The Arctic Cooling Arctic Sound P281 DJ Headphones are quite comfortable to wear. They are not particularly heavy, and the padding on the headband supports the top nicely on your head. The soft leather cushioning inside the cups presses gently against your head, and if you're not a huge hulking beast you should find your ears will fit inside the cups. If you do happen to have big ears, you'll be thankful of the soft leather cushioning.
Glasses wearers will also be happy as I managed to listen to music and watch a few films for hours without any discomfort.
I did find that the coiled cable, while not heavy in any way, did tend to pull a little. I would imagine over time, the cord will stretch a little and tug a little less, and it certainly wasn't a huge issue. As always though, I do like to include as much information about actually using an item as possible. I would also like to point at that the Arctic Cooling Arctic Sound P281 DJ Headphones are quite light, which again goes toward making them rather comfortable to wear for extended periods.
The Prodigy, Voodoo People – This was the first song I tested and it was plain from the start that the P281's are very heavy in the mid range. Nothing that a little equalization can't sort but notable none the less. I have to say that I was a little surprised at how low the sub bass sounded/felt. Converse to that though, these headphones are loud; something you might require in a noisy situation such as DJ'ing. If you're the sort who likes to deafen themselves with music, then the P281's won't disappoint in the volume department.
Additional Prodigy song test; Funky Shit – This particular song is one I use to showcase sub bass, and as before, it was there, but it was far from thumping. Jumping back into the EQ, I attempted to raise the lower frequencies. This helped a lot, but I could never get it to really rattle my cage as it were. Still, this isn't a bad thing to many, and could be left under the subjective/personal preference area.
Evanescence, Bring Me To Life – The lead vocals here were occasionally a little tinny, but otherwise, the strong mid range nature of the P281's did rather well. Also, because the lower frequencies are not over powering, you don't get them drowning out the rest of the sounds.
Queen, A Kind Of Magic – This song tends to offer a nice spacial sound on most audio hardware, but the strong mid range on the P281's tend to enclose the sound more. It's still nice, don't get me wrong, just not as spatial as I'm used to. EQ wise, I found my self raising the high frequencies slightly, lowering the mid range slightly, and raising the lower frequencies a lot.
Queen, Living On My Own – As with the above songs, the sound can be a little flat without a little help from the EQ.
Prince, 7 – The finger cymbals or triangle that runs through most of this song can easily be tinny, but not so on the P281's. The bass was at a very good level, and the mid range was also quite good. If anything, I found myself raising the treble more than usual.
U2, Pride – This song is heavy on the midrange and lower frequencies. Being strong in the mid-range already, the P281's did well, although the bass was a little lacking.
Jeff Wayne, Eve of the War – Despite my earlier experience of spatial, echo sounding songs, this one actually sounded as I expected. It was more small stage hall and than grand theatre, and once again the bass was a little lacking, but the EQ sorted out the sound nicely.
The Island Soundtrack, The Island Awaits You – Very orchestral and a nice heartbeat sounding bass, lots of build up. No distortion, and the heart beat bass was really good. It seems only the really low levels of bass are a struggle and for many this can be preferential to banging bass.
Star Wars III Soundtrack, Battle of the Heroes – The Tuba’s sound fantastic here. And the choir voices are nicely done. However this particular song did tend to hide the stereo nature.
House of Flying Daggers – I’ve gotten so used to surround sound that watching a Movie with out it is a little strange at first, but none the less, continued listening of stereo got me more into it. I jumped straight to the drums scene where our ‘blind’ star plays the drums with her sashes. You can hear the heavy folds of the cloth as she moves about and the tinkling of the beans on the plate in front of the policeman. There was a lack of direction to the sounds, and once again the bass was a little low, but with some EQ tweaking you can get a decent enough sound to enjoy watching the film.
Star Wars Episode III – Directions are discernible for the left and right, but the bass level needs raising
Batman Begins – As Batman call the bats to him, you can clearly hear the high pitched call in the background. When the bats begin to turn in a circle, you don't hear a distinct left and right as much as with most other headphones we've tested. The folds of the cloth of Batman’s cape flap well though. Overall it’s fine, but I think the film itself relies heavily on surround sound which makes listening to it in stereo a lesser experience.
Iron Man – As the Jericho explodes into the mountain side, you get a build up of bass, but it doesn't quite rumble enough for my liking with the P281's. Other than this, the sound is pretty good.
The Island – As the train axles are being thrown on to the free way, you get a good thumping low as well as the ringing high. When one goes across the screen left to right, you get the appropriate left to right sound to match.
Are these great headphones? No. Are they good? It depends on what you want from your headphones. If you're not the sort who wants lots of heavy bass thumping down your ear canal, then the sound from the will appeal to you.
Being able to fold the headphones into a compact shape makes them ideal for shoving into a bag for a LAN party or of course for DJ'ing. And the cheap price means you won't be to heart broken if they get stolen.
The are very comfortable to wear, even if you wear glasses. The coiled cable can pull a little sometimes, but otherwise means the cable is out of the way of your hands.
The sound quality isn't as high as we would have liked, but it's not terrible either. One good thing is that the are quite loud, which if you're in a noisy environment, coupled with the enclosed nature of the cups, should mean you can hear your music clearly no matter what's going on around you.
Overall, if you like loud headphones that are cheap and portable, then the could be worth a look; just don't expect killer sound quality.
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