Frends Taylor Review
Sometimes, hunting for treasure just leads to fools' gold.
Recently, Frends impressed us with the Ella b in-ears, which were the perfect marriage of quality sound and sartorial savvy. Therefore, when I spotted the company's absolutely dashing Taylor on-ears (MSRP $199), I had a lot of hope.
Yet for all the glittering hardware and crisp white leather, the Taylor fell far short of my expectations. These are one set of on-ears that just aren't worth their weight in gold.
Bothersome bass, troubled treble
When I listened to the Taylor for the first time, I heard problems right away. But before I get up to my eyeballs in details, I'll just say this: If you—like so many average consumers—want a pair of headphones that really emphasizes bass, but also retains detail, detail, detail—these are not for you.
Bass is rather quiet. Sure, some people won't mind that, but the additional fact that a couple points of the midrange and almost all of the high midrange are greatly underemphasized spells real trouble.
Here's the real-terms breakdown: Bass notes on drums, horns, woodwinds, and everything else are anything but booming. Next, most of the middle range receives proper emphasis, but not all; some middle notes just plummet in volume for no apparent reason—for instance low female vocals or low notes on trumpets—and the drop sweeps right into the upper midrange, too. Thus, upper notes on horns, cellos, and similar instruments lack proper emphasis, as well.
Time in the lab revealed distortion, as well, but nothing that should bother the average ear. Last, the Taylor effectively seals music in and even blocks a fair amount out—though nothing out of the ordinary. All in all, my time in the lab with these headphones produced middling results.
Comfort, Design & Features
Mouthwatering design, but not especially comfortable
Lady Ga Ga endures bodily pain for fashion, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should. Meat dresses? Methinks not. The same goes for these 200-dollar on-ears. Yes, the Taylor is a beautiful product, but as most on-ears tend to do, they apply steady pressure to your outer ear, which often causes aching. If you have sensitive ears, avoid these. There are just too many plush over-ear options in this price range to settle for these.
Comfort aside, the Taylor does offer many of the modern conveniences that consumers love, and in a truly beautiful package—you really don't see design like this every day. This hardware is head-turning. A four-foot cable houses a glitzy three button remote and microphone, so that busy bee users can race in circles while taking calls and controlling tunes without pause. We prefer removable cables to this permanent one, though—be sure to handle with care! And speaking of, use the pretty white carry case that ships with the Taylor, since the hardware seems very vulnerable to dings and scratches.
A Final Word
Looks aren't everything.
The fact is, the Frends Taylor on-ears look a lot better than they sound. Points of underemphasis throughout the scale result in music that's less textured than it ought to be, and comfort-wise, the Taylors don't feel as plush as you'd think.
With an MSRP of $199, I suggest passing these lookers on by. Comparison shopping will do you a world of good.
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