If you are a DJ turning producer, Reloop has its sights on you here. They feel maybe a little cheap for the price (lack of a single headphones-in lead, no leather), but this is at least partly made up for by the weight and sound quality.
First Impressions / Setting up
On unboxing and removing the headphones from the velvety moulded box, the first thing that strikes you about the SHP-1s is how light they are. The next thing you notice is how large the driver units are, and how deep and soft the ear cushioning is.
Neither the headband nor the ear padding material is leather, but that doesn’t seem to matter in this case, due to the aforementioned comfort factor being very much present. Apart from aluminium “Reloop” logos on the outer side of the earcups and two metal bands running the diameter of the earcups too, they are totally black, and a good match for Reloop’s own Wave speaker range.
The outside material on the earcups is that almost wet-look rubbery plastic that’s quite popular nowadays, which is great but picks up grease easily – no eating crisps when producing! Overall they feel pretty good, although there are more luxury-feeling models out there (in particular, the lack of leather lets them down a little). The supplied cable is straight, double, and has a lead for each ear cup, which may or may not be to your taste – didn’t bother me at all, personally. A standard adaptor is provided to alter the size of the plug from 1/8″ to 1/4″. Note that I wouldn’t think it’d be a good idea to DJ with these; they’re probably not quite durable enough for that.
Firstly, comfort. These are lovely to wear: Due to the soft cushioning and the deep padding, your ears feel truly enveloped, and the well-padded headband combined with the featherlight weight means you can truly (almost) forget you’re wearing them. Top marks here. Of course, the all-important factor with such headphones is sound quality, and to my ears, they didn’t disappoint here either. Maybe due to the fact that your ears are actually quite a way from the drivers thanks to that deep padding, the stereo soundstage feels massive in these – the first thing I noticed was how pronounced it is.
Next, you feel a profound fullness to the sound, like you’re not wearing headphones at all; the bass is massively present, all the way from the lowest lows to where it meets the midrange, but at the same time is totally under control, never booming. Likewise, the mids and treble are accurate and assured, and having tested the SHP-1s with material that I know very well, I felt like Reloop’s engineers have done a good job of getting these to sound neutral enough for them to hold their own in the intended marketplace.
I will be the first to admit that I am no expert in studio headphones, but from those, I have tested (Audiosone being the other brand I am very familiar with), these are definitely up there.
Reloop is a DJ company, and presumably, it thought that as more and more DJs are becoming DJ/producers nowadays, there was a gap to exploit there. If you are a DJ turning producer, Reloop has its sights on you here – and it wants you to buy its monitors, too, these headphones being as mentioned aesthetically a good match for the Wave 5s and Wave 8s.
And overall, I think the company has done a good job. They feel maybe a little cheap for the price (lack of a single headphones-in lead, no leather), but this is at least partly made up for by the weight and sound quality.
At the recommended retail price you may want to compare your options before shelling out the cash, but should these end up being offered in a bundle or at an even slightly lower price in your store of choice, I’d say go for it without hesitation – they’re a good first studio ‘phone from Reloop, and good for general listening too. We like them.