Tech Blog

Review: SMS Audio Street by 50 Cent over-ear headphones

by Blogger on ‎11-09-2012 07:47 AM - last edited on ‎01-16-2013 02:58 PM by JorgeM Recognized Expert

50 Cent SMS Street main.jpgCelebrity endorsement isn’t going to make a pair of headphones great on its own, and consumers are certainly astute enough to know that, yet that’s not stopping the trend from continuing on. Beats by Dre is naturally the most recognizable and most popular, but there are others doing the same thing, like 50 Cent. The rapper apparently put his own mark on these headphones, so let’s see what he considers to be good sound.

 

The comparison to Beats is inevitable because the Street headphones naturally tie in to the urban, hip hop lifestyle. Big earcups that cover the ear, a nice black and blue colour scheme and though minimalist in many respects, there’s still enough swagger in these to catch some peoples’ attention. That, of course, is the point, as these aren’t just headphones, they’re also a fashion accessory.

 

But how do they sound? The Street headphones are the type that won’t necessarily give you a clear picture after listening for an hour or two. You need to listen to them for more than that. One playlist in a loop, and ideally with different genres of music. It’s in that last part that Street shows it took a different approach than Beats. These don’t muffle the mids and highs by pounding the bass further. Some might like to listen to music that way, but if you prefer more of a balance, you will get that here.

 

To be clear, that doesn’t mean the EQ inside is balanced enough to make everything sound good, but there’s still noticeable clarity. When I listened to a song by 50 Cent, and then one by Sade right after, there wasn’t as much of a gap than there was with Beats. Genres like rock, pop, alternative, classical and electronica were a little hit or miss, depending on the track. It also depends on where you got the music from and what you’re using to listen to it.

 

For example, listening on an iPhone 5, I was able to get better overall sound with the help of Bongiovi DPS, an EQ app that tweaks the EQ to bring out fuller sound. On a Nexus 7 tablet, I could do the same with other EQ apps, but the point is that I could notice an obvious difference if I was listening to a high-quality AAC file, a WAV file ripped from a CD and an MP3 with a bitrate of 128kbps. Listening on a Mac or PC wasn’t altogether different, but if you were able to listen to a CD or playlist of WAV or FLAC files, you will notice more depth. Watching movies or video on a smartphone or tablet can also show some of the benefits, too.

 

50 Cent SMS Street profile.jpgEven so, the sound in these headphones is good, but not quite great. They are pretty good at noise isolation, since there is no noise cancellation built-in, except that some leakage comes through, thereby not keeping your ears free from outside noises. The sound quality doesn’t suffer terribly as a result of this, but it can be a noticeable thing to deal with. How you wear them may make a difference, so experiment and find the right fit for you.

 

The good news is that they’re not uncomfortable to wear, even for relatively long periods. The cord doesn’t get tangled as easily as others (the rubber coating is also fairly tough), and there are playback controls attached. They don’t seem to work with an iPhone 5, but seemed to work with a couple of Android phones I had (one useful tip is to press the mic button to mute the music rather than taking them off). They come with a case, but don’t fold into a more compact form, making them less portable than competing headphones, including Beats. Still, it makes up for that with a tough design that makes them more durable than other comparable sets. The headband won’t break easily and even the fake leather on the cups is well made.

 

When travelling on a plane, train or even a bus, the noise isolation will only go so far in keeping outside noise from leaking in. That’s why calling it “passive noise cancellation”, as SMS Audio puts it, is a little misleading. Noise cancellation can only be active, in the sense that there’s a battery that powers the feature. Noise isolation is the proper term in this case because the size of the earcups are designed to isolate the ears and create a buffer between them and the outside world.

 

Overall, you should expect the Street by 50 Cent to be better suited for a wider range of genres than Beats are. The bass is still prominent but it doesn’t mercilessly overpower the mids and highs to pump out an unnatural sound. They’re a bit pricey, which is not surprising with a renowned rapper involved, but are a better value than the Beats because of how inclusive they can be toward all types of music. If that’s the kind of listener you are, then you may have a found something that works and stands out in a fashionable crowd.

 

 

SKU: 10223550

Express yourself as you listen to your tunes with the Street by 50 headphones. Audio quality is unparalleled with a professionally tuned 40mm driver, studio sound, and enhanced bass. Passive noise cancellation keeps more outside noise out, so all you hear is the pure sound of your music. The cord detaches for wireless wear and transport.


 

SKU: 10223551

Listen to your music in style with the Street by 50 headphones. Audio quality is unparalleled with a professionally tuned 40mm driver, studio sound, and enhanced bass. Passive noise cancellation keeps more outside noise out, so all you hear is the pure sound of your music. The cord detaches for wireless wear and transport.


 

SKU: 10223553

The Street by 50 Headphones let you listen to your music in style. Audio quality is unparalleled with a professionally tuned 40mm driver, studio sound, and enhanced bass. Passive noise cancellation keeps more outside noise out, so all you hear is the pure sound of your music. The cord detaches for wireless wear and transport.




© 2011 Future Shop. All rights reserved. For personal, noncommercial use.