As a Star Wars nerd, when I heard SMS Audio were making headphones that were Star Wars themed, I couldn’t help but get super excited. I realize that audio companies that are started by rappers, like SMS Audio and Beats by Dre generally don’t have fantastic reputations among audiophiles for various philosophical reasons, but for me, and I’m sure most of the remaining population of the world, how your audio equipment looks is also quite a big factor. That’s where the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition headphones come in, which as you can imagine, tries to leverage on its Star Wars licencing by creating headphones that look like iconic parts of the Star Wars franchise, and we’ve been checking out a pair – let’s jump in.
What’s in the box
You might think that getting the Star Wars licence was enough for SMS Audio, but they’ve actually made a very impressive effort to make this set of headphones a memorable one for fans of the franchise. The unboxing itself will be an experience: inside the box, not only will you get the Star Wars themed headphones, you’ll also get a hard case in your chosen theme with an embossed Star Wars logo, a holographic card of the hero (or villain) your headphones are themed for, a cleaning cloth and, of course, a 3.5mm audio cable with in-line mic to connect your headphones and your device.
Speaking of themes, the Star Wars Second Edition headphones are available in four different flavours, including R2-D2, Chewbacca, TIE Fighter and Darth Vader. For reference, the First Edition saw themes like the Rebel Alliance, The Empire, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper – if I’m honest, this Second Edition incorporates these new characters into the headphones much better than the First. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Chewbacca and the Darth Vader sets.
The headphones themselves are an on-ear affair, but the ear cups are a little larger than you would typically expect from on-ear headphones – they covered all of my ear, and then some. Padded with leather, the ear cups and the head band form a very cushioned fit for the Second Edition headphones. The rest of the headphones are made up of plastic and small amounts of metal – all of this makes the Second Edition headphones incredibly light, which makes a huge difference in the comfort area – more on that later.
Of course, given the size of that hard case, the Second Edition headphones are also collapsible, folding up nice and compact with plenty of room for your cable and cleaning cloth. One observation I did have of the collapsing mechanism is that it gives a very satisfying snap when opening and closing your ear cups.
How do they perform?
Soundwise, the Second Edition headphones draw their sound power from two 40mm drivers – this is pretty much the staple driver size in this part of the audio market. Accordingly, these headphones have a lot of oomph behind them, particularly in the bass area. It should be no surprise that headphones from a company founded by a rapper has bass at its heart – that much is the legacy of Beats by Dre – but if that’s your jam, you’re not going to be disappointed. Playing tunes with thumping bass-lines like Ginuwine’s Pony or Adam Lambert’s Ghost Town really accentuate what these headphones have to offer.
The mids and highs are generally good too – I’m not going to say clear because that doesn’t quite describe them: depending on where you sit on the audiophile scale, at worst, I’d call them a little muffled; at best, I’d call them warm. Listening to something like Ed Sheeran’s Photograph really highlights this as the bass overpowers the nuances of the mids and highs. Listening to classical music, however, was interesting – in keeping with the theme, I listened to John Williams’ Duel of the Fates from Star Wars and the heavier bass does actually work in the french horns’ favour – though this may be an exception. Note that there’s probably a little tuning to do with equalizer settings if that’s what you want to do – this is just what’s available out of the box.
The summarize the audio experience, I would say if you’re big on R&B, rap, dance, EDM or anything heavy on bass – even pop – the Second Edition headphones have exactly what you need. For everyone else, these headphones are still exceptionally good, don’t get me wrong – the depth they offer is actually pretty good – but they might not be tuned to your exact genre of music of choice.
Moving onto comfort, the Second Edition headphones are extremely comfortable to wear – the oval ear cups and high quality soft leather are very pleasant on the ears, and make for a very good snug fit. This snug fit also works as passive noise cancelling which works as well as passive noise cancelling can hope to work. In terms of comfort on long sessions, the Second Edition headphones are generally quite good for long periods of time, but I would say that the fit is quite tight so you may get points of soreness after a long listening session.
As I mentioned before, the cable that is included with the Second Edition headphones also includes an in-line microphone which means you can take calls while listening to music on your smartphone – a single button will also let you answer calls and pause/play your music. The mic works well enough, though it’s not anything special in crowded spaces – be ready to bring it closer to your face in those environments.
What I like about the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones
What isn’t to like about the looks of the Second Edition headphones? Getting the Star Wars licence is one thing but doing it justice is another – the First Edition is a little bit cool, but the Second Edition has managed to capture the Star Wars legacy even better, and I’m convinced it could find itself on any Star Wars fans’ wishlist. There are a lot of other Star Wars characters too, so I’m hoping there’s a Third Edition lurking around out there as well.
I really like the feel of the Second Edition headphones as well – a lot has been made in the media about the perception of quality in audio products, but SMS Audio does this with the Second Edition headphones without errant pieces of metal or anything – the plastics are flawlessly molded, the leathers feel great and it all feels really well put together.
What I don’t like about the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones
The bass is a standout on the Second Edition headphones, but for me, it’s just a tad overpowering. There are definitely songs where this is warranted, but it was a bit jarring in songs where bass isn’t supposed to be the focal point. That said, that is a personal preference, so take that as you will.
The price of the Second Edition headphones is also going to be a tall order – underneath all the awesome decor is a pair of STREET by 50 on-ear headphones, and while these do retail for $179.99 USD like the Second Edition headphones, it’s still not a small sum of money. Then again, for the Star Wars fan, whether it be a personal purchase or a gift, you’re likely not to be disappointed due to the unique nature and look of the headphones and could be worth the premium.
It’s not often that the Star Wars franchise gets licensed products that are realized so well, but we’re glad SMS Audio took the chance with these Star Wars Second Edition headphones. A set of headphones that caters for the bass-lovers, it’s a unique combination of the Star Wars franchise and quality audio, one which could be too good to pass up for many fans.
For more information about the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition headphones, you can get to the SMS Audio product page here. We’ve also got Amazon links below if your determined to shoot first.