Wicked Enix Headphones REVIEW Excellent Packaging lackluster experience
I know that I am not alone in the hunt for a perfect pair of headphones at Unicorn prices. Despite not being an audiophile, I do love movies, music, audio-books and television. More specifically, I love the ability to watch what I want, when I want. I have been searching for a pair of affordable over-ear headphones and was excited to try the latest offering from Wicked Audio. The Wicked Audio Enix Over-Ear headphones arrived in a vibrant 7 5/8 inches wide by 8 5/8 inches tall by 3 3/8 inches thick retail package. The cover showcased the black Wicked earphones alongside eight key features: 10-hour battery (Gets you through the day), Hands-Free Phone Chat, Total Ear Coverage (Comfy for all day wear), Collapsible, Folds Flat, Enhanced Bass, Mic & Track Control and Volume Control. Along the bottom of the cover, you will find a white section with eight icons: Bluetooth, Collapsible, High Fidelity, Enhanced Bass, Rechargeable, Flat-Folding, Mic and Track Control, and Total Ear Coverage. The colorful background provided a modern feel and a sense of free/careless wild energy. The right side of the box was emblazoned with bold white text “Full-SIZE BLUETOOTH HEADPHONE WIRELESS” upon a flat black background. The left panel showcased the same features as the cover, using bold white shapes/icons. Beneath the seven icons, Wicked included a list of the items included within the box. You can expect a travel bag, AUX cable, Micro USB to USB-A cable and the Enix Headset. The top panel listed the Enix name and the Bluetooth/Wireless nature of the headset upon an incredibly colorful base. The reverse panel, colorful as the cover, displayed an outline image of the earphones, repeated the features described on the cover and left panel but also listed many of the product specifications. If you are looking for a Bluetooth 4.0, 10-hour battery life, 1.5 hour charge time headphones with full 20Hz-20kHz range and 40mm Neodymium drivers, the Enix may be the device for you.
Usually a fan of redundancy, I was a little taken aback that the white bottom panel provided nearly identical information to the cover, back and left side panels. I loved the color scheme and the fresh, modern, trendy background. Returning to the cover, lift the magnetic flap to find an image of an attractive young woman, jean jacket and Enix headphones upon the inner flap. Using the same clashing scheme around the image, Wicked did a good job framing the user and providing a realistic expectation of how they would look upon your head. The fortune cookie-esque phrases around the image were unnecessary, in my opinion. The best part of the packaging was the clear window displaying the black wicked headphones upon the black plastic tray. Interestingly, the plain colors were pleasing and contrasted the colorful frame/background. The top and bottom panels were glued and will tear when you open them. I slid the thin plastic tray out of the packaging, set the 6.97 oz headphones aside and reviewed the accessories. I was pleased to find a 9 1/2 inches wide by 9 1/2 inches tall nylon drawstring bag, with red drawstring and a centralized 3 3/8 inch Wicked logo. The red outer circle contained a red “W” that reminded me of the offspring of the Wilson and Maserati logos. Surrounding the logo, the company provided information about the email (wickedaudio.com), “Headphones that Rock, Wicked Audio Inc., Basement Born — 94’.”
In addition to the bag, I found a generous, 32 1/2 inches long USB-A to USB-Micro cable, a 59 1/4 inches long 3.5mm to 3.5mm AUX cable and an eight-panel instruction manual. The first page provided a useful table detailing the button functions. A single press of the phone button played/paused/answered/hung up, a quick press of the volume button changed the track forward/backward, and a long press of the volume button changed the volume up/down. The second panel provided the same specs as the back of the packaging and pages 3/4 listed the product troubleshooting. The reverse panels detailed how to pair the earphones and a detailed diagram of the left/right earpieces The lower section of the left earpiece housed the micro USB charging port and the lower right earpiece held the microphone, on/off button, LED indicator, 3.5mm AUX input port, multi-function button, volume down/previous track and volume up/next track.
Before using the headset, I followed the instruction manual and charged the earphones with the included micro-USB to USB-A cable, using a standard iPhone charging brick. After about 30 minutes, I found I was able to freely test the Enix Headphones. To pair the headphones, simply slide the power toggle to the on position and the LED will flash red/blue. Navigate to settings, Bluetooth, and then choose “Wicked Enix” from the list. A female voice will announce “connected,” and the lower LED will slowly flash blue. I was incredibly impressed with the rate of Bluetooth connection and the ability to maintain the connection. Some devices click/pulse as you move your body or walk into a different room. The Enix headphones did not do that; instead, they remained connected the entire time, without distortion. The top of the headphones had a 3/8 inches thick padding along the top that spanned most of the headband. Each of the oval-shaped ear cups measured 3 3/8 inches tall by 3 inches wide and 5/8 wide of padding. The inner lining of the ear cup was lined with red felt, continuing the red/black color scheme. Each earpiece had its own swive, which allowed them to pivot up/down. Additionally, each earcup had a hinge and a secondary swivel to turn the earphones flat. You could rotate each ear cup 90 degrees counterclockwise and 45 degrees clockwise. The region between the headband and the hinge housed an expandable section that added an extra inch of length. The headband was comfortable, compressed to fit my head and the earcups did the same. I was pleased with the overall feel of the headphones but found that the padding in the earcups made a weird squeak every time I moved. Other reviewers have commented upon the lightweight feel and thought it made them cheap. To the contrary, this makes them portable and easy to throw into a bag/gear. I have used these over the past month, and they have performed time and again. They charged nicely in about 2 hours and provided me a couple of hours of listening each night during the week. I often charge my devices between uses, so I never get to the end of their battery life. This time, I listened for about 2 hours per night and found that I still had power left Saturday am. I did not let them completely power off. As described in the manual, the bottom of the left cup housed the charging port, and the right cup had the plastic volume up/down, call/play/pause button and the power toggle. Pleased with the fit/feel, I turned to the sound.
I know I am not alone that I want the most sound at the lowest price. Turning to audiocheck.net, I used the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10–200 Hz), and the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22–8 kHz) to test the range of the device. I was able to hear sound down to 20Hz and up to 15kHz, which is the range of my hearing. As we age, we lose our upper range of hearing, and by adulthood, we cannot hear much over 15kHz. Using the Left/Right Stereo Audio Test, I found that the channels were programmed correctly. Using the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization test with the “Original Binaural Recording,” it appeared that the company thought about staging. If you have not tried the Stereo perception test, I would recommend that you wear brown pants. The better the headphones, the better the experience. The Enix passed the test but did not blow me away. Once the audiocheck.net testing was completed, I turned to my usual earphone evaluation tracks. I like to start with Holly Cole “Train Song,” to appreciate the bounding stand-up baseline. The rhythmic percussive feel, combined with the sultry voice of the singer to create an enjoyable listening experience. Next, I turned to Cee Lo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City,” the theme to “Beverly Hills Cop,” Jokers Theme “Why So Serious” from the Dark Knight Rises, the opening scene from Star Wars Episode II Attack of the clones and various selections from Gladiator. To test the upper sounds and blend, I like to use instrumental soundtracks such as Far and Away, Braveheart, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, John Phillips Sousa Marches and multiple selections from John Williams. I found that the highs were less appealing than most and lacked warmth/fullness. The volume was fine but something was missing from the upper end that I could not quite pinpoint. To test the stereo nature of the headphones, I like to use Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and to test the quality/staging I like to use Yosi Horikawa “Bubbles” and “Wandering.” As noted above, it was difficult to pinpoint where the sound was coming from and it almost seemed hollow. Michael Jackson “Thriller” and Depeche Mode “People are People” were enjoyable yet lacking. Lastly, with the Christmas Season upon us, I listened to Pentatonix, Home Free, Anthem Lights and many classic Christmas songs as well. My pre-teen niece picked them up and tried them out and liked them, as did my nine-year-old son. Personally, it is difficult to give a truly fair perspective, when I have tested other superior cost/quality devices.
Throughout my testing, I found the optimal listening volume to be about 4–5 clicks on my iPhone. I am not a fan of devices that use long presses to change the volume. This is clunky, and you lose a lot of control over the volume. If you want to make small volume changes, on-the-fly, you cannot do that easily without changing it on your smart device. When I increased the volume, there was more sound, but it was not harsh, or out of balance. Unfortunately, I never received the warm, full sound I was expecting. A few of the headphones I have tested previously had codex issues causing audio/visual distortion. To test this, I watched movies on Movies Anywhere, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and YouTube. Similar to other devices, YouTube has a weird audio/video sync problem. I was pleased with the other video streaming sources and did not experience any issues. The earphones were comfortable, covered my ears, and provided a small amount of background noise reduction. I do not typically like to use over-ear style headphones in bed as I cannot lie on my side. However, the profile on this pair of headphones seemed to work better than most. The only other negative that I found was when the music or video was stopped/paused. When there was no sound output, there was an annoying high pitched pulsing sound audible from the left earpiece. I tried powering on/off the device, syncing/re-syncing the device and this did not change anything. I wanted to see if others had a similar experience to mine and I landed on a well done, yet very negative, review by Mick Symons. I appreciated the attention to detail, and I found that our experiences were very similar. I thought that he ripped the earcup off of the earpiece, but alas, a gentle tug on the earcup will remove the overlying foam. Similar to the included cheaply made, on-ear style, earphones of the past, I was displeased with the product. I disagree with Mick Symons about the hinges, however, as these felt as robust as other similarly priced devices on the market. The ear cups had to be the biggest disappointment, however. I hate to give negative reviews, but there are other devices such as the Tribit XFree Tune headphones that provide better features at a lesser price. The artistic flare within the packaging was amazing, the Bluetooth connection was impressive, the look was impressive, the cables were a nice bonus, but the build definitely requires additional attention.
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Originally published at macsources.com on December 3, 2018.