Ministry of Sound is a name synonymous with the dance music scene, so if you're looking for on-ear headphones to deliver those bass-laden beats to your ears then it ought to be a brand that piques your interest. If it's not then, well, the heavyweight bass might be too much for your preferred musical genre of choice.

The Audio On headphones come in two flavours: the standard model, reviewed here, or the more expensive Plus version (£150) which adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

Can Ministry maintain the success of its brand as it reaches into the world of audio products, or do the Audio On headphones fail to make us head-nod like it's an all-night rave?

Ministry of Sound Audio On review: Design

The Ministry Audio On headphones are more subtle by design than the club roots of the brand might suggest. Available in blue, charcoal, red or white, the colour choices are far from garish in their finish.


Branding is subtle too, with the classic "gate" logo on the side of each square-shaped earcup barely visible without closer inspection, or a catch of light. There's an debossed "Ministry of Sound" written logo under the soft headband too.

Comfort-wise the Audio On on-ears, as their name suggests, sit directly on the ears. There's no opening within the earcups to speak of, so there's always pressure against the earlobes - no excessive pressure, but there's a slight "pinch" in wearing compared to some of the larger, more casual on-ear and over-ear headphones available on the market.

At this £99 price point the construction is also largely plastic - but that doesn't mean discomfort, more that these on-ears just don't look like top-spec headphones.

Ministry of Sound Audio On review: Sound quality

Sound quality is the core reason to buy any headphones and the Audio On don't disappoint in this department. Well, they don't if you're looking for bass-heavy playback, as that's how these on-ears are tuned. Yep, it's MoS taking on the Beats brand in many respects.


We were in half a mind to mark the Audio On down for such tuning, but these are Ministry of Sound headphones: the clue's in the name. Saying that, heavyweight bass doesn't work for all genres - even some stomping heavy rock sounded way off balance, like the lead vocals were drowning in a sea of low-end bass.

But pop on some 4/4 house and those cutting, hyper-produced beats will sound crisp and engaging. That's really what these headphones are all about: delivering for dance music, not a wider roster.

Without Bluetooth or noise-cancellation they're fairly no frills, but on balance the sound quality is big and bold for the £99 price point. We rather like the dual 3.5mm headphone outputs, one on each earcup, too.


If you like your bass and beats then Ministry of Sound has created a solid sounding Beats competitor in the Audio On on-ear headphones. However, with so much bass they're not nearly suited to all genres of music, plus the fit is a little pinching after long periods of wear.

While that'll put a stop to many being interested, let's not forget these are headphones designed by a brand synonymous with the dance music scene. For £99 the bass-heavy sound will tick the exact boxes of those who they're aimed at. Big bass and beats on a budget, you got it.