OLLO AUDIO S4X - THE ONLY PAIR OF HEADPHONES YOU NEED
Author: Lawrence Biancardi
I recently purchased and started using the Ollo Audio S4X after they were recommended by Enginner/Producer Adam Moseley (Beck, U2, The Cure). Adam is the CEO of Accidental Entertainment, a synchronisation agency that I compose music for. When I'm not composing music for Adam, I am working as a Mix/Mastering Engineer from my home studio in Surrey, U.K.
I was previously using Audio Technica Ath-M70X as my reference headphones and Genelec 8040bpm as my monitors. After his recommendations I upgraded to S4X for reference and Barefoot MM45 as my main monitors. I was very used to the Audio Technica and knew what they sounded like, so adjusting to the new headphones was a little challenging to begin with.
After a month of use I can happily say that I am in love with the OLLOs. They are super comfortable which means I can wear them for long durations of time. The high frequencies seem more balanced and they deliver a near perfect low/low mid, which is unlike any other headphones I've used. I always find the low frequencies hard to understand, which is vital in Mastering. Previously, I would spend a long time flipping back and forth between sets. With these I feel I am finally able to trust what I'm hearing. Gone are the days of referencing across multiple speakers and headphones. The highs seem a lot cleaner and less fatiguing and the ear cups contain my ears very well which gives me a very consistent sound. The ear cups are super soft and padded, and they have a flexible headband that adjusts perfectly to my head. With my previous headphones I'd need to physically hold the ear cups down tighter against my head in order to hear the bass properly, but not with the S4X. You shouldn't have to battle with your monitoring whilst working.
As I am working in a home studio I quite often can't crank the speakers too loud during the night. A couple weeks ago I was asked to Master a record "Made Up My Mind" by artist "Izza". The management and artist needed a very quick turn-around time. It was late and I couldn't use my monitors. I had been using my Ollo Audio headphones for a little while at this point so I decided to see whether I could Master this record using just them. In the morning when I turned on the system and checked the Master on my Barefoot MM45 I was amazed to hear how they translated perfectly. I didn't need to change anything! Perhaps I'll sell the Barefoots now…just kidding, but I was amazed.
"With these I feel I am finally able to trust what I'm hearing. Gone are the days of referencing across multiple speakers and headphones. The highs seem a lot cleaner and less fatiguing and the ear cups contain my ears very well which gives me a very consistent sound. The ear cups are super soft and padded, and they have a flexible headband that adjusts perfectly to my head."
As part of my career I work as Music Production tutor at The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. During COVID I have been delivering a lot of classes over Zoom. This usually means sitting for long durations of time listening to low resolution compressed audio over the Internet. Previously my ears were getting very fatigued, and my head was hurting from the headband of my previous headphones. The S4X have taken a lot of the pain away from this part of my job.
I recently delivered a couple of online Masterclasses on Audio Mastering in the box. With Zoom you can't simultaneously have your monitors and live microphone on in the room, otherwise you get feedback. With the S4X I felt confident in delivering this Masterclass, having previously had success in Mastering a record using solely these headphones. I knew that I could show students Mastering techniques and be sure that my EQ and compression choices, no matter how small the increments were, would translate.
I can confidently say that these headphones are the best I've used to date. They offer a great amount of comfort and the sound translates to my high-end monitors, car speakers and hifi sets. The price may seem a little steep for headphones when compared to other highly reviewed models at ⅔ of the price. But when you consider how much you need to spend on monitors and acoustic treatment to achieve a similar sound you are really spending very little for how much you get. These are the only set of headphones I'll use now.Lawrence Biancardi | Mix/Mastering Engineer
Music Producer on Accidental Entertainment