Since putting together a nice vintage stereo system, I’ve been interested in picking up another set of over-the-ear headphoned. I found Maxell Digital Stereo Headphones on clearance sale at Kmart for $21. They had a number of interesting features for the price so I decided to buy them and give them a chance.
When reading the packaging for these headphones, I was struck by four key features: 40 millimeter driver speakers, frequency response of 10 to 28000 Hertz, an 8-foot cable, and a gold-plated 1/4-inch adapter plug for component stereo systems. These components looked like a recipe for big sound and easy connectivity to my stereo.
Sound. In the world of stereo headphones, big driver speakers deliver big sound. Most budget priced stereo headphones come with 30 millimeter drivers. There are even instructions on the internet for upgrading headphones with bigger speakers. For their Digital Studio Series, Maxell has provided 40 mm drivers with Neodymium magnets. Consequently, these headphones deliver big sound and good bass. Maxell claims that low frequencies down to 10 hertz are produced. In listening to nineties house music pioneers, Deelite, I found the bass to be strong and present. At the other end of the spectrum, these headphones also delivered the high notes well. While 28000 hertz is a bit above the frequency range of human hearing, the Maxell’s delivered good high notes as well. While Deelite sang “Groove is in the Heart,” I was finding that groove was in these headphones. I also liked the way some of the swirling effects in the music were delivered via the headphones. The headphones seemed very responsive.
Cable Length. With a generous 8-foot cable, these Maxell headphones allow the wearer to move a good distance away from the sound source. While many competing headphones provide 1.5 meter cords (roughly 6 feet), the Maxell Stereo Headphones provide a full 8-feet of cord. While shorter cords may appeal to digital device wearers, an eight foot cord may be long enough to let you sit on a chair across from your stereo.
Plug Compatibility. The standard plug on the Maxell Digital Studio Headphones is an L-shaped 3.5 mm plug that works perfectly on computers, tablets, and other devices. For people with headphone jacks on the back of their device, the L-shaped plug should save a lot of wear and tearvon the cord. In a world awash in devices, these Maxell headphones also come with a 1/4 inch adapter for compatibility with old school stereo systems. Both the plug and adapter are gold-plated for good connectivity.
Comfort. If these Maxell headphones have a drawback, it lies in wearer comfort. The headphones are connected flexible metal frame that has an attached padding “trapeze” that automatically adjusts to fit the wearer. On the plus side, you don’t have to manually adjust anything, but I found that the headphones exerted a bit too much downward pressure on the top of my skull. I was partially able to mitigate this issue by wear the headphones slightly askew. However, this might be a “showstopper” for some purchasers. The headphone pads themselves are comfortable, but they are cloth covered. Many other makers offer simulation leather or plastic.
Overall, the Maxell Digital Studio Series headphones offer good sound at a good price. If you can get comfortable wearing these headphones, they are a very good value for less than $30.