A classic member of the headphone guild joins the stage at this point: The new iBasso SR2 is a half-open example of the tried-and-true dynamic principle – a shapely portion that aims to land a hit above all with its inner values, such as Tesla drive.
For the past 15 years, the Chinese headphone specialist iBasso has been playing its best cards when it comes to mobile music enjoyment: with headphone amps and integrated DACs, or the iconic Android-based music player DX 100, the forerunner to the DX 50 and DX 80. However, iBasso also manufactures a variety of in-ear headphones to fit their mobile preferences. And, most recently, the over-ear headphones SR2, the successor to the SR1, which was only released in a limited edition of 500 pieces – “technically similar,” but “optically and functionally upgraded,” according to the company.
The structure of the iBasso SR2
And here’s how the new one looks: The driver housing and connecting elements are aluminum, the brackets are “light” spring steel, and the headband is soft cowhide. The shapely, perforated artificial leather of the obliquely produced ear cushions (of which two distinct sets are offered) impresses with its ability to adjust to “nearly any head shape” via “body heat.”
You can practically go on travels with the cleverly constructed black carry box. The supplied wire can be connected into the two ear cups – and “correctly” at that, due to the red and blue 3.5 mm jack plugs. A 3.5 jack – or, via the included converter, a 6.3 mm counterpart – keeps touch with the playing partner on the other end of the 1.80-meter long line made of silver-plated copper. Everything looks firm and clean, which is a testament to the quality of the processing. Excellent work.
The SR2 can be converted into a half-open listener. This means that the air generated by the membrane penetrates outside, stimulating an airy sound but also carrying sound outwards and environmental noises into the ear. Closed models, on the other hand, do not have this minor issue and, as a result, tend to play more bass. The SR2 seeks to integrate both ideas by expanding slightly outwards, revealing the barred ear cups.
Its inner workings are more exciting: a Tesla driver works there, as does competition from Beyerdynamic, for example. The magnet’s high magnetic flux density should ensure that the membrane vibrations are as accurate as feasible. With her, iBasso prefers bio-cellulose – the plant fiber is said to be light and robust at the same time, implying good impulse fidelity and avoiding undesirable distortions. The membrane itself is suspended in light and elastic silicone suspension, allowing it to vibrate as freely as possible while not stimulating the housing.
The iBasso SR2 kit comes with two sets of earpads that can be swapped with some effort. The upholstery’s imitation leather is perforated to varying degrees, which results in a difference in sound: the one with larger holes sounds a little looser, and the bass is a little narrower.
However, both are incredibly comfortable: the SR2 sits very comfortably on the head, the ear pads nestle gently with slight pressure, providing great stability without being unpleasant. Fine.
However, both are roughly equivalent in terms of sound permeability: the ear cups do not totally block out the sound. When traveling, such as on the ICE, fellow passengers will undoubtedly hear some of the music programs.
The sound of the iBasso SR2
The iBasso is comparable to a good studio monitor because, unlike many trendy headphones like Beats or Sound of Marley, the bass is pleasingly neutral and not bloated. The Sennheiser HD 660 S, which was also used as a comparison and was dynamic and open, did not appear as vibrant and energetic, but it had a considerably richer bass.
So it was clear: the iBasso SR2 excels first and foremost in terms of craftsmanship and long-term wearing comfort. In all music genres, the sound performance impresses with its sharp character and precise, confident balance. He’s so good at it that he’s also good at monitoring. And the fact that, due to its high degree of efficiency, it can also be cheerfully played on smartphones and the like makes it a versatile music companion with a fun factor for a variety of events.
|Technical concept:||semi-open over-ear headphones|
|Nominal Impedance:||162 ohms|
|Efficiency:||0.35mW for 94dB|
|Special feature:||2 different ear pads in the package|
|Furnishing:||Travel bag, 1.8 meters with 3.5mm + 6.3mm jack plug|
|Weight:||395 grams (without connection cable)|