Edifier H840 Headphones Review
There has been increasing demand for high-quality sound lately as more and more consumers are learning what their ears have been missing. The biggest barrier for the segment has always been cost: with headphones, speakers and amplifiers that range into the tens of thousands, premium audio isn't a cheap hobby. Most people are looking for a combination of quality and affordability, meaning fierce competition in the market for low-cost headphones. Edifier, a company known in the Chinese market for its speakers, has aimed the H840 headphones ($60) squarely at that market.
The H840 headphones are light, with the mostly plastic build weighing in at just 200 grams. They have an adjustable metal-strip headband, for better durability than a plastic band, and an over-the-ear design. With all the plastic, the H840 doesn't feel like it has a premium build. That being said, the headphones aren't flimsy, and most of its competition at this price point uses similar materials.
Although the plastic feels firm enough, one area of concern is the unremovable 3.5mm connections on the bottom of the earcups. Anyone who has used low-cost headphones knows that a common complaint is for one ear to lose sound, usually through a loose connection into the earcup itself. The H840s held up during their time with our reviewer, but that doesn't mean this design decision won't be an issue in the future.
The same goes for the non-removable cord, which is two metres long. That works well for fixed use at a desk, but it's much too long for using the H840s for your phone or listening to music on the go.
One thing a lot of lower-priced headphones skimp on is comfort, but our reviewer was pleasantly surprised with the fit of the H840s. The pleather earpads aren't as cushioning as the velour on the AKG K7XXs, but they're soft and fit well around the ears. The band is tight enough to clamp to your head without causing too much pressure or fatigue. The H840s are light enough that they're comfortable for extended use, but the pleather might have trouble breathing in hotter environments.
The H840s are compact enough that they seems designed to be used for travel, but our reviewer found some challenges with that proposition. The headphones don't come with a carrying case, which would make sense if you're trying to keep the overlong cord in check. The earcups swivel, but they don't actually fold up or in. And the H840s don't have any accessories, such as an airplane adapter. Although we don't expect a full set of features and add-ons at this price, any one of those would have been nice to see.
The H840s advertise their noise isolation abilities, though it's important to note that's not noise cancellation. The former is a passive process of blocking out sounds through the design of the headset, while the latter is a feature of more expensive travel headphones that actively cancel out surrounding audio. There is little noise leak from the H840s thanks to the tight seal of the earcups, but they don't do a lot to block out exterior sound.
On to the sound itself. Our reviewer was impressed with the 40mm drivers in the H840s, with a solid mid range, decent low end and clear, if sometimes harsh, highs. For EDM or other electronic genres, these headphones do a god job. But with other genres there is a lack of separation between the instruments. The soundstage is pretty narrow, and the stereo image isn't greatóbut that's to be expected in this price range.
The H840s will sound just fine if you're not doing studio work or any super-critical listening. They're not as detailed as higher end headphones, but the sound is fairly pleasing. The Edifier H840s offer a pretty well-rounded package, with a decent build quality, comfortable fit, and reasonably good sound for the price. They don't reinvent the wheel, though, and that makes the H840s simply another offering in a crowded field.
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