The headphone market is one of the most crowded in tech. Just about everyone has wireless headphones nowadays so companies are increasingly trying to stand out by supporting additional features like active noise cancelling, aptX HD support, and “smart” listening experiences via mobile apps.
While the Even H2 doesn’t support any of the above features, what makes it stand out is its unique EarPrint technology. What EarPrint does is it provides listeners with a short listening test to see exactly what frequences need to be boosted in order to achieve “better” sound.
After spending several weeks with the Even H2, we came away impressed by the company’s 2nd headphone offering for its long battery life and unique listening experience. However, some fit and finish issues and a dubious “better” sounding experience keep us from recommending these headphones for everyone.
That said, if you suffer from hearing loss or just want to try something different, the $230 (£200, about AU$308) Even H2 are worth considering.
The design of the Even H2 are refined and mature with its real walnut wood, metal, and leather construction. The headband and ear pads are made of PU leather, which make for a comfortable listening experience but there is quite a bit of clamping force, which may be uncomfortable during long listening sessions. The headphone forks and band are made of smooth metal and the ear cups are made of real walnut wood.
With that in mind, the H2 feel like a premium headphone, which is impressive for such a young company. However, fit and finish leave something to be desired.
The real walnut is a nice touch, however the port cutouts for the microUSB and 3.5mm headphone jack ports are a bit rough. Worst of all, though, the buttons feel cheap and make a hollow clicky sound when pressed. Plus, it’s easy to mix them up since the play/pause button isn’t textured.
In addition to the three playback buttons, there’s an “EarPrint” button, which toggles your customized EQ and doubles as a power button – but we’ll cover more about the EarPrint technology in the Performance section below.
The headphones fold up nicely to fit in the included case for travel. Also included in the box is a nice braided microUSB cable for charging and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable in case you run out of battery.
As it’s the marquee feature, let’s start off by talking about Even’s EarPrint feature.
When you first pair and set up the Even H2, you are given what’s basically a hearing test. I recommend doing the test in a quiet room. The onboard voice talks you through every step clearly and it’s nice having a friendly voice walk you through the test and features of the headphone. However, her bubbly nature can get annoying, especially when she says “Yes! Connected!” each time you fire up the headphones.
After your EarPrint test, you’re given a visual representation of how good your hearing is for various frequencies. The app gives you a nice explanation about what each frequence represents, like the human voice or windchimes. You can take the EarPrint test as many times as you’d like and switch between different EarPrints in different listening environments, which is a nice addition.
In terms of sound quality, the Even H2 are an exciting sounding headphone with loads of bass. While the H2 sound relatively neutral with EarPrint turned off, the headphone cranks the bass response even when our EarPrint noted that our ears’ could pick up bass frequencies at “soft” volumes.
While the EarPrint equalization made music sound exciting, it added too much bass for our liking, especially in jazz and classical recordings. Additionally, the headphones have a noisy Bluetooth connection which is especially noticeable when music is off or playing softly, like with Bill Evans’ solo piano tracks.
While we wished for a more neutral presentation, we can see why many love the sound quality of the Even H2: Music sounds bright and exciting for mainstream music. However, your listening experience will largely depend on how good your hearing is. A good way to test if you’ll like the H2 is by going on Even’s website and taking the EarPrint test using a web browser. The company also offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you want to try them out yourself.
The Even H2 offers a unique listening experience in that it tailors sound to your hearing abilities thanks to its EarPrint feature. We liked the H2 for its easy-to-use hearing test and mobile app, but overall, the headphone lacks refinement for us to recommend. The fit and finish is good but the cheap plastic buttons and rough wood tooling let it down. Additionally, the EarPrint equalization makes music sound exciting but adds too much bass. Plus, the noisy Bluetooth connection is quite distracting for listeners who listen at low volume.
In the end, the Even H2 fill a very unique niche.- listeners with hearing loss or those who simply want a tailored listening experience will enjoy the H2 but they’re just not polished enough to go against established players.
$230 (£200, about AU$308) is a lot to spend on a pair of headphones, especially when you can get one of our favorite noise cancelling headphones, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, for less money. However, we hope Even keeps working on refining its headphones as the EarPrint technology is very compelling.