The poster-child for warming up headphones: the Liquid Ears Long Play

Full disclosure: Liquid Ears gave me this pair of headphones to review for free after I asked about their previous headphones, the LE20BTOHTLs (a model name for the teal Wire Frees).

The Wire Frees are my surprising pride and joys — sparkling sound in a cheap package. They’re bright, they’re comfortable, and best of all, they cost just $35AUD at my local Big W.

I’d asked for more info about the sales and popularity of the Wire Frees. When their Marketing and Content Coordinator offered me a pair of the Wire Free’s more expensive baby brother, of course I jumped at the opportunity.

The LE2WFOHBLs (they’re a mouthful of a model number) are incredibly comfortable. They’re over-ears that seal against your head. The box calls this “environmental noise cancellation” — an apt way of saying the earpads are so thick, no sound other than a car horn next to your head will interrupt your music. They’re so comfortable, that I even fell asleep with these on, safe in the knowledge they’re not going to slide off.

I’m also significantly more confident in their build quality. The previous Wire Frees plastic feels so brittle, I hesitate to take them with me to travel. With the Over-Ears, I can safely toss them onto my bed after a long listening session.

Additionally, they’re USB-C fast-charging! That in itself is a rarity. I’ve been using these on and off for hours at a time, and they’re still on 100% charge. The 300 hours of standby/60 hours of playtime are no joke.

These are our best headphones to date, with up to 60 hours of playtime, a balanced sound with deep bass and very comfortable double-stitched ear cups.

Ashley Martin (Marketing and Content Coordinator)

Can they play A Voice Someone Calls?

Yeah… but not in the first 10 hours of owning these things.

There are theories across the internet suggesting headphones need “warming up” before users really hear the true quality of headphones. I agree with this sentiment, and I must admit, when I first put on the Over-Ears, I was less than impressed.

A Voice Someone Calls is my go-to tester ever since it caught out my soundbar. The Over-Ears performed so poorly, I rebooted the headphones just in case something was going wrong somewhere. Nothing was going wrong. All I heard was the mids of the Persona 3 track.

Bad start.

The cons

The long warm-up time seems to be masking some kind of clipping occurring in some rock tracks, even at low volumes. I’ve never experienced this issue before, and I’m not certain if it’s a consequence of the lacking high frequencies (as it’s usually occurring around high hats).

In addition, the vocals sit physically lower than anything else I’ve experienced. This is hard to explain. If the Wire Frees are producing vocals to sound like it’s occurring in the centre of your head, the Over-Ears seem to be dropped below that. It’s like the headphones are projecting vocals into my nose. I hear it fine, and the quality’s still good, but I’m feeling it in the lower half of my head. This doesn’t seem to affect the quality of the sound — this entire paragraph can be chalked up to strange personal preference. I’ve just never experienced something like this before in any headphones I’ve ever used.

The lowered sound is possibly due to the bass. And boy is it bass-y. Prepare to experience this bass in your chest, holy crap.

And then there’s the unpowered problem. The Over-Ears do have an aux plug for the very unfortunate event they run out of battery. Unfortunately, it’s the equivalent of listening to music from a different room — with no power to the drivers, everything sounds far away, locked in a house you can’t get into even though you have the keys, you just can’t put them in the lock right now. Don’t use them with the aux cable. It’s just plain bad.

At the time of writing, it doesn’t seem possible to pick up a pair of these in retailers. From what I can tell, they’re only available on Liquid Ears’ website. Hopefully, that changes? I’m not sure.

Specs

  • 20Hz – 20kHz
  • 40mm drivers
  • 97dB ± 3dB at 1kHz sensitivity
  • 500mAh battery, with 60 hours of playtime (300 hours of standby)
  • Wireless range of 10 metres

Also included is a USB to USB-C cable. Throw the aux cable out, because trust me, you don’t want to use these in wired mode.

Over-Ears are best used for…

Music. Shy away from rock and metal — there’s a weird clipping happening around the high frequencies associated with high hats no matter what I do or what device I connect it to.

It’s going to take time for them to sound good, but after about 10 hours, they do finally match the Wire Frees in quality. It just takes time. And patience. And a lot of wondering whether or not waiting 10 hours was worth the $60AUD price tag + postage.

Here are some stand-out tracks for the Over-Ears:

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