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November 6, 2013
3 x 7 x 8 inches
Update (January 2022): Thinksound has discontinued this product, though you might still find it online. Have a look at our best on-ear headphones post for alternatives.
Take a look at the Thinksound On1 headphones, and one of your first thoughts is almost guaranteed to be “hey, they’re made of wood.” While building headphones using wood in the construction isn’t an idea that is entirely unique to Thinksound, it isn’t something you see all that often. To their credit, Thinksound does do a few things we can’t recall seeing an audio company do before.
Take their “Recycling. Rewarded.” program: send in your old headphones, even broken ones, and you’ll get a coupon code for 15% off your next order from Thinksound. Recycling a pair of headphones from Thinksound? They’ll throw in an extra 10% loyalty bonus, bringing the total to 25% off your next order. Pretty cool huh? Thinksound’s focus on sustainability doesn’t stop there.
What’s In The Box?
Nowhere is Thinksound’s commitment to sustainability and recycling more evident than in the box containing the On1 which, you guessed it, is made from recycled material. Open it up and the first thing you’ll see is the Thinksound logo emblazoned on the included cotton carrying pouch. Open this pouch up and you’ll find the (rather slim) manual, and two 3.5 mm audio cables — one standard cable and one with an included mic and remote. Underneath you’ll find the headphones themselves.
Build & Design
The Thinksound On1 is only available in one color combination: Natural / Black. Luckily, it’s good looking enough that it’s the only combination necessary. These things are always a matter of opinion, but in mine, this is a seriously beautiful pair of headphones. Looking at photos and videos is one thing, but these are headphones that need to be seen in person to be truly appreciated.
Looks are one thing, but how about the build quality? In marketing materials for the On1, Thinksound makes a point of showing off how flexible they are. While I didn’t push the headphones as far as Thinksound did, the headband is definitely very flexible. While the plastic connecting the headband to the ear cups seems like it could possibly be more fragile than the wood and metal, in general, these seem like a fairly tough pair of headphones.
Despite the tough feel, this is surprisingly light pair of headphones, weighing in at just 6.7 ounces. The weight is one factor in the comfort of the Thinksound On1, but it’s not the only one. The padding used in the ear cups is comfortable, and the ear cups themselves rotate freely making it very easy to get a comfortable fit.
While the light weight makes the On1 headphones very portable, we can’t help but wonder why they don’t come with a hard shell carrying case. The included cotton pouch is decent enough, but for this price, a better case to protect your investment would have been nice to see.
The Thinksound On1 headphones don’t feature Bluetooth or any other advanced connectivity options, though since these are marketed as studio monitor headphones, that is understandable.
To the same end, these headphones come with two 3.5 mm audio cables. One is a standard cable, while the other features a one-button “clicker” style remote with an included microphone. Both cables are Kevlar reinforced which, in addition to making them tough, prevents them from getting easily tangled. The cables connect to the headphones through a standard 3.5 mm jack — no proprietary connections here. Given the studio monitor focus, it’s somewhat surprising that a 1/4″ adapter isn’t included, but considering you can get one for just over $1, we’re not complaining.
Call quality using the included microphone is excellent. While you won’t suddenly sound like a better version of yourself, your calls will sound as good as phone calls can.
Accuracy can be a dangerous thing when it comes to audio. Often looking for accurate sound is like telling someone you never want them to lie to you about anything. Honesty is very rarely flattering in life, and so it goes with audio. The Thinksound On1 headphones are marketed as studio monitor headphones, which means that unlike many headphones out there, they’re meant to present audio unadulterated.
In testing the Thinksound On1, I briefly played music in MP3 and Rdio streaming form on my Motorola Moto X, but to really test fidelity, I did most listening with CDs and lossless files played from a computer through a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 audio interface. I listened a wide variety of music from various genres, as well as spoken word performance, podcasts and audiobooks.
One area where a perfectly flat frequency curve can be disappointing for everyday music listening is bass response. Thinksound has clearly kept this is mind, and responded by giving the On1 a slight bump in the low frequencies. This isn’t enough to ruin them for monitoring purposes, but does manage to pick up the excitement level with bass-heavy music.
The mids are very clean sounding and definitely accurate, with just a touch of added warmth in the lower mids. There is plenty of depth here and an overall “thick” sound, but no real alteration of the sound. Instruments come through as intended.
The highs are clear, sharp and (here’s that word again) accurate sounding. There is a hint of sparkle to high end detail, but the high end isn’t overwhelmingly present.
Overall the sound of the Thinksound On1 is flat enough to make them useful for monitoring, but they’re not so accurate that they’re not enjoyable to listen to. On the contrary, I found that listening to familiar music through these headphones revealed detail I’d either missed in the first place or forgotten was there.
Soundstage is fairly wide, especially for closed-back on-ear headphones, and the sense of space here is excellent. As high as I pushed the volume, I didn’t notice any distortion, but I like my ears, so I didn’t push the On1 unreasonably far.
Though no active noise cancellation is present, I noticed that these do a fairly good job of blocking outside noise while music is playing. Sound leakage is nearly non-existent as well.
Selling for a list price of $299, the Thinksound On1 are not a cheap pair of headphones by a long shot, but the question is: are they worth the money? In a word: yes. While the price is a bit steep, the sound and build quality are easily worth the money, not to mention the unique look.
Subjectively speaking, these are the best on-ear headphones I’ve tried in a long time, and are in the running for my current favorite headphones period. Objectively speaking, plenty of people would be happy with a cheaper pair of headphones, and there are plenty of decent options for less money. That said, if you decide to pick these up, I sincerely doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Buy now from Amazon.com ($299.99)