Unmistakable and bohemian. I took an abundance of time thinking of two words that best describe Grain Audio’s OEHP wood headphones and those are the two I came up with. If they seem a bit unexpected, let me explain.
I’m a sucker for seeking out the best headphones I can. Music is such a big part of my work and personal lives that I want to experience it in the best way I can — naturally. That means I want the sound, the looks, the comfort level and any additional features to be the best that I can get my hands on. And I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of headphones over the years as I’ve tested and written about them for DailyTekk. But after awhile it gets tricky trying to come up with new ways to describe what’s good or bad about a pair of headphones. We reviewers end up recycling words from article to article. But this time — because the product positively deserves it — I felt a different approach would be good. As a result I give you unmistakable and bohemian.
When music is piped through these headphones it has a distilled, distinct quality that could only be described as more pure and, in a word, unmistakable. There’s no mistaking what the artist wanted listeners to hear because there is no spurious bass or other aggrandizement.
In fact, the lack of bass was one of the first things I noticed when I first put these cans on my ears. But lack is really the wrong word to use because the bass it just as it should be: natural. So in a way these headphones are the antithesis of Beats in the sound department; they aren’t dialed-up but are instead dialed-in to authenticity of intonation.
But I don’t miss the extra bass dozens of other headphones have coerced my ears into getting used to. The longer I’ve worn the Grain Audio OEHPs the more I’ve come to enjoy them. It’s like auditory rehab. Without that fog of bass overlaying and muting the subtlety of instruments, voices and effects, my music seems to be so much brighter and distinct.
I feel like the Grain Audio OEHP headphones are artistically refined and free of regard for the conventional practices of many, if not most, manufacturers selling headphones for around $200. And so I’ll describe them as bohemian, not only in sound but also in design.
I mean it’s right on the website:
Simple is complicated to achieve. The OEHP was designed to highlight the natural beauty of its solid wood earcups. The inline mic is streamlined and intuitive to use. There are no unnecessary flourishes or extraneous details. These beautiful headphones give you a distinct style that stands apart from the crowd.
While other headphone makers are trying to stand out by overdoing it in the design department with crazy and weird and sometimes senseless aesthetics (Monster, I’m thinking about you) — or, just as likely — stay boring with designs that are unremarkable and aren’t differentiated enough, Grain Audio is off doing their own thing. And I think that effort has certainly paid off in this product.
I’m not ready to award these headphones the best-looking headphones crown, but I think they’re certainly in the running. On a scale of 1-10 I’d rate them a 9.
I really savor the (solid) walnut wood and grey accenting found on these Gain Audio OEHPs (and other Grain Audio products). It’s posh and tells the world the wearer has more taste than a person arrayed in an omnipresent brand like Bose or Beats.
To summarize, the design could be described as minimalistic and classy.
But nothing in this world is perfect. The plastic used in these headphones does feel somewhat low-quality given the price (or even the look). I’d almost half expected a metal material of some sort to complement the wood — I think that would have exuded a more premium feel overall. Still, it’s not like these headphones are going to fall apart or break easily — they won’t.
One benefit of the plastic, however, is that these headphones end up being quite light — especially for over-ear cans. I’m fairly certain I’ve got a couple of pairs of earbuds that are heavier.
Another thing I like about the OEHPs is that they have a comfortable fit. The over-ear cups are like having a room for each ear and the padding on the band substantial. Wearing these headphones allows me to listen to music comfortably for extended periods of time — they are pleasant for hours.
If you’re looking for headphones with an inherently noise-blocking quality (without paying for actual noise-cancelling technology), you’ll find that the Gain Audio headphones are okay but by no means soundproof. As I’m listening to a chill playlist I can definitely hear a baby speaking rather softly in the background. If I load up something punchier at medium volume that goes away. For what it’s worth.
I do wish that the cord controls included volume buttons rather than a solitary button, but there is a microphone which means you can at least take calls.
If you’re looking for headphones that give you a raw, unfiltered listening experience while boasting of a sharp, sophisticated look, the Grain Audio OEHPs might be just right for you. Tech reviewers like myself see a lot of headphones come across their desk over time and tend to discard all but the best. I know I typically hand on to the best headphones I see until something superior comes along and supplants them. I have a feeling I’ll be holding on to these Grain Audio cans for a very long time…
Note: had I tested them at the time, I certainly would have included the Grain Audio OEHPs in our list of The 5 Best On-Ear & Over-The-Ear Headphones Under $200.