Archeer AH07 Bluetooth Headphones
When Clement Perry suggested that I review Archeer AH07 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, I had never heard of the company. This is due to the fact the company itself hasn’t focused its marketing in the USA until recently. The Archeer product line is quite popular in the European and Asian markets. Archeer has recently moved its headquarters to Brooklyn, NY as a result of the trademark they established in February. Prior to now, Archeer was branded and registered by Chinese Computer & Software Product Corporation, Shenzhen Yisi Technology Co. Ltd., with Samen Chen as their CEO. It's most notable goods and services have to this point been Audio-video receivers, batteries and chargers, computer accessories, personal stereos, as well as tablet computers. With it’s relocation to the states and its marketing strategy of affordable high spec-packed equipment, if the product delivers, I’d expect Archeer to be a name to look out for in 2017. I look forward to watching this brand in particular become a widely used, cost affordable option for audiophile enthusiasts seeking high quality sound on a limited budget.
For a company having just gained namesake recognition this year, Archeer is notably gathering a reputation of providing audio equipment well below the $100 price point. What's more impressive is that they're doing so while not sacrificing or compromising crucial qualities such as solid construction, sleek design, and most importantly, quality of sound. Archeers approach here is giving brands at similar product market price points such as Skullcandy, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica a run for their money. Androidguys.com and Speakerauthority.net have posted good reviews of their Bluetooth speaker line. Will the Archeer's AH07 Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphone Headset be able to deliver the same extraordinary performance?
In unboxing the over ear monitors (OEMs), I was pleasantly surprised initially to find that at the low cost of just under $60, ($59.99 Amazon.com) Archeer didn't skimp on packaging. The continuity of the color scheme between the black matte box and gunmetal grey headphones was impressive. The OEM’S come folded in half. Consequently, they pack up neatly which makes them great for travel. The AH07's aesthetic reminds me of Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen which cost many multiples of their price. They have a brushed nickel finish on both sides with the Archeer logo just above both ear cups which are rectangular in shape. The fabric on the inner side of the earpiece as well as the outer and inner sides of the headband are a very smooth synthetic leather which is durable yet comfortable. Both sides of the headband feature adjustments to fit any size head and the earpieces are plenty roomy for noise cancellation yet not too large to allow for leakage of sound. The right ear piece features the phone call and bluetooth pairing button along with the volume up and down or skip and reverse buttons as well as the LED indicator light. On the bottom of the same earpiece we find the microphone hole, auxiliary input, and charging port. In relating performance to appearance, if the book is anything like the cover, I'm in for a treat!
The AH07's combine Apt-X audio technology to infuse clear highs with a dynamic mid-range and a solid percussive bass. The Apt-x audio codec is used for wireless applications, mainly those with the real-time streaming of high quality stereo audio using the Bluetooth pairing between a "source" device such as your smartphone, laptop or tablet. Apt-X provides lossless as opposed to lossy Bluetooth streaming.
The AH07s utilise passive noise reduction as opposed to noise cancelling in order to isolate sound for a more focused and balanced audio experience. It's Bluetooth CSR 4.0 allows full bandwidth transmission up to a 33ft range without loss of quality or performance. I noticed especially that the battery charged quite rapidly and the specs boast up to 14 hours playback time per charge.
Archeer left no needs unmet in terms of compatibility in their design of these headphones. The AH07s are compatible with all Bluetooth devices, including Bluetooth enabled TVs and tablets, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S6/ Edge+/ Note, Nexus, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, Windows Phones, and more. It fits any conventional music player housing a 3.5mm audio output port, including CD players for the old school folk, MP3/4 players and likely any other audio gem you can get your hands on. If that's not enough for you, Archeer promises it's customers an 18-month warranty from date of purchase along with a no questions asked 40-day money back guarantee. How's that for customer service?
I've come to find that it's extremely difficult to find a pair of headphones that can do live music justice and I'll explain why. With a large focus on voices, clarity, and instrumental separation, there are some definite criteria I look for in a quality pair of headphones for these specifics. For headphones to do justice to live music, they must embody neutrality and comfort.
Neutrality is so important when listening to live music, more than any other type of music, because it is composed of thousands of micro sounds such as the drummer striking the rim of his snare, or the trombone player gliding and swooning for extra color on a particular riff. In layman's terms, when you play music through speakers, sound waves bounce off of the hard surfaces in the room until eventually reaching your ears which results in the sensation we're used to hearing.
We are confronted with many compromises in our pursuit of the ideal sound. Speakers generally have a greater dynamic range than headphones because they have a larger surface area in which to place the drivers. However, speaker placement and different room sizes and shapes are variables which make the speaker listening experience unpredictable. Headphones mitigate this problem and sound is directed more uniformly since driver placement is consistent. Headphones require a compromise of their own. Since everyone has different ears, finding a universal headphone that works for the masses at an affordable price point is a difficult feat for any audiophile company. I believe the AH07 achieves this aim.
I've spent much of my leisure time lately listening to Grammy Nominated Arlington, Virginia based Reggae rock group, SOJA (Soldiers Of Jah Army). They released their newest Live album titled "Live In Virginia" this past September and I was thoroughly excited to review the AH07s with a Live album to truly put the specs Archeer has jam packed into this equipment to the test. I've come to find that it's extremely difficult to find a pair of headphones that can do live music justice and I'll explain why. With a large focus on voices, clarity, and instrumental separation, there are some definite criteria I look for in a quality pair of headphones for these specifics. In 'Morning' the clear and neutral balance between the brass and warm smoky tone of frontman Jacob Hemphill nearly made me melt. The AH07s ability to cater not only to the rapid and steady forward moving percussion of tracks like Samba and Tear It Down was matched by its even and dynamic timbre and not overpowered or thumping bass. The mid and treble levels are not only capable but equally omnipresent here as well. I was impressed by the even soundstage placement much alike what I would expect to encounter had I witnessed the performance first hand myself. I closed my eyes and pictured just where I believed the 8-man band would have stood before me had I been crammed into the audience had I been fortunate enough to be standing in their home state with the likes of thousands of hyped and star struck fans. The AH07s didn't disappoint here and I couldn't help but listen to the album in its entirety as I meandered around my studio apartment swaying and strutting along with the timpani and swing bass of the duple metered rhythmic variations present throughout their greatest hits. My only grievance was that I did notice a slight distortion in sound when I walked just outside the doorway of my apartment to grab my mail for a brief moment, I didn't entirely lose connection, but it was definitely faded and I wasn’t more than 25-30 ft from my device. When I entered back inside though, less than a second later there were no further issues.
Next up, was J. S. Bach's "St. Matthew Passion - The Yorkshire Baroque Soloists" (Signum Records). Having grown up in a family full of classically trained musicians, the holiday season especially is a time when I find myself taking a stroll down memory lane and revisiting some of history's greatest works. The Yorkshire Baroque's Recording of Bach's St. Matthew Passion is one I'm not only fond of, but one of which I tend to visit in reviews often. Live orchestral and choral recordings of this variety really portray the equipment's ability to handle frequency levels, voice versus instrument detail attention, and overall sound quality compared to how one would expect the performance itself to sound in person. I also reviewed this work in a recent article covering Edifier's H840s which sell for an identical market price and was interested to see how the AH07s compared.
The first audible thing to note when listening on the AH07s in this work were how radically clear the soloists voices were from the chorus, I recall this being my one qualm about Edifier’s H840 in fact. The work itself calls for a double 12-member chorus and double orchestra with 5 soloists which interrupt the chorus intermittently throughout the work, so the fact that I could clearly hear each time even one soloist pierced through the mass of instrumentalists and choir was impressive. Instrumentally, the equipment did anything but disappoint. Bach, being known for his legato smooth strung bass lines, tends to be a tough feat for even the most top of the line brands of audiophile equipment. This is due to the fact that getting some sort of distinction between so many voices and instruments all phonating and vibrating in such close musical ranges. However, I had no issues separating the upright bass from the horns and trombones at all, in fact, each rang clear and their featured sections of the work were each as mesmerizing and colorful as the next. The bass levels themselves were powerful without having that feeling some headphones do of punching your eardrums. I did notice a slight fuzziness when the soprano soloist reached the highs of her range but when I adjusted my device volume lower and increased the headset volume higher I had no further issue. The soundstage of the choirs placement on stage was as if I was sitting mid-audience. My eyes were closed and when a soloist was joined by one or two members of the chorus, I found myself turning my head left to right as if to actually see where on stage they were coming from, the effect was magically intimate.The consistently high vocal quality of the soloists and choir paired with the naturalness, ease, and dramatic insightfulness of the performance itself make this a recording that anyone who loves classical music or is willing to give it a try should seek out. The blend between all parts of the ensemble was smooth and serene, the entire listening experience at over two hours was calming and extremely peaceful, perfect for a cold Sunday evening bundled in my warm blankets and bed.
As I noted previously, comfort is one of the most important factors I search for in a pair of headphones. Throughout the entirety of this masterwork, even at over two hours, not once did I have to adjust the AH07s. The headband remained soft, it didn't get too heavy or bulky even when I transitioned from lying on one side to the other or sitting halfway up resting my hand, elbow bent, holding up my head. The ear cups remained cushy and the synthetic leather didn't get too warm or sweaty like I've experienced in some of those cheap materials found in other OEMs. Some classical music enthusiasts will argue that open-backed OEMs are the way to go when you listen frequently to this type of music. I can agree to an extent due to the fact that an open-back does most closely resemble the shape of an actual auditorium used to emulate the actual acoustics used to play classical music. However, if you're anything like me, you don't just listen to that style of music. Also, for comfort purposes, I find that open-back styles aren't as conducive to lying down or on my side or activities such as biking and exercising. Lastly, anyone whose lifestyle includes listening environments like loud places with a lot of traffic, public transportation, busy streets, or homes with young children, I'd suggest a closed back option such as the AH07.
Overall I'm happy to report that my initial inclinations were correct in that I believe Archeer is going to be a brand to watch out for in the near future in the audiophile world. I could easily see them becoming a reputable source for quality and reliable audio products that won't break the bank or your holiday budgets. With all of the specs packed into the AH07s including the 14hr battery life, Bluetooth Apt-X Audio technology, seamless and beautiful easy travel design, what's not to like? I'd give this product a solid thumbs up to anyone looking to add an inexpensive OEM to their collection or perhaps even their very first pair.