THE phenomenal commercial success of the Beats by Dre range of headphones and earphones in recent years highlights a growing appetite for headsets that are affordable yet which offer sufficient premiums in terms of sound performance and design so as to become fashion accessories.
Nutz Pro Headphones
Gaudy though they may be in the eyes of some, their ubiquity is a masterstroke of marketing by Beats Audio and has encouraged a host of likeminded firms to follow suit in recent years.
Nutz, the latest entrant in an increasingly crowded marketplace, has some pedigree with the high-end of the industry, boasting a managing director who worked at Scottish audio royalty, Linn. Indeed, quality is the main theme of the new company’s push, billing itself as a “luxury headphone brand.” It is not an uncommon claim for a newcomer to make, although on first appearances, it is evident that the firm’s Nutz Pro range is out to grab your attention.
Available in a spectrum of 13 colours, our review unit came in a piercing electric blue that gave the headset a robust and red-blooded appearance. The design is influenced by the aesthetics of Beats By Dre and is a style that will not to be the tastes of everyone. However, Nutz have done a good job of creating a distinctive and bold looking pair of headphones without feeling the need to be brash.
The striking design of the headset gives the impression that it will be weighty to wear, yet the reverse is true. The moulded exterior and memory foam pads ensure the set is light without ever feeling flimsy and it remains extremely comfortable for long, extended plays. On the move, however, the one major design flaw in the headset is evident. In spite of its sturdy construction, the looped headband of the Nutz Pro cannot be folded or disassembled for easy storage, meaning it can be cumbersome to carry around when not in use.
Sonically, the set is well equalised and delivers a pleasing and complementary mix of bass, mid and treble. The bass is intense yet always regulated in David Bowe’s Jean Genie, played through an HTC One S (with its in-build Beats Audio function turned off) while the central guitar riff never overwhelms Mick Woodmansey’s percussion. The mix is not perfect and does not reflect the top-end headphone market Nutz wishes to be part of. For the price, though, the performance is more than passable and the equal of some headsets with a price tag of £150 and above.
It will be interesting to what other ranges Nutz has to offer in the months ahead. Its Pro range (a wireless version is also available for £179) may not reach the exalted levels of the manufacturers it aspires to keep company with, but they are a solid and satisfying choice for those who wish to make a statement while listening to music on the move.