Inconsistent, often soulless.
I’m going to get flak for what I’m saying here. I understand that. I’m not an audiophile or a reviewer. But these headphones, for me, did not perform as I hoped they would.
Let me start by saying that these are very attractive headphones, and they feel nice in the hand. The weight is pleasant, and they come with two detachable cables in a nice canvas bag.
The detachability of the cables increases the utility of the headphones, but they still aren't optimal for most things I would use headphones for.
As one reviewer here argued, “For professional studio use they are not detailed enough and for portable use they are not fun enough."
This is completely true. I use studio headphones, and these are not accurate enough for that task. Nor are they fun enough for a wide range of music choices.
I would say that these headphones are inconsistent. They are highly influenced by sound source, and whatever is driving it seems only to present music well half of the time.
[I am usually driving these with a Fiio USB DAC K1 on a PC, but also on various Apple mobile devices. This includes the iPad Air 2, which has an excellent sound chip].
My overall impression while using it for music is that the ON2 is competent enough at presenting music as intended, but it won't blow you away. It presents a decent 'stage,' but it lacks heart. It's very inconsistent as to what it's good at, even within the same album.
A number of Daft Punk songs featured muddy bass, and it wasn't too punchy either. Maybe it's just source dependent:
"Da Funk" almost felt like being at a concert, but "Give Life Back to Music" and "Doin' it Right" were kinda
The explict techno bits in Da Funk sounded pretty clear, so I decided to try Kraftwerk.
It's much better at techno. "Computer World" was trying to massage my ears. This is where the headphones came into their own.
On a hunch, I tried the System Shock 2 soundtrack in FLAC, but it was surprisingly muddy.
On the other hand, I heard new dimensions in Mark Morgan's Fallout soundtrack. (e.g. "Flame of the Ancient
World.") Vampire: Bloodlines also rocked.
If you like OCRemix's of video game albums, sorry, but these headphones didn't really bring out the best in
those. [Except for a Zelda 2 remix, 'Temple Trance.' Or try OC ReMix #1341.]
It handled acoustics nicely in a French Canadian album. The audio accompaniments built up well over the course
of various tracks. Some potential here with Manuel De Falla's work, as well.
I was about to give up on these headphones as being something particularly special, until I tried "The Peddlers:
On a Clear Day" [192K bit-rate]. Clear audio location, rich voice, soft beat: If you put the right source in
these phones, they sound okay.
They play Jazz and Classical okay, not sure if they are too memorable in this respect.
So is there anything that they are consistently good at?
I went on Youtube and tried a number of film scores. For me, this is what these headphones were put on Earth for.
Movie soundtracks is where this thing starts kicking ass and taking names. The Thinksound's above-average ability to create a sound canvas and project sound sources delivers the audio effectively.
Unfortunately, this clarity and positioning does not extend to all media types. I tried a couple of video games with the ON2 on a PC, and they sounded mediocre or worse. Tinny and muddy, muffled in some cases. Maybe it's a driver issue, but my PC speakers handle the same sources just fine.
Using these headphone is like watching beautiful 4K TV on a satellite connection that sometimes becomes low-res or fizzles into digital static. Sometimes, they are amazing and out-of-this-world. At other times, they are sub-par or even outstandingly awful.
Maybe one of the cans is damaged, or something. I don't know.
Since I don't get consistent excellence with music, why use the ON2? It's also not accurate enough for studio work. You can forget video games. The only thing it is consistently good at are movie soundtracks.
The ON2 has good aural positioning - I can hear left and right channels distinctly.
It picks up vibrations where they're intended, and beats are fairly distinct. It kinda feels like you're there
where it's being recorded, in a faint way.
Male vocals are clear in enunciation, but high-pitched vocals lack punch. They're accurate, maybe, but they don't hit you.
Sound isolation is actually pretty good. Many on-ear headphones and IEMs lack this feature.
The ON2 is Good for:
-Pure instrumental techno
-some Alternative bands
-some classic video game soundtracks (e.g. Fallout 1)
-Movie and TV soundtracks (Blade Runner, Twin Peaks, Mad Max 1 "Main Title," Blazing Saddles, Damnation Alley, even Robocop. Maybe Conan.)
Not so good for:
-Heavy/Detailed Bass (I find it muddy)
-low-res remixes of video game soundtracks
In all likelihood, I should have picked up the 58X, which is probably a more consistent performer.