Shoutout to OneOdio for reaching out and sending these for a demo!
Greetings bass head and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
At A Glance
In The Box
A71 Fusion headphones
2m-3m coiled cable
1.2m straight cable with microphone
- Price: Check Amazon!
- Speaker: 40mm
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 110dB +- 3dB
- Transmission frequency: 2402MHz-2480MHz
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
- Max input power: 1600mW
- Plug type: 3.5mm stereo
As many of you may know, I live in an apartment and have God-awful neighbors.
After 6 or so years of dealing with what felt like elephants stomping around literally every waking hour, they finally, FINALLY moved out.
Praise the LAWD!
No really, imagine someone picking up the heaviest bowling ball in the alley and dropping it repeatedly (read: throwing it in multiple directions) while jumping up and down, and you get a sense of what it was like to live below these people.
When I signed a 6-month lease in August 2021 (because I plan to move), the really nice property manager who empathized with me (I think) informed me with a smile, “Oh, it’s going to get worse.”
“W..worse? Why is that?”, I stuttered with a nervous twitch in my eye, shaking.
“Because they’re remodeling that apartment after those people move out.”
Yeah. It got worse.
While the contractors were really loud, I can sort of give them a pass for obvious reasons.
“Well, hopefully, the next person will be a little more courteous of their neighbor”, I sighed with a touch of resignation.
They’re worse than the last neighbor.
Imagine someone getting ready for work in the morning, only instead of just proceeding as a normal person would, they decide to make it sound like a Category 9.5 Earthquake.
Now add in a shrieking Dog trapped in the laundry room who literally sounds like he’s dying the most violent, bloody death for hours upon hours, and you have a recipe for feeling like you’re on the brink of insanity.
So basically, the person goes to work for 8 or so hours and locks the dog into a tiny confined space where it can do next to nothing.
Yeah, that surely won’t lead to any problems, said no one ever.
I’m gonna stop before I really go on a rant about Dog owners, aka some of the worst people on the planet.
No self-awareness, no common courtesy, it’s all about me me me me me and my stupid dog who I claim to love but don’t, actually.
The reason I actually have the dog is that I’m insecure and afraid of being completely alone so I instead compensate and distract myself from the real me – aka an inconsiderate sh** bag.
Oh, and they never clean up their dog’s poop because they’re lazy and don’t care. How cute.
Would you stuff a dog into a laundry room every single day if you loved it? Imagine how the damn dog feels. Probably like he’s not valued AT ALL.
Whew, that felt amazing. Hope you enjoyed it.
But what does this have to do with headphones?
Well, friends, the A71 is a closed-back headphone, so thanks to OneOdio, I don’t have to drive off the nearest cliff anymore!
If you’re a newcomer to audio and reading this, basically, the headphones drown everything out.
Isolation is above average.
Before we get into how they sound, let’s talk about build and comfort.
Build & Comfort
The A71 is a super-compact, light headphone that hearkens back to the M50x’s original design.
In fact, it’s almost a carbon copy of the longtime favorite, though it’s definitely smaller than both a 50x and M40x, and feels more plasticky for lack of a better word.
Rotating the cups inward reveals the R and L on the inside, and I really like this as I can easily see which side is which.
As a side note, why do companies always put it in the smallest letters humanely possible?
Points awarded here:
The A71’s cups don’t fully rotate as the M50x’s did, so they’re a bit limited in how they can move around.
They do however fold up fairly well, so no complaints.
They more mimic the style of the 40x, as in, it’s just enough to result in a good seat on your head.
Just a hunch. xD
I could be completely wrong though. This is synthetic leather but feels unabashedly smooth and glossy. Whatever.
Thankfully, the headphones are a lot more comfortable than I predicted them to be, and in terms of size and convenience, they would make a great travel companion.
The cups are pretty shallow and the opening is rather small, but surprisingly they aren’t digging into my ear lobes at all.
Features and Connectivity
Included in the package is a cheap-feeling drawstring bag with their warranty info on the back, a regular audio cable with 1/4″ termination, a gaming cable with a mic and 3.5mm termination, an adapter for something like a SoundBlaster G6 (a splitter for the mic and audio, basically), some literature, a warranty card, and a tiny box to contain everything.
I love the detachable options and find it a breath of fresh air that OneOdio gives you a choice of 2 cables + 2 different terminations.
One is a 1/4″ on the left cup and the right contains the proprietary 3.5mm (which you’ll use with both of the supplied cables).
Alex Rowe from Medium agrees:
That’s right, Alex.
If you’re going to make a gaming headphone, it should absolutely always come with a detachable 3.5mm or 1/4″ wire. No exceptions.
They don’t clamp hard on the sides and I’m not feeling them dig into the top of my head. A good sign so far!
These have no business being as comfortable as they are, but time will tell if they start to dig.
I will certainly update this article to reflect any future changes.
The headband itself has hints of metal, but I don’t think it’s an actual solid piece if that makes sense. It seems to be a combination of plastic with a thin sheet of metal over top.
If you look on the inside, you can see it’s an actual piece but housed inside plastic – which is fine I guess.
These headphones don’t feel particularly durable, but again, time will tell.
In other words, it’s as close to the Toy Section in Wal-Mart as it gets. They feel about as heavy and robust as a K240, and everyone knows how light that one is.
Even so, the K240M I have here is from around the ’70s. Enough said.
The A71 may or may not be as deceptively strong.
Note: If songs on the playlist seem sparse, it just means I listened to more albums and vice versa.
The A71 suffers from some of the same issues as the Meze 99 Neo, i.e there’s too much bass mud. Mid-bass tones are too warm and fuzzy sounding, and it borders on bloat at times.
Even so, there are times when the sound signature as a whole really works.
Ian Ewing, Sun BLVD, and Moods’ “Riri Thick – Moods Remix” sounds pretty fab, but there are also times, as with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Carry On”, that the A71 sounds kind of meh, as does most of the album.
That is to say, that source files are really important, but also the A71 is built for that type of EDM, Electro/Indie Pop type of music and doesn’t sound all that great with Rock.
Modern, cleaner music is what you’ll mostly want to target.
Still, the bass just booms too much.
The quality of it, i.e. its texture and realism also aren’t even as good as a Neo, but that’s kind of to be expected given the meager price tag.
I think the Neo boosts it even more, but it actually sounds more refined in contrast to the A71.
OneOdio wanted to send me a different headphone but I suggested this one because I mix beats and figured it would be a good litmus test.
I wouldn’t mix on these as they aren’t neutral.
The mid-range is decent to below average, as you’ll still find that the bass tends to drown everything out as it did with the 99 Neo.
Vocals can either sound present and accounted for, or horribly pushed back as in the case of Snail Mail’s “Ben Franklin”.
It sounds like she’s singing through a sock.
In fact, when you switch back and forth between something like an HE400se – my new top recommendation overall in the hobby – and the A71, you quickly realize just how bad music sounds through these; especially on a fantastic compilation album like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “So Far”.
This is due to the bass mostly distracting and taking away from some really interesting and rather surprising strong points from these headphones; ones we’ll get to later. The other issue is that everything feels kind of claustrophobic and closed in.
I think a developing trend lately is for companies to boost the bass but keep the mids around neutral-ish to give off the impression that they aren’t actually recessed (which they aren’t, technically).
The problem is that you’re still artificially boosting the low end and making everything sound like it has this weird blanket of fuzz/white noise over it. This is a problem in the A71 as well.
If we’re being honest, cheap products like this nearly always go for a bass boost but most of the time it just ends up sounding awful.
One thing I appreciate here, to an extent, is the treble; it’s not overly bright or essy, which can really ruin a lot of otherwise great headphones.
No, they decided to subdue it a bit. The problem is that there’s no sparkle or detail. It just kind of melds together with everything else, as in the case of Snail Mail’s “Headlock.”
I think that depending on the track, it can sound decent to pretty good, but most of the time you’ll be longing for a bit more zest and the A71 just doesn’t deliver on that front.
One of the A71’s notable strengths lies in its decently wide Soundstage and separation of somewhat lost sounds – a quality here that takes me back to the first time I demoed a Status CB-1.
It’s hard to say how exactly they do this in closed-back headphones of this pedigree (read: cheap), but the A71 makes what is perhaps its strongest case for being an analytical mixing headphone with regard to said Soundstage.
You’ll start to hear things to the right and left and I was surprised at just how much extra I missed before in a song like Foxing’s “Night Channels.”
There were extra details and soundscapes happening in the upper left that I wasn’t expecting. Subtle details that help quite a bit when really analyzing a mix for weird artifacts, mistakes, and similar things of that nature.
I’ve listened to enough albums with these to safely say that you’ll be constantly wondering if the sounds are coming from the outside – a quality about these that I never expected in a million years given they’re closed and incredibly cheap.
So points there for sure.
The problem, again, is the bass. It’s distracting and too much of a good thing.
You also have to consider that it may just be the way the track was recorded. Not all songs reveal that much extra, but it certainly can and will happen most of the time due to how OneOdio tuned the drivers.
The galloping bass line on Postal Services’ “Clark Gable” sounds good, but the song as a whole still doesn’t sound quite right. There’s a sense of artificiality in these that permeates throughout most tracks you’ll come across.
This is an ongoing problem in Tyler the Creators 2021 album “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.”
*Disclaimer* I’m about to go on a rant, if you don’t want to read it, click here to insta-next it. If you read my articles for precisely this brand of miffed prose, read on friend.
In addition to being trash, it sounds like trash through these headphones as well.
Again, could be how it was mixed.
As a side note, do people actually listen to this garbage? And enjoy it?
This dude is a wannabe poor man’s MF DOOM crossed with a drunk Lloyd Banks, only he talks about nothing while acting like he’s deep.
We’re nearing rock bottom, friends. xD
MASSA is pretty good (as is SAFARI), but who exactly is this guy talking to? If it’s people like me who criticize his mostly trash lyrics and compositions, then the lunch break line on MASSA fails since I don’t work a 9-5 job lol. Try again.
You can stay on your knees and be a slave to your record label for all I care. You know, to your “MASSA.”
“Yesumassuh. I’ll keep making trash songs for my delusional fan base.”
I may not agree with everything Common says, but I respect him as well as Nas.
Common has grown and matured over time since the early ’90s, and you can hear it from album to album. Guys like Tyler never grow up.
CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is for people who are lost and call Tyler, the Creator – which in turn makes them more lost. xD
Gaming & Amplification
How do they do for gaming?
First off, the A71 is very efficient and doesn’t resist power much, so I wouldn’t worry too much about purchasing a separate amp/DAC for this unless of course, you’re gaming on a console in which case I’d recommend a G6 without thinking twice.
The reason is that you can easily use the included female-to-dual-male splitter that comes with the A71 and quickly be off to the races.
I compared the detachable Boom Pro vs. the A71’s supplied mic to get a sense of how it sounds – as the Boom Pro is basically my barometer for good sound at a ridiculously low price.
So what are my impressions?
In my opinion, my voice through the Boom Pro sounds clearer and better than OneOdio’s supplied mic, but you may or may not care about the slight difference.
It also minimizes ‘plosives better than the A71 which you’ll notice in the video when I’m talking.
Check it out and you can decide for yourself!
It’s hard to say no to this ridiculous deal, but the problems are twofold:
- The sound, in my opinion, isn’t very good at all. If you see reviewers excitedly peddling these, they likely are a) looking for a quick commission, or b) have no idea what good headphones sound like.
- The issue of longevity. I actually just recorded a video about this very topic of cheap manufacturing and the problems it creates, but I can’t really say one way or another as I haven’t owned this set for any length of time. I supposed I’d have to come back to this article and see if the headphones hold up well or just end up breaking down.
Still, I wouldn’t recommend these overall.
Based on the rating, I can almost guarantee without even reading the reviews that there are some long-term issues with the A71.
So what are my recommendations?
Here are all of my studio headphone recommendations in one article:
Here is my article on Beginner Gaming Setups:
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this OneOdio A71 Review.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please leave them down below or Contact me!!
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Is the A71 worth an investment? Good value? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,