Testing and Quality:
Disclaimer: I'm primarily a PC gamer and because gamers make up a big part of our audience - that is part of how these headphones were evaluated. I enjoy music just as much as the next guy but I'm no audiophile. Alienvibes is clear that these headphones are not really intended for PC gaming, and they are marketed primarily for use with digital audio sources.
The Alienvibes EP02 headphones were evaluated using a selection of music and PC games. Overall the headphones performed very well - they sounded fantastic to my untrained ear. The first time you wear the Alienvibes you will notice the amplification through the headphones is strong. I needed to turn down the volume each time I switched to the AlienVibes headphones from my desktop speakers. I tested these headphones for distortion and like any audio device they did lose control when pushed far above the normal listening volume. What surprised me was the fact that the Alienvibes EP02 headphones actually vibrated with heavy bass songs at volumes higher than I typically listen to. The bass response from the Alienvibes EP02 headphones is fantastic!
I decided to sample the same artists as my counterpart did for the original prototype review. The following artist/song combinations were used to evaluate the AlienVibes headphones:
» Miles Davis - ByeBye Blackbird
» Neon Trees - Everybody Talks
» Carrie Underwood - Blown Away
» Kanye West - Clique
» Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
» Black Sabbath - Iron Man
In addition to the songs above, I evaluated the Alienvibes EP02 while playing popular 3d shooters including Battlefield 3 and Borderlands 2. Audible positioning in each game worked well. Explosions and gun fire had more bass compared to the headphones I typically use. My biggest gripe when gaming with these headphones was the short (3 foot) audio cable that is included. Three feet is the absolute minimum length I think most gamers are going to need and it will require you to drape the short cable between your keyboard and mouse. Alienvibes should provide two cable lengths - the three foot length is great for the integrated microphone cable but the second 3.5mm cable should be at least five feet in length to be really useful.
That pretty much summarizes the audio performance of the Alienvibes EP02 headphones. Now I'd like to talk about the comfort of the headphones. For short durations of listening (less than two hours) I found the headphones to be satisfactory. During extended listening and especially gaming the pressure on my ears became uncomfortable. After I realized the inner diameter of the ear cups measured only 2 inches I decided to look up the average ear size for an adult male. It turns out the average mans ear measures just over 2.5 inches. You would think the Alienvibes designs would consider such information when sizing their ear cups for maximum comfort. Competing headphones that I purchased several years ago are sized much closer to 2.5 inches and they can be worn comfortably for periods of 3 to 4 hours without discomfort.
Important Disclaimer: I need to inform our users that the review you are reading required two sets of Alienvibes EP02 headphones to complete. The first set we received for this review developed random crackling sounds within three weeks of normal use. Ineo Technology shipped us a second set which we used to finish evaluating the headphones. The new headphones were tested for another four weeks and are still working as expected. For those interested, the crackling sound occurred whenever the 3.5mm audio cable that plugs into the left ear cup was disturbed.