyou

    I am apparently in the minority, but I really don't understand listening to music on a smartphone. Yes, it means I'm carrying around an extra piece of hardware, but having all of my music on a player specifically meant to play music on sounds a lot better to me than wasting my battery on my phone.

    That said, this review is just making me want my Aurisonics all the more. Give me IEMs over giant cans any day.

  • jazz1

    I'd like to know how these compare with the B&W P7 headphones?

  • Charles

    "Audiophilism can be an annoying thing"
    I would say speakers (and headphones) are the one area where 'audiophilism' really does make sense. They're the weak link in a chain that's otherwise very strong. Switching your cables to pure-silver won't make any difference to the sound, but getting a decent speaker and locating it properly will.

  • Abishek

    Out of curiosity, what schiit did you use when reviewing these? I'm in the market for both headphones and a headphone amp (needed when playing my vinyl records). So far the mofi are among the top contenders but I need something compatible with a headphone amp.

    Thanks

  • http://www.gadgetsalert.com Mōhsïn Ahméd Sïddïquï
  • misterears

    They are being discontinued but TDK ST750 headphones have a built in amp with some bass lift when the amp is on.
    http://www.amazon.com/TDK-ST750-Headphones-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B008X5MO6W

  • DonGateley

    Fine review, David. By far the most thorough I've found. The most important take away I got was that given adequate driving power you don't find their sound preferable to the Grado SR80i. Is that correct?

    I own, and love, a pair of Grado SR80i's and came away feeling that I wouldn't be impressed with an upgrade if I had your ears. I've read other interviews which say that while they may not be as "clinical" as other excellent 'phones they still win because of the musicality of their personality. Agree or disagree?

    Since there is no objective universal standard to compare against I believe that all 'phones have their own personality and in the end we can only choose based on our opinions of their musicality or verisimilitude (both of which are swamped in practice by choices made by the mixing and mastering engineers.)