Review: Wicked Audio Shred In-Ear Headphones | iLounge

Review

Review: Wicked Audio Shred In-Ear Headphones

C+
Average

Company: Wicked Audio

Model: Shred Wireless for Men

Price: $55

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Guido Gabriele

We recently reviewed the Endo, a Bluetooth on-ear headphone aimed at the young and sporty. Next up from the prolific Wicked Audio is one of their Bluetooth Sport IEMs: the Shred Wireless for Men. The Shred Wireless comes in two versions — "Shred Wireless For Men", and "Shred Wireless for Women." From Wicked's website, it appears that the only difference between these two models is the color — the Men's version comes in a black/red colorway, and the Women's version comes in a white/teal colorway (this strikes us as a little strange, but we'll let you decide). Both models come with a reflective cable, metal housing, and convenient magnetic feature that keeps them secure when they're not in your ears — all nice for a sport headphone.

For sport headphones, a secure fit is essential not only for isolation, but also just to keep the headphones from falling out during a workout. In addition to a charging cable and alligator clip, the Shred Wireless ships with an array of silicone accessories to ensure a good fit — three sizes of silicone in-ear tips and three sets of silicone wings (including a unique U-shaped set). We found it easy enough to get the Shred to stay put, even with its rather large control pod hanging from our right ear — the pod is light, but takes up a lot of volume, so it’s prone to getting stuck on shirt collars.

Wicked touts the Shred’s “rugged metal housing” as a feature. The driver housings are metal, but they’re knurled, which is a puzzling choice for an in-ear headphone. Knurling is a process that increases grip, but it’s far from gentle on skin — knurling is used for metal tools on hands, not for the delicate skin inside your ears. We admit that we’ve panned headphones that feature faux knurling in the past, but we can’t say that we like it’s application to in-ear headphones. Whether this knurling is a purely aesthetic feature (they will look weathered as they age) or designed to add more grip to to the Shred as it sits in the ear, we would have preferred a less abrasive material — perhaps rubberized aluminum?

The Shred’s controls are housed in a pod on the right end of its reflective cable. Compared to other Bluetooth headphones we’ve tried, the Shred’s control pod is very large — almost comically so — though it’s substantial size and widely-spaces buttons may make it better suited for use with gloves or while running. As with the Endo on-ear headphone we reviewed last week, the Shred’s controls are essentially reversed from what we’re used to — short-pressing top and bottom buttons changes tracks, while long-pressing and holding the buttons changes volume. We think that this goes beyond a matter of preference — it really doesn’t make sense given the way most people use their headphones.

The sound signature of the Shred Wireless is also similar to the Endo, in that it has a substantial bass boost that we found a touch excessive. It’s most apparent with male voices, which are made overly deep by the Shred. We’d normally chalk this up to a matter of preference, but the bass boost comes somewhat at the expense of midrange definition — though this can be fun with hip-hop, there were some tracks where vocals sound a little bit “AM radio” for our tastes.

The Wicked Audio Shred is far from perfect, but we think its features and sound signature will have an appeal with its target market. However, those who are looking for a simple sweatproof IEM for workouts could probably find a basic — though less rugged — headphone at a lower price.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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