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November 14, 2012 • Reviews

OrigAudio Designears Custom Noise-Reducing Headphones Review

Back in college, I had a part-time job at Best Buy. In addition to being awesome simply because I was a geek and it was an electronics store, they also offered a fantastic employee discount. I bought a pair of oversize noise-canceling headphones, and I used them until they fell to pieces. I had quite the soft spot for them, so when OrigAudio offered us the chance to review Designears, personalizable noise reducing headphones, I jumped at the chance!

From OrigAudio:

Designears support the notion that OrigAudio has always stood behind: Why be the same, when you can be different. You have a unique personality, and now your music does too! They are your ears, you design them.

Designears custom headphones features:

– Full stereo sound with noise reduction technology

– Volume control and a single headphone cord to reduce tangling

– Fully customizable exterior with your own artwork, photos, or graphics

– Full digital color printing on a plastic base color of your choice

– Soft cushioned earcups for extra comfort

– Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz

– Hard exterior travel case included with your order

– Works with ANY device that has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack: iPods, iPhones, Droids, laptops, blackberrys, etc.

The Designears are typical headphones with a twist. Most headphones are basic black or some other simple color and design, but with Designears you can personalize the band and ear cups with your own artwork or photographs. The idea sounded good in theory, and the reality makes it look even better. The design isn’t just printed on with a sticker, it’s printed on vinyl embedded on the headphones. It is hard to describe, but the overall effect means these headphones don’t scream “cheap ‘make your own’ design”-these look like someone mass-produced and planned for the design. There’s always a certain fear with design your own type accessories, but the Designears look and feel great. The sample headphones we received had an ocean theme, and the colors and details showed up nice and sharp.

More important than looks, how well do the headphones sound? I am not an audiophile, and in fact my hearing is not terribly great. Despite this, I can hear nice and clear with the Designears. Bass comes through strong, and vocals have nice clarity even at lower volumes. There is definitely a noise dampening effect, though they don’t block all external noise. However, I stood next to the washing machine while it was running, and with the headphones on (no music playing) the sound of the wash was significantly muted. It wasn’t gone, but it was definitely lessened immensely. Likewise, I wore these while walking my dog, and found that I couldn’t clearly hear cars going by, so use your judgement when wearing them outside!

I do have one quibble with the headphones. The controls are limited to a simple thumb dial for volume control, which is handy, but there’s no forward or back buttons. When $20.00 headphones have playback controls, it’s a flaw that $69.99 headphones skip them.

Despite my complaint about the lack of controls on the headphones themselves, I like the Designears quite a bit. They are built well, sound great, and the customizable design breaks them free from the ordinary. You can get a pair of boring noise canceling headphones for $70, or you can get a pair of fun, stylish, customized ones, complete with a really nice carrying case. These are cute and fun, and would make a great holiday gift!

MSRP: $69.99 from OrigAudio, includes custom image on ear cups and headband

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What I liked: Sounds great; looks classy; comfortable to wear for long periods of time; keeps your ears warm on cold days

What Needs Improvement: No playback controls on the headphone cord

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