For the past five years or so earphones and headphones have become as much status symbols as they are tools to pipe music into our ears. We've obviously evolved from the white buds dangling from every ear you pass on the street, and people now care about what type of earphones or headphones they use, especially in a world where it couldn't be easier to get hold of music. Beats have of course taken the mainstream market by storm, but Dre is not alone in having his own celebrity-endorsed line of earphones and headphones. After putting his stamp on headphones with AKG, Tiesto has recently partnered with Audiofly for a new range of earphones. Here, we're reviewing the middle of the pack, the Maximal, join me as I find out if they're more than just celebrity-endorsed gadget spam.
Features and Build
At $50 - $60 or thereabouts, the Maximal sit in the center of the range, with the Paradise below them and the premium Adagio above them at over twice the price. For that price tag, you can't expect much more than what's included in the box, especially as that Tiesto name probably doesn't come cheap. There's a simple faux-leather pouch to keep them in while on the move as well as a range of different ear tips. These are powered by an 11mm driver, and according to literature in the box, they have a frequency response of 18 Hz - 20 Khz and and an impedance of 16 Ohm. These are available in a red with black, gold and black and a silver and black option. I have the black and red pair to review here, and they look pretty nice. The familiar Tiesto logo is on the side of each earbud as well as on the Y-split in the cable and the "Tiesto" naming is on the 3.5mm jack, with the "Clublife" logo on the in-line microphone. I have no complaints with the overall look of the Maximals, they look pretty good to me, but while the black and red fabric cable looks good, it's alarmingly thin. It also carries quite a bit of cable noise, but over the last few weeks of throwing them in pockets, in jackets and in bags I haven't noticed any wear and tear.
As for comfort, these are okay. I've endured longer listening sessions with these in my ears, for a few hours or so, and while I wouldn't say they were comfortable, I wouldn't say they were uncomfortable, either. You definitely know you have something in your ear, but then I am that guy that needs the smallest ear fitting possible to get a snug fit, so most of you should fine.
Forget the Tiesto moniker here, if they don't sound good, they aren't worth a single penny. Now, I'm not a big fan of Tiesto (sorry, man), but the idea that one should just listen to Tiesto with these headphones is obviously a little ridiculous. So, I tested these with all sorts of different genres and artists and I was genuinely surprised at the sort of sound quality that $50 gets you with this. The Maximals do a good job of representing mostly everything in the track (I tested these streaming lossless quality from TIDAL) and I was impressed with the tight and punchy bass. It's not the deepest bass out there, and it sort of disappears quickly, but it should offer sensible bassheads some delight. Now, these being "Clublife" headphones you'd expect some sort of tuning towards that, and these are definitely quite forward and quick. They keep with music from the likes of CHVRCHES, Avicii and yes music from Tiesto himself and they sound good doing it.
For $50 or so however, there's a limit to what these can do, and you reach it pretty quickly. With a lot going on in a track at a higher-than-medium volume things start to cram together, and separation becomes pretty poor. Subtleties can still be found in the tracks, but they're harder to pick out. The highs in songs can become a little harsh when there's a lot going on, but it's nothing too drastic and again, at this price tag this is somewhat expected.
I'd say that these were best suited to everyday listening, a pair you keep in your bag or jacket for the commute, or casual listening. For that purpose, the Maximals do very, very well. They're a cut above most headphones at this price range, and while the thin cable is a cause for concern, it all feels well-made and of high-quality. They have good bass, they're well-suited to most modern music and if you're a Tiesto fan, or just like the look of them, these are a subtle, yet striking pair of earbuds for everyday listening. They won't be to everyone's taste, but for those in the market for an everyday and casual listening pair that is a cut above the usual, these are a decent option to consider.