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Nixon Master Blaster review: Nixon Master Blaster

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The Good The Nixon Master Blaster over-the-ear headphones deliver highly detailed sound with strong bass; heavily padded real leather headband and ear cushions; right channel earcup doubles as a volume control; detachable headphone cable; large, semisoft carry case.

The Bad The earpads of the Nixon Master Blaster headphones put excessive pressure on the ears, which may feel downright uncomfortable over long listening sessions.

The Bottom Line Nixon's Master Blaster headphones' bright, immediate sound will appeal to some buyers, but comfort issues may be a deal breaker.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

Nixon is best known for its high-fashion watches, wallets, handbags, belts, hats, and T-shirts. Now, the company is taking a stab at headphones with a line-up of three models of varying portability. The full-size Master Blaster headphones ($200 MSRP) show promise, but don't yet qualify for a rave review.

Unsurprisingly, the Master Blaster headphones are something of a fashion statement. Even better, build quality--from the padded real leather headband and ear cushions to the machined metal earcups--is impressive. The earcups pivot on a cleverly designed ball and socket mount. The unusual arrangement allows each earcup to automatically swivel into the most comfortable position. Indeed, the overall look and feel of the headphones is excellent, and you can choose from three finishes: all black, silver and black, or silver and brown. And Nixon includes a semisoft headphone carry case to protect that finish during storage and transport.

We're particularly fond of the fact that the entire outer rim of the right earcup is a headphone volume control; we think it's easier to use than a volume control mounted on a headphone cable. The Master Blaster comes with a skinny, braided cloth covered 5-foot long (removable) headphone cable terminated with iPhone compatible 3.5mm plugs at both ends. The cable connects to the left channel earcup.

Our design praise ends at the style, however. Everybody's head and ears are different, but we found that the Master Blaster earpads applied too much pressure against out ears. It was only mildly annoying over the first 5 or 10 minutes, but after an hour the Master Blaster was downright uncomfortable. The pads themselves are relatively firm, and it was the excessive pressure that caused the discomfort. Then again, you may not be bothered by the tight fit. We'd recommend buying only from retailers that offer a money-back guarantee.

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