Feenix Aria Studio Grade Over-Ear Gaming Headphones Preview
Headphone & Mic:
- Studio quality 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers
- Feenix Engineering and Workmanship, hand checks and assembly
- Japanese Pine wood for excellent acoustic environment
- 100% Memory foam and protein leather earcushions
- Independent clip microphone with excellent uni-directional recording
- Driver unit: 50mm
- Impedance: 64 ohm
- Sensitivity: 101dB
- Frequency Response: 10Hz~26KHz
- Weight: 370g
I see a lot of headphones and review many of them. One thing that is certain to turn me off a set of headphones is the "gamer" moniker. This is a sure sign (at least to me) that the headphones are fully featured, but that sound quality wasn't particularly high on the priority list. Really, all they need to deliver is a bunch of bass for the explosions and whatever the frequencies are that cover 12 year old boys' vocal ranges as they spew profanities at you after they headshot you from half way across the map. It's not like these kids have anything better to do than perfect their sniper skills and figure out every exploit on every map since their parents let them play games all day and night while you have a real job and just want to spend an hour or two playing a fun game and not get slaughtered faster than telling King Leonidas that something is "madness".
Not that I'm bitter or anything.
Gaming headphones are generally concerned with durability since rage-quitting a game usually involves flinging gear across a room. Microphones are a must, as is comfort. Sound isolation is important for ignoring your parents telling you to do your homework and style is a definite plus. Pricing can be higher these days as gamers have aged and some of them have gotten real jobs (or maybe Daddy got a raise), but lower price points are recommended. All these things and more are what I expect of gaming headphones. You'll note that sound quality isn't one of them.
When the Feenix Aria headphones billed themselves as "gaming," I wanted to delete the email straight away. But then I noticed that they were also billed as "studio grade". Studio grade gaming headphones? Gaming studio or recording studio? Color me intrigued. Then I noticed the price. At $349, the Feenix Aria aren't priced for the general gamer. The price suggests that these might be multipurpose headphones that might actually sound good.
Obviously, the Aria's have gone in an interesting direction with the wood-backed earcups. Constructed out of Japanese Pine, they are billed as providing an "excellent acoustic environment." Apparently sound waves like Japanese wood the best. Who knew? The Feenix Aria have an over-ear design which is my favorite for long listening sessions. They feature 100% memory foam cushions and "protein leather" covers. I had to look that up. Apparently, protein leather is the same sort of stuff they use on car seats. While that doesn't sound the most comfortable, I'm sure it is fine. Protein leather should, if nothing else, provide long life and durability. For anyone that has had the covering of their headphone cushions start to crack and flake, you know how annoying it can be.
The Aria's have "studio quality" 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers and an independent cardioid clip microphone with uni-directional recording. The independent mic means the headphones can be used as normal headphones without the mic if you wish. The directional nature of the mic ensures that it picks up only your voice if you decide to clip it someplace other than your lapel (keyboard wires and monitor are offered examples).
Each earcup has an individual input and Feenix has included a 1/4" and USB adapter with the Aria headphones. The impedance of the headphones is 64 ohms with a 101dB sensitivity. Like nearly all headphones these days, the frequency response is overstated at 10Hz to 26kHz. The Aria's weight is 370 grams or just over 13 ounces (0.8 pounds). Each pair of headphones is hand checked and assembled. In fact Feenix limits its production volume to less than 1000 units per month to ensure that each item undergoes a thorough hand check before being shipped out.
One thing that really caught my attention was the support. Now, in my experience, headphones don't require much support; however, I've never tested a pair with a USB adapter. Feenix promises that "Every Feenix Aria owner receives their own personally assigned support manager." That sounds pretty cool, though it sounds like one of those things that is easy to promise since people rarely take advantage of it.
Feenix has promised a studio quality headphone for gamers with their Aria headphones. While they've ticked all the right boxes as far as components are concerned, quality components don't necessarily mean that the headphones will sound great. From a feature standpoint, they seem well rounded though there is no mention of the cable length. For those that game at their PC, or for standard listening duties, a normal cable is fine. But for those that game in their living room, a longer cable is a must. You can pre-order the Aria headphones from Feenix for $349. We're curious to see how these are received when they ship.
For more information, please visit www.feenixcollection.com.
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.