Audio is an odd business. It constantly pits the average consumer against the purist. The average consumer tends to be drawn to aural excitement and overall volume capabilities, and manufacturers will increase sensitivity and dynamic range, as well as add their own special colorization to the sound. Purists will very quickly point out that while this may be a more exciting experience….pianos just don’t sound like that naturally. Now we find more and more music coming out of the studio already enhanced, we add in the colorization and we have an experience that crosses over into outright abrasive that causes listener fatigue in mere seconds. Yet, somehow, the average consumer finds it appealing….and is willing to pay a hefty premium for it. This, of course, puts the purist in a position of typically having to pay more for equipment that doesn’t suffer from added “enhancement”.
Then you have gaming audio, which is an entire different matter. Since there is typically nothing natural being duplicated, it is all about enhancement. Then you add in the fact that the game world is supposed to be larger than life, and certainly a great deal more exciting, and we see a segment of completely overblown dynamics. More impact on everything is the formula, with exaggerated bass for explosions and exaggerated upper mids for better tracking. While this may be cool in a first person shooter, listening to the new Arcade Fire is going to be a pretty painful experience. Given that the sound in games is overemphasized to begin with, a headphone with excellent reproduction should actually play well in that arena while making music and multimedia listening a very enjoyable experience.
The Mionix Nash 20 headset is the company’s first foray into audio, and is one of the more interesting designs we have seen to date. Bucking the trend of 1970s sci-fi movie prop styling we have been seeing, Mionix has used classic aviator styling for the Nash 20 with an all black finish. The earcups and band of the Nash 20 are coated in black soft touch plastic, with the Mionix logo discreetly carved into each earcup. Each of the cups houses a 50mm neodymium magnet driver using D.A.C.T. technology, with the driver angled for optimum placement in relation to the ear. For two way communication, the Nash 20 features a flip down microphone which automatically mutes when placed in the up position. The Nash 20 features 18mm memory foam padding on the headband, as well as 22mm memory foam on the floating earcups. The Nash 20 comes in at 32 ohms for compatibility with lower power and portable devices, but still boasts 20HZ-20kHZ frequency response. Mionix backs the Nash 20 with a 1-year warranty in the US, and 2-years in the EU.