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Thursday
May262011

Phiaton MS 400 Moderna Series Headphones Review

In a sea of headphones of all sorts and prices, the Phiaton MS 400 headphones while having been around for a while now, stand out from the crowd in more ways than one. I've had the pleasure to test quite a few headphones for a while now and when I first found out about Phiaton's MS 400 headphones I immediately got attracted. There's no denying the good looks these sport. Part of Phiaton's Moderna Series, the MS 400 headphones look like the pair of headphones you would get when you purchase a Ferrari. Distinctive red leather and real carbon fiber are mixed into making the MS 400 headphones and the result is one stunning pair of headphones. While the not so stunning price of $249 might seem too steep, yet it may actually be worth it this time. The full review is after the break. You won't want to miss it.

Some may not like the attention and staring eyes of random people while out and about. The good news for you is that the MS 400 headphones are also available in full black. Whatever your color choice may be, the MS 400 headphones will still look super sporty. Besides the color, what we rarely see incorporated into headphones is carbon fiber. You will find real carbon fiber surrounding each ear cup with a clear glossy finish adding an extra layer of durability and good looks. I think I said enough about how good looking these headphones are by now.

In all the portable headphones I've came to try, the Phiaton MS 400 headphones impressed me the most with their extreme portability. Most, if not all portable headphones are on-ear headphones with larger than normal ear cups that don't surround your entire ear like over-ear headphones do. When I first put on the MS 400 headphones, they felt just like over-ear headphones to me and almost surrounded my whole entire ear. I would say that I've got normal sized ears, not big nor small. Depending on your ears I think the MS 400 headphones will fit you quite differently since they are on the verge of on-ear headphones mixed with the over-ear headphones size. They are extremely versatile and can fold up in many ways for portable carry and storage. Each ear cup can swivel 180 degrees allowing more flexibility. Being portable while retaining a fairly large ear cup size, I don't think any other portable headphones can match up to the MS 400 headphones.

The MS 400 headphones have large leather padded ear cups and headband that are very comfortable to wear. However, after more than just 2 hours my ears started to hurt and what started out to be a pair of comfortable headphones quickly turned the opposite. You may find it different depending on your ears but in my experience these were not the ideal pair of headphones to use for long periods of time. As much as I loved the comfy, cushioned ear pads, I had to take frequent breaks in order to come back and enjoy my music. I really don't want to rule out the possibility of personal comfort preference here just because I think these headphones do such an incredible job at being very portable and great for travel that I would suggest trying them out for yourself. 

Moving onto the build quality, the Phiaton MS 400 are built like a solid brick which is exactly what you want in a pair of portable and foldable pair of headphones. The materials used here all feel very high in quality even though these are mostly built using plastic. Considering other portable headphones, the MS 400 have the best build quality I've seen. Folding joints interact smoothly and have a sturdy feel to them. Since these are portable headphones, they come with a hard shell carrying case which you can store and protect your MS 400. The only small issue I've got with the entire build quality of the MS 400 is their cable which is on the thin side and seems to only be a good fit for portable use as it is short. If you're at home using these, you will find the cable to be too short. Phiaton should have at least included an extension cable for home use. After much use, I haven't experienced any tangling with the cable.

I don't usually have high expectations from audio equipment, but for some reason I did when I first set my hands on the MS 400 headphones. Right out of the box these sound incredibly good. The sound is very well balanced and that isn't something to be expected in a pair of portable headphones. Yes the price is $249, but in most cases a high price tag doesn't necessarily provide you with great sound quality and many other little things. I think Phiaton did a great job designing these pair of headphones and actually making a product that stands behind it's glowing marketing description. I've been using the MS 400 for quite some time now and I've been enjoying every single second listening to my music. Except of course for my personal discomforts using these headphones for longer than a few hours which I tend to while working. 

First of all I wanted to point out that the MS 400 isolate background noise a bit more than others. But most importantly when it comes to portable headphones and listening to your music or what have you in public and near others is sound leakage. I'm amazed at how well the MS 400 contain their sound well hidden inside the ear cup housings that none of your music will leak out and make others uncomfortable. I have never had a pair of headphones not leak some sound. It's very satisfying knowing you can listen to your music without worrying about disturbing others near by. 

The bass performance is pure and hard hitting without overpowering and drowning the mids and highs. Mids are clear and very detailed overall. You can easily hear every single instrument and set them apart from each other. The highs are just as clear and clean with vocals that shine thru. The MS 400 have a rich and full bodies sound thanks to the bass and mids which are balanced very well together brining your favorite music tracks to life. I would have to say that the MS 400 are very easily power driven as they are meant for portable use which you most likely be using a portable music player or smartphone to drive these. The sound level starts out higher than other headphones which excludes the need of a portable amp.

I would have to say that the MS 400 would be the ideal portable headphones and just because the total package is so well put together, I would have to say that even for home use these would be just fantastic considering the short audio cable which can be elongated easily. Although I think the retail price tag of $249 is slightly overpriced, the street price almost everywhere is cheaper by as much as half making these pair of headphones worth your attention.  

If you're in the market for a good pair of solid performing portable headphones with a mean and unique look and style, I would suggest going with the Phiaton MS 400. Taking into account the price and the quality of the MS 400 headphones, I think the positives far outweigh any of the negatives. While I don't think you should go out and spend full retail price on the MS 400, the current street price is far lower than the asking retail price. Let's face it, most headphones can be bought far lower than their retail price. 

Phiaton.com

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