The Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear are full-size headphones that are topped with wood to give them a look that’s a bit different from the competition. These are not the first wooden headphones Griffin has made – the WoodTones join a few different in-ear pairs.
Great sound and good comfort make them a solid purchase - and great value at the price - although we’re not sure about the look and a weirdly noisy headband ensures they’re not much good for use while out and about.
If you know Griffin, it’s probably for its phone cases or other accessories. However, these Over-The-Ear WoodTones headphones are not the generic type of cans we often see from accessory makers.
The back of each earcup is topped with wood. We expect it’s a purely aesthetic choice, much as Griffin’s marketing implicitly suggests that it’s responsible for some of the sound’s warmth. You can choose between three finishes – beech, sapele (aboudikro) and walnut.
Although the look has won acclaim elsewhere, we’re not entirely convinced by the slightly IKEA furniture look of the beech sample we’re currently enjoying. However, if you’re reading this you may well be drawn in by the distinctive style of the Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear.
Aside from the wooden parts, they are of a fairly standard design, and not one that’s particularly style-driven. Rectangular cups, a headband exoskeleton that sticks a way above your head and the fairly large size aren’t going to win these WoodTones many fans among the Beats by Dre crowd.
However, they are very comfortable indeed. The plastic (apart from the wood, of course) construction keeps them light, the pads are very soft indeed and we find the auto-adjusting headband particularly comfy.
The headband is a wide strip of fake leather that’s kept taut on your noggin by an elasticated band inside it. As comfy as it is, the headband does introduce a fairly serious problem. It continually readjusts from your movements while walking, and it causes a seriously annoying creaking sound. It’s the headband rubbing against the elasticated band inside. For at-home use it’s no problem, but we don’t recommend the Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear for commuters. It’s a real shame because otherwise these are easily comfy enough to wear all day long.
The Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear cable is removable, and uses a standard 3.5mm cable. You get a basic handsfree remote on the cable, and it features a single button for optimal compatibility with phones.
So far the Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear have been a bit of a mixed bag. We’re not in love with the beech finish and that creaky headband is a real bummer. Thankfully, they sound lovely.
The Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear use large 50mm drivers that provide slightly warm, detailed and generally well-balanced sound. There’s a slight bass emphasis compared with what’s strictly accurate, but this is something that most people want – it provides the little bit of extra kick that’s needed to make music sound fun (to the average ear).
It’s a minor bass boost, though – one that still miles away from making the Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear sound like truly bass heavy headphones. The one minor criticism we could make about the sound is that bass separation and detail isn’t stellar. However, it’s not something we really expect of a pair of headphones at this price.
Treble detail is very good, but the sound is silky smooth so the WoodTones never come across as particularly bright-sounding. Griffin has managed to get the tone of these headphones ‘just right’, and from a manufacturer that doesn’t just make these sorts of products, that’s pretty impressive.
It’s perfectly possible that the WoodTones may use a pretty standard ‘off the shelf’ driver, but that doesn’t alter their ability to square off with much more expensive. A/B comparison testing shows they can comfortably spar with many £150 full-size headphones.
Should I Buy the Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear?
For headphones to wear at work, at home, or anywhere else where you’re going to be predominantly sedentary, the Griffin WoodTones are some of our favourite headphones at the price. They’re comfy, they have a sound we could listen to all day long and the standard 3.5mm cable jack means you can buy a much longer cable from elsewhere should you need to (for use with a home hi-fi, for example).
However, we don’t rate them quite so highly as a portable set. The creaky headband spoils them for use on-the-go and our tip is to avoid the beech finish unless you want people asking if you bought your headphones from IKEA.
The Griffin WoodTones Over-The-Ear headphones are a pleasant surprise. Despite not coming from a big name in headphones, they offer great sound quality and comfort, although some design issues stop them from being a great portable set.
Next, read our best headphones round-up