Saturday, 3 December 2016

Bluedio Victory Bluetooth and Optical Headphone Review by mark2410

Bluedio Victory Bluetooth and Optical Headphone Review by mark2410

Thanks to Bluedio for the sample.

First Impressions:  Hmmm now I’m looking at the specs of this and crazy just doesn’t even come close.  These have all of the things.  First of all let’s go with the Bluetooth and Optical descriptor I’ve given them.  So they have Bluetooth, nothing super weird about that.  They also have a normal wired ability, again nothing weird there.  Then it has an optical input, yes an optical input.  I have never heard of anything having that before never mind having seen something with it.  Oh but the crazy doesn’t stop there, they have, just have a guess how many drivers?  Go on guess.  You’ll be wrong.  These have a total of 12.  That isn’t a typo, it has twelve drivers.  6 on each ear.  That is insane, just balls to the wall madness.  Which I don’t know if I think its insanity is genius or psychotic.  I mean 6 drivers in each ear, I, well I can’t find the words, it is just wow, good or bad wow I can’t yet say.

On the ears and first off these are rather bass centric.  Heavy, god it’s got a fair bump deep down low too.   Lol these are going to be an extravaganza of crazy town levels of delirium.  Lol. Cursum Perficio playing and good lord that’s some thunderous, monstrous low end at work.  If you hate mountains of bass then these aren’t for you.  The rest of the spectrum, there is a certain slight diffuseness at work.  Detail levels are very good but that slightly diffuse character creates a faintly open separation.  It’s a strange quality.  It’s curious, detail but it’s not direct and tangible, it adds a space and open like character yet having an enclosed sound signature with that bass and the weight of the vocals.  Distance and a slightly ethereal trait yet heavy.  Very strange. 

Source: Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5 and Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.  For Bluetooth mostly Nexus 5 and Lumia 735.  Additionally they also were their own source from an optical feed and USB feed.

Lows:  Lol, vastness extraordinaire.  They are not just bass monsters, not just bass cannons but bass howitzers.  They are vast and seriously powerful.  They can thump so hard with such a mountain of bass that its oppressive.  The scale is just insanity, vast and unending power in such a ridiculous abundance.  Lol its mental.  If this was my only headphone I’d have real problems with the quantity here, its crazy stuff but there is something so giddy and off the wall it’s hilariously entertaining.  It’s just so awe inspiring.  What’s more is that if you can try to put aside its vastness its quality is actually pretty good too.  I mean it could be harder and it could be more articulate but not at this quantity.  What’s more is that if you get a track with not a lot of bass, it goes away too, it’s not some ever present morass of bass there whether it should be or not.  These feel  I bit like a secret guilty pleasure.

Now the quantity thing.  Yeah they are huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggeeeeeeeeeeeeee.  There is no way around that, would either wasn’t all, and I do really mean all of the bass or you don’t.  if you don’t, these probably aren’t for you.  New if you slap on some Streisand the bass will be relatively diminutive but keep in mind the second you egg on that bass, provoke it into action it will act with astonishing violence.

Mids:  Actually, they are really pretty good.  While there is that stupendous bass driver ponding away there is I think, one dedicated mid driver.  While if I tuned them I’d bump it up a bit in quantity there is no getting away from the fact the quality is pretty good.  I would have liked a little more dryness, exploit that special diffuse quality more.  These are direct, a little heavy, buttery, and quite detailed.  Honestly its weird, they are so geed but I guess dedicated drivers can do that, it’s not having to worry about the bass production so the mids can be a good as they like without encumberment.  Flicking over to the Vinyl’s and the mid-range isn’t on its own too different, yet the bass difference in huge.  The bass is so huge, so unbelievably huge that the mids I keep wanting to bump up and forward yet that bass becomes brain liquefying.  So I find I’m in a bit of two minds.  The mids are capable but they don’t really get the chance to shine.  Hmm I do like the mids but they don’t have the energy I want.

So in quantitative terms they can be reasonably prominent but they are so weighted by all that butter.  Pleasing it maybe but there is a real heaviness at work and it therefore cant stretch its wings and rise about that bass.  It’s all so weighed down.

Highs:  Curious.  You see there must be what, 4 drivers in each ear that does the treble yet the treble quantity is suspiciously diminutive.  I mean there are so many drivers that must be doing treble then why is so lacking in quantity?  I mean it’s not like I’m some treble head that needs vast amounts of brightness but here it’s so hidden.  There should be lots of treble, endlessly shimmering treble with those 4 drivers to work with.  There isn’t which I find most curious.  Now don’t get me wrong I’d be the first one to complain if there were tons of treble but I just find myself thinking, why 4 drivers?  I won’t bash the quality levels that are here, though it is a little but lacking for the price but it seems inappropriate to.  These with their insane number of input options seem to counter that and while at the moment I’m optical less (computer died) these are something.  Lol that bass for one is crazy and the treble does its best to shimmer along best it can, keeping things on track for the most part.

Still in raw quantity terms it could de with a bump up.

Soundstage:  Weird. While for the most part it’s a closed experience yet there is a faintly diffuse something going on that means I can’t quite put my finger on where things are coming from.  Closed still because that bass could only be from a closed headphone but something, there is a something that I can only assume is the work of all those drivers.  Weird, but fun and interesting.

Comfort:  Well they are big weighty beasts and these they do clamp a little snugly to keep them on you.  So if you wear for hours at a time your ears, well mine did anyway, get a little squished.  Not sore or anything but after a couple hours a break was nice to let the ears have a bit of a breather.

Fit:  No problems.  They are a big heavy but on they went fine with no issues to speak of.

Cable:  Well. This may roll on a bit.  The normal cable, the 3.5 to 3.5 male to male one with the 6.25 adapter on the end worked just great.  It’s partially coiled too so that was nice, a big serious cable it is too.  Then we have no cable, Bluetooth, that worked great too, paired easy, no issues and the touch sensitive controls on the side come into play and they worked fine.  Though I must confess it was weird at first.  Then we have the USB socket, yes not only can you charge the things by it but you can pump audio through it as well!!!  Then if that wasn’t enough you have the most bizarre one.  Optical.  Yes you can connect them optically.  These must be the only headphones on earth that can do that right?  Basically the Victory’s are their own DAC and amp which if you have a laptop with on board audio then your likely best off using anything other than its own 3.5mm out as most laptop outputs suck horribly.  These get completely around that issue in the most convenient and varied ways.

Battery:  The battery quoted times are interesting.  Talk time and Bluetooth music playback is rated at 25 hours yet optical playback is 40.  That means the Bluetooth circuitry and transmitter eats up a fair chunk of that  battery then doesn’t it.  Naturally the USB playback has no rated life as USB supplies power!  Yey.  Now the standby time is a 1000 hours so I’m just going to take their word for it because there is no way I’m checking that.

Isolation:  Rather good.  These are big sealed, squishy padded and snugly fitted.  These rather seal nicely and thus they isolate well.  You know not that I’m sure I’d want to use these beasts out and about but you totally can if you want and not have people wanting to kill you.  Flights in a pinch would be okay maybe.  Naturally these will easily block out normal traffic so please do look where you’re going if your using them.

Build Quality:  These are expensive and they are built like tanks.  They are big and heavy beasts these feel extremely solid.  Of course at £300 so they should.  Big tough old monsters.  Visually and to the touch they feel impeccable too.  A little pleathery over kill on the headband maybe but it’s all soft n squishy comfy.

Aesthetics:  Hmm I like them most of the time.  They are big chunky things yet the pleather headband on the outside is soft.  It’s not quite in keeping with their weighty beastliness so I want that to be hard, but it is lovely and soft to the touch.  Hmm they are all fine looking but I dunno, they aren’t quite doing it for me. 

Phone Use:  Well I had them running over Bluetooth and a call came in.  it all worked as it was supposed to and I could be heard pretty well.  A little bit distant as is usual when the mics up by your ear.  I of course heard them perfectly.

Amped/Unamped:  Well running off their own steam they worked great, off a beefy amp that bass just got crazy.  Wild and brutal, like being hit by a charging rhino, they impacted hard and just ploughed right through everything.  The power there is just silly, just crazy.  Also to note that the volume control on USB is super sensitive.  I never got past 12% on the windows volume output.  I could have pushed a little higher but I didn’t want to.  For the love of god make sure you start them playing with the volume all the way down.  In short there are not meant to be used with an amp, they are meant to be their own DAC and their awn amp, use them that way.

Accessories:  Lots.  You get that case which I like then there was the normal cable but with a coil and a built in 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter. Then a micro USB cable to charge and play over.  Then there is that crazy optical cable.  That still kills me, headphones with an optical cable.  Then you have their button controls.  Okay se they aren’t really an accessory but I don’t know where they belong so it’s going here.  You have controls, not totally unusual but there are all touch sensitive gesture controls.  Seriously did Bluedio just go looking for every bit of tech they could throw into these?  Those controls at first I thought on I’m not going to like them.  Touch controls that I can’t see what I’m doing, oh no I won’t like that.  Yet I did, they actually became incredibly easy to use and worked really well. Not what I expected but really interesting stuff.  Oh and speaking of buttons, a hardware on of for Bluetooth, yey, no accidently leaving on and draining the battery.

Value:  Well for £300 they are pretty expensive.  The thing is at that price I wouldn’t really want such a bombastic bass response, I don’t care how good they are, they are tuned in a way I’d have a bit of trouble with.  What saves them though is the inputs.  Come on they have an optical input!!!  That’s just madness right there.  Now if you think of these as not a £300 pair of headphones but a £300 bundle of headphone, DAC and amp then its value for money rises significantly.  For the money you get everything which isn’t bad for 300 is it?

N.B.  It seems these have been brutally hacked in price, right now and I don’t know for how long.  Right now it’s at £130 or US$180 in the Black Friday sale.

Conclusion:  Ahh the Victory’s are a quite mad product.  I’m not totally sure its good mad, its wild and fun for sure, wow that bass is stupendously vigorous.  It’s got great clarity despite all that bass and it’s got a beautifully diffuse something going on up top too which I like.  Yet that bass, good lordy these couldn’t be my only headphone.  Oh good god no, they are wild like mad thing to be wheeled out for special occasions.  Still for all that bass I do find I rather like these.  Now I do think 12 drivers is a little bit silly but…… that faintly diffuse thing they have going on is really rather interesting.  I know saying interesting isn’t that helpful but I’m not sure what other word to use, it’s just so oddly different yet delicate.  It creates in some ways an almost open backed type feel yet they are in other acoustic terms so obviously sealed, its contradictory and weird.

Downside wise, there is two things.  The cost and the bass.  The cost is because if you want to use these are a normal headphone, half of what you’re paying for you aren’t using.  The DAC and amp in there are eating a chunk of that price tag.  The bass, now that is a preference thing.  At this price range I expect a more refined, mature sound and these are wild beasts.  If you want a heap ton of bass then have at it, they are epically crazy.  For me I want it to behave more politely, be less potent.  Yet they are nicely detailed and can do non bass centric music nicely yet when a bass track comes on it blows you away.  So I’m not sure if it really counts as a down side but I think I have to raise it as an issue, its bass is so scaled it’s a potential issue for many.

So would I / should you buy one?  M, I have no idea, it’s mad, it’s fun and killing me yet there’s something I like about it.  Like a super sour sweety, I hate it but there is something appealing and I keep coming back for more.  You?  Well do you want all that bass and do you want its Bluetooth/own amp and DAC being optical or USB connection yourself?  Seriously, the thing has an optical input!!!  What other headphone can say that?  Also I do rather like the touch controls, there is clearly a serious amount of tech gone into making these with their insane 12 drivers and freaking optical input.  Its wild, it’s crazy, it’s not cheap but the thing is the most balls to wall crazy headphone I’ve ever met!!! 

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