I love it when a new headphone breaks the mold, like the Blue Mo-Fi ($350 US, £275 UK) did when I reviewed it last year. That bad boy had a lot going for it: truly unique design and tech, and the sound was very decent.
Blue's less expensive new model, Lola, looks similar to the still in production Mo-Fi, but Lola shed some heft, and weighs 14 ounces (397 grams). Mo-Fi has a built-in battery-powered headphone amplifier, Lola doesn't, that's the main reason it's a little lighter. Both models feature Blue's fiber-reinforced 50mm drivers, and impedance is listed at 42 ohms. Lola's racecar-inspired, four-point multi-jointed headband keeps the ear cups perfectly aligned to your ears, which is similar to the Mo-Fi's design. Lola feels sturdy, and its unusually thick ear pads do a good job isolating the wearer from external noise. You get a really nicely finished suede-like carry case, and two cables, a 1.2-meter Apple-compatible phone cable along with a 3-meter "straight" cable for home use.
Sound-wise there's a lot to like about Lola, it's smooth, clear, and clean. Vocals have a terrific sense of body, and bass is satisfyingly deep and tight. On Rob Wasserman's "Solo" album Lola easily delineated every pluck and shading of Wasserman's stand up bass. Treble is a bit subdued, which isn't a bad thing if you listen to a lot of over compressed contemporary music that can sound harsh with high-resolution headphones like the Audio Technica ATH MSR7. One other thing I liked about Lola was that it sounds great at soft, medium and loud listening levels. I never felt the sound was grating or too aggressive.
For comparison I brought out my NAD Viso HP50 headphones. It's also an over-the-ear, closed back design, so this was a straight up competition. The NAD is a lighter, more comfortable headphone, with a more neutral tonal balance. Lola isn't that far off tonally from the ´HP50, but it added more oomph and fullness to the bass. After I had the Lola on my head for a while, the 'HP50 sounded too lean and bright whereas the Lola presents a warmer, sweeter balance. The 'HP50 is more spacious/open sounding, and they were easier to drive, so they played a little louder at the same volume setting on my Astell & Kern Jr music player.
Lola is the sort of headphone that sounded better and better the longer I listened to it, that's high praise indeed. The Blue Lola is available in charcoal black and pearl white finishes and sells for $249.99 in the US and £219.99 in the UK. The price in Australia hasn't been set yet, but would roughly convert to AU$345.