Music

Chunky wireless headphones have working VU meters on the outside

Chunky wireless headphones hav...
The OV-1B wireless headphones from Meters Music are currently up for pre-order
The OV-1B wireless headphones from Meters Music are currently up for pre-order
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The OV-1B wireless headphones are reported to last for up to 8 hours per charge, but can be wired up to a music source via the included cable when the battery runs low
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The OV-1B wireless headphones are reported to last for up to 8 hours per charge, but can be wired up to a music source via the included cable when the battery runs low
The OV-1B wireless headphones are promised to deliver better than CD quality cable-free listening thanks to the inclusion of aptX HD technology
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The OV-1B wireless headphones are promised to deliver better than CD quality cable-free listening thanks to the inclusion of aptX HD technology
The glowing VU meters are a design nod to the amp-building legacy of Ashdown Music, from which Meters Music sprouted earlier this year
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The glowing VU meters are a design nod to the amp-building legacy of Ashdown Music, from which Meters Music sprouted earlier this year
The OV-1B headphones are available in three colors, including the rose gold version shown here
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The OV-1B headphones are available in three colors, including the rose gold version shown here
Long-haul comfort comes courtesy of thick earpads and a chunky headband
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Long-haul comfort comes courtesy of thick earpads and a chunky headband
The functioning VU meter on the outer face of each earcup is a design nod to the legacy of Ashdown Music, from which Meters Music sprouted earlier this year
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The functioning VU meter on the outer face of each earcup is a design nod to the legacy of Ashdown Music, from which Meters Music sprouted earlier this year
You can't see them when the cans are on your head – but they will lets others around them know how loud the music is, without having to hear the noise for themselves
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You can't see them when the cans are on your head – but they will lets others around them know how loud the music is, without having to hear the noise for themselves
Active noise cancellation should help keep ambient noise from spoiling the music delivered through 40 mm dome drivers
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Active noise cancellation should help keep ambient noise from spoiling the music delivered through 40 mm dome drivers
Active visual monitoring comes in the shape of meter needles that move to the volume of the incoming signal in real time
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Active visual monitoring comes in the shape of meter needles that move to the volume of the incoming signal in real time
If the VU meter needle moves towards the red zone, the music is too loud
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If the VU meter needle moves towards the red zone, the music is too loud
The OV-1B wireless headphones from Meters Music are currently up for pre-order
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The OV-1B wireless headphones from Meters Music are currently up for pre-order
View gallery - 11 images

British audio house Meters Music has announced a wireless version of its novel-looking headphones launched at CES 2017 in Las Vegas back in January. The flagship OV-1B model sports the same working VU meter on the outside of each earcup as its sibling, but gives users the chance to go cable-free for "better than CD" quality listening.

The functioning VU meter on the outer face of each earcup is a design nod to the legacy of Ashdown Music, from which Meters Music sprouted earlier this year. Ashdown has made bass amps for some of the biggest names in modern music – from Paul McCartney to U2 and System of a Down to the Foo Fighters. The amps can be identified on stage by their glowing VU meters.

Including active visual monitoring in the shape of meter needles that move to the volume of the incoming signal in real time seemed a logical choice for its offshoot's flagship headphones, and immediately set the design apart from other over-ear cans on the market. The meters appear to be of little use to listeners – you can't see them when the cans are on your head – but they will let others around them know how loud the music is, without having to hear the noise for themselves.

So if you get a tap on your shoulder while commuting, it may be that someone has noticed the needles edging dangerously close to the "not good for you" red zone. Yeah, sure. It is a bit gimmicky, but very cool nonetheless. And it's not as if the OV-1B headphones are all show and no delivery.

You can't see them when the cans are on your head – but they will lets others around them know how loud the music is, without having to hear the noise for themselves
You can't see them when the cans are on your head – but they will lets others around them know how loud the music is, without having to hear the noise for themselves

For starters, Meters Music says that the OV-1Bs are among the first headphones to use aptX HD Bluetooth technology, which caters for wireless transmission of up to 24-bit high definition audio. Active noise cancellation should help keep ambient noise from spoiling the music delivered through 40 mm dome drivers, and the over-ears can be used to take calls if paired to a smartphone, just by touching a button on the side of the earcup. Controls on the side of the headphones are used to adjust volume and playback, too.

The OV-1B headphones have a 20 Hz - 20 kHz frequency response, 94 dB sensitivity and 32 ohm impedance. And they can be cabled to a non-wireless music source for passive listening using a 1.5 m (5 ft) straight cord, or when the battery powering the ANC and Bluetooth tech runs dry after about 8 hours of continuous use.

The OV-1B headphones are up for pre-order now for US$434 in rose gold, black or tan, shipping is expected to start next month. If you don't need Bluetooth, the cable only OV-1 headphones are available for $368.

Product page: Meters OV-1B

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1 comment
Wolf0579
I work in the A/V industry, and much of the audio I have to deal with originates from laptops. I absolutely LOVE VU meters! One, because they let you "see" the levels of sound you're dealing with, helping you prevent clipping and distortion. Two, because they're now considered "retro". I wish laptop makers would build these into laptops, so maybe, just maybe, the public could learn how to control recording and playback audio levels, and perhaps make my job a bit easier.