My family loves music. I mean, LOVES. My husband plays instruments and listens to every genre you could possibly name. My three year old dances and sings to himself all day, and 18 month old starts dancing and laughing whenever he hears any music. And as a blogger working from home, sometimes I need music to drown all of them out while I am ‘away’ working. My three year old has a comfortable pair of Lil Gadgets Bluetooth Headphones for Kids but I needed my own mommy size pair. A pair with quality sound that block out noise around me, and are comfortable. In my pursuit of the perfect headphones, I realized it was difficult to find headphone reviews that were written by someone other than audiophiles and company representatives. Where are the reviews for the average user? My husband and I will provide information relevant to the typical family, without all the technical detail and electrical specs. Because, let’s face it, telling us how large the driver in the speaker is just doesn’t tell us whether they’re any good.
Frends is a relative newcomer to the headphone world. Founded in 2006, their designs are based on fashion and the idea that your music should both sound and look great. I received the Rose Gold collection, including the Ella B, Layla, and Taylor designs in order to write this review.
The Ella B is an in-ear, or earbud, style headphone with an elegant design, soft cord, and multiple tips. The outside of the earbuds are white, surrounded by a hand crafted metal design. The cord is soft and made of fabric, which I especially like because it doesn’t tangle or coil and seems more durable than a thin plastic cord. All of the headphones in this collection include a three-button microphone compatible with mobile phones and mp3 players, as well as a 90 degree tip to keep the cord right next to your device without bending it.
One of the features that stood out about the Ella B is the interchangeable tip. Many companies offer multiple tips with their earbuds, allowing comfortable fit no matter your ear size. Frends took a different approach. Their two included tips aren’t for size, but for function. The “Traditional tip” conforms to the inside of your ear, sealing music in and ambient sounds out. The “Ambient tip” has a smaller size designed to leave space between the tip and the inside of your ear. This means there is no seal created, and you can hear what is going on around you. It’s a great feature if you’re using the headphones at work or with kids in the house, but watch your volume. Since sound can escape, you’re likely to turn the volume higher than with the traditional tip, and people around you will be able to hear your music too.
The sound quality is great for the typical user. There’s plenty of bass and treble, neither drowned by the middle sounds. Much of the sound quality depends on the tip you select. The traditional tip makes the bass stronger, while the ambient tip allows the treble to come through a bit more. This feature makes these a good option for multiple types of users. Whether you want sealed in sound and strong bass, or you prefer more treble. Want to be separated from the world around you for a while, or prefer to be aware of your surroundings? Either way you’re set.
The Layla design is an on-ear headphone with a compact form. The white leather headband is very small and minimalist and the outside of the headphones are hand-crafted metal, which looks great. The Layla headphones are on-ear style, resting on the ear with a soft flat pad. A three button control with microphone is included on the cord as well as a 90 degree plug on a soft and durable, tangle-free cord. The ear cups slide down from the headband and fold in to fit into a compact carrying case, which is included.
The sound quality is similar to the Ella B, but slightly richer. The design of on ear headphones lends to sound being able to escape, so with these you will want to watch the volume if you use them at work. Similar to the ambient tip of the Ella B, they allow you to hear what is going on around you, but you must turn them up slightly louder to drown out the world.
Layla is a great looking design, keeping the size to a minimum without sacrificing sound. I personally do not like on ear headphones because they tend to hurt my ears after a short time of use. These were soft and padded enough to enjoy longer than most on ear sets, but I prefer an over the ear pair, so I began testing the third pair, the Taylor.
Frends’ over-the ear offering of this line, Taylor, looks like a slightly larger twin of the Layla. The design of the headband and ear cups are the same, though the cups are slightly larger. Instead of a flat pad, these have a circular pad to go around the ear, with the speakers resting back inside the cup. Just like the Layla, these fold in to fit into a surprisingly small carrying case, and include the same three button mic and 90 degree plug.
Songs had a bit more bass and depth than with the Layla, and the sound did not escape to the environment as much. If you like bass, you’ll like these. If you need studio headphones that reproduce sounds exactly, without emphasizing bass or adding to the richness of the sound, these aren’t for you. I personally prefer a decent amount of bass. Not car-rattling bass, but just enough to make my ears smile. My only complaint about the Taylor is the fit. While they’re designed like over the ear headphones, I’m not positive they’re really meant to be such. The circular design is too small to fit completely over and around the ears of an adult (my two year old was a perfect fit). If your ears tend to hurt after wearing on ear headphones, these aren’t quite large enough to help.
Overall I’m undecided on the Frends line. There’s no denying they’re good headphones, and they are quite beautiful too. The metal did not hold fingerprints or smudge like I expected, and the leather and minimalism is gorgeous. However, like many of my readers, I’m a mom on a budget. There’s a cost associated with fashion and beauty, and these even have a well-made box and packaged presentation. If you’re in the market for a high brand headphone, these are in line with the price of other major brands currently available. The Ella B is $99, Layla $199, and Taylor $299. I suspect the costs associated with the beauty of these headphones makes them a little over priced for the sound quality. Though the sound was great, the Ella B, for example, had a similar quality to the JVC Marshmallow which runs at $15 (Granted the Frends sets are much more durable and better looking). Frends is a great line of headphones, especially if you want something that stands out and looks stylish. If you’re short on money or are picky with headphones, be sure to test out a pair at a local music shop or Best Buy before purchasing.
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Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.