Published on March 10th, 2015 | by Greg0
Bluetooth Headphones With Punch: Kicker Tabor
Wearable may be the word of the day, thanks to all of the hype built up around Apple’s Watch event. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but a little bit of perspective is in order- it might be sexy, but it’s still a wireless gadget meant to connect to your phone or other device. And we’ve seen many varieties, in all shapes and sizes and with plenty of widely varied functions. Today, for example, we test out a core Bluetooth capability- audio.
The Kicker Tabor Bluetooth Headphones are built for a certain type of guy- the kind who appreciates thumping bass. Everything about these is masculine, from the glossy black color and the somewhat-aggressive style to the thick headband and wide earcups. Ideal for anyone with a larger head, the sizable 50mm drivers can put out a pretty loud sound (they claim 118dB) and the built-in rechargeable batteries are rated for a decent 10 hours of playtime.
We’ve seen Kicker gear in the past, and it’s often aimed in this identical direction- so if you’re in their audience, this is right in line with their previous products. Fairly rugged if a bit hefty, we liked that the controls are much less fiddly than on some pairs- there’s a nifty rocker switch is accessible on one of the earcups for changing tracks easily. The Tabors are usable in wired mode as well, and though they don’t have any active noise cancellation, the passive isolation is decent. The earcups could be more comfortable- they are firm rather than plush- and we appreciated full apt-X support for higher-definition audio.
For those who want to make or take phone calls, Kicker does include a cable with a microphone- but you have to use them in wired mode, rather than being able to use a built-in mic. Sound quality won’t impress audiophiles used to monitors and neutral, broad soundstages, but these offer a tilt towards emphatic, and somewhat chunky or even sticky- plenty of growl and roar, they do tend to fuzz on high notes and aren’t very detailed. We liked them a lot on some classic rock tracks, where guitars can shine and production is forward. No one would call them subtle, but they’ve got character. As long as you’re OK with black, the price tag is decent- these are available online and in stores for $130 or so.