There’s a new headphone brand in town, and this one comes from a company with a rich history in studio microphone technology and design. Not surprisingly, its focus is on audio quality, but with a refreshing, healthy nod to design as well.
That company, Blue, today introduced Mo-Fi, which it claims features the world’s first built-in “audiophile” amplifier in a pair of headphones. Intended for use with the full spectrum of audio sources — from AV receivers to smartphones — the company is angling for those who value an audiophile experience as much as portability.
The built-in amplifier is positioned as a welcome development for listeners, as until now you needed to connect to an outboard headphone amplifier to get such high performance.
Blue says Mo-Fi, available now for $349.99, is a far cry from what it calls “bass-in-your-face” headphones (hello, Beats!), instead providing richer, more balanced sound.
The built-in amp has three settings: On, On+ (“engages the amp’s analog low-frequency enhancement circuit to deliver incredibly deep and smooth bass”) and Off, which is recommended for use with an AV receiver that already has high output. In a nod to fans of analog, there are no DSP (digital sound processing) features, which we usually find to be gimmicky.
There’s also a unique design, according to the company:
Blue developed Mo-Fi’s multi-jointed headband and earcups from the ground up, marking a complete departure from traditional headphone design. Instead of using a fixed “spring loaded” headband structure, Blue invented a multi-jointed headband that provides total comfort and adjustability for a variety of head shapes and sizes. The earcups—shaped like ears—stay parallel at all times, creating the best seal for solid bass response, improved isolation, and reduction in sound bleed.
For height adjustment, Mo-Fi’s pivoting-arm design allows for unprecedented range of motion and a personalized fit. The earcups simply float into place or fully extend out of the way when worn around the neck. Ditching the one-tension-fits-all approach, Blue incorporated a headband adjustment knob that allows listeners to dial-in the perfect pressure and tightness. This design also improves sound isolation and reduces ambient noise—perfect for noisy public areas or loud recording sessions.
The company claims that Mo-Fi’s micro-USB-rechargeable battery provides 12 to 14 hours of actual play time. It says the headphones can auto-sense when they are removed and immediately turns off to save power.
And of course, as with many powered headphones, Mo-Fi can play in passive “Off” mode if the battery runs out.
We’ll be getting a review sample soon, so we’ll see if Mo-Fi delivers the goods.