BlueAnt Embrace review
With muddy sound and a tendency to let our ears heat up, the Embrace headphones demonstrate that a high price doesn’t always equate to the best experience
Review Date: 2 Feb 2012
Price when reviewed: £127
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
Blueant is best known as a maker of Bluetooth audio hardware, but the Embrace headset is the company’s first major venture into high-end cabled audio. The headphones come with a choice of detachable cables. One is just a standard cable terminating in an ordinary 3.5mm stereo plug, while the other has an integrated microphone and wired remote control for a mobile phone or MP3 player.
The headphones are extremely well made, with a sturdy, easy-to-adjust and comfortably padded metal headband. The pads sit on the outside of your ears; they’re well cushioned but we found that they soon became rather hot and sweaty. The cups can be moved a little on their mounts for an improved fit, and they sit firmly in place, but their design does little to block out background noise unless you have music blasting. There’s also a fair bit of sound leakage once you turn up the volume.
We weren’t particularly impressed with the Embrace’s audio quality. Their treble and high mid-range tones were incredibly muddy compared to most similarly priced headphones; the detail on distorted guitar solos was submerged beneath the rest of the sound, for instance. The headphones are bass-heavy without being pounding, which gave them a warm sound and worked well with genres such as dubstep, which favours rich bass lines. However, this resulted in a lack of versatility when it came to other styles, particularly tracks based around guitars and violins.
We wouldn’t be as critical if the Embrace headphones cost less, but at around twice the price of the clearer and much more balanced Shure SRH550DJ headphones there’s certainly no compelling reason to buy these. Alternatively, if you do need phone headset features, we'd suggest a Bluetooth headset such as Plantronics’ BackBeat 903+.
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