A nice vinyl collection is really only as good as the sound system that it’s being played through. Respectable stereo systems can set you back thousands of dollars, which is why most people build their systems gradually. But how will you listen to your records until then?
Headphones are an affordable solution to bridge that gap between your turntable and your ears. But just like any other consumer product, not all phones are created equal. This brings us to today’s Phaz P2 headphones. Are they good? Absolutely. But how do they stack up with their competitors?
Phaz has created a pretty cool concept with their innovative lineup of cans. To get right down to it, a built-in amplifier powers the substantial 40mm drivers found in each ear cup. Energized by a 1200 mAh Lithium Ion battery, these headphones boost low output signals produced by mobile devices in order to deliver a much more dramatic and complete sound spectrum. The size of the drivers offer true full-rang reproduction that is sweet and exciting.
For those who aren’t satisfied with the amount of bass you are given, there is a 15db bass boost that is surprisingly not as muddy as many headphones I’ve auditioned. This is at least partially due to the precisely tuned size of the ear cups. The bass isn’t quite as tight as the Beats models that I’ve heard, but honestly, that seems to be about the only thing Beats does right for their price.
There’s no noise cancellation, but I’m not actually too upset about that. I don’t buy $200 headphones in order to listen to music where there’s a lot of ambient noise. That kind of defeats the point of great audio to begin with. Find a quiet room in your house, relax, and let the sounds of your favorite music take control. A tranquil atmosphere is part of your listening experience. It’s gimmick-driven companies like Bose who convinced people that they needed crap like noise cancellation in the first place.
[When I was a kid, noise cancellation was achieved by turning the volume up louder.]
Probably the most unique aspect of Phaz P2’s is their ability to act as a phone charger. You heard that right. If you’re on the go and find that your phone or other mobile device has a dead battery, you can connect them to your headphones for a charge. The only drawback is that while using the charging feature, you’re not able to use the internal amplifier to listen to your music in HD. But since this page is geared toward vinyl, and not portable electronics, it’s kind of a moot point.
For anyone interested in long session listening, comfort is a must. A great sounding set of phones that hurt your ears, neck, or simply give you discomfort of any kind, need to be redesigned. Any level of physical vexation is a distraction and degrades the overall quality of the musical enjoyment. That’s why Phaz put so much emphasis on using lightweight materials and even discovering the optimum amount of pressure in order to keep the headphones in place without inconvenience.
I’ve been quite impressed with the P2’s audio quality. When listening to MP3 audio, I found that the mid-range frequencies were a bit overpowering while the highs had a brittle sound. However, when I donned the 1/4″ adapter and plugged them into my B&K Components CS-117 preamp that I typically use to drive my turntables, I was more than pleased. The bass and treble ranges were both beefed up to match the already robust mids, as well as the overall clarity. But where I was most impressed was the wide soundstage. This goes to prove once again vinyl’s audible superiority over MP3.
How does Phaz P2 compare with other headphones?
I must answer this question in two parts. First we will look at how they compare to other headphones of similar MSRP, and then we’ll focus on the actual price.
When Phaz first introduced P2, they gave them an MSRP of $249 and were pushing retailers to sell them around the $200 mark. While I can’t necessarily say that these headphones aren’t worth that two bills, I will point out that their lack of name recognition may not have done them enough justice to garner the attention needed to sell well at that price point. That being said, they sound better than some $300 Ultimate Ears that I’ve auditioned, and FAR better than my Father’s $250 Bose phones (not at all surprising). But Bose has name recognition, and even Ultimate Ears is used as in-ear stage monitors by numerous professional musicians. Perhaps Phaz should have taken a note from Monster Audio and struck a deal with a sports apparel brand like Adidas in order to make their product more marketable amongst the average consumer who is easily duped by misleading branding. But I actually applaud them for not stooping to that level.
As for part two of this answer, when you look online these days, these headphones are being sold around $100. When compared to other phones in that range, these are heads above the rest. Basically, you’re getting a pair of cans worth $200+ for half the cost. At this price point, why not take a chance and scoop them up, if for nothing more than pure curiosity?
Phaz P2 is a quality headphone that when used with proper audio gear will impress any entry-level, as well as some mid-level listeners. They are comfortable, well-engineered, and sound very good at their $200 price point. At their $100 price point, you’d be extremely hard-pressed to find a better sounding set of phones.
Check out the P2’s and Phaz’s other models for yourself here: