If you ask school staffers about the ruggedness of headphones, the near-universal answer you’ll get is that inexpensive ones break or become unusable so quickly that they are just about useless. This is one area where spending more money upfront can cut expenses in the long run.
Despite its evil-sounding name and devilish red gothic “W” logo, the Solus—Wicked headphones are a good investment for schools. Weighing 12-ounces, the headset is made of sturdy high-impact plastic and folds up to about a third its original size for storage. It has a gold-plated 1/8-inch stereo jack and durable cloth covered cord with that won’t get tangled as easily as a coiled cord in a drawer. The Wicked headphones include a cloth bag, audio extension cord and ¼-inch phono-plug adapter.
Originally made for DJs and professional audio engineers, the headphones have 1.6-inch drivers that reproduce the range of human hearing from 20 to 20,000 hertz. There’s also an inline volume control with a switch for going between stereo and mono sound.
Rather than open foam ear muffs that begin to disintegrate as soon as kids start using them, the Wicked headphones have soft padded vinyl coverings and cloth inside the sound chamber. The headband and ear muff position are adjustable so that they fit anyone from a 10-year old to a bulky high-school senior and do a surprisingly good job of blocking extraneous noise.
As far as audio goes, the sound is well balanced with strong bass, clear treble and lots of loudness at its disposal. The headphones, however, lack the ability to limit its sound level to protect hearing as is the case with several Califone headphones.
The Wicked headphones are light on mid-range tones that limit its audio richness and can make spoken word material sound a little hollow.
The headphones have something lesser audio devices don’t, a lifetime warranty, although you’ll have to send in $5 to cover return shipping in the event that you have a failure. Despite a list price of $100, you can easily find the Solus headphones for $50. Even though that may be many-times more than what budget headphones go for, think of Solus headphones as an investment that will pay audio dividends for years, not months.
+ Fold-up design
+ Padded headband and muffs
+ Cloth covered cord with volume control
+ Rugged construction
+ Lifetime warranty
- Light on mid-range tones
- Can’t limit volume