KEF has obtained lots proper with the Mu7, not least the high-end sheen of their sound and the mildly particular person seems to be. However this part of the market is so cut-throat that lots isn’t fairly sufficient.
- Revealing, full-scale and high-gloss sound
- Good technical specification and correct battery life
- Some ‘designing’ has gone on
- No followers of cheaper or coarser recordings
- A management app and/or some voice management can be good
- ANC makes its presence felt
Wi-fi specsBluetooth 5.1 with SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD compatibility
Battery life40-hours of battery life
Audio40mm full-range dynamic drivers
Given what number of firms need to promote you some wi-fi energetic noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, it appears nearly negligent of KEF to have left it till now.
The British specialist has recently been making waves with its powered streaming-system-in-a-pair-of-speakers fashions particularly – however clearly the land-grab isn’t over and eventually KEF is able to nick a bit of the motion.
Nicely, a minimum of that’s the idea. The worth and the broad specification of the Mu7 strains them up towards some confirmed, profitable and deeply covetable rivals… so how precisely does KEF intend to muscle into the market?
The KEF Mu7 are on sale now, they usually go for £349 in the UK. That interprets to $399 in america and round AU$539 in Australia.
- One other KEF/Ross Lovegrove collaboration
- A selection of two finishes
- Restricted management choices
Just some seconds within the firm of your search engine of selection will reveal an absolute stack of equally priced, broadly equally specified alternate options from an entire host of firms, from family names like Sony to headphone specialists like Sennheiser by way of KEF-alike manufacturers like Bowers & Wilkins. Which implies the Mu7 will must be one thing particular in the event that they’re not going to get misplaced within the pack.
If you recognize a lot about KEF, you’ll know the corporate’s a giant fan of the designer Ross Lovegrove. So not for the primary time, he’s introduced his mildly natural, curvaceously slippery type to bear right here – or, a minimum of, as a lot as is feasible if you’re speaking a couple of product as essentially purposeful as over-ear headphones.
For probably the most half, the Mu7 are premium wi-fi over-ear headphone enterprise as regular. The slender arms and yokes are of clean, expertly fitted aluminium, whereas the earpads and the central portion of the scarf are breathable leatherette – the earpads are full of reminiscence foam.
It’s actually solely the earcups that bear any signal of getting been designed – they too are of clean aluminium, with a large indent or recess on the higher half letting you recognize Mr Lovegrove has been incomes his corn. The Mu7 weigh a middling 309g, however they put on it properly – it’ll be a mightily lengthy listening session earlier than they develop into in any means uncomfortable. Even the earpads resist handing again your individual physique warmth for a bit longer than is the norm.
The Mu7 can be found in silver gray (silver) or charcoal gray (black). Every earcup has slot-shaped mic openings on the high of the earcups – the mics handle energetic noise-cancellation and telephony, with the help of an additional mic-hole in direction of the underside of the precise earcup.
It’s the precise earcup that does all of the leg-work, actually. Right here’s the place you’ll discover a USB-C socket, a 3.5mm analogue enter, and buttons to cycle by way of your three ANC choices, to show energy on or off, and to provoke Bluetooth pairing. KEF supplies fairly swish USB-A-to-USB-C and three.5mm-3.5mm cables, together with a flight adapter, within the headphones’ semi-hard carry-case. The Mu7 fold flat, however not in on themselves, to facilitate (barely) simpler transport.
The recess on the precise earcup can be a capacitive touch-surface. It’s a dependable and responsive interface, and permits you to modify quantity, skip forwards or backwards, or pause playback. An extended press on the ANC button defeats or permits the touch-surface itself.
- 40 hours battery life
- 40mm full-range drivers
- Bluetooth 5.1 with SBC, AAC and aptX HD
Because of aptX HD codec compatibility and Bluetooth 5.1 wi-fi connectivity, the KEF Mu7 are able to streaming at an authentically high-resolution 24-bit/48kHz normal. And when you select to hard-wire them to a supply of music, then naturally even higher-resolution playback is feasible.
In contrast to a variety of rivals, the Mu7 don’t need to be powered as much as be listened to utilizing wires – though you’ll want to modify them on if you wish to use energetic noise-cancellation on the identical time, in fact.
Nonetheless you select to get it there, as soon as the audio data is on board your Mu7 it’s delivered to your ears by a pair of 40mm full-range dynamic drivers. A frequency response akin to KEF is claiming, of 20Hz – 20kHz, is each ample and eminently achievable.
Powering the headphones is an 100mAh lithium-ion battery that’s good for 40 hours of playback between prices – and that’s when working wirelessly and with ANC switched on. Plug the Mu7 into the mains by way of their USB-C socket for simply quarter-hour and one other eight hours or so of playback will be yours.
These three energetic noise-cancellation modes I referred to include off, on and Sensible on. This final setting seeks to evaluate your ambient surroundings in actual time, and trim the ANC accordingly – KEF suggests particular areas of the frequency vary will be focused in response to the data the Mu7 decide up. The headphones appraise your surroundings utilizing their embedded mics, in fact – and KEF has specified cVc (clear voice seize) know-how in a drive for optimum name high quality.
To date, it’s a feature-set that’s completely acceptable for a product of this sort and price – however there are a few blanks on the KEF’s spec-sheet. In contrast to nearly each price-comparable rival (and fairly a couple of which might be good bit extra inexpensive, too), there’s no management app accompanying the Mu7. This implies no adjustable EQs, no sliding scale of ANC, no firmware upgrades or any of the opposite stuff I’ve come to anticipate the place wi-fi headphones of all sorts are involved.
And there’s no voice-control out there, both – which is maybe not as huge an omission as the shortage of app management, however nonetheless leaves a field unticked that you just would possibly anticipate your £349 outlay to have ticked in huge fats magic marker.
Sound High quality
- Large, informative and overtly good style sound
- Nicely-organised and convincing soundstage
- Faint-but-definite ANC points
It’s troublesome to know for positive, in fact, but when the phrases good style and grown-up weren’t as excessive on the record of Mu7 sonic necessities as detailed and high-fidelity then I’ll eat my metaphorical hat.
After all, there’s a bit extra to those KEF than a high-sheen, clean and reasonably self-consciously mature presentation. 5 minutes within the firm of a TIDAL-derived stream of Cornflake Woman by Tori Amos permits the Mu7 to clarify loads of what they’re all about – and lots is loads of what they’ve obtained.
The soundstage they create is huge, convincingly laid out and completely rock-solid in its focus and separation. Regardless of the agreeable quantity of house every strand of the recording enjoys, although, the KEF unify each factor right into a coherent complete and current your complete factor as a single entity. Even the densest mixes or most advanced recordings are pretty straightforward to observe because of this.
The outright scale of sound they’re in a position to produce is spectacular too – however element ranges are at all times excessive, even within the midst of a busy or multi-faceted recording. Harmonic variations are made obvious, a singer’s method is made plain, and every little thing from the broad strokes on the entrance of the stage to probably the most fleeting, transient occasions behind it’s given acceptable emphasis and weight. The Mu7 don’t sound tutorial or dispassionate, although – they merely appear very attentive. Tonality is pure sufficient, too.
There’s not an entire lot of weight or function in regards to the low frequencies the KEF generate, although. For all that they reply all the way in which to 20Hz, there’s not an entire lot of substance to the bass right here – and their powder-puff lack of physique reasonably undermines the straight-edged management the headphones exhibit. It follows that rhythmic certainty is reasonably, properly, unsure – and music that depends on momentum and drive can sound ineffectual.
Think about an equally apparent lack of outright dynamic headroom on the identical time, and it turns into obvious the KEF Mu7 are removed from probably the most assertive or demonstrative headphones round in terms of the extra visceral points of music-making. Their stance is welcome when listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird, for positive, however it’s a hindrance when you swap to one thing as deranged as Soften Banana’s Sweet Gun. The Mu7 are overly involved with not giving offence – which, when the music you’re listening to seeks to be as offensive as doable, is not any assist in anyway.
After all, this kind of sonic perspective shall be completely advantageous for these listeners who aren’t on this kind of shouty, pimply nonsense within the first place. However there are sufficient price-comparable rivals round to make the KEF sound barely one-paced and fewer than adaptable.
Oddly sufficient, the Mu7 manages to mix comparable traits in terms of the way in which they cope with exterior sounds. Swap ANC on or (Sensible on when you’re out and about) and there’s no two methods about it: they do a really respectable job on all ambient noise in need of ear-splitting.
However not like nearly all credible alternate options, they alter their audio stance a bit when ANC is switched on – the highest of the frequency vary appears to decrease and spherical off just a bit. And extra considerably, switching on ANC introduces only a tiny trace of counter-signal, an nearly cabin stress sensation of the sort I assumed I’d heard the final of.
Do you have to purchase it?
You take pleasure in a high-end, high-gloss sound When the KEF Mu7 are having fun with the music you’re listening to, they’re as satisfying a pay attention as any price-comparable rival
Your music tastes are wide-ranging The Mu7 have a particular comfort-zone – and taking them out of it’s unlikely to finish properly
Because the star-rating suggests, the KEF Mu7 must be higher in the event that they’re going to attraction to as vast an viewers as doable. That they’ll discover their constituency is simple – no pair of headphones that’s as sweetly detailed, as tonally appropriate and sounds as out-and-out shiny as these KEFs can fail to take action. However there’s extra to life than hi-fi sound, simply as there’s extra to life than advantageous eating – and who doesn’t take pleasure in a take-away now and again?
How we take a look at
We take a look at each set of headphones we overview totally over an prolonged time period. We use business normal assessments to match options correctly. We’ll at all times inform you what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to overview a product.
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Examined for greater than per week
Examined with actual world use
The Mu7 don’t need to be powered on to allow noise-cancellation, so ANC can be utilized when plugged right into a wired supply with out turning the headphones on.
153 x 89 x 199 MM
SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD
Silver gray, Charcoal gray
20 20000 – Hz
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ANC (Energetic Noise Cancellation) makes use of an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming on the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any undesirable exterior noises.
Bluetooth – named after Tenth-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth who united Denmark’s tribes right into a single kingdom – is a technique of wi-fi transmission that permits for the change of information between gadgets over brief distances.