HIS CO:CAINE Urban Style 05 Headphones Review



Product: HIS CO:CAINE Urban Style 05 Headphones
Company: HIS
Author: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: January 27th, 2013

HIS CO:CAINE Urban Style 05 Headphones Review

Today I'm looking at a different product from Hightech Information Systems (you know them better as HIS, maker of AMD Radeon add-in boards) than usual - a set of headphones. These traditional over the ear headphones are a new product market for HIS, and quite an interesting one at that; the brand name chosen is CO:CAINE. Below you can see the product in box; please excuse the slight denting - that's how the delivery service kicked it to my door from China.

CO:CAINE Heaphone
CO:CAINE Heaphone

We're looking at the Urban Style 05 headphones, which are best described as marketing meets graffiti in monochrome, although a girl getter version is available, too - it's got color on it. The set retails for $49.99 and has folding headphone cups with spring loaded twist adjustment. The set feels lightweight at 286g, doesn't clamp hard, and the sliding adjustment holds position well while still being tweakable individually while being worn.

The headband and cups are padded, with the ear cushions claiming to effectively reduce ambient noise. This is kinda true, kinda not; a lot of background noise is reduced or muted whilst wearing them, and they don't trap heat like some over the ear headphones I've had, but they don't block feminine or child pitched voices. This is either a positive or negative depending on why you're wearing the headphones, I present this fact without further comment.

My testing of these headphones consisted of playing games, watching movies, and listening to music, over the period of a month. Various audio devices were used, from plain ol' Realtek ALC268 headphone outputs on laptops to Creative X-Fi Titanium, The sound is rich and full, more bass focused making them well suited to type of music the kids like. The highs aren't super sharp or piercing, avoiding being harsh, but vocals and speech remain clear. The claimed 20Hz to 20KHz range appears overkill, likely to test the extreme ranges you'd need a low volume that wouldn't damage the drivers, but they can rock plenty loud enough without distortion for noisy environments like server rooms, public transportation or home offices adjacent to the den filled with hyperactive kids just after Christmas.

CO:CAINE Heaphone
CO:CAINE Heaphone

The cord is a good length at 1.5mm, braided in the modern popular cloth style. The cord is boxed in a quite twisted and kinked manner, no super severe kinks but it would be nice to see a loose coil with a light twist tie to protect the copper core instead of a space saving bundle. A disconnect at the headset end would be nice as well, as a tension release or ability to replace the cord with a different length.

Compared to my own set of cans, Philips O'Neill 'The Stretch' SHO9561, the sound is warmer and louder with better separation for music. In action movies the bass domination can be a bit overpowering but can also increase immersion. The headset fits more comfortably on my head thanks to the swivel adjustments, if you've struggled with band headphones not sitting comfortably with your glasses or head shape, these have more give in them to provide a comfortable fit.

CO:CAINE Heaphone
CO:CAINE Heaphone

Overall I'm pleased with the set, and I'd certainly tell people to put them on their shortlist for a reasonably priced set of cans. My Philips set currently retails for almost $120USD on Amazon, and I'm going to use the $50USD CO:CAINE Urban Style headphones instead for all my gaming and casual listening needs. The only thing I'd want is a slight price adjustment downwards; while they perform better than my Philips headphones, I got that set on sale for $20; a great value. The Urban Style 05 headphones would be great value at $35-40USD, and I'm awarding them 4 stars.