You do not have to sacrifice comfort nor quality sound thanks to the HUM800 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones from Wicked Audio.
Have you ever judged a book by its cover only to be completely taken aback and awestruck? Most of us are afraid to step outside of our comfort zones and to give other brands a chance. We may buy a pair of headphones because they are hip/trendy and in vogue or just because they are the only option at a local brick-and-mortar store. Often this means that we will buy products based on their name/brand and end up paying more than the product was worth. One of my favorite things about Macsources.com is that other brands get a voice and have a venue to shine. Sometimes you get what you pay for but others you feel like the company gave you more bang for your buck. Wicked Audio has been one of the gem in the rough companies that has surprised me. They seem to provide big boy sound and big boy comfort but succeed in providing quality gear without breaking your bank.
The Hum800 arrived in a modern/trendy 8 1/2 inches wide by 8 1/8 inches tall by 3 3/8 inches thick retail box. Along the center of the cover, Wicked Audio proudly displayed the black over-ear, noise-canceling, wired headphones. Around the image, you can see various phrases detailing the features of the headphones: “folds flat, collapsible, hear only what you want, total ear coverage, 97.5% ambient and active noise canceling, Mic & Track, and 20-hour rechargeable battery.” The back of the packaging was actually quite useful. Utilizing three rectangles, the company provided information about the specifications, features and box contents. The packaging promised 40mm neodymium driver, 103DB sensitivity, 20Hz-20kHz frequency, four-foot cord length, two hour charge time, 20-hour battery life, and gold-plated plug material. The middle rectangle detailed the features of the headphones (anc, enhanced bass, rechargeable battery, all day wear, flat folding, gold-plating, high-fidelity, total ear coverage and many more). The lower turquois rectangle provided another image of the headphones and listed the instruction manual and charging cable. The left side and the bottom of the packaging provided similar icons to those listed above, repeating most of the specifications/features of the headphones. Continuing the color scheme and theme, the right side listed “Full-Size Headphone Active Noise Cancelling + ANC.” The inner surface of the front magnetic flap displayed a young, fit, attractive, tattooed woman wearing the wired headphones. She embodied youth, fitness and exuded a feeling of coolness. I loved that they chose to have her gazing towards her left (our right) and looking directly into the clear window. As a consumer, I prefer packaging that allows a direct visual of the product. The matte black headphones were masterfully displayed and after perusing the packaging, I was excited to dig further into the product.
Accessing the earphones was a little more difficult than I initially thought. Once I cut through the top of the box, the earphones were then easily removed from the inner black tray. Behind the tray, I found the dual panel instruction manual and the 40 1/2 inches long USB-A to USB-micro cable. The manual was well written and provided useful information about the headphones and warnings about safe listening (90 dB for 8 hours, 95 dB for 4 hours, 100 dB for 2 hours, 105 dB for 1 hour, 110 dB 30 for and continues to suggest to not listen >120 dB for risks of immediate hearing loss). The manual displayed and discussed the uni-button in-line mic and provided a diagram of the left/right sides of the Hum800. The in-line mic can answer/end a call or play/pause music with a single short button press, it can progress to the next track with a double tap or return to a previous track with a triple tap. If you hold the button for three seconds, you can activate Siri voice control. The easy to master control scheme was interesting but I found it odd that there was no volume control on the HUM800. However, the headphones were wired and located 48 inches from my iPhone X and did not really need to have wireless volume controls. You can orient the left and the right earphone cups by looking just under the folding hinges or you can look for the active-noise-canceling toggle and the cord on the right ear cup.
Each of the 4 inches tall by 3 inches wide cushioned earcups fit securely over my ears. I was pleased with the ear padding and with the padding along the top of the headphones. Whether I was sitting and listening to music, lying supine in bed enjoying a Netflix/Amazon Prime Movie or resting on my side with my head on my pillow listening to audible, the headphones were incredibly comfortable. The first thing that I noticed when I put the headphones on was the impressive passive noise reduction. I could not hear the ceiling fan, and I could barely hear the background Kung Fu Panda movie that my children were watching while typing this review. I was not able to hear the clicking of my keyboard, nor my dog snoring. The sound isolation was further enhanced by toggling the slider on the right earcup towards the left, activating the active noise canceling feature. Interestingly, this seemed to enhance the sound and cut out the outside world. I could no longer hear myself type and I was unable to hear the movie at all. I did not experience any buzzing, squealing or other adventitious sounds. The quiet was peaceful and greatly appreciated. I have used the headphones for the past week, 1-3 hours per day, and I never had to charge the headphones. I did place them on charge, out of habit and found the red LED extinguished after two hours. Since the headphones are wired, they barely use any of the battery.
Navigating to Audiocheck.net, I tested the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz), the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz), Left/Right Stereo Audio Test and the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization “The Real Thing Original Binaural Recording.” The headphones passed these tests with honors and I decided to progress to some test tracks. The fantastic standing bass line in Holy Cole “Train Song” was crisp, clear and bounced jubilantly. Prince’s “Purple Rain” was full of emotion and the headphones brought back memories of one of my favorite Superbowl experiences. The percussion/bass heavy “Bright Lights Bigger City” from Cee Lo Green, the “Ode to Billy Joe” by Bobby Gentry, “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia” by Reba McEntire, “Seven Spanish Angels” by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson, the “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, “Hotel California” By the Eagles and “All about that Bass” by Meghan Trainor were outstanding. Classic/Modern Rock, Country, Oldies, Acapella and just about every other style of music sounded great with the headphones. Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles – YouTube and 02 Yosi Horikawa – Wandering [First Word Records] – YouTube showed the might of the Wicked Audio staging. The ability to see the direction of the music and the instrument placement after simply closing one’s eyes was a really neat feature. Songs by the Beach Boys, Maroon Five, “Locked Away” by Adam Levine, Pentatonix, “Chandelier” by Twisted Measure, Christian songs by Anthem Lights and the beautiful full instrumentals of the Far and Away and Braveheart soundtracks were very enjoyable. Personally, I had to keep reminding myself that these headphones were in the $50 range.
To use the headphones with a modern iPhone, you will need to find your 3.5mm to LIghting adaptor. Without an included carry bag, I found it odd that the headphones folded flat for portability. Many of the other brands provided a hardshell or a bag to carry the headphones. Since this pair is wired, you either need to use the adaptor or try a different smart device. The charge time to usage time was amazingly lopsided in our favor, which was appreciated. Combining, the active noise canceling system with a passive canceling system was a smart idea. Additionally, the single button was responsive and easy to understand. When I combined the data from sound tests, the comfort fit tests, the features/specification tests, I was left with a sub $50 headphone with plenty of bells and whistles. Having tested multiple on-ear, in-ear, around-ear wired and wireless audio systems, I was wickedly impressed with the quality of this product.