Review: Technics RP-DH1200 headphones
Like flares, hot pants and Phil Collins, there are some things in life you think are never going to come back in fashion - but they do.
So has been the case with 'big' headphones. Not since the heady days of Grandmaster Flash and his Furious Five has it been acceptable to wear proper, old-school cans in a public place - and some might argue its still not the decent thing to do. Won't someone think of the children, horses (insert vulnerable group of your own choice here)?
Nevertheless, The Youth (and it is mainly The Youth) are now to be seen on foot or public transport, sporting on-ear 'phones, lost in their own musical worlds and, for the absent-minded, falling prey to buses and HGV vehicles as a result.
While other brands have taken a considerable chunk of the streetwear market, the likes of Technics have never really been away; indeed, they remained synonymous within the club scene during the 80s and 90s especially with their none-more-reliable turntable range. Although marketed as 'audiophile' headphones, with their folding capacity and the ability to swivel each ear-cup for single ear use, its to the DJ crowd that these RP-DH1200s will appeal to the most.
Although mostly of plastic construction, they look - and feel - solid, and obviously have to withstand hundreds of hours of practical use. You don't want them to fall apart when you're cue-ing up 'Agadoo' for the third time at a pensioners' party. They're reasonably comfortable to wear for extended periods, although the synthetic leather earpads did make our ears sweat a bit. The package comes with a straight cable with an Apple-compatible remote, and a second, coiled cable for use in other contexts.
Given the market they'll most appeal to, we initially put them to test with a run-through Cedric Gervais' remix of Lana Del Rey's 'Summertime Sadness', which got us nodding for sure. The 'phones coped well with the track's wide-stereo mix, but not to the detriment of putting Lana front and centre where she belongs. On Lady Gaga's 'Applause', the bass was initially a little disappointing but when the track properly kicks off seperation at the bottom end remains good.
Trying something rockier, 'R U Mine' from the new Arctic Monkeys album, the Technics properly capture the fat, 70s guitar tones that Alex Turner and co. have been using recently. This is another track that uses the full width of the stereo mix, but nothing the 'phones struggle with. On the Black Sabbath-y groove that is 'Arabella' the old school production really comes through, suggesting the 'phones should be flexible enough for more than just bedroom DJs.
Nothing like a bit of Nick Drake to really test something though. On the instrumental title track from his 1972 album Bryter Later, there's no sense of the kit trying to artificially brighten these older recordings, and while the extent to which Drake is inside you head on the likes of 'Fly' is a little disconcerting to modern ears, it's a fair representation of the intent.
We're so used to the everyday practicality of the ear-buds we use on our phones and iPods that the pleasures of a decent pair of proper headphones is easily forgotten. The RP-DH1200s won't necessarily satisfy the very fussy, but if you're put off by the ubiquity of certain other brands, and want an affordable introduction to the world of quality headphones, definitely give them a test run.
The Technics RP-DH1200s are available now and retail for around £120.
Last updated: 26/02/2018 12:39:23