SMS Audio Street by 50 Wired Headphones review

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Last week we posted a review of the a-JAYs ONE+ headphones. (Read it.) They sport a flat, tangle free cable, a selection of different ear cups, an in-line microphone and audio controller and, the most unusual package I have seen in a pair of headphones. At under $70 they were definitely a step up from something like Apple’s standard earbuds but they were far from my favorites as they included as many negatives as they did positives. One of those issues was the complete lack of a carrying case. That, however, was nothing compared to the static introduced when the 3.5 mm headphone jack was moved in the slightest way while connected to any audio source.

Today we’re going to take a look at a pair of headphones that looks quite similar. Like the a-JAYs ONE+ they have a flat tangle free cable, include a number of different ear cups so that you can get the best fit and have an in-line microphone and audio controller. But unlike the aforementioned headphones these are priced at over $120 and, more significantly, they sound fantastic. Add in the fact that there is no issue when the 3.5 mm headphone jack is rotated while connected to an audio source AND they come with the cool carrying case and you have a pair of headphones that have truly impressed me. The headphones come from SMS audio and are the Street by 50 Cent” edition.

The headphones come in either shadow black or ghost white and have a rather striking and unique look. What would you expect from headphones that carry a rapper’s name?

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Here’s how the company describes them:

Bring your music with you anywhere you go and enjoy it the way it was intended to be heard. Featuring a professionally tuned 11 mm driver and ergonomically designed for crystal-clear sound and pure comfort. The headphones feature professionally tuned 11 mm drivers, crystal-clear sound, ergonomically designed Apple controlled with Mike and volume control, reinforced cables, and gold-plated connectors.

They even come with a message from 50 Cent:

If you’re reading this, you must have excellent taste electronics so I don’t need to say too much but here’s a quick note about why I decided to make my own line of luxury on here and in your headphones by S&S audio.

First: sound quality. I like my music to sound the same home around the city or on the road as it does the studio

Second: style. Fashion and luxury are important to me from head to toe, my accessories should accept my style, not detract from it

Third: comfort. On the road as much as I am, I like to be as comfortable as possible. These in your headphones are ergonomically designed for superior comfort fit.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do-I have a pair with me at all times so I never have to be far away from the music I enjoy.

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So here’s the thing- I’m not a huge fan of headphones which are advertised through some entertainer’s endorsement. Honestly, it doesn’t count for much with me. Add in the fact that I’m not a huge fan of rap and the endorsement of 50 Cent means nothing to me. (Sarcasm alert: “Oooh, 50 Cent got paid to say he likes these headphones! That’s more than enough for me. Where’s my credit card so I can spend over $120…”)

Sarcasm aside, I love these headphones. They look sharp, are incredibly comfortable, stay in my ears without the added weight or pressure of ear loops and, perhaps most importantly, they sound terrific. I’ve been using them for well over a month on and off and I keep coming back to them. The reason is quite simple- they’re awesome.

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The tangle free cable is heavy enough to stay untangled but is light enough that it doesn’t pull on the earbuds while wearing them. The music controller is minimalistic and does only as much as I needed to do. But it does what I need it to do and that is enough. In fact, I appreciate the minimalist approach because it means I don’t have to think when reaching to change the track or the volume.

The sound is superior. I’ve used headphones that run well over $200 and while one can easily hear the difference between a $50 pair of headphones and a $200 plus pair of headphones, these $120 buds are up there with the best of what I have tried. That says a lot and is why I can recommend them without hesitation. So long as you don’t mind the shiny black earbuds with a bright accents these will be right up your alley. That noted, there is a caveat that holds for this review as well as for any and all reviews we do have headphones.

While with Ford in Dearborn Michigan for Ford’s GoFurther 2012 I had the chance to spend some time with  Geoffrey Morrison of CNET and Sound+Visionmagazine (among others, the guy is quite prolific) and he made a good case for headphones being among the most subjective electronics available. As Geoff pointed out, when it comes to earbuds in specific and headphones in general our ears are part of the “speaker”. The ear canal, how we wear the earbuds and the shape of our ear will all impact the way the sound moves from the small speaker toward our eardrum. As a result, headphones that sound great to me may not sound nearly as good to you.


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Oh, and the included carrying case… it’s a really nice addition and it works quite well.

One final thought. As I said at the beginning of this review, I’m not so impressed when entertainers endorse products. It certainly doesn’t make the product more or less attractive to me. That noted, I wonder how much less these headphones would be if they didn’t carry 50 Cent’s endorsement and include that lovely message stated earlier in this review. :-)

You can get details and ordering information here on the product page.

MSRP: $119.95

What I Like: Well-made; Stay in the ear nicely; In-line controller; Flat, tangle-free cable; Sound great; Under $120

What Needs Improvement: 50 Cent’s endorsement? Who cares?!?!?!

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