KEF has bought 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 could 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 corporations wish to promote you some wi-fi lively noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, it appears nearly negligent of KEF to have left it till now.
The British specialist has currently been making waves with its powered streaming-system-in-a-pair-of-speakers fashions specifically – however clearly the land-grab isn’t over and at last KEF is able to nick a chunk of the motion.
Nicely, at the very least that’s the speculation. The worth and the broad specification of the Mu7 traces 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, and so they go for £349 in the UK. That interprets to $399 in the USA and round AU$539 in Australia.
- One other KEF/Ross Lovegrove collaboration
- A alternative of two finishes
- Restricted management choices
Only a few seconds within the firm of your search engine of alternative will reveal an absolute stack of equally priced, broadly equally specified options from a complete host of corporations, from family names like Sony to headphone specialists like Sennheiser by way of KEF-alike manufacturers like Bowers & Wilkins. Which implies the Mu7 will have to be one thing particular in the event that they’re not going to get misplaced within the pack.
If you understand a lot about KEF, you’ll know the corporate’s an enormous fan of the designer Ross Lovegrove. So not for the primary time, he’s introduced his mildly natural, curvaceously slippery fashion to bear right here – or, at the very least, as a lot as is feasible if you’re speaking a couple of product as essentially purposeful as over-ear headphones.
For essentially the most half, the Mu7 are premium wi-fi over-ear headphone enterprise as standard. The slender arms and yokes are of clean, expertly fitted aluminium, whereas the earpads and the central portion of the headscarf 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 understand Mr Lovegrove has been incomes his corn. The Mu7 weigh a middling 309g, however they put on it effectively – it’ll be a mightily lengthy listening session earlier than they change into in any approach uncomfortable. Even the earpads resist handing again your individual physique warmth for a bit of 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 prime of the earcups – the mics care for lively noise-cancellation and telephony, with the help of an extra mic-hole in the direction of the underside of the proper earcup.
It’s the proper earcup that does all of the leg-work, in actual fact. Right here’s the place you’ll discover a USB-C socket, a 3.5mm analogue enter, and buttons to cycle by means 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 proper earcup can be a capacitive touch-surface. It’s a dependable and responsive interface, and lets you regulate quantity, skip forwards or backwards, or pause playback. An extended press on the ANC button defeats or allows 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 commonplace. And should you select to hard-wire them to a supply of music, then naturally even higher-resolution playback is feasible.
In contrast to plenty of rivals, the Mu7 don’t need to be powered as much as be listened to utilizing wires – though you’ll want to change them on if you wish to use lively noise-cancellation on the similar 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 similar 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 could be yours.
These three lively noise-cancellation modes I referred to encompass off, on and Good on. This final setting seeks to evaluate your ambient setting in actual time, and trim the ANC accordingly – KEF suggests particular areas of the frequency vary could be focused in response to the knowledge the Mu7 choose up. The headphones appraise your setting utilizing their embedded mics, in fact – and KEF has specified cVc (clear voice seize) know-how in a drive for optimum name high quality.
Up to now, it’s a feature-set that’s solely acceptable for a product of this kind and price – however there are a few blanks on the KEF’s spec-sheet. In contrast to nearly each price-comparable rival (and fairly just a few which can be good bit extra reasonably priced, 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 every type are involved.
And there’s no voice-control accessible, both – which is probably not as huge an omission as the shortage of app management, however nonetheless leaves a field unticked that you simply would possibly anticipate your £349 outlay to have ticked in huge fats magic marker.
Sound High quality
- Massive, informative and overtly good style sound
- Nicely-organised and convincing soundstage
- Faint-but-definite ANC points
It’s tough to know for positive, in fact, but when the phrases good style and grown-up weren’t as excessive on the checklist of Mu7 sonic necessities as detailed and high-fidelity then I’ll eat my metaphorical hat.
In fact, there’s a bit extra to those KEF than a high-sheen, clean and somewhat self-consciously mature presentation. 5 minutes within the firm of a TIDAL-derived stream of Cornflake Woman by Tori Amos permits the Mu7 to elucidate a number of what they’re all about – and quite a bit is a number of what they’ve bought.
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 aspect right into a coherent entire and current your complete factor as a single entity. Even the densest mixes or most advanced recordings are pretty simple 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 approach is made plain, and every part from the broad strokes on the entrance of the stage to essentially the most fleeting, transient occasions in the back of 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 a complete lot of weight or function concerning the low frequencies the KEF generate, although. For all that they reply all the best way to 20Hz, there’s not a complete lot of substance to the bass right here – and their powder-puff lack of physique somewhat undermines the straight-edged management the headphones reveal. It follows that rhythmic certainty is somewhat, effectively, unsure – and music that depends on momentum and drive can sound ineffectual.
Think about an equally apparent lack of outright dynamic headroom on the similar time, and it turns into obvious the KEF Mu7 are removed from essentially the most assertive or demonstrative headphones round in relation to the extra visceral points of music-making. Their stance is welcome when listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird, for positive, nevertheless it’s a hindrance should you change 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 any respect.
In fact, this type of sonic perspective might be completely effective for these listeners who aren’t on this type 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 relation to the best way they take care of exterior sounds. Swap ANC on or (Good on should 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 in contrast to nearly all credible options, they alter their audio stance a bit of 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 believed 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 gratifying 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 effectively
Because the star-rating suggests, the KEF Mu7 have to be higher in the event that they’re going to attraction to as large an viewers as doable. That they’ll discover their constituency is plain – 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 effective eating – and who doesn’t take pleasure in a take-away every so often?
How we take a look at
We take a look at each set of headphones we evaluate completely over an prolonged time frame. We use trade commonplace exams to match options correctly. We’ll at all times let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluate a product.
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Examined for greater than every 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 units over quick distances.