Advertisement

Review: Shinola Canfield headphones are an overpriced mess

Review: Shinola Canfield headphones are an overpriced mess
From TechCrunch - December 12, 2017

T

he Shinola Canfield headphones cost $600 and do not ship with a stereo adapter. That should tell you everything you need to know. But if not, keep reading and let me explain why these fashion headphones are not worth the price.

I tested these headphones in a way that I thought they would be most widely used. I pitted them against several competitors using my iPhone 8 with Spotify. I also used an Onkyo stereo receiver with a Audio Technica turntable to test their upper limit. It was an enjoyable afternoon.

Before we get started, its important to note that Im not a professional audio reviewer. I dont have balanced power cables or a selection of FLAC tracks dedicated to testing equipment. But I do have a nice collection of headphones and a rathers**tty taste in music. I dont like a lot so I listen to the same stuff over and over. Thats annoying for passengers on road trips but handy when testing headphones.

The Shinola Canfields are the companys first set of headphones. Theyre built overseas, and tested in Detroit where Shinola also puts together watches and constructs leather goods. These come from America. Kind of. Lets back up.

Shinola is a watch company born from the minds behind Fossil and launched as a marketing scheme out of Plano, Texas. The company set up shop in Detroit where it starting assembling quartz watches, adopting the Made In Detroit tagline. Later the company expanded to leather goods, bikes, and other products including turntables and now headphones.

Heres the kicker: Shinola headphones are much like Shinola watches. They look fantastic. Theyre heavy, solid, and feel like theyll last a lifetime. Theyre not worth the price. The appeal stops at the casing. The insides, much like Shinola watches, are comprised of low-end components, not worthy of the lofty price tag.

Review

I

found the Shinola Canfield headphones to be flat, tinny and bland. When used off an iPhone, the sound is underpowered and muddled. When used off a stereo amp, the sound is improved but still lacks the inflection and range of lesser-priced headphones.

Classic rock is a great place to start with headphone reviews. First, the music is amazing, but second theres generally a range of instruments with great soundstage separation.Carry on Wayward Son starts with a beautiful harmony of vocals followed by a couple quick hits on the snare and guitars. Through the $600 Canfields, the vocals are muddled together where on the $449 Audeze Sine headphones the soundstage opens up and theres distinct separation thats simply beautiful.

The dull vocals are even more evident in Pink FloydsWish you Were Here. I have the original vinyl and its of course on Spotify, too, making it a great test track. The intro is long and classic Pink Floyd but its telling as a sample. Here I used the Audeze Sine headphones and the Massdrop-made Sennheiser HD 6XX headphones and the difference is stunning. Details are simply missing when the track is listened to through the Shinola headphones. The Shinola headphones did not reproduce David Gilmours smokercoughs and sniffles during the songs intro; one cough sounds like shuffling papers. The sounds are clearly audible through the other headphones. When Gilmour finally starts playing, the Audeze headphones produce a stunningly clear guitar twang where the Canfields fall flat.

Fashion over function

Advertisement

Continue reading at TechCrunch »