When it comes to audio, most people will agree that it is easier to get it good with a good set of headphones instead of a speaker. The experience is more intimate. Quite frankly, it also requires a lot less effort than setting up sound all around you in a room or hall. That is why cinemas and concert halls are so expensive! No two headphones are the same though. Of course, they are only as good as where you plug them in, and how powerful that system is. The Blue Sadie headphones look to get rid of the variation by adding an audio amplifier within your headphones.
Blue Sadie headphones – features:
- Built-in audiophile amplifier for true high-fidelity sound on any device
- 50mm drivers custom-tuned for a superior soundstage
- Refined personalized fit for superior comfort
- Sealed over-ear design for immersive isolation
- Racecar-inspired multi-jointed headband design keeps ear cups parallel at all times for superior comfort and sound
- Powers on and off automatically when headphones are opened and closed
- Rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of playtime; Sadie continues to play music even when battery has no charge
- Type, and physical size: 50mm, fibre-reinforced dynamic driver
- Impedance: 42 ohms
- Frequency response: 15Hz-20kHz
- Enclosure details: Sealed enclosure with tuned damping materials
- Output power: 240mW
- THD+N: 0.004%
- Frequency response: 15Hz-20kHz
- SNR, self-noise: >105 dB
- Noise: < 20 uV
- Battery capacity: 1000mAh
- Weight: 444 g (15.67 oz)
- Outer dimensions (closed): 21cm x 14cm x 12cm; 8.27” x 5.51” x 4.72
- Outer dimensions (open): 18cm x 29cm x 12cm; 7.09” x 11.42” x 4.72”
In the box
- Blue Sadie headphones
- Soft case with cable storage pocket
- 1.2-meter audio cable with Apple iPhone/iPad controls and microphone
- 3 meter audio cable
- 1 meter USB charging cable
- 3.5mm to 1/4″ adaptor
The three settings
The device comes with three settings:
- On: When switched on, the Sadie amplifier delivers completely natural, detailed sound—the full Sadie experience.
- On+: This setting engages the amplifier’s analog low-frequency enhancement circuit, which delivers incredibly deep and smooth bass. For those times when your source material could use some extra low-end support. Unlike most headphones that push for a heavier bass experience, this offers a more subtle bass enhancement. The result is a more life like sound, much like you’d expect in a real life environment.
- Off: Puts Sadie in passive mode, for connecting to studio gear that may already have high output amplification for headphones. Sadie will operate in this mode even when the battery runs down. Like emergency headphones without having to break the glass.
Before we go on to describe the sound and performance, it is important to understand what makes Sadie one of the best (if not the best) headphones we have ever tried.
Sadie includes a built in audio amplifier in the system. This isn’t a custom DAC (digital to audio converter). However, listening to Sadie proves that an audiophile amplifier can add so much more to your experience.
First of all, everything you hear out of the headphones is pure analogue. No digital signal processing is being done.
What is being done is the addition of power to your audio signal. Generally most headphones need around 60mW of power being delivered from the device. Sadie has its own built in power source (that you charge) and gives up to 250mW of power. The result is that the device delivering the power only needs to output around 30mW. This puts the output device at its own sweet spot, and gives the sound drivers enough power to give you the performance and quality you require.
If this makes sense, good. If not, read on to find out how we found the device.
The best way to test headphones is simple. Get a bunch of songs you know really well. Play them over and over again till they become muscle memory for your ears. After that, try them on different devices. With good headphones, you notice the good things. That instrument you can’t hear. That extra detail. The lack of distortion. The smoothening of scales or sounds.
With bad headphones, the effect is quite opposite.
For me, I play some classical tracks.
However, the main test comes when I play the following track:
It is the opening track in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and while most sound systems will play it fine, the first few seconds often get ignored. A good set of headphones will play this from the very start, giving you that slow build up of excitement.
The Blue Sadie headphones did exactly that. As the sound slowly builds up, you can be forgiven for giving in to the experience.
From there I go to some standard classical pieces, just to see how true the sound is.
From there, the test goes to some tracks I listen a lot to. These include a lot of Florence and the Machine.
What can I say, I was totally blown away by the sound quality and the performance of these headphones. The detail, the clarity, the sound. It is all good. Being a big fan of classical and regular concerts, I can tell you that these headphones deliver everything you want and then some.
Go from Off to ON and you get a whole hit of extra volume and detail.
Go from ON to ON+ and suddenly the bass becomes that tiny bit deeper. Absolutely great if you are a fan of the cello or the violin. In fact, among the many headphones I have tried, these have delivered the best results for classical music.
I will definitely recommend these to anybody who considers themselves an audiophile.
At 444g, the Blue Sadie headphones are not the lightest of headphones out there. However, it must be remembered that they house not just huge drivers, but also a built in amplifier unit, a battery and some controls. All that adds extra weight. Having said that, you can easily get headphones that pack in a lot of extra weight for no extra quality.
What the device adds in weight, it compensates by providing a great fit that goes around your ears perfectly, and sits reasonably well on your head.
These are heavy, there is no doubt, but they are not designed for the types who like to run around or skate with headphones on. These are for the commuters, the sit and listen types, the ones who would rather let the music blow them away.
Battery life and charging
Okay, if I had to pick one niggle, it was the charging/battery life conundrum.
The headphones charge through a micro USB cable, and give up to 12 hours of battery life. All good.
However, it took me a while to find out how much charge was in the device. The instructions did not tell me much, neither did the website.
However, the Blue logo on the side of the cans is where the secrets lie:
- No glow: Fully charged
- Slow pulsing glow: Charging
- Fast pulsing glow: Needs charge
The glow is rather soft, and you only really notice it if you look for it. I did try the headphones outdoors as well as in a very sunny office. This means that while the experience is nice and soft, it isn’t very intuitive.
Another thing, just to mention for the sake of completeness. Like many other sound devices, if you listen to this while it is being charged, you can hear a gentle buzz in the background. The buzz depends on the quality of your power source. Computer output is okay, USB hubs are horrible and a good decent charger will be fine. The general advice is to do your charging separate from your listening.
More information on the Blue Sadie headphones can be found on the Blue website.
They retail for around £390 and can be bought from various online retailers such as Amazon.
If you haven’t already established this, I am in love with these headphones. I have used them over and over again for the last few weeks, and I will happily recommend them. They may be a bit dear when it comes to the price, but trust me, they are totally worth it!