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SMS Audio SYNC by 50/STREET by 50 — Over-Ear and On-Ear Wired Headphones

| Sunday, March 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
SYNC by 50
SYNC by 50
STREET by 50
STREET by 50

The claim: SYNC by 50 — Over-Ear Wireless Headphones utilize Kleer Technology to provide 16-bit CD-quality digital, lossless sound from as far as 50 feet away from the source without a cord getting in the way. They offer professionally tuned 40mm drivers, memory-foam ear cushions and as many as 17 hours of battery life. You can not only enjoy your music the way it was meant to be heard, but also can do it in comfort without worrying about losing power. The headphones are created from a custom polymer plastic — Shatterproof UFP — to stand up to even the most-rugged lifestyle and are available in black, white and silver obsidian.

Created with the same high-quality, professionally tuned 40mm drivers, Shatterproof UFP materials, and memory-foam ear cushions as SYNC by 50, the STREET by 50 headphones are perfect if you'd prefer not to deal with recharging your headphones. Available now in white, black, and blue, as well as limited-edition colors.

Cost: $179.95 to $399.95


Being an audiophile and a vocalist, I've put to use many pairs of headphones over the years. I have donned Sennheiser, Shure, AKG, Audio-Technica and Panasonic (to name just a few), both in studio and while listening to music on my iPod. With so many options, you soon learn that each pair reproduces the sound in a different way, and some do it much better than others.

When it came to trying SMS Audio's SYNC & STREET by 50, I was intrigued to hear if this trend of rap moguls putting their name on hghi-end, daily-use headphones had any merit. SMS Audio's headphones are rapper 50 Cent's answer to Dr. Dre's, “Beats by Dre” — and they don't disappoint. Stylish and solidly built, both the SYNC & the STREET could be likened to a Mercedes in the headphone market.

But the sleek design of shatterproof polymer plastic, memory-foam leather ear pads and flexible headband are just a few of the features that make both the SYNC and the STREET give you an eargasm. The 40mm drivers produce rich, deep bass and crisp, clear highs that truly add dimension to your favorite music and movies — all while incorporating a passive noise cancellation that allows you to be fully immersed in the sound. Both headphones come with a cleaning cloth and a case or bag in which to store your investment. Both also come with a detachable cable with mic so you can take calls on your mobile device in between listening to jams.

The SYNC sports a tuned digital EQ and 16-bit lossless sound for a broader listening experience. It also comes with a built-in on/off switch, bass enhancer, track and volume controls, an “airplane mode” and a mute button, all located on the outside of the headset. No need to fiddle with any controls on your music device; it's all right there on the ear cups. The 3.5mm wireless adapter and headset can be charged with the included USB/AC adapter, so a nearby computer or wall outlet is all you need for a quick charge. A full charge on both takes roughly two hours and lasts for around 15 hours of solid use.

You can't go wrong with either if you're looking for a plush sound for your hard-earned cash. Which one to get all depends on your wallet and whether you'd rather travel with your tunes wire-free.

— John Schisler

These headphones put out some really good sound, and that's saying something from a person who has bad hearing. Because of hearing loss, I try not to turn up headphones loud, to protect the hearing I have left. But these headphones sound great even on low volume, and improved the sound from several sources, including an iPod and my desktop computer. The treble is crisp and clear, and the bass isn't overwhelming. The headphones are comfortable, too, fitting over your entire ear without smashing part of it. The headphones are also relatively light, so I wore them for a couple of hours with no discomfort.

These far outpace the earbuds you get with an iPod.

But the bad news: The wireless SYNC by 50 says that it has a range of 50 feet. I couldn't get 10 feet away from two separate sources before the headphones briefly cut out. It kept happening even after I recharged the headphones. Shame, too, because the sound is just as good as with the wired headphones.

— Bill Vidonic

Listening to music on these headphones is a far cry from the earbuds I use at the gym. You can feel the bass in your gut as the tunes wave over in full, round sounds. My musical tastes vary widely. These sounded as great with Earth, Wind and Fire; Adele; and Patsy Cline as they did with Eliane Elias and the cast recording of “Chicago.” Watching a movie with these cans offers that rich surround sound you love in the theater.

The sturdy headsets are a cushy comfort and sit well enough that I can dance around the house with my iPod in my pocket and not worry about them dropping off.

The wireless version requires line of sight for continuous audio, which is annoying in my house with its small rooms. If I wanted to just sit still, I would use the wired. The flashing lights on the wireless, and trying to remember where all the switches are — left cup has powers and bass boost, right has volumes and next track/previous track buttons — is not endearing to this user. But again, the sound is magnificent.

Both the wired and wireless styles offer features such as a 3.5mm removable audio cable with built-in microphone for taking calls on your iPhone, an airplane plug adapter and carrying case. They are not noise-canceling, but do a great job at muffling out sound.

Looking to buy? Go for the wired — unless you live in a roomy loft.

— Sally Quinn

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