- Versatile design
- Surisingly good sonic balance
- Branding could be subtler
- Review Price: £99.99
- 40mm dynamic driver
- Dual cables
- Closed back design
- Velour pads
Motorhead are a classic rock band. Yes, many of their songs sound a bit similar and yes, no-one knows the name of any member of the band who isn’t Lemmy, but their best songs rock like nothing else. And, of course, Lemmy is a bonafide rock god.
That’s why we were a bit worried when we saw the Motorheadphones Iron Fist headphones. It was bad enough seeing the band logo splashed across T-shirts from major high street retailers, worm by trendy teenagers who would cringe at the sight of Lemmy’s face, but going all Beats by Dre. on us could have been a step too far.
However, the Motorheadphones Iron Fist are a surprisingly good set of headphones, with balanced sound for a fashion pair, and a practical, flexible design.
Motorheadphones Iron Fist – Design and Comfort
Like the most iconic fashion headphones, the Motorheadphones Iron Fist are relatively compact over-ear cans. This type of design lets them straddle the priorities of sound quality, portability, noise isolation and not making you look like an idiot.
They are pretty successful on all fronts. However, there’s no mistaking which band is attached to the Motorheadphones Iron fist headphones. The back of each earcup is plastered with a large Motorhead band logo, as well as the Motorheadphones brand name, written in the traditional Motorhead font.
This style decision rules them out for anyone not looking to buy because of the Motorhead name. They have no shame, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make some people feel slightly embarrassed for them.
Logos aside, the Motorheadphones Iron Fist are otherwise thoroughly inoffensive. They’re all-black aside from the few spots of silver trim and the largely plastic construction helps them stay light.
Both the earcups and the headband are finished with a leather-effect texture, but it’s fine enough to avoid becoming too eye-catching and helps to stop them feeling too plasticky. The headband of the Motorheadphones Iron Fist is clever too.
Rather than using a ratcheted band, the metal exoskeleton is completely immovable. Instead there are a pair of rubber prongs up top that rest on your head, making in effect an auto-adjusting headband. Most headphones like this use standard faux-leather topped foam padding on their headbands, but these rubber versions keep a better grip, making them a bit more suited for running, for example.
The flexi headband style works well, although the pressure they exert on your head is slightly greater than most headphones designed for at-home use – again a concession to those who want to wear them out and about. Unusual for a set of road headphones, though, the Motorheadphones Iron Fist have velour-topped earpads.
Velour pads are comfy and tend to heat your ears up less than a synthetic leather pair, but noise isolation tends to be less effective. These aren’t the softest velour pads either – the foam inside isn’t as soft as some and there’s a slight coarseness to the velour topping, although both seem consistent with a set that has to deal with a life on the road. Fittingly Lemmy-like, then.
Also like Lemmy, the Iron Fist headphones wouldn’t mind spending some time in the studio. Their cable is largely removable, with just a short inch-long bit that sticks out of the left earpcup, ending in a traditional 3.5mm plug. Two lengths of cable extensions are provided, one short one and a longer type for use at home. Both are fabric-braided and chunky.
Motorheadphones Iron Fist – Sound Quality
The Motorheadphones Iron Fist headphones use 40mm dynamic drivers, just like the majority of full-size cans. However, they stay away from the sound signature we have come to expect from brand-driven headphones – they don’t try to thrill will overemphasised bass. Motorheadphones seems to be quite proud of its non-Beats by Dre. style approach too, as it publishes frequency charts for each of its top-end pairs on its website.
Headphones can’t truly rock without some low-end clout, though, and the Iron Fist headphones do provide it, just without the upper-bass register fug that clouds the sound of many a bassy headphone. Here the low-end is tight and precise, just as it should be – it’s far better controlled than we expected from a headphone plastered with the logo of such an unruly band.
The rest of the sound is commendably balanced, to the extent that the Motorheadphones Iron Fist could make a passable stab at being a home studio set. Treble is significantly more prominent than most, making them fairly revealing and not all that forgiving of poorly-mixed tunes. They won’t be luring the pros in, mind.
There are a few sound quibbles that stop them from challenging the best £150-odd headphones. The Motorheadphones Iron Fist have the typical sound stage of a closed-back headphone – it’s not hugely expansive. They balance bass power with detail and control well, but they never sound particularly epic.
There’s also a certain coarseness to the treble of these headphones. They are not flat-out harsh or overly bright, but they lack the smoothness needed in a world-class headphone. However, the relatively balanced sound signature lets the Motorheadphone Iron Fist skip between genres easily. And let’s not forget, these are sub-£100 headphones.
Motorheadphones Iron Fist – Value
The Motorheadphones Iron Fist headphones offer impressive value, given their combo of flexible design, dual cables, good sound quality and the Motorhead brand – let’s not forget that it doesn’t come for free. They put the Beats by Dre. headphones to shame on price, and can compete well with phones of comparable price. However, you can get similar sound quality levels for around £15-20 less from a less heavily-branded set.
The Motorheadphones Iron Fist headphones are a pleasant surprise for a set of headphones that could have been a cynical cash-in on a beloved band. For a brand-focused set of headphones, their sound is remarkably balanced, making them suitable for a reasonably vaired selection of music. Some clear thought as gone into making them as versatile as possible and while the branding is arguably a bit overdone, they’re not bad-looking cans either.
Score in detail
Design & Features 8
Sound Quality 8