The Saturn One are an impressive-sounding pair of headphones, and prove to be a great showcase for detail, clarity with some great dynamics. As long you’re listening to them at home and have the equipment (headphone amp/DAC) to make them really sing, they’re a superb partner for your music collection.
- Spacious, open presentation
- Excellent dynamics, with plenty of detail and clarity
- Aesthetically pleasing finish
- Balanced sound
- Needs a DAC/headphone amp to wring out more performance
- Huge foam earpads
- Review Price: £350
- Handcrafted, wood finish
- 1.6m detachable cable
- 200g (without cables attached)
What are the Hyland Saturn One?
The Saturn One are an open-backed pair of headphones from Hyland Headphones, with ambitions of offering audiophile sound
Headphones that pass through the Trusted Reviews offices tend to come from the most familiar brands: Sony, Bose, Audio-Technica et al. It isn’t often that we receive a pair from a company that we haven’t heard of. The brand in question here is Hyland Headphones. Based in Watford, the headphones are handcrafted by the owner, Alex Hyland.
The company formed from the basis of modifying a pair of Grado Prestige Series Headphones, in order to “improve sound quality as much as possible, and make them more comfortable for extended listening sessions”.
Certainly a lofty goal, then. However, listening to the Hyland Saturn One headphones, it isn’t inconceivable…
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Hyland Saturn One design – An aesthetically pleasing pair of open-backed cans
The Grado reference makes sense once you see the Saturn Ones. While not as slick, they’re certainly attractive. Every pair is handcrafted in the UK and unique, the ethically sourced hardwood ear cups and lacquered finish is lovely, with their mesh grille accentuating the Grado look.
The headband parts have been milled, drilled and bent by hand. The foam pads that cover the ear cups offer a decent level of comfort – although in my opinion, aesthetically, they look on the cheap side (and are large) for a £350 pair of headphones. One even come loose during testing; a simple screw on and it was back to normal.
The Saturn Ones are comfortable and light to wear at 200g (without the cables). There’s no sense of the ears heating up much or fatigue setting in during a long listening session. Changing the height of the leather headband is a simple enough process, and although it feels a little archaic; it adds a novel touch to these headphones.
In the box you get a very long (1.6m) detachable cable to hook up the headphones to your device/system, plus a ¼in adapter. The Saturn Ones are an open-backed pair of headphones, and are most definitely for home use.
There’s no carry case as such, but there do come in a wooden box (which has model info and the date of inception). There is also a pouch to slip the headphones into when you’re not using them. If you want a single or balanced connection, they’re available by request from the Hyland Headphones website, as are different cable lengths.
Hyland Saturn One sound quality – An impressive, spacious and enjoyable sound that’s even better with a headphone amp to partner with
With little in the way of features, I’ll hop and skip towards describing how they sound – and in this regard, the Hyland Saturn One sound very, very good.
I’d suggest you pair the Saturn One with a headphone amp/DAC. With an impedance of 32ohms, they’re not tricky to drive but while they sound very good on their own even with a slightly low volume, quality is amplified with a headphone amp/DAC (for this test, the Cyrus soundKey was used).
Packing 40mm dynamic drivers, the Hyland Saturn One offer spacious, open sound that’s an advert for their smooth texture. Joe Kraemer’s A400 from the Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation soundtrack on TIDAL (hi-fi) is full of detail and clarity.
The Saturn One’s display of bass is tight and refined. A play of Lupe Fiasco’s The Coolest and Massive Attack’s Teardrop and these headphones offer a solid, at times, punchy low-end performance.
The fidelity they’re capable of is terrific, with the raspy tone of the brass elements in Alan Silvestri’s Forge from Avengers: Infinity War brought to the fore. Dynamics are impressive, too, the stop/start midway through A Thousand Details from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo expertly communicated. The Saturn One’s excellent sense of timing knits it all together.
Moving onto The Landing, from Justin Hurwitz’s First Man score, and the headphones display great detail and expressive dynamic range and scale. Threshold from the Scott Pilgrim vs the World soundtrack – a good test for composure and control – and the Saturn One remain assured and unfussed. It’s all tightly held together, with the thrashing guitars in the mid-range kept in check.
Weighted more towards a neutral, balanced sound, perhaps, the best compliment I could pay to the Saturn One are that they’re a free flowing listen; you stop analysing what’s happening and just listen. They make the experience of listening to your music collection very rewarding.
Should I buy the Hyland Saturn One?
The Saturn One open-backed headphones are impressive, offering detail, clarity alongside great dynamics and enjoyable bass.
They’ll need a headphone amp/DAC to draw more performance out of them; without one they sound a little less spacious and suffer from a slightly low volume. Affordable units such as the Cyrus soundKey or AudioQuest Dragonfly are great options and will add £70 to £100 to the cost of these headphones if you don’t already own a headphone amp/DAC.
Otherwise, I struggle to think of a reason that the Saturn One shouldn’t be considered. As long you have the equipment to really make them sing, they’re a great partner for your music collection.
|Type||Open Air (Circumaural), Over-the-head|