There's a crowd who loves tons of features packed into their headphones. Then, there are those who only desire the bare essentials, nothing more. In my opinion, the latter isn't getting enough attention from today's headphone manufacturers.
But that's what Thinksound is all about. Its On1 are a prime example of headphones that don't try too much, but gets mostly everything right in the process. For a retail price of $299 (£179, AU$399 through online distributors), do these offer enough to please the headphone purists? These cans sure do look nice and the sound performance is stellar, but the feature offering is just a little too bare for the high asking price.
Thinksound's earthy design ID is rooted (no pun intended) in using wood on each of its headphones. It's an addition that makes the On1 on-ear headphones in particular a natural-looking breath of fresh air amidst the competition, which is vastly made up of plastic and metal options.
The cushioned headband is wrapped is a black fabric, which is embroidered on top with the Thinksound logo. Stretching down into the sides, the sidearm connectors conveniently display "L" and "R", though, in my experience, the fit is no different even if you get it wrong. The tough, brushed metal sidearms can extend a generous amount, making room for heads on the larger size.
Moving down to the cups, the headphones are coated in the black, matte plastic. The cup hinges are pleasantly flexible, allowing listeners to fold them up into the headband. They can also rotate 90 degrees so the cups can rest facing downward on your chest when you're not listening. The on-ear cups are stuffed with enough padding and coated with leatherette, which work together to make these breathable and comfortable to use for hours.
Inside the box, Thinksound includes two 4.5-foot cables. Each are braided in fabric, but one is equipped with inline controls and a microphone, while the other is free of features. Also inside the box is a canvas tote to carry the On1 around in.
The On1 sounds as good, if not better, than it looks. Its drivers produce a warm sound signature, which you might have expected from its closed-back wooden cups. Bass response is accurate and never overbearing. Mids and highs come through crystal-clear without stepping on each other in the delivery. Fans of any genre should be well-suited with the On1's sound performance.
The comfort of on-ear headphones can be a tricky beast to judge, as they are usually just fine for the first hour, but have the tendency to become a pain against your ears after that. The On1 are somewhere in the middle. Its headband doesn't squeeze too much, but the impression the cups made against my ears required me to take them off every hour or so.
I appreciate that the On1 can be used on both Android and iOS, as its inline controls only feature a play and pause button. But that presents an issue for those, like myself, who enjoy volume controls on their remotes. It's a small gripe, but for the price of the On1, it's a costly omission.
Headphone purists looking only for the essentials will find a lot to like here, so long as they're willing to pony up $299. For the same price, users can also snag the Philips Fidelio NC1, a lightweight set of on-ear headphones stocked with noise-cancelling and a more comfortable build. The On1 is at a disadvantage by comparison.
Thinksound is onto something special here. The On1 look and sound fantastic. But for the price, it offers too little.