Definitive Technology Symphony 1
Design and materials: Tasteful but generic styling, with a black leather headband and ear cushions, black plastic earcups, and matte aluminum frame. The around-the-ear phones fit comfortably, with the weight and pressure distributed evenly on your ears and top of your head.
Supplied accessories: Signal cable, micro USB charging cable, leather carrying case, cloth pouch.
Specified battery life: Up to 10 hours with Bluetooth and ANC engaged.
Noise cancellation: Moderately effective; the quiet opening of "Prelude à La Nuit" for two pianos (admittedly a challenging passage) got buried in the noise floor; but louder passages of this work were clearly audible.
Control features: On the back of the right earcup are three small buttons: one for volume up, one for volume down, and a centre button for toggling pause/play and changing tracks. In telephone mode, you can use the centre button to answer, end and switch calls. On the front of the right earcup are small buttons for power on/off, ANC on/off and Bluetooth pairing.
Sound: I loved listening to the Symphony 1. The big 50mm drivers deliver smooth inviting sound, with impactful (but never bloated) bass. Ironically given the product name, it wasn't at its best in the dramatic opening of Nielsen's Inextinguishable Symphony: the sound was a bit congested and strident (though smoother than the Beoplay and Zik). On the other tracks, these big DefTech cans sounded great. Merchant's voice sounded hauntingly vulnerable in "Maggie Said." The piano tone on the Ravel recording was supremely natural, and the arpeggios were beautifully delineated. And the Jarrett cut was delicious, with deep snappy bass and impactful drums.
Our verdict: With their conservative cosmetics, these may be your father's travelling headphones, but that isn't a bad thing at all. They offer very good comfort, and deliver sound that's big, warm and inviting.
Canadian retail price: $500
Canadian distributor: Evolution Home Entertainment Corp.