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Vivanco SR 222 S

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      06.02.2012 19:17
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      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      Quality headphones that won't break the bank

      I've had these Vivanco headphones for about eight years now. While I'm not a big music person, I like to keep a pair of reasonable quality headphones in the house for listening to music through my computer and for plugging into my guitar amplifier (so as not to annoy the neighbours!)

      The design
      At first glance the Vivanco SR 222 headphones look like a farily conventional over-ear (circumaural) design. The outside of the ear pads and the base of the headband are made of silver plastic, while the inside of each ear pad is made of a velvet-type material that feels very comfortable against your ear. Each ear pad has a sizeable 'air space' that allows sound to reverberate more as it travels through the headphones, thus improving the quality of the bass output. The most inventive design feature is the headband, which has a strong 'outer ring' and a cushioned 'inner ring' that sits directly against the top of your head. This means that while the headphones feel very durable, they're also very close-fitting which maximises the sound quality. A dedicated volume control is situated on a little 'pod' on the headphone cable and the 3.5mm stereo jack plug is gold-plated so it shouldn't ever need replacing.

      Sound quality
      For £26 you don't get the kind of sound quality you'd expect from noise-cancelling headphones. However, they produce such a rich and nuanced sound that I've never considered trading them in for a more expensive model. On the other hand, I would recommend using the dedicated volume control to regulate the volume where possible (as opposed to your mp3, CD player etc) because it gives the most balanced sound. For example, adjusting the sound with my laptop's volume control makes music sound far too bass-heavy for some reason. While I always get a small amount of interference when I adjust the volume using the headphone control, it's worth it for the sound quality you eventually get.

      Practicality
      While these headphones are very light, their size means that I'd mainly recommend them for home use. I've even worn them on an exercise bike before and because they allow air to flow through them you won't end up drenched in sweat! While the plastic sections and the toughened headphone cable are very durable, the sections with faux-leather cushioning have begun to look a little threadbare. While they've lasted eight years as occasional 'home headphones' they might not have lasted so long if I'd used them more regularly.

      Overview
      Overall I would definitely recommend these headphones, as I've always enjoyed listening to music with them. Music enthusiasts might look for a higher quality option and people on the move might prefer something a bit more compact but these headphones fill the 'middle ground' very well indeed.

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