Gear Review: Status Audio HD Two Headphones

HDTwo_1

Status Audio is a relative newcomer to the highly competitive and oversaturated headphone game, a direct-to-consumer company that ditches all of the celebrity promotions and extravagant marketing schemes for unbranded, minimalistic cans that provide outstanding audio at reasonable prices. If you haven’t heard of them before, you better listen up.

At $99, the HD Twos are at the very top-end of Status Audio’s headphone offerings. Out of the box, you get the headphones, a zippered clamshell travel case, two 3.5mm audio cables (one standard, one with an in-line mic), and a cleaning cloth. These successors to the cheaper HD One on-ear headphones feature a circumaural, over-the-ear design and a stainless steel frame that stylishly accents the matte black earpads and headband. Unfortunately, while the HD Ones come in multiple color schemes of red and black, the HD Twos are currently only available in black.

The HD Two headphones sport a sleek, modern design that is unmarred by logos or any other form of branding. The back sides of the earpads have a little swoop carved around the bottom contour for a little bit of a flourish, but beyond that the aesthetic is clean and elegant. The headphones don’t collapse completely like the HD Ones, but they do swivel on the steel hinges so that the unit can be streamlined for transport or to lay flat on a table when not in use. The overall build quality so far seems solid. The ear casings and headband are light but carry enough heft so as to not feel like cheapy plastic. Steel bars connect the earphones to steel framing which inserts into the plastic headband casing and ratchets along a series of notches for adjustable length on both sides.

Additionally, 3.5mm jacks are built into not one but both earphones, which offers great versatility for use in different circumstances and user preferences. For example, while using with my PC, I like to have the cable coming out of the right earphone since my computer tower is positioned on the right side of my desk. I’ve used other headphones with the cable coming off of the left ear, and it’s always annoying to have the wire crossing my chest and hanging down onto the keyboard. At the same time, when I go to use the headphones with a console or mobile device, sometimes I like to have the cable off of the left ear, depending on how I’m sitting or laying down or holding the controller/device. Headphones typically come built-in with one wired configuration, so it’s nice in this instance to have the best of both worlds.

HDTwo_2 HDTwo_3

The included wires get the job done but aren’t anything too special. They’re a decent length at roughly four feet, and they don’t seem to have a problem with tangling even though they aren’t braided or in the flat, anti-tangle style. The cable with the in-line mic has a remote for easy one-button call answering, play/pause, and skip. The plug at the device end of both cables has an angled input, which guides the wire out of the device rather than going straight in and leaving the wire bending down. This also leaves a flat surface at the back of the plug for a finger to more easily push it into the jack.

The HD Twos are comfortable headphones. While the headband could benefit from some extra padding (there’s a small length of thin padding to cushion the crown of the head, but most of the band is hard plastic), the ears are generously padded with soft leather cushions that are close to an inch thick. At first the cushions are a little stiff and overly snug. However, after giving the padding a chance to break in the headphones fit beautifully. I honestly wasn’t too keen on the comfort level initially, because they felt so tight to the point that they caused a slight irritation around the edges of my ear cartilage within a relatively short usage duration. After about a week or so of daily use, though, the material and headband tension began to soften and sort of meld to my head. Now, after a full month of use, they fit my head and ears like a glove. I barely notice I’m wearing them, even through multiple hour gaming sessions.

Now that the weather has started to heat up for the summer, my ears and the surrounding area on my head/hair do sometimes become hot and sweaty after prolonged use, but to be fair that is an issue with pretty much any pair of over-ear headphones due to the style not being as breathable compared to on-ear headphones or in-ear buds. (I’m also a sweaty beast, so there’s that.) Let’s just say that these probably aren’t the best choice for listening to music while working out.

For gaming in particular, the HD Twos are fantastic. I’ve been using them for portable gaming on my 3DS and Vita, console gaming on PS4, and for gaming, as well as movie and music playback, on my PC, and the performance has been superb across the board. Officially, the headphones’ sound signature is described as U-shaped with “accentuated bass and high-end frequencies with slightly recessed midrange.” Admittedly, I’m not a hardcore audiophile, but I’d say that description of the audio quality is right on the money. I definitely noticed stronger bass and treble compared to other headphones, but not too thumpy that the lows became overshadowed. While playing games like Uncharted 4 and Far Cry: Primal, for example, the boosted bass elevated the intensity of the action moments while the overall balance of the audio quality allowed the nuances of the ambient sounds to shine through. Music games like Project Diva and Persona 4: Dancing All Night also sounded great as the richer bass amplified the beats and vocals while maintaining crisp background instrumentals.

HDTwo_4 HDTwo_5

Comparatively speaking, one thing I have noticed with the HD Twos is that on the same volume settings the audio output is slightly quieter than other headphones. I noticed this immediately when I first switched out another pair of headphones to start testing these, and I have since gone through and compared to three or four other headphones. Every time I have needed to bump the volume up two or three notches to achieve the same levels. Of course that’s what they make volume controls for, so this really isn’t a problem. It’s just something I thought I should point out. While the audio levels may be on the quieter side, the HD Twos counter this with impeccable noise isolation. You simply don’t need to set the volume as high thanks to how well the over-ear pads form a tight seal that blocks out ambient background noise.

Aesthetically understated yet booming with premium sound quality, Status Audio’s HD Two headphones deliver high-end performance that far exceeds the price tag. Other headphones may have more brand recognition and celebrity street cred, but decibel for decibel these are hard to beat.

Buy From: The HD Two Headphones are available for $99 from Amazon.com and Status Audio.

Disclosure: Sample product of the HD Two Headphones was provided to VGBlogger.com for review by Status Audio.

[nggallery id=3586]

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!