Coming in just slightly ahead of the Quincy Jones Q 701s is Jay-Z's entry into the headphone game, the Aviators by Skullcandy/Roc Nation. The Aviators are aptly named, looking like they were beamed out of the cockpit of a PBY Catalina, or at least a Conwing L-16. They're unique looking, but I for one find them really cool.
Brent and Will both rated these second. Brent felt the overall balance was pleasing. The mids, he felt, were relatively uncolored, while the bass was a little heavy and boomy (though this only bothered him on jazz tracks). Highs were "somewhat steely and unrefined — i.e., cymbals sound like they’re made from steel instead of brass." He liked the styling too, saying that even as a middle-aged guy, he'd happily wear these on a plane. He also liked the value, tying as they did for cheapest in our roundup.
Will, on the other hand, didn't like the design, feeling that he tended to "separate music from art pieces." He also felt the plastic looked cheap, and the "brass" bits looked like if you touched them too much they'd tarnish. He liked the sound though, finding them nicely balanced, with distinct and crisp highs. The bass didn't go as deep as some of the others, he felt. Turning up the volume past 75% became like "only turning up the treble."
Lauren didn't like the Aviators as much as the rest of us, ranking them 4th. She felt the cable would get tangled if you just looked at it wrong, and thought they were really heavy on the bass and that made them sound a bit muffled.
I felt the largely the same as Lauren, that they sounded a bit dull, with a bit too much bass that lacked any definition. My praise was limited to "not offensive." Yeah, it bears repeating: I didn't really like any of these.
If you like the interbellum design, the Aviators are a capable, comfortable headphone with a pretty reasonable price. "Not bad" may not seem like strong praise, but in this group, it's bordering on hyperbole.
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