Published on March 14th, 2016 | by Greg0
Definitive Technology’s Symphony 1s: Executive Privilege
We recently hopped aboard a plane, and faced every traveler’s nightmare scenario- rows full of children, and the narrow body of turboprop aircraft. But thankfully, thanks to some handy technology, the flight was almost blessedly free of screams or low-frequency rumbling. We slipped on our headphones, put on some music, and enjoyed a trip that was almost peaceful. Chances are that you’ve seen, and probably even tried, quite a few headsets, wireless and wired, perhaps some with noise-cancelling.
The Definitive Technology Symphony 1s aim to stand alongside any others on the market, setting themselves up as competition for some of the biggest names in the audio business. And while there are plenty of Bluetooth wireless models around, there are fewer that offer ANC, or active noise cancellation, the feature that helps block out external sounds. These are some of the better we’ve tested, capable of handling a pretty wide range of sounds across the frequency spectrum. It won’t take care of everything- sudden, sharp, or irregular noises are likely to get through the barrier- but especially for travel, it can mean a lot fewer headaches.
Often, there is a bit of a trade-off between battery life and weight, and these lean towards the heavier side. They are certainly portable, and come with a nice travel case, but you’ll want to take them on longer journeys by train rather than the bus across town. But the 15 hours of battery life- even with noise cancelling enabled- is impressive. There’s no inline remote control or microphone, but there are multiple mics on the earcups, which means calls are clear and easy. Bass is never pounding, but powerful and even, natural rather than boosted. There’s a warmth to these and a weight that you won’t find in just about any earbuds and only select sets of on-ears. 50mm drivers put out plenty of volume, and the leather headband and aluminum construction scream luxury.
Well-sealed so you can focus on the music, the Symphony 1s are balanced across vocals, strings, and percussion, offering a really nice tone on brass sections. You might consider them almost monitor-like, neutral with a fairly flat curve, just a little pushed in the low-end. We found the onboard controls are a little awkward- similar-sized buttons with little to differentiate them, grouped together. They are also less adjustable than some, so folks with smaller ears might find them a little too large. And sure, there are less expensive and lighter headphones, Bluetooth models with better battery life. But for the ultimate in wireless, noise-canceling, no-compromises, executive-ready headphones, look no further than the Definitive Technology Symphony 1s, now available online and in stores for around $399.