These headphones were provided in exchange for my review. I was really looking forward to receiving these as I have a few pair of over-the-ear headphones and a couple of Bluetooth sets that are in-ear, so these would be a first for me.
The packaging makes a nice first impression showing that you did not buy a $29 item in a clear blister-pack. The build quality is what I would expect for the price point, not metal, wood and leather, but the painted plastic and padded vinyl parts along with excellent fit and finish make a very respectable showing. While these are billed as “over-the-ear” on Audio-Technica’s website, they do not enclose the complete adult human ear. The ear cushion will rest on your ear lobe, but I did not find the fit uncomfortable.
The User Manual that comes in the box is fairly thick, but the content is in ten languages, so in reality it is only 16 pages for English. Usually I don’t even look in the manual for something like a pair of headphones, but I will admit I needed to do so to figure out the “Jog” switch’s functions. The storage/carry pouch is a vinyl-covered, cloth-like material that will protect from scratches and will easily fit in a pocket when using the headphones, but will not provide crush protection like a hard case would. The provided charging cable is a USB to Micro USB cable which is appreciated more than a proprietary connection. There is no AC charging block provided though.
Since wireless capability is the main selling point of the SR6BT, my testing consisted of listening to music on my iPhone 6, MacBook Pro, and a television with a third-party Bluetooth adapter attached to it. I also connected it to my 2-channel home stereo with the supplied audio/smartphone cable. When using the audio cable, the headphones sound exactly the same with their power tuned off or turned on, which is not the case with my active noise cancelling headphones made by a company with four letters in their name (their sound quality degrades tremendously when used with the power turned off).
Upon my initial use, I was a little underwhelmed with the sound quality of these headphones. You have to realize that everyone’s impression of “great sound” is different and also we differ in our ability to hear different frequencies in the audio spectrum. Using the equalizer function of iTunes on the Mac and an equalizer app on my phone, I was able to dial in a frequency curve to my liking and I am much more impressed with their sound. Killer, boomy bass…no, but I think with a little tweaking they are capable of providing a fairly accurate representation of what the audio engineer on the recording was trying for. The integrated amplifier in my home stereo has only a single bass and single treble control. With the limited control provided, I was not able to make as dramatic an improvement as I could with the graphic equalizer on the other devices. Voice quality while watching television was good with dialog easy to understand.
I was able to move all throughout the house (three levels, about 2400 sq. ft., through multiple walls) with no loss of signal and able to control the playback with the Jog switch.
When I compare the SR6BT to my other headphones (a couple of them are more than double the price), they hold their own for sound quality, and when you throw in the wireless feature, they are definitely worth the price of admission. I would recommend these at full MSRP if your sound source has an equalizer option, and I feel comfortable saying you will not be disappointed.