Back in June we reviewed the SMS Audio Street by 50 Wired Headphones. (Read the review.) I was impressed by both the comfort and the sound. I summarized them with “What I Like: Well-made; Stay in the ear nicely; In-line controller; Flat, tangle-free cable; Sound great”. Since then SMS Audio has greatly expanded their offerings which now include their SMS STREET by 50 DJ over-the-ear headphones. They are big, bold and make a statement. I’ve been using a pair for the last few weeks, so let’s take a look.
I’m usually a fan of in-ear or on-ear headphones more than I am he over-the-ear style. But after reviewing the Harman Kardon Bluetooth Wireless Over-Ear Headphones (read the review), my preferences have been changing. I enjoy the sound isolation over-the-ear headphones provide. Add in the fact that the over-the-ear models I have used are pretty high-end and… well, what’s not to like?
Judie recently reviewed the The Monster Inspiration Active Noise-Canceling Headphones. (Read the review.) At $350 those headphones are $50 MORE than these. At the time Judie wrote the following:
Why should $350 seem like so much money to someone who has grown jaded about dropping insane amounts of money on mobile phones and other electronic devices over the years? I’m not exactly sure. But at some point past $250, they crossed a certain threshold for me. For me to ever be able to justify purchasing a pair of headphones such as these, I’d need to feel compelled to use them (because they were that good, not just because they cost that much), so they’d needed to live up to more than just a few expectations.
Ultimately they did live up to expectations. Judie concluded “They are not cheap, but they may be the best headphones I have ever used.”
The same question, “Are these headphones worth the high price?”, can be asked about these headphones. At $300, would I put down my own cash to buy a pair? Or is the price too pricey?
Let’s dig a bit deeper and see.
From SMS Audio:
The STREET by 50 Pro DJ headphone is here and you won’t be disappointed. With two detachable cords (one for making phone calls, and a coiled DJ cord for extra length and durability), easy folding hinges and rotating ear cups this DJ Pro model is just right for the DJ in all of us. Throw in enhanced bass and ultra plush memory foam ear pads, you can spin away in the club for hours on hours. Once you’re done, fold these up and protect them in the included hard shell carry case.
The SMS STREET by 50 DJ feature professionally tuned 40mm drivers, professional studio sound, passive noise cancellation (which means that they cover your ear and block sound), easy folding hinges, a removable coiled DJ cord, a removable cable with 3-click mic and more.
Inside the box, which was heavy-duty and impressive in and of itself, were:
a football… I mean… a protective case
a removable cable with mic
a removable coiled DJ cord
a 1/4 inch adapter
a soft touch cleaning cloth
an owners manual and product brochure
My first impression of the headphones was that they are sturdy. That was my second impression as well.
The hinges and size slide adjustment are metal.
The earpieces and headband are made from heavy-duty plastic. The headband is lined with leather; the ear cushions are, too.
The overall look and feel of the SMS STREET by 50 DJ headphones is one of quality; at $299 it should be.
The headphones come with a football-shaped case. But while the headphones do fold up they are still rather large even when folded. These AREN’T the kind of headphones you’ll want to take if you are traveling light.
Oddly enough, the case doesn’t have a storage spot for the cables. I’m not quite sure why, but the absence of a such a slot make things a bit sloppy when packing headphones and cable into the case.
While the headphones are sure to grab attention, I couldn’t help but be appreciative that when designing these headphones there was a clear decision to impress without adding too much bling.
One minor downside of the excellent build-quality is the fact that the headphones are heavy. Elana put them on, and that was the first thing she said. My mother-in-law did similarly. And while the weight didn’t both me initially, I do find that when listening for an extended period of time my ears do begin to hurt bit. Although this issue may be more attributable to the fact that the openings for your ears are a bit smaller than they are on, say, the Harman Kardon headphones I reviewed.
So how do the headphones actually sound? In a word… fantastic. The sound is rich, full, and there’s a ton of bass. Thanks to the noise isolation, the experience when listening to music with the headphones is immersive; best of all it, didn’t matter what style of music I was listening to — it all sounded great.
Alexi Murdoch’s Breathe sounded more haunting than ever before, as his voice literally seemed to sit in front of the guitar and other instruments.
Iggy Pop’s Let’s Boot and Rally popped more than I remembered.
On Storm Large’s Beautiful, the guitar cut through and gave the song extra atmosphere.
And Late Night Alumni’s In the Ashes, which intentionally begins with a scratchiness that today’s post LP kids won’t ever know, was more impactful than usual.
Overall the experience of listening was greatly enhanced by the headphones, and for the price it should be. Now if I could only get them to stop hurting my ears…
You can learn more and place an order on the product page.
MSRP: $299.95 USD
What I Like: Great build-quality; Two types of included cords; Cords plug into either ear cup; Great sound
What Needs Improvement: Pricey; After using for a period of time, the ear cups hurt my ears a bit