Premium headphones seem to be a growth market right now. We’re seeing all manner of highly priced headphones, many carrying designer labels that transform a commodity or specialist audio device into a fashion accessory.
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Joining the queue of brands expecting you to be impressed by their overpriced overhead bling is Logic3. The company is better known for its budget iDevice accessories, but is also now paying Ferrari for the rights to use the Ferrari name and logo across a range of expensive head- and earphones.
The Ferrari by Logic3 Cavallino T250 is a serious-looking pair of headphones with metal headband finished in cushioned leather, matt satin metal details, and the Ferrari prancing horse on each ear cap.
We loved the styling, unashamedly retro, somewhere between the classic Sennheiser HD25 and 1930s radio operator ‘phones. They’re available with either tan or black coloured leather trim for around £229.
Technical details about the headphones are scant, most of the product’s marketing focusing on the car rather than audio engineering heritage.
But the marketing tells us how the luxurious design was ‘inspired by the GT Car’s careful craftmanship, sumptuous leather and beautifully honed surfaces’.
A card in the box informs us that Ferrari by Logic3 was ‘working with highly respected audio designers’ although our request for further details remains unanswered. We’ll update this online review when we hear more.
Ferrari by Logic3 Cavallino T250: Features
When not is use, both ear pieces can hinge inwards to fold the headphones into a smaller bundle that fits in the pretend-carbon-fibre zip case.
Three fabric-covered cables are included, which attach to the left earphone through a 2.5mm jack plug: one plain, one with Apple three-button in-line remote, and one with one-button universal remote.
We found these cables highly microphonic, so brushing against the cable transmits noise to the left ear.
The plush synthetic-leather earpiece material is soft to the touch and comfortable against the ears, although we found the T250 uncomfortable to wear for longer than around 30 minutes. The over-the-top band could dig into our head, even after some resize adjustment, and they also clamped the head a little too tightly for our taste, putting too much pressure against the pinna.
They are a closed-back design, so could be used in a noisy environment to help shut out excessive sound as we must do in the IDG office; or conversely they could be used on a quiet train, for example, without unduly disturbing fellow travellers.
Ferrari by Logic3 Cavallino T250: Performance
Sound quality was found to be somewhat middling. They had a usefully tight and controlled sound, with a focus on the upper bass and low midband. The tonal response will vary depending on how you drive these headphones though. Used with the headphone output of a MacBook or iPhone, they sounded rather muddy and cloudy.
Through the headphone output of a Meridian Explorer DAC, there was perhaps less of the troubling opacity, but bandwidth sounded more restricted such that the lowest octave and topmost high frequencies sounded all too mute. This cast them in a distinctly mid-fi light. Best results were had with a dedicated DAC and headphone amplifier, an ADL Esprit from Furutech.
Upper bass here was still rather stodgy, clouding the overall sound. With drivers relatively close to the ear on this supra-aural design, there is a more intimate close-up sound. This also could have the effect of emphasising the mono central images, and hard left/right placements still remained quite ‘in head’, rather than with a wider soundfield outside the head that some designs provide.
Given the allusions to motor racing, we had to try Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’. This neatly showed off some of the headphone’s virtues – the crisp, tight bass drum opening, the plucky if tamed steel banjo strings, with male and female vocals kept central and sat low in the mix. And of course, the bass riff which sounded here too overdamped, with little sustain or decay. The whole riff, concluding with the low E, remained disappointingly anaemic.
Overall, the headphones lacked transparency and the kind of detail that is possible with high-quality models at around or even far below the same price.