Editors’ Choice Audio
Academy Studio Headphones
Review by Angie Kibiloski
I’ve been in the market for comfortable, studio-quality over-ear headphones, that won’t break the bank, to use for at-home music production. Back during CES in January, I came across 512 Audio, a newer company who branched out of Warm Audio last summer. Part of their debut line-up from that time, and which they were still promoting at CES, is the Academy Over-Ear Closed-Back Studio Monitor Headphones ($99.99), which are great for those long sessions monitoring your music production projects. They’re lightweight and comfortable to wear, so you can really get in the creative zone for hours, and not come out with sore ears. They’re also affordable, making them perfect for beginner-level home producers.
Let’s take a look at the external build. The Academy earcups are circumaural, which means they have hollow cups that surround your ears, instead of resting directly on them. Not only does this style assist in isolating the sound coming from your device, while blocking out environmental noise, it also provides a much more comfortable fit for longer wear. Some people, myself included, can get headaches from the pressure that on-ear headphones create on the ears, and over-ear models all but eliminate that. The Academy earcups are made from plush padded cushions, with a faux-leather covering, and have a nice large diameter to fit most any size ears. They measure 4″ x 3.25″ on the outside, with a 2.25″ x 1.5″ hollow inside. The earcups are closed-back, which help provide a natural acoustic seal to block out unwanted interference, and they also rotate up to 90 degrees, for a proper fit for every head shape and ear position. Another comfort feature on the Academy is the plush, lightly padded headband, which cushions your head from the already light 11.7 oz. weight of the unit. The band size is easily adjustable, with a circumference between the tops of the earcup hollows of 11.5″ up to 13.25″. I did find that I could’ve used 1 more notch smaller on either side, to perfectly fit over my ears, as the earcups sit a bit low for me even at the smallest size. So, this is something for people with smaller heads to consider.
Internally, the Academy brings you a quality audio experience, with professional grade 45mm dynamic drivers, and an extended frequency range so it won’t throttle any of your highs and lows. Precision is important when getting that perfect mix on a project, so you want a headset that will give you clarity over the full spectrum, especially in those nuanced low vocal frequencies. When monitoring a recording session, you don’t want even the smallest amount of lag between the audio input into your software, and what you hear through your headphones, so wired is preferable to Bluetooth. The Academy comes with 2 interchangeable cables, one 9.8 ft. straight and one 4.9 ft. coiled, whichever style fits your preference. They both seem fairly tangle resistant, and have a silky matte finish. They lock securely into place beneath the left earcup, so you won’t be dropping your connection as you roam around your studio between instruments, and they come with a 3.5mm to ¼ adapter. You also get a nice hard-shell case, for when you need to pack up your equipment to take your studio on the go.
The Academy Over-Ear Closed-Back Studio Monitor Headphones don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Instead, 512 Audio focused on providing a solid studio essential, with extended-wear comfort and professional quality sound, at an accessible price. Check them out at https://512audio.com/product/academy.