Review: Audix A152
Big-booty headphones with serious studio applications.
A word about Audix: back in high school computer science I was the only person in the class to choose Pascal as a programming language over Basic. (I realise that sentence will mean very little to most.)
Okay, try this: I’ve spent most of my adult life driving Alfa Romeos, despite the front door falling off one time and a problem where one Alfa would stop spontaneously and mysteriously… mostly on the West Gate bridge. (I probably just outed myself as a lunatic more than anything.)
One last try: I’m a long-time Reason user. I’ve never been seriously tempted by Ableton Live despite its enormous popularity and (if I’m honest) obvious advantages.
Before you lose patience with me, the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t naturally warm to the dominant player in any market. I’d much rather take the path less travelled.
Which is why I immediately have a soft spot for Audix. Everyone knows the D6 drum mic and you often see its gooseneck mics in AV installations but Audix wouldn’t pretend to be anywhere like in the same league as the other big-name microphone companies. There again, neither is it pretending to be somehow boutique — no hand soldering, no walnut presentation casket and no test certificate signed by someone called Helmut. Audix is a mid-tier manufacturer of solid transducer-based gear.
So why would you consider a pair of Audix headphones? Because they’re not Sennheiser or Audio-Technica or Shure or, even, Rode. They’re different. And really rather good.
FROM 8HZ & BEYOND
8Hz? Audix’ new A152 headphones aren’t claiming to be ruler flat. The frequency response is intentionally low-end heavy and I can confidently report that it’s ‘mission accomplished’ — these cans have the biggest booty I’ve ever witnessed.
I don’t know about 8Hz exactly, but I was certainly hearing more detail and definition in the lower register than I can recall ever hearing before.
If you enjoy recreationally listening to bass-loving music then you’ll get a real kick out of the A152 headphones.
For studio operatives, there’s definitely a case for LF-heavy cans. Tracking bass guitar and drums, and checking on your low end if you’re producing on smaller monitors (just don’t rely on the A152s to get the correct frequency balance on your final mix!).
NEED TO KNOW
The extended bass is the A152 headline but there’s a whole lot more going for them.
They’re a closed back headphone that fits very comfortably. The design is minimal and stealthy. The ear cup rotates if you have reason to do any DJ-style monitoring. The 1.5m cord (96 strands of braided oxygen-free cable) plugs into the base of the right-hand cup (3.5mm) and there are options for a more expensive lead (200- and 400-strand) if you have audiophile tendencies. There’s nothing distinctive about the design perhaps beyond the Audix logo on the side (I didn’t realise Audix had a logo until I saw it).
The 50mm dynamic drivers do the work. There’s a quoted sensitivity of 103dB and a frequency range of 8Hz–28kHz (I assume that’s -10dB but isn’t written anywhere). The impedance is 30Ω, so the A152s are happy being plugged into just about any source. In fact, they’re comparatively loud when put up against my Sennheiser HD25s (60Ω), Audio-Techica M50s (38Ω) or even the Rode NTH-100s (32Ω).
The A152s are an enjoyable headphone. The sound stage is particularly expansive for a closed-back design. There’s plenty of detail and, as I mentioned earlier, you won’t be left wanting for level.
The bass-heavy bias is a matter of taste. Audix has other models in the A Series, so if you’re picking up what Audix is putting down, then it’d be worth test-driving the A150, for example, which has a more balanced frequency response.
If, like me, you have the luxury of a variety of headphones in your arsenal, then the A152s provide a useful LF spotlight as well as being a vibey option for recreational listening.
If you’re reading between the lines here, then you’ll be hearing that I’m not recommending the A152s as your only or main monitoring solution.
The Audix A152 headphones are a high-quality, mid-priced monitoring option. Don’t need the extra low frequency turbo boost? Then have a look at the A140, A142 or A150s in the range. Audix is hardly ‘the little guy’ but its definitely little-r than the dominant players in the market and if you’re anything like me, that’s attractive. Well worth your consideration.