Archive for October, 2007

GK Ultraphones Review

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

This is my review for the GK-Ultraphones. I purchased them about a month ago and have been impressed 100% with them.

Stats
Sound Isolation: 29 db
Impedance: 63 Ohms
Frequency Response: 10-20,000 Hz
Price: $220 USD

The Basics and Some Background
These headphones are the combination of the Sony Pro MDR-7506 Headphones with Peltor industry standard ear muffs. They are the creation of Gordy Knudtson, a professional drummer that has played with the likes of Steve Miller and Jevetta Steele. I was looking to buy some really nice headphones so I started to search the internet. I read a lot of the same stuff. People would recommend this or that on different forums and people would debate which headphones were the best for what situations. In all my searching I would often find one post with a link and a recommendation for “Ultraphones,” and the poster would say that they were the best headphones they had ever used. Generally, there would be little response to the post.

I went to the site and looked at headphones. $220 is a lot of money to spend on headphones, but because I had only heard good things about them, I purchased them. Five days later they came in the mail.

Here’s the box.

Open it up and we see that they have been carefully wrapped in bubble wrap.

The headphones come with a case to hold them in. This is something that I thought would be a useless bonus, but it is actually a whole lot more useful than I expected. It seems that I don’t take the headphones anywhere without bringing the case for them as well.

Here they are out of the case.

Impressions
They looked good and I was excited to use them. I noticed that there was a somewhat bad smell coming from the headphones. Inside the box was a note that explained that the smell is a glue/sealant that Gordy uses to seal the headphones up after he makes them, and that it would go away after it had cured. I’ve had them a month and the smell is barely noticeable now. I’m sure it will be gone in the next month. They are comfortable, and when I’ve sat for several hours of work or gaming, my head hasn’t started to hurt as with many other headphones I’ve used.

It took me a minute to figure out that you unscrew the 1/4 inch jack to reveal the 1/8 inch hidden underneath. This is way better than an adapter in my opinion. I can plug into my computer and then unscrew the tip for my mp3 player.

I have a small complaint. The cord is long. It is about 5-6 ft compressed and can easily stretch to over 10+ ft. This can be a good thing, but I find that I have to wear the extra cord like a robe or toga when mowing the lawn, or the like. This comes in really handy however, when recording, or when listening to music while working by the computer. I can walk all around the room with no worries of running out of cord.

Listening to music is great. I hear things I’ve never heard before in songs that I’ve heard a hundred times before. Songs with twenty or thirty individual tracks become naked and exposed. The sound is amazing. My head shakes when I play songs with a lot of bass. The best part is that they block out 29db of sound. When wearing these headphones, I cannot hear anything except the sound produced by the headphone drivers.

Games are more involved. I might as well be wall hacking. I can hear and pinpoint locations while wearing these, and there is added suspense in scenes where you can hear the zombies (or other enemy) hiding around the next corner.

One of the great things about these headphones is the fact that they protect your hearing. It is comforting to know that I can have the volume at a low “5″ while I mow the lawn. I can hear my music fine and my ears aren’t be damaged by the mower’s engine noise. I do not want to be deaf like every old man I have ever met, and I can protect my hearing this way.

I should note that they are very big. If you want to listen to your music and you want to be inconspicuous, then these aren’t the headphones for you. Here is a picture of me wearing the headphones. They really are giant.

Final Thoughts
If I could make one change to the GK-Ultraphones, it would be to have a female 1/4 inch jack in the headphone itself. This way I could interchange cords to different lengths for different uses. Because of the handmade nature of these headphones, I’m sure that if I asked Mr. Knudtson to make a pair with a 1/4 inch jack in the headphone and a separate cord, that he would accommodate. Other than that one thing, I am 100% sold on these headphones. I would recommend them to anyone.

Pros:
Amazing sound
Near complete isolation
Protects your ears from damaging noise pollution
No “white noise” like noise-canceling headphones
1/4 and 1/8 inch jack included
Long Cord+

Cons:
Very Big
Sounds as if signal is coming from inside your head
A little pricey
Long Cord-

http://www.gk-music.com/ultraphones.htm