Friday, 11 May 2018

The prettiest rose gold headphones I ever did see! // Sudio VASA review

Headphones are an integral part of my life. I can't imagine the morning commute without them. And working in a small and quiet office in the city, I need some form of background noise to keep me sane. However headphones and I haven't always seen eye to eye.

Being a loyal iPhone user for years, I have mostly only ever known the standard iPhone headphones you get. And oh boy. The iPhone cable didn't just tangle, but it got itself into how-is-that-even-possible knots that even the smallest and nimblest of fingers couldn't untie. And I lost count of the number of times my iPhone cable split and the wires were exposed.

After several trips to the Apple store combined with pure and utter sadness of how much they were costing to replace each time (ugh Apple), I threw in the towel. Instead I invested in a cheap and cheerful pair from Amazon which kept me ticking along. I was naively complacent - relieved and impressed that the cable of my new set hadn't split. But I didn't think anything of the sound quality until recently when I tried a pair of Sudio headphones for the first time. And what a difference.


A little about Sudio

With my newsfeed full of hygge this and lagom that,  IKEA hauls and pictures of meatballs and mash, admittedly I've only ever been to exposed to Sweden in a home lifestyle and interiors sense. Until now that is. Enter Sudio. Sudio are a Swedish lifestyle brand that creates designer look earphones with an emphasis on superior sound quality and experience. The name Sudio came about after one of the company's founders saw Phil Collins out and about in New York having issues with his headphones. Unable to offer a better alternative to Phil at the time, he said “trust me I know the feeling". He later named the brand as a nod to Phil Collins and specifically, his track Sussudio.


Packaging and delivery

My order was shipped at the end of one week and I received it promptly and early the following week - gotta love express delivery! I found the packaging very slick and nicely done. The box hinge with magnets gives it an open and close 'book' feel and means it snaps shut in the most satisfying of ways. Inside there are two boxes. One containing the manual and guarantee, the other containing the main event.


Contents:

- Vasa earphones with 4 pairs of extra sleeves
- Owner’s Manual & Quality Assurance Card
- Genuine Leather Carrying Case
- Metal Clip

The extra ear buds are really handy because no two pairs of ears are the same and Sudio have catered to this well. I found that the ones already on the headphones by default fit me pretty well. But it's nice having the back up pairs in case I find another size more comfortable in the future.

I have never had a headphone clip before, but it could come in useful given that the Sudio VASA have a long and generous cable.

The case was a nice touch since headphones I have had before were always getting tangled. I like the fact that the pouch is pocket sized and not too big - it means that your headphones can fit in snuggly without being loose enough to unravel which is great.


Specs

Housing: Composite, Aluminum
Finish: High polished metal parts
Model: In-ear
Weight: 23 grams
Microphone: Built-in mic
Type: 10,2 mm Dynamic Speaker
Sensitivity: 113 dB SPL @ 1 kHz
Impedance: 32 Ohm @ 1kHz
Frequency Response: 18 Hz - 23 kHz

Look and feel

At first touch, there is a nice matt feel to the cable. It's a different sort of cable to ones I've had before and a generous length. My default Apple iPhone headphones (5S model) had a thin rounded wire which snapped easily and I found myself having to replace constantly. The Sudio VASA cable is a little thicker / wider but rather than being a rounded cable, the cable is flat (almost like flat udon noodles!). Sudio list this on their website as an anti tangle cord and I have to say, I haven't had any problems to date.


Fun fact: I have always struggled with finding ear buds to fit into my awkwardly shaped ears. If I had a pound / dollar / euro for every time an ear bud fell out on my way to the station, I would be all kinds of rich. These were the first pair of headphones I have had that have managed to stay put in my - not exactly tiny - ears.

The rose gold detailing is beautiful and doesn't look cheap (always one of my fears of products with a copper or rose gold finish!). Even when I catch the side of the control panel, the rose gold side doesn't seem to finger print heavily which is nice. As I did wonder if I'd forever be buffing finger prints off. Not the case!

I opted for white as I love the clean aesthetic of rose gold paired with white (also my phone is white and I like having everything matching!)  Sudio also offer other colours including black, pink and blue which you can see for yourselves here. The black and blue look particularly striking against the rose gold.


Functionality

Sudio offer headphones that are compatible with iOS or Android (specify which you need when ordering!). Being an iPhone user, I have been testing the iOS headphones. There are three buttons on a smart rose gold panel which matches the rose gold of the ear buds. These buttons consist of volume up, volume down and the middle button is pause. Fast double tap of the middle button is skip. If I received any calls whilst I was listening to music, the middle button would enable me to pick up the call and also hang up afterwards. I also found that when I was plugged into my phone and using Youtube or whatever, if I caught the middle button of the remote, it would call up Siri.

One thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the good sound blocking, meaning that I could easily ignore any noise from my outside environment.


Sound quality

I read plenty of reviews for Sudio headphones which said sound was "good" but when it comes to headphones, I want to know more than just "good". I want to know about the sound quality and how they measure up against other headphones. Whilst I am by no means a sound expert, I ran the headphones through an audio test website to check things like dynamic range, spectral flatness and so on. Here's how the Sudio VASA performed....

  • Bass extension test - this was a measure of how low the headphones could go and how they dealt with bass. Typically for a good set of headphones this would be in the 20Hz sort of range. The Sudio VASA performed well and seemed to meet this.
  • Treble extension test - in contrast this was a measure of pitch and how high the sound could carry. Note that 20kHz is the very highest that the human ear can hear (on the condition of good hearing!). When I performed this test the Sudio VASA were coming back at the 16-17kHz sort of range, which may be down to my ears, but either way was a strong result and not too far away from the 20kHz benchmark.
  • Spectral flatness - with this I was measuring how the volume coped with a frequency sweep test. Despite the test sound sweeping up and down, the volume stayed consistent which is a sign of good flatness.
  • Dynamic range - this was a measure of the sound isolation that the headphones provide. In an ideal world, you would always hear the quiet signal despite your surroundings. You would always hear something - however quiet - not silence. And this was the case.
  • Wiring test - I tested isolated sound from the left ear bud and then from the right ear bud and both were emitting sound from the correct side(s). I also tested to see if when the sound played from both that the sound was nice and central (it should almost feel like it's between your eyes) and it was.
  • Binaural test - At my last job I had exposure to binaural audio (and how this is recorded) which is very clever tech indeed. This is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones in order to create a 3-D stereo sound sensation which makes the listener feel like they are in the same room as the instruments / band / etc. It's very realistic and for advertising with serious topic matter, it can be haunting. The binaural excerpt I tested with was someone knocking on the door. The first sound was emitted from the right ear bud and sounded like someone was trying to break down my door. Then sound came from my left and sounded like someone was pounding at the window. The Sudio VASA excelled at this test with almost cinematic type sound. It was so realistic, my heart was pounding!
  • Other findings - One thing I was amazed by was how many more layers I could hear in my favourite songs. I'd hear instruments and details I hadn't heard before. Music for me has always been about the experience, but now 'experience' takes on a whole new meaning!


Summary

With aesthetically pleasing headphones I always wonder if you are paying for style over substance. But having tested my first ever pair of Sudio headphones, I can confirm that this is not the case! The audio held its own in the audio testing that I performed. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my old Amazon headphones until I started using these. The sound quality is fantastic and I love hearing many new layers to my favourite songs than I hadn't heard before.


Sudio discount code

The lovely people at Sudio are offering my readers 15% off any purchase on the Sudio website and have created an Alice in Wonderland orientated discount code (how awesome is that?!). Apply promo code curiouserandcuriouser15 at checkout for a 15% discount. As well as the headphones I am using (the VASA which comes in an array of colours here), Sudio also have other models such as wireless headphones like the REGENT or VASA BLA if you are anti cables / leads. Sudio ship worldwide and you can find a full list of their headphones here

#Sudio #SudioMoments

* Headphones very kindly provided by Sudio but as ever, all opinions are my own

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