Best List: Avanti On-Ear Headphones by Moshi
I like the convenience of carrying earbuds in my pocket, but I’ve never liked jamming them in my ears. I love the sound of full-size headphones, but not the bulk.
I’ve discovered a happy middle ground. Moshi’s new $200 Avanti On-Ear Headphones are lightweight, folding headphones that sit atop your ears, not in them or over them.
They’re like a pair of soft pillowy hamburger buns that sound pretty darn great.
I’ve got to admit: it wasn’t love at first sight. Unlike the Grain headphones, which envelope the ear, the Avanti felt too light. It took me awhile to get used to the on-ear design. I didn’t like the feel of the earpads sitting on top of my ears instead of covering them. It felt a bit, well, naked and exposed.
But I had no qualms about their lightweight and easy portability. Unlike full-size headphones, the Avanti take up a lot less room in my bag, especially folded up on themselves, which they do with a pleasing ratchet mechanism.
The headphones are well-made. The earpads are made of soft vegan leather. They are angled to provide a close fit that’s not too tight. The stainless-steel headband is light, but not flimsy. There’s an in-line control with a single button and a microphone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include volume controls.
The headphones are designed to be worn for long periods. I found them easy to wear. Weighing just under six ounces, and once adjusted, I almost forget they were there — except for the sound, of course.
So how do they sound?
The Avanti sound pretty great to my ears.
They feature high-resolution 40-mm neodymium drivers that deliver frequency response of 15 – 22,000Hz (-10dB@1kHz). The commonly stated range of human hearing is 20Hz to 20kHz.
The sound is clear with detailed mids and a warm but not booming bass. It’s bright and detailed. It might be too bright for some, but I found it appropriate for long listening sessions in cafes and on walks. It didn’t exhaust my ears.
I tried the Avanti head-to-head with a pair of Oppo PM-3 headphones, which reviewers on Amazon love and The Wirecutter picks as the best over-the-ear headphones under $400. They stood up pretty well. The bass isn’t as strong, and the Oppos overall sound richer and warmer, but they’re also twice the price.
Moshi makes good quality products at affordable prices. Moshi’s chargers and cases have always been well-made and good value. The company even offers a free headphone burn-in tool to help exercise the drivers to reach optimal sound quality. There’s an Avanti-specific option.
The Avanti headphones are well-constructed, stylish and easy to carry around. Like the Italians say — “Avanti! Let’s go!”
Avanti headphones launch on Tuesday. Available in Caramel Beige or Burgundy Red, they retail for $200.