Like many I’ve been using headphones to listen to music for as long as I can remember, unlike most though I’m an extremely fussy sod and not only obsessed with good quality sound for my listening experience but also how the headphones are made, how they fit, durability, etc etc, my OCD knows no bounds.
Over the years I have spent a lot of money getting just the right headphones for me but above all sound quality will rule. My go to track to test any hardware that reproduces sound is The Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up, I know this song inside out and have heard it on all manner of set ups from phone speakers to clubs to hearing it performed live, it’s an essential guide for me to form an opinion on what I’m listening to.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS – UNPACKING FLARES PRO
Packaging and branding has never been more key and as a customer you need to feel like you’re getting value for money, especially if you’re going to shell out £349.00 on a pair of headphones. I’m pleased to say Flares get this right from the start, the box is a futuristic style affair that feels like a cross between the coolness of an iPhone mixed with an alien artefact you might find on a spaceship.
The box comes complete with 2 sets of ear foams for varying comfort and isolation, bluetooth control and charger, direct headphone adapter for when you battery dies, a smart carry case, a detailed spec sheet for the more nerdy types out there and of course the grade 5 titanium headphones.
The headphones build feels very solid indeed and they feel impossibly light, initially I was a little sceptical of the sound they could produce. I was soon proved wrong.
LETS HEAR THEM
Let’s cut to the chase here, sonically these headphones are phenomenal. Going first my trusty go to song Smack My Bitch Up, the track feels more alive than I had heard before with the full range of sounds and frequencies all sitting comfortably with each other and come through with great clarity.
Putting them further to the test next I draw for some upfront Drum & Bass, this genre is great to test headphones as those at the top of their game for me have the highest level in music production, the Flares Pro do not disappoint. Outstanding clarity across the board and warm low end bass response. Switching over to the more chilled vibes of Bonobo and I’m further impressed with the clarity and response these headphones are giving. Lastly I play some old mix tapes, these are always interesting to hear on headphones as the initial quality of the files is always crap so hearing how headphones reproduce the sound can vary from enhancing the noise to over flowering them. Tape hiss from old mixes is just part and parcel of what you get when you listen to them and the Flares Pro actually did a really decent job and weirdly the tape hiss actually blended in as part of the mix.
Initially I was concerned with the output volume of the headphones, certainly a little lower that I’ve been able to get out of other headphones but after putting them to the test in a noisy gym and on a packed tube I was actually surprised how the level held up. The isolating ear foams clearly do their job properly cutting any unwanted external noise and my ears are without a doubt a lot more happier for it without being blasted with high levels of music, I’ve spent enough years doing that!
It’s worth mentioning at this point that I’ve been using the Flares ISOLATE & ISOLATE mini earplugs for over a year now, not only for personal use at home to get a decent nights sleep (2 kids and 2 teenagers in my house!) but also for use within clubs when I’m DJing and for me they are must.
My only other initial concern was where to clip the bluetooth control unit, as daily t-shirt wearer I found the only place to clip then was round the neck, again not as annoying as I though this might be when I was wearing them in the gym and if you read my intro you’ll start getting the picture of how fussy I can be!
FLARES PRO SUMMARY
Cost wise the Flare Pro’s are certainly at the top end of the cost spectrum but as they saying goes, you get what you pay for. These are high end quality headphones that stood the test of varying sources of music and styles that each reproduced quality and clarity every time.
Check out the full specs and order yours direct for the Flares Audio website.