As 2016 draws to a close, we've been reflecting on the year in hi-tech music-making gear, asking you to vote for the best new hardware and software products to have been released over the past 12 months.
Now it's time to bring you the results of our polls. We drew up the shortlists, but the rankings and overall winners in each category have been decided exclusively by your votes.
We’re revealing what you’ve decided are the 5 best new headphones of 2016, counting down to your number one. We’ll start with the HRM-6 from Pioneer…
We said: “These are light, comfy and offer a physical flexibility perfect for club monitoring; they also pack down super small. With an impedance of 45Ω there’s plenty of range to turn them up (good power handling). They possess a full sound, though the low mids are more forward and the HF range more rolled off than you’d expect in studio mixing headphones. This does mean there are no nasty peaks in the critical/sensitive upper mids though.”
V-Moda Crossfade LP2
We said: “The LP2s are the smallest headphones of the bunch and they’re light too. They grip the head a little too well: great for jogging, less so for listening. There are plenty of accessories, but no one appears to have included sound quality. With a 32Ω impedance they drive easily, but what it produces we don’t want to hear, regardless of volume. The bass is overbearing, pushing the mids right back. The HF region is far from flat, rolling off to the point where it’s a strain to hear the tops. Overall they sound like an HDTS pirate film soundtrack.”
We said: “Despite being the second-heaviest pair, the HRM-7s are unnervingly light, making them easy to wear for long periods and unsuitable for dancing. The sound quality is great from top to bottom. They’re a tad snappier than we’re used to, which is probably a good thing (ie transient response). The bass-end is full and clear – no mud here. The clarity is excellent for spotting unwanted noise (hiss, clips, etc), as well as shaping a mix. A clear professional choice.”
We said: “Compared to Pioneer’s HRM-6s these headphones are more ‘open’ in the high frequencies, which is also helped by a less beefed up low-end; we’d still like to hear more ‘air’. The bass-end is well-balanced, though it gets a little muddy heading into the low mids in a thick mix, though this can be a boon as much as a bane. There’s plenty of distortion-free power handling, though we’re not prepared to risk our hearing to discover how much! These are light and relatively comfy for long listening periods.
Beyerdynamic DT1770 PRO
We said: “The DT 1770s are an update of Beyerdynamic’s highly regarded DT 770 headphones. While these new cans cost considerably more than their predecessors, they also offer a lot more in terms of sound quality and flexibility. These headphones offer exceptionally well-balanced and detailed audio that makes them an ideal set of studio headphones. We’d have no reservations about recommending these for any production or studio situation.”