Published on September 13th, 2016 | by Greg0
Sharkk Bravo: Inexpensive Electrostatic Headphones
The vast majority of headphones use single drivers in order to produce sound- kind of a tiny speaker, using a magnet and a diaphragm that work with a coil to create music in your ears. Some more sophisticated (and expensive) sets offer double or even triple drivers in each ear, and the size of the drivers can vary widely too. But there is another entirely different technology, called electrostatic, that can be utilized in speakers or headphones.
Today’s set are actually a hybrid pair, that claims to be the world’s first affordable electrostatic models. Called the Sharkk Bravos, they are currently raising money via an Indiegogo project that has so far raised almost $200K with a few days remaining to pre-order. Now, these are not water-resistant or built for exercise, they aren’t wireless or foldable for travel, and they don’t even come with a microphone- they are made for listening to music, pure and simple. Unlike some of the more expensive electrostatic pairs out there (which can cost upwards of $1000), these don’t really need an amplifier to shine and they’re lighter than the competition too, weighing in at under 11 ounces.
The Bravo over-ear headphones aren’t particularly well-built though- they’re mostly plastic, and have some exposed wires which make us a little nervous. The headphone cable itself also isn’t that nice, and there’s only one color available (black). There’s no leather, but the earcups are still comfortable and the headband is well-padded for coziness too. They are adjustable and fit fairly well across the broad spectrum of head sizes we had available to test them out. The best part of all, and the reason we suggest considering backing them, is that they sound great- sharp and rich in the mids, with a real presence to woodwind instruments and strings. Vocals are deep and energetic too, especially on acoustic tracks, and they have better bass than you might expect from an electrostatic pair. For those who love mostly hip-hop or electronic music, they probably aren’t the best fit, but they’ll impress even audiophiles for most other genres.
Sharkk may make some dubious claims- 10x better sound quality for example, simply isn’t the case. And these certainly aren’t the sturdiest on the market. We liked that they included an extra pair of cushions though, and were definitely impressed by the audio quality. A few sets are still available at the early bird price of $199, with more for sale at $249 before they hit retail eventually at the still-pretty-good price of $299. If you miss the Indiegogo and prefer the security (and shipping), they are also available via Amazon.