Company: BigR Audio
Compatible: All iPods, iPhones, iPads
BigR Audio Crooks & Castles XL-CC1 + Hellz XL-HB1 Headphones
As the latest venture from part of the team behind the late, great speaker and video dock manufacturer Sonic Impact, BigR Audio's new line of "reference headphones" ($149 each) has been built from the start to capitalize on recent trends in co-branding and fashionable design. The huge -- seriously huge -- headphones look and feel inspired by the plasticy, sorta edgy Skullcandy style, with a female-friendly Hellz-branded version (XL-HB1) that comes in pink and black, and a Crooks & Castles guys version (XL-CC1) that's all black and even chunkier. On the plus side, the headphones are interestingly packaged inside of beautifully custom-etched bamboo boxes that open and shut with magnetic closures, coming with black carrying bags for use when you're not at home, and they use flat, tangle-free cords with integrated three-button remote controls and microphones. Unfortunately, the headphones' 57mm drivers are pretty inefficient and hollow at lower than 65% volume levels, suffer from a Chinese factory smell, have somewhat uncomfortable headband padding, and use oddly-shaped, case-unfriendly headphone plugs. We're big fans of Sonic Impact's past licensed products, so we're pretty confident that BigR Audio can and will improve over time -- these are hopefully just the start of something bigger and better.