The new Audix A150 studio reference headphones are a dynamic, closed-back design with 50 mm drivers containing Rare Earth Alloy magnets. They come as part of a new lineup of dynamic headphones from the company that are designed for pro audio use – the A140 and A145 are home studio models using 40 mm and 45 mm drivers, and the A152 that’s similar to the A150 as a “studio reference” model with the exception of offering extended bass response.
The A150, which I recently evaluated, has a stated sensitivity of 103 dB SPL at 1 kHz and a stated impedance of 30 ohms. The set offers a cushioned top strap and plastic earcups with very comfortable cushions – more on that shortly.
Connecting on the left side, the high-density cable has a nicely braided covering that is lighter and feels a little more forgiving than a typical rubber-sheathed cable. The cable, almost 6 feet in length (1.8 meters), is also detachable and doesn’t thread to connect. It simply pushes in and clicks into place, which will be appreciated by anyone who has ever walked away from the console forgetting that their headphones were plugged into it. Not pointing any fingers, it’s a rite of passage. (OK, I’ll ‘fess up. I fell victim to this classic blunder during a rehearsal and the cable simply popped out, sparing me embarrassment and the potential for damage.)
The earcups swivel outwards to help the unit fold flat for storage, although my colleague (and Signal to Noise podcast cohost Chris Leonard) has pointed out that he’d love for the ability to pivot them inward as well, for easy muffling when he’s mixing and wearing the headphones around his neck. Normally I’d be concerned about the plastic swivel joints holding up to the rigors of the road, but the A150 comes with a semi-hardbody protective carrying case, which is a nice touch and makes me feel confident about tossing them in a backpack or a Pelican without any ill consequences.
To my ear, the A150 presents a very balanced overall sound free of the harsh 1 kHz range on some of my other pairs of headphones, which translated into me being able to listen longer without fatigue. This is furthered by the fact that the ear cushions are extremely comfortable – before writing this review, I spent some time trying to remember if I’ve ever worn another pair of headphones that was as comfortable of a fit for me. The only thing I came up with was a far more expensive pair of open-back studio reference headphones used for spot-checking mixes at the recording studio down the road from my house.
I’ve been wearing the A150 to do my podcast recording sessions and Zoom classes, and it leaves me with less physical discomfort after an extended wear session compared to some of the other models I’ve used for similar applications. The grip of these headphones is a bit tighter than other models but I feel that is more than offset by the super-comfortable padding that utilizes proprietary foam optimized for sound as well as comfort. So, yeah, they’re comfortable. And as a nice added benefit, the isolation is quite good, which makes them a solid choice for studio monitoring applications.
Since I received the review unit, the A150 has been a nice go-to for mix checking, providing me with a more balanced presentation of the overall tone of a mix than some less expensive models I’m used to, as well as my in-ear monitors. Nailing down the bass contour of a DAW mix, especially when working in small rooms, is always a challenge, and I trust these headphones to deliver a solid representation of the lower frequency range.
Overall, the A150 offers a well-balanced sound and a high degree of comfort, and I would encourage anyone looking to invest in a new pair of high-quality headphones for mixing and monitoring tasks, or even recreational listening, to give this set a look. And a listen.
U.S. MSRP: $309
Go here to find out more specifics about the new Audix line of headphones.