GadgetsLab: Jabra Revo

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Jabra-Revo

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz- 20kHz
  • Maximum input power: 30mW
  • Sensitivity: 119dB at 1 V/1kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms

WHAT’S HOT:

  • Comfortable and secure fit
  • Foldable structure
  • Deep bass and rich mids

WHAT’S NOT:

  • High frequencies lack response
  • Expensive

BOTTOM LINE:

  • Bass junkies will love the solid low frequencies of the Jabra Revo. As a bonus. Its comfortable fit, relative lightness, and foldable structure make it convenient both when it is in use and when it is not.

Jabra-Revo_

When you first lay eyes on the Jabra Revo,you will immediately know that its physicality is its most important feature.This is not to say that the Jabra Revo has sucky audio quality-far from it, in fact-but its structure is the thing that gives it the most value.

Despite being relatively light, the Jabra Revo is solid.The headband is apparently flexible yet sturdy,as it was able to bend freely without creaking or breaking.It is dominantly plastic, but as the ends move towards the ear cups,the headband transitions to metal.The metal extensions can be slid in and out of the ends of the frame so you can adjust the fit according to the size of your head.

The design is simple but well thought­ out,especially the cushy plush underside of the headband,which made it possible for me to keep the headset on my head for long hours without strain or discomfort. The memory foam on the likewise plush ear pads did an equally good job of keeping most of my listening sessions comfortable.

One of its best characteristics is its foldable structure.The folded form is significantly less bulky, making it so much easier for me to store in my bag when not in use.Although a carrying pouch is included in the retail package,  I would have liked it better if there were also some way to keep the cable neatly wound so I wouldn’t have to wrap it around the headphones and potentially damage the tip or the inline remote.

The cable can be plugged into either of the two ear cups-a feature that may come in handy.It is also cloth-bound, which reduces the threat of tangles.The remote-which works for Android, iOS, and some other compatible devices like the MacBook-has only three buttons, two of which are volume controls, while the other serves as a play/pause button. Situated on the side of the remote opposite the controls is the built-in mic which, as expected from Jabra, captures sound clearly and audibly.The mic is omni-directional and uses a noise filter.

Music quality was impressive, but not as balanced as I would have wanted it to be. Here’s why.

Bass intensity is one of my top considerations in choosing headphones and earphones, and I’m very picky  about that.I like my bass deep and powerful, yet controlled enough so that the other frequencies don’t get drowned out.In”Seed”by Sublime, the bass in the song was unsurprisingly prominent, but the mids were distinctively resonant, so the vocals came out powerfully despite the loud kick of the drum and the defined bass guitar notes that stood out in the entire duration of the song.The song’s high frequencies, however, like the cymbals and the guitar riff, were noticeably washed out and indistinct, making the verse instrumentals sound tamer than they ought to.

When I listened to Carole King’s”l Feel the Earth Move” I liked how her voice was at the top of the entire song, but when it comes to the instrumentals, the higher-pitched piano keys are mostly drowned out by the bass region.

While it isn’t the ideal mix, the powerful bass frequencies did prove to be useful in some tracks.The Gaslight Anthem’s “The Backseat;’typically sounds really screamy, overly twangy, and just plain annoying on headphones with more mid-high response (Don’t get me wrong.I’m the biggest Gaslight fan there is. I just prefer the subdued acoustic version.).With the ample low frequency response of the Jabra Revo, however, it sounded significantly more balanced and well-rounded.

Also because of the warm, bass-y sound the Jabra Revo was able to produce, some of the low-fi recordings I had, like my old Dead Kennedys and Black Flag albums, managed to come out with a deeper sound-something I could appreciate.

Another thing that’s commendable is the very low level of distortion of sound at maximum volume.There’s no sound leak as well, and it effectively keeps most of the noise from the outside inaudible.

It comes with the free JabraSound App, which, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use because apparently there’s a code you need to key in to be able to use the app, and the code is given upon purchase of the unit. Nevertheless, the  app enables you to enhance the sound coming through the Jabra Revo with Dolby Digital Plus.The enhancement technology is supposed to add weight to the bass frequencies.The Revo already has enough bass going for it as it is, though, so I don’t see the need for the app.The app also features an equalizer and a playlist function, which isn’t really a rare feat since most music player apps have those, too.

The Jabra Revo comes in another version that streams music via Bluetooth, called the “Jabra Revo Wireless” It features controls on the outside of the ear cup, plus support for pairing via NFC.

The Jabra Revo is great for those who have a liking for super-portable headphones, but just how much should you pay for such a pair? Jabra slapped a PHP 9,500 price tag on the Revo corded model, which is pretty unreasonable considering that it’s not the wireless model and the mix it produces isn’t quite balanced.If it were positioned at half the price, then the Jabra Revo would have been one among the better options in its price range.

Buy Meter 3.5:5

First published in Gadgets Magazine, October 2013

Words by Racine Anne Castro