KEF has received lots proper with the Mu7, not least the high-end sheen of their sound and the mildly particular person appears to be like. 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 need to promote you some wi-fi lively noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, it appears virtually negligent of KEF to have left it till now.
The British specialist has these days been making waves with its powered streaming-system-in-a-pair-of-speakers fashions particularly – however clearly the land-grab isn’t over and at last KEF is able to nick a chunk of the motion.
Nicely, a minimum of that’s the speculation. The value 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 selection of two finishes
- Restricted management choices
Only a few seconds within the firm of your search engine of selection will reveal an absolute stack of equally priced, broadly equally specified options from an entire host of corporations, from family names like Sony to headphone specialists like Sennheiser through KEF-alike manufacturers like Bowers & Wilkins. Which suggests the Mu7 will have to be one thing particular in the event that they’re not going to get misplaced within the pack.
If 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 type to bear right here – or, a minimum of, as a lot as is feasible once 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 ordinary. 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 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 grow to be in any means uncomfortable. Even the earpads resist handing again your personal physique warmth for slightly 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 handle lively noise-cancellation and telephony, with the help of an additional mic-hole in direction of the underside of the fitting earcup.
It’s the fitting earcup that does all of the leg-work, in truth. Right here’s the place you’ll discover a USB-C socket, a 3.5mm analogue enter, and buttons to cycle via 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 fitting earcup can be a capacitive touch-surface. It’s a dependable and responsive interface, and lets you modify 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 customary. And in case you select to hard-wire them to a supply of music, then naturally even higher-resolution playback is feasible.
In contrast to a lot of rivals, the Mu7 don’t should be powered as much as be listened to utilizing wires – though you’ll want to modify 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 info is on board your Mu7 it’s delivered to your ears by a pair of 40mm full-range dynamic drivers. A frequency response equivalent 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 costs – and that’s when working wirelessly and with ANC switched on. Plug the Mu7 into the mains through their USB-C socket for simply quarter-hour and one other eight hours or so of playback may be yours.
These three lively noise-cancellation modes I referred to encompass off, on and Sensible 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 may be focused in response to the data the Mu7 decide 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.
To this point, 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 virtually each price-comparable rival (and fairly a couple of which might 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 large an omission as the shortage of app management, however however leaves a field unticked that you just would possibly anticipate your £349 outlay to have ticked in large 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 tough to know for positive, in fact, but when the phrases good style and grown-up weren’t as excessive on the listing 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 moderately 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 a whole lot of what they’re all about – and so much is a whole lot of what they’ve received.
The soundstage they create is large, convincingly laid out and completely rock-solid in its focus and separation. Regardless of the agreeable quantity of area every strand of the recording enjoys, although, the KEF unify each component right into a coherent entire and current the complete factor as a single entity. Even the densest mixes or most complicated recordings are pretty straightforward to observe in consequence.
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 all the pieces 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 educational or dispassionate, although – they merely appear very attentive. Tonality is pure sufficient, too.
There’s not an entire lot of weight or goal concerning the low frequencies the KEF generate, although. For all that they reply all the best way to 20Hz, there’s not an entire lot of substance to the bass right here – and their powder-puff lack of physique moderately undermines the straight-edged management the headphones show. It follows that rhythmic certainty is moderately, effectively, unsure – and music that depends on momentum and drive can sound ineffectual.
Take into account 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 facets of music-making. Their stance is welcome when listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird, for positive, nevertheless it’s a hindrance in case 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 potential, isn’t any assist in any way.
In fact, this form of sonic perspective can be completely wonderful for these listeners who aren’t on this form 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 (Sensible on in case you’re out and about) and there’s no two methods about it: they do a really first rate job on all ambient noise wanting ear-splitting.
However not like virtually all credible options, they alter their audio stance slightly 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 virtually cabin stress sensation of the kind I believed I’d heard the final of.
Must you purchase it?
You get pleasure from a high-end, high-gloss sound When the KEF Mu7 are having fun with the music you’re listening to, they’re as pleasing 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 huge an viewers as potential. 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 wonderful eating – and who doesn’t get pleasure from a take-away once in a while?
How we check
We check each set of headphones we assessment completely over an prolonged time frame. We use business customary checks to match options correctly. We’ll at all times inform you what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.
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Examined for greater than per week
Examined with actual world use
The Mu7 don’t should 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 trade of knowledge between gadgets over quick distances.