There are few names that have been as enduring in dance music as Ministry of Sound. It's a label, club and its reach extends all over the world. It has dabbled in hardware before, but it was re-branded Alba gear, so you can imagine how that worked out.
Now the company is having another crack at headphones, something it should be very good at, and there's a whole new range, from in-ear phones, up to lug-hole covering cans. We're looking at the latter today, and they're catchily named the MOS006, which has a lot in common with the firm's music cataloguing system, which we kind of liked.
Out of the box - which is quite a funky affair in itself - the headphones are decent enough. Their weight and thin cable makes them feel like budget headphones, and at £40, they're hardly bank-breakers. But there's actually more going on here than you might, at first, realise.
For example, the chord is non-tangle, but it's a smooth to the touch material, rather than the rather less pleasant rough style that we've seen on other headphones. It seems to work too, with ours not getting too caught-up in knots while we tested them with an iPod touch.
There are no inline controls here and no built-in microphone. This might be a concern if the primary use is with a phone, but if not, it makes for universal compatibility. The cable itself is removable from the headphones, which means if it ever breaks, you can just discard it, and replace it with a new one, without having to spring for a new set. We like this, and we've destroyed far more expensive headphones, and rued the lack of cable replaceability.
It's possible to argue that the Ministry of Sound brand doesn't carry the same cachet it used to. After all, dance music has suffered a bit of late, and while the club is no-doubt still as popular - and as impossible for normal people to get in to - as always, its decision to get in to every kind of cheap electronics might not have been good for perceptions.
But the headphones are comfortable enough to wear. They're light, which is a good thing. They clamp on quite tight though, which does mean you're aware of their presence all the time. Their foam cups can also make your ears a little warm, but this isn't a major issue at all.
The dual band that keeps them in place is comfortable enough too, but is easy to adjust, when you need to. A shake of the head confirms they won't go flying off too easily either.
The Ministry claims that the 50mm drivers and aluminium housing help to deliver top-quality audio into your ears. Certainly, from our time with them, we rather enjoyed the sound quality.
Bear in mind these are aimed at the sort of people that buy things with Ministry of Sound written on them. These are people who both love bass, and may well have substantial hearing loss thanks to excessive bass.
Hooked up to the iPod, and with no volume limiter turned on, these cans can go LOUD (we said LOUD). They do retain their composure throughout though. We tested some of Ministry of Sound's own music on them, as well as some stuff from Gabriel & Dresden (Mixed for Feet, Volume 1) and they do a bang-up job.
As you'd expect, they're bass heavy, and there's a decent amount of treble. In common with most cheaper headphones, the mid-range is a little woolly at times, but it's really not dreadful. And at times, we had to remind ourselves that these are £40, which is about £10 less than it costs to get into a club in Ibiza, and only £30 more than a single bottle of beer, on the island of love and commerce.
We didn't want to like the MOS006s, to be honest. We wanted to deny them a good score, claiming that they weren't dressed right, or they were wearing trainers. As it turns out, they are easily cool enough to be allowed into the Pocket-lint club. We've certainly heard better, but for the price, they are decent enough.
The only real criticism is that of the cheap cable and slightly ear-sweating qualitys. But we're nitpicking here. For the price, these headphones sound good and feel great. It's up to you to decide if they're cooler than Beats Audio or not...