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Review

Floyd Rose

Issue #60

We are in the hi-end realms with the FR-18. These are a premium wired audiophile headphone and the marketing reaffirms this with tales precision, uniqueness and air quilting. These are headphones for the connoisseur. The only drawback to this packaging extravaganza is that expectations are now quite high.
Dan Le Gresley

PROS:

Superb natural tones.

Excellent premium packaging.

Great build quality.

CONS:

A little heavy on the bass for some.

Mahogany storage box is not ideal for travel.

Guitar Interactive star rating: 4 stars


Floyd Rose

Hand-crafted to deliver world-class sound combined with state-of-the-art high fidelity technology with a luxury design. Dan Le Gresley reviews Floyd Rose's FR-18 Wood headphones.

In recent years the headphone industry has exploded. From Kickstarter businesses like Nura (www.nura.com) all the way through to the pearly gates of corporate behemoth apple, the headphone market is in a state of exponential growth. We currently spend $10 Billion per year on supplying our ears and minds with audio. By 2023 this number is predicted to double.

The launch of Apple's iPhone in 2008 and the subsequent evolution of handheld computer interfaces have changed the western culture dramatically. We consume a staggering amount of media whether it be Spotify, Netflix, Podcasts, Audiobooks, News or Games, to name but a few; all available 24/7 in our pockets.

Guitarists and musicians have more reason than any to welcome this change in consumer culture. Most of us grew up with a pair of headphones plugged into the output of a practice amp or into the oversized Hi-fi Unit in the front room. We grow up and start making music, painstakingly agonising over sounds, frequencies and the mix, then we compress into MP3 format, listen through those famous white earbuds and hear the often saddening sound of digital music.

It should then be a cause for excitement that the music consuming audience are taking their audio more seriously and demanding more quality, not only in the sound but in the construction of their headphones. With that in mind, tremolo impresarios Floyd Rose have now entered into this hugely competitive sphere with their own unique take on the product in the shape of the FR-18.

Firstly it has to be noted that premium packaging reaches new heights with the FR-18's rich mahogany storage box. Press the golden button and the bronzed hinges reveal leather, wood and luxurious black felt. These headphones have a better living environment than most people. If Floyd Rose is trying to get my attention they have succeeded.

We are in the hi-end realms with the FR-18. These are a premium wired audiophile headphone and the marketing reaffirms this with tales precision, uniqueness and air quilting. These are headphones for the connoisseur. The only drawback to this packaging extravaganza is that expectations are now quite high.

Lifting the phones from their velvet bed its clear that the same attention to detail has been applied to the FR-18's. The wood theme is echoed on the ear cups, where adorned to the lacquered finish we find the Floyd Rose logo, its subtle and tastefully done. Attached via solid metal arms, that retracts with a satisfying crinkle, the 'air quilted' headband has the feel of soft leather. Given the weight of the box, the headphones feel remarkably light, slim and elegant. Initially, I thought these would be headphones for the studio or the home but they feel perfectly usable in the real world.

The FR-18's come with a tangle-resistant fabric cable, that features an inline microphone and volume controls. The cable is completely detachable from the main headset and each earcup is connected via a separate connector. The FR-18's feel very comfortable to wear, the soft cushioned ear cups fit snuggly around the ears and the and noise isolation is very good. They are supremely comfortable and you could wear them on a long flight with ease.

Pressing play on Spotify brings a reassuring rumble of Bass, the 50mm driver is rich and powerful, very similar to the response of my Studio Beats. The highs are crisp and there is no distortion at all it full volume. The Bass bleeds into the mids a little and produces a muddy middle, but a small adjustment to my EQ settings and full clarity is heard. The FR-18's sound precise and warm and deliver really accurate sound.

The FR-18's are a premium quality headphone, for the audiophile. They offer a natural sound, that is rich and full. The build quality is luxurious yet lightweight and practical. The wood look and feel may not be to everyone's tastes but they are an excellent set of headphones.

SPECS

Driver unit: 50mm

Impedance: 32ohms

Max Power Output: 200Mw

Input: 3.5mm

Weight: 200g

For more information, please visit:

floydrose.com

 

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