Retaining the intricate design of its predecessors, whilst taking things a few steps further, the Blue Ella headphones promise greatness, but are they our new reference set for sound? We find out…
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Blue Microphones used to focus on high-end mics, but over recent years, the company has concentrated on cost-effective solutions and now offers a broad range of microphones for studio and desktop.
Last year, the company announced the Lola and Mo-Fi headphones which were another different move: headphones designed from the ground up with a very distinctive look and way of fitting to your head. The design brought a lot of praise, as did the sound, not least from us, and we gave both sets great reviews.
The new Ella headphones use the same intrinsic design, but go a few steps further for sound quality, hence the much higher asking price (the previous Blue offerings were in the region of £200 to £300).
The big selling point here is twofold. The Ellas use a Magnetic Planar driver design, with a very thin surface, to offer a detailed sound. Because this design generates lower levels, the phones also come with a built-in amp. You don’t always need the extra oomph, so can choose not to have it, or use an extra mode that offers a little extra bass. We found this latter mode was subtle and not really required, as the beauty of Blue headphones is that design. It utilises six joints and, when you unpack them, you almost unfurl them to open up and fit on your head. It’s very clever and It means the phones fit very snugly, which does help the sound and the isolation – helped by the closed-back design.
And the sound is something to behold. We wouldn’t say that it’s exceptionally flat, as our ears didn’t feel fatigued after long listening sessions – an unfortunate side effect of headphones and monitors that offer an accurate response. Instead, we believe that these offer a very rare experience: a true and detailed response with just enough vibe and comfort to make you want to mix with them for longer sessions.
A real strength is that extra bass. You might want to use it to enhance the user experience when you’re arranging a track and then kill it for detailed and precise mixing and mastering at the end of the process – it’s a nice option to have, anyway.
Our current AT, AKG and Beyerdynamic reference headphones take some beating, but these are right up there with the latter for a spacious, tight, detailed and accurate sound. And they glow in the dark – huzzah!
Blue Ella key features
- Closed-back headphones
- Planar magnetic driver
- 50x50mm drivers
- SNR: >101dB
- Impedance: 50 ohms Passive, 10 ohms Active
- Output power: 250mW
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- 1.2m & 3m cable, 6.3mm, cloth case
- Weight: 481g
These are headphones that are vying to be our new reference set for sound, but they do come at a price.