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1More MK802 Bluetooth

Over the past few weeks I have tried out quite a few over-ear bluetooth headphones in a mad search for the ‘ultimate’ bluetooth headphone.

I have tried the Bose QC35’s, V-Moda Crossfade Wireless, Sennheiser PXC550’s (I wanted to also try the new Sony MDR1000x models but they appear to be sold out with a two month waiting list - and I’m the impatient type. Having tried some of the best noise cancelling headphones I feel that perhaps that’s not the direction I really want to go in.

My usual wired headphones consist of the following (all of which are used regularly):

Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 - IEM
1More Triple Driver - IEM
Sony XBA H1 - IEM
Apple Earpods
Audio Technica ATH50X - Full Size Over-Ears

Playback electronics include:

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (an excellent audio player - especially with the inclusion of the Neutron player).
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
AgpTEK H01 - Micro SD based lossless player with a very powerful amplifier on-board.

My music tastes are beginning to vary in my old age - Rush, Pink Floyd, Queen, Bach, Fleetwood Mac, Vivaldi, William Orbit, Hanz Zimmer - you get the idea. Most of my music is well-encoded MP3’s (either 320K rips - some of the older stuff ripped using EAC/LAME (with some cool psycho-acoustical filtering applied) and some downloaded FLAC files. In other words, perhaps not the best in the world but certainly a significant step up from entry-level.

My criteria in order of importance is:

Sound Quality and Volume
Ability to pair with two phones
Reliable Bluetooth connection
Battery Life
Facility to use wired connection
Comfort

I can tolerate some discomfort as I am frequently having to remove my headphones when working but they’ve gotta sound good and loud.  I normally like a sound signature that’s neutral (with perhaps just a hint of deep bass) normally. I don’t tend to mind a slight dip in treble as I’m quite sensitive to shrieking  (that’s what happens when you’re married).

Externals and Extras

The 1More 802’s are a smallish bluetooth headphone and I would have to say that for most people I think they should be thought of as ‘on the ear’ rather than ‘over the ear’. They’re very nicely constructed out of a kind of ‘artificial aluminium’ - I’m not sure exactly what that it but they feel like they could take a reasonable beating - this is certainly something worth having with bluetooth headphones. The earpads are pretty thin but do form a reasonably effective seal which helps with bass response. They are fairly comfortable for about a CD’s worth of listening but any longer and I had to re-adjust them to keep them comfortable. To be honest I don’t mind doing this and it only requires the slightest re-adjustment on the ears to get them comfortable again. I was sent the metallic red ones - they look really nice.

I wear these at work and they are getting more comfortable as time goes on - I’m not sure if this is the headphones adjusting to me or me adjusting to the headphones. They clamp pretty tightly on the head but, again, this is ideal on a portable headphone. The buttons are a little mushy but I find them to be easy to operate though - the PLAY/VOLUME controls are easy to find - easier than the V-Moda’s anyway. They offer a reasonable degree of isolation from the outside world but do leak some sound when you listen to music at higher volume levels - not really more than others though.

There are five controls on the 802’s. Four on the right hand side which are used for the usual playback, volume and call controls and on the left is a 3-way switch for low/neutral/high bass controls. This is actually a nice touch - can’t really see a use for low bass but the neutral and high definitely is welcome. One button can be configured with their Android app to perform different tasks - there’s not many applications supported by this function yet though - it would be nice to be able to access Viper for Android’s EQ settings with this but that’s currently not an option.

Battery life is really good. I haven’t yet run the battery down completely though but I suspect you could get pretty much three full working days listening out of them. That is active listening with music or spoken word rather than simply just powered on and waiting for incoming calls. The standby time can run for many days or even weeks apparently. One really nice touch is that their Android app will show you the current battery level - nice touch 1More as this feature is normally only found on Apple stuff.  The 802’s can be used as a wired headphone thanks to the excellent included cable - this is a nice touch and the cable features a proper remote control that controls volume as well as play/pause - and it works on my Android devices. Nice touch 1More.

Bluetooth Operation

The 802’s can connect to two devices simultaneously so this definitely ticks one of my boxes. The connection appears to have a reasonable range but I did notice some stuttering when I connected to both the Galaxy Note 2 and a cheap nasty Nokia (work phone). To be honest I would be inclined to blame the Nokia rather than the headphones themselves. The 802’s feature voice prompts to advise you of connection status and so on. One thing I do find somewhat annoying is that the volume controls beep with each keypress - it would be nice if this feature could be switched off. The 802’s use Bluetooth 4.2 and the aptx protocol so they work well with my Android devices.  

Sound Quality

These sound good.  Really good. Far better than their price would indicate. The sound characteristic is very flat when compared with other bluetooth headphones (which mostly tend to emphasise the bass a little too much) and definitely share the same character as their excellent Triple Driver IEM’s. They also go fairly loud (which ticks another one of my boxes) and offer a nice stable soundstage.

Bass

The 802’s accurately reproduce bass notes and work very well with both classical and drum & bass. I must admit I am starting to really like the bass switch set to full-on but this is perhaps because I got used to the bass-heavy sound of the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless - which has some pretty extreme bass (but also very addictive). There’s no way you could describe the bass as ‘flabby’ or ‘soft’ - a really nice balanced bass response - again, very reminiscent of their triple driver iem’s.

Mids

Very slightly recessed. And I mean slightly. This helps reduce any harshness that can be present with certain types of music. Very detailed. Listening to The Wall by Pink Floyd, I could hear more details in the background sound effects ‘Oh my god - what a fabulous room - are all these your guitars?’.

Treble

Having come from the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless to these I found the top end a little much to start with. The Crossfade’s don’t use the APTX protocol and tend to veer more towards the bass than the treble - something I kinda got used to - so the 802’s were a bit of a shock to my ears to start with. However the treble detail is excellent - not harsh, not brittle - but very detailed. These are not headphones for listening to poorly encoded MP3’s as their treble characteristics will definitely show these up rather than mask them.

Overall Sound Characteristics

Flat.  Flat as a ruler as far as my ears can tell. These headphones are the closest I’ve yet come to producing the same sound character that you find in a good pair of in ear monitors. More than adequate amplification when used in bluetooth mode and there’s not any noticeable difference when used wired.  That’s definitely a plus point in my books as there’s no compromise no matter which way you use them.

The MK802’s sound brighter and more detailed than my Audio Technica ATH M50’s in my opinion. They share a similar sound characteristic with my excellent Ultimate Ears Triple Fi’s and 1More’s own superb Triple Driver Hybrids. You could describe these as On-Ear IEM”s from their analytical sound character. This is a good thing.

Conclusion

For the price - there’s really no decision needed - just buy them. You won’t be disappointed. They are definitely a step up from the cheaper (and some of the more expensive) bluetooth headphones out there. I recently tried the Sennheiser PXC550 Bluetooth headphones (very expensive noise cancelling model) and in my opinion these go much louder and sound significantly better.  I recently tried the Bose QC35’s (another expensive noise cancelling model) and these sound more detailed and natural sounding.