Following pretty hot on the heels of its Mikros 70 in-ear monitor, MartinLogan is bringing a new noise-isolating on-ear to the market in the form of the Mikros 90, a gorgeous, wonderfully crafted headphone “inspired by the sonic clarity and detail of their legendary electrostatic speakers and designed by MartinLogan’s in-house team.”
You might expect a MartinLogan on-ear model to rely on funky, exotic drivers like the HiFiMan HE-400, but instead of going that route, the company has opted for custom-tuning a more traditional 35mm dynamic driver to achieve the sonic qualities of its electrostats without trying to replicate the mechanics. The Mikros 90 boasts a frequency response of 6–22,000 Hz, so the highs, lows, and everything in between should sound fantastic, and with a sensitivity of 98dB, virtually any portable media device should drive those drivers beautifully.
For you iPhone users, MartinLogan has included an in-line remote/microphone with controls for volume, play/pause, track selection, and voice control.
What I really dig about the Mikros 90 is the design, which is often just as crucial as sound quality when discussing headphones. It’s a neat, fluid, asymmetrical shape that integrates lightweight polished aluminum for added durability without giving your neck a workout, and replaceable leather earpads for extra longevity. The pads also promises to deliver up to up to 92.05% ambient noise reduction without additional noise-canceling electronics.
I do wish I could get a better look at the cable to see if it matches the quality of the rest of the Mikros 90, but it’s obvious from the photos that it’s replaceable, so that’s a huge plus. If it’s at all like the cable for the Mikros 70, expect a rubberized cable that opts for minimal microphonics at the expense of some slight tangliness. (There’s always that trade-off to be made, and I’ve yet to see a headphone cable that’s both tangle-free and non-microphonic, so that’s not a slight against MartinLogan at all.)
That slight uncertainty aside, it looks like MartinLogan is off to a winning start in the on-ear headphone category: distinct, sexy styling, solid construction, and a heck of an audio pedigree behind it all.
Look for the Mikros 90 to ship at the end of November for $299.95.