Amazing sound quality but not really necessary for straight DJing in pro DJ environments. If you want a headphone to use at home as well as in the DJ booth, though, or with bus-powered DJ gear, laptops, iPods etc, they’re the best we’ve ever tested.
First Impressions / Setting up
hey come in extremely high-quality packaging, and are very distinctive one you’ve got them out of the box, being multi-jointed, heavy, and made of grey gunmetal with the retro “Blue” logo on each earcup. The headband folds in a total of six places, and both earcups (which are “ear-shaped”, not round) and the underside of the headband feature deep padding, stitched in with (what I think is) faux leather.
As well as the headphones, you get a very nice magnetically closed soft bag, tailored to their unusual shape, the leads, plus an airline adaptor and a USB mains charging adaptor.
Unusual features: The top of the headband features a wheel that can be turned to tighten or loosen the overall pressure on your ears, and the right-hand earcup has a couple of features that “give the game away”: A micro USB “in” socket, and a little three-way switched, marked “off”, “on” and “on+”: Yup, the Mo-Fi Blue is a powered headphone, that you plug in to charge up. So that’s exactly what we did, before giving them a run…
Firstly, let’s assess their DJ credentials. They are deeply padded and isolate excellently – a big thing for DJs. It is possible to fold one of the earcups off an ear and leave the other one on if that’s how you DJ. The detachable cables are good, although there’s no coiled cable (it comes with a 1.2m iPod-style cable and a longer 3m cable for home etc). They are pretty big, though, and don’t sit too easily around the neck. They also don’t really fold down much, so you need to be cool with that. Also, the style thing is very personal – I am sure some DJs will absolutely love the look of these, others not so. What you can’t deny is their quality though – they are built superbly.
So let’s move on to what these headphones are all about: Sound quality. If you’re not an audiophile, you maybe don’t know that many hi-fi buffs swear by headphone amps, to give the best possible signal to their headphones. These are usually separate boxes that sit between a headphones output and the headphones. What Blue has done with Mo-Fi is build such an amp directly into the headphones themselves, hence the need to charge them.
By the way, a three to four-hour charge delivers 12 hours of playback, and they work fine without the headphones amp switched on, too. (Also, they turn on/off automatically when you put them on/take them off of your head, so conserving power from inadvertently leaving them switched on.)
So the amp thing kind of makes sense: Can we really expect everything from our iPods to DJ controllers and mixers to drive headphones as well as possible? I guess in theory, no. But for me, as always, the only test is in the listening. So testing them with house music on a variety of gear, Here’s what I found:
Firstly, they sounded fine in the “off” position. Nothing overly special, but fine. Then I turned them to the first, “on” position. The difference was instantly noticeable: Apart from being just a little bit louder, the sound suddenly had a presence and immediacy, a punch and loudness lacking in the passive setting. Turning back to passive felt like a total let-down, and thus it was that I was addicted to the sound! I can honestly say they’re the best headphones I’ve ever listened to.
The next setting, “on+”, gives even more warmth and bass, kind of like a warm, vinyl-type sound. It was a bit much for me, but despite being bassy, like the other powered setting, was not overpowering; the bass wasn’t at the expense of treble clarity, for instance. So from a purely audio point of view, these are amazing. But are they for DJs?
Well, that depends on what type of DJ you are, I think. Firstly, fashion: You are going to like or hate these. If you like the look them, you’re probably sold already! Secondly, price/durability. Sure, they cost a lot, but I think they’ll keep going forever – a big plus point for DJs with the way we typically treat our ‘phones. One worry is the cables, though: Not only the lack of a coiled cable but the fact that the connectors are a weird shape, so no quick replacements if you lose or break one. But overall, the headphones are up for the job.
Secondly, do you really need this audiophile level of quality in a DJ headphone? Arguably, no, and so I’d say that if you’re looking for one set of headphones for your whole listening life (except maybe out and about / down the gym etc – these are going to look a bit much in such circumstances, I’d say), they’re a great choice, but if you don’t use headphones away from the DJ booth – or you only do so out and about – you should still probably go for a more conventional set of DJ headphones, plus your favourite little out-and-about earbuds, or whatever you prefer for leisure use.
Me? I have to say I fell in love with them. I personally love the looks, and while they definitely seem to colour the sound, it’s massively for the better – they bring out detail in the music that I haven’t heard on any other models. And that’s praise indeed, as we’ve reviewed some of the best.