Generous In Terms of Accessories
I knew I had to get my hands on ZVOX’s AV50 Noise-Cancelling Headphones when I came across their patented AccuVoice hearing aid technology. Not only is this technology state of the art, but it also shows the effort ZVOX puts into making their products accessible for everyone. While the AV50 Headphones have their share of issues, their AccuVoice technology is worth recommending.
The first thing that caught my eye as I unboxed the AV50 was its high-quality zippered carrying case. Not a lot of headphone manufacturers provide one, especially a hard, padded case like this. The case also features a pocket on one of its sides to carry the wires that accompany it. The headphones are ultra-portable and foldable with an extremely convenient form factor. The case just makes carrying it vastly easier and much safer. Hence, the AV50 won a point for being an excellent travel partner right away. It also comes with a USB-A to USB-C charging cable and a 3.5mm jack. The addition of the 3.5mm jack makes the AV50 an even better choice for when you’re on the go.
Dividing the controls evenly on both earcups is such an obvious thing to do. However, many headphone companies fail to take that into account. The AV50, thankfully, has an even number of controls divided on the exterior of both its earcups. The layout is very intuitive and I got used to it within a few minutes. There are large L and R markings on the interior of the earcups and the noise cancellation button is labeled ‘N.’ The band of the earcups hosts LED lights that confirm the status of everything from the battery level to pairing. There are also audible confirmations for almost everything.
Comfy but Unsophisticated
I wish the AV50 could’ve looked as classy and high-quality as its case did. The latter raised my expectations but I was disappointed by the product inside. The headphones didn’t exude the same amount of elegance, probably owing to their plastic body. Not only are there no metal components, the plastic is also low-quality. They feel slightly flimsy and cheap in your hands. A lower price would have made this flaw forgivable, but this material isn’t worth the $150 price tag.
However, and maybe due to the same plastic body critiqued above, the AV50 is pretty light and ultra-comfortable. It has generous padding of a leather cushion under its headband, and the lack of metal made me almost forget I’m even wearing it. Still, the level of comfort ZVOX achieved with the AV50 could’ve been managed by alternate means too. A cheap body isn’t the only way that’s possible and the comfort factor is in no way a justification for shoddy construction and appearance.
Audio Was Good, But Not Great
The first track I put on the AV50 was a cover by the Leo Twins. Their songs always have a variety of instruments and I wanted to test how well these cans can handle detail. I was thoroughly impressed by quite a good amount of precision, especially in the song’s acoustic guitar, vocals and violin. Then I wanted to test bass and put on my favorite EDM track, Hislerim, by my favorite EDM artist, Serhat Durmus. The bass was good but didn’t push me out of my seat. I then played the bass boosted version to see how a lower frequency affected the sound quality. It retained that clarity and detail, which was impressive.
Lastly, to test high frequency, I played Chandelier by Sia. To test its absolute limits, I also turned the volume all the way up. This part definitely left me wanting a little more. The sound came out a little distorted and the muddiness ruined the song for me.
The experience of playing video games on the AV50 was both good and not-so-good. It came through in lighter games with decent audio but lacked that spatial audio needed for battle royales. The sound was clear and loud but the absence of positional audio makes me hesitant to recommend it for intense games. The AccuVoice technology really emphasized the voice of my team members, though. Chatting was quite a good experience and the depth, detail and clarity with which I heard their voices are worthy of appreciation. Unfortunately, my teammates couldn’t say the same about me and constantly asked me to speak louder.
One feature I can definitely vouch for is the noise cancellation on these cans. The AV50 really muted everything in the background and isolated the sound coming from my phone exceptionally well. As mentioned above, the headphones are great for travel considering their portability factor and carry case. The ridiculously good active noise cancellation makes them even better for noisy commutes or talkative travel partners.
ZVOX advertised an 18-hour battery life on a two-hour full charge. I found no exaggeration in this claim and the AV50 really delivered about 18 hours. All in all, the headphones left me with mixed opinions about them. While I strongly recommend some of their features, I am not a big fan of some other aspects of them.
Is it Hardcore?
I would have given the AV50 a better score for their portability factor and ANC if they came with a smaller price tag. However, considering their looks, below-average mic and distortion at high-frequency, they just aren’t worth it.