Teufel AC 9050 PH headphones review

£61
Price when reviewed

Speaker specialist Teufel has only just started pushing its products in the UK after years of selling specialist audiophile and PC speaker setups to enthusiasts in Germany.

So it was surprising to find it going out on a mainstream limb this month with its very first pair of headphones.

Targeted very much at the iPod and MP3 player market – and for those who don’t get on with earbuds – the AC 9050 PH headphones have a lot of extremely tough competition from the likes of Sennheiser, Sony, Creative, Skullcandy and other brands vying for your cash.

They make a good first impression. Very little sound leaks out of the closed back design, which means they’re ideal for use on the train or plane, and they’re solidly built too. The headband feels robust, as does the earpiece extension and folding mechanism. The latter also allows the phones to be transported more easily.

They look stylish, in dark grey and black with chrome highlights, and come with a decent selection of accessories: a soft bag, a long, coiled hi-fi style cable and a shorter one for MP3 use.

And though there’s no active noise cancellation as with Sennheiser’s excellent PXC350s, the closed back design and close fit of these headphones blocks out a good deal of external noise on its own. We tested them on the London Undeground and found we didn’t need to boost the volume to dangerous levels to hear the music.

However, it seems this effect has been achieved with some sacrifice in comfort and clarity. Sitting very tight and close to the wearer’s ears, they’re not the most comfortable headphones to wear – especially for those with ear piercings – and sound quality isn’t the greatest.

Bass notes have a real visceral thump to them – you can feel your eardrums pulsating to the drive of the notes – but clarity at the top end is lacking and mid-range tones aren’t as rich or open as we’d like.

Indeed, compared to good-quality Sennheisers, these cans seem distinctly muffled; over an extended period it feels a little like listening to music through a cotton-wool headdress.

For professional headphones, the AC 9050 PHs are reasonably priced (though look out for the 19 euro delivery charge), and they’re well built and designed. Alas, they simply don’t have it where it counts. If your priority is pounding bass they may appeal, but see if you can try a pair before parting with your hard-earned.

Basic specifications

Headphones type Closed
In-line volume control? no
Noise cancelling? no
Headphone connector type 3.5mm
1/4in adapter included? no

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