Powered high-fidelity headphones with a built-in audiophile amp
By David Brown
Known for their high-end studio microphones, Blue’s recent entry into the output end of the signal chain delivers looks, comfort, and above all, superb sound with their newly launched Mo-Fi Headphones. From the sturdy, sleek, and sexy aluminum frame and inventive multi-jointed design to the impressive power output of the internal audiophile amp, Mo-Fi headphones set a new standard in comfort and performance that may send other headphone designers back to their drawing boards.
Design and Comfort
The multi-jointed design, inspired by the finely tuned suspension of an open-wheeled Formula One race car, not only lends an elegant look, but is highly functional. Slipping the Mo-Fi over your head and adjusting the earcups reinforces the sense of sleek high performance.
Take a quick video tour of the astonishingly accurate and comfortable Blue Mo-Fi Headphones.
Comfort was clearly a key consideration. Pivoting arms allow you to change the angle of the earcups and extend the range of of height adjustment. The earcups are anatomically shaped to match your ears, and are padded with what feels like ultra-comfortable memory foam. A tension knob at the top of the headband allows you to fine-tune a perfect fit.
I found the Mo-Fi fit exceptionally comfortable, and would heartily recommend them both to casual listeners and audio professionals who often engage in long, critical listening sessions. With more isolation, feedback prevention, and reduction in bleed than many other top-name pro-audio headsets, they’re ideal for recording, mixing and mastering work.
The outstanding comfort of the design comes with a small price. If you wear your headphones around your neck when not listening, the somewhat bulky design of the Mo-FI is not ideal.
In regard to performance, once you take these cans out for a test drive, you'll likely be ready to say goodbye to traditional passive headphones. You better put your seat belt on because Mo-Fi keeps the pedal to the metal with an onboard audiophile amplifier that has an impressive output of 240mW. Precision 50mm titanium-reinforced drivers respond with extreme accuracy to that power.
The drivers are custom-tuned to match the output of the integrated amplifier. You can expect optimal sound from everything from your studio gear to your laptop and phone with an impressively extended dynamic range from device to device. And, Mo-Fi’s amp removes the burden of power from your device’s built in amplifier. Since Mo-Fi’s amplifier is doing the work, your device’s built-in amplifier has much less work to do, so your device can pass audio at optimum output levels for the highest quality possible.
Three separate all-analog amp controls let you dial in the right settings for your music and situation. They are:
On: This, as you might guess, activates the internal amp. Be sure you have your volume down when you switch to this setting since the amp can push a lot of air! I like to literally feel the music when I hear the heavy rumble of a great rhythm section on the low end and all the power of an overdriven guitar tone sitting in the middle. The Mo-Fi amplifier handles those needs and more with enough power to rattle your jaw bones, while still delivering very natural and detailed sound. Listening to an HD Audio file of Dream Theater’s “The Enemy Inside” practically put me right there in the studio with detailed separation and amazing sonic clarity.
On+: This engages the amplifier’s low-frequency enhancement circuit. But it’s important to note that it doesn’t simply add bass for the sake of adding bass, thus muddying up the low end. On+ works differently by adding back bass to tracks where the low end has been lost. If the track was mastered with a lot of bass, you won’t notice much of a difference, which is nice.
Off: This setting bypasses the amplifier, allowing you to use the Mo-Fi headphones in the studio with high-output gear such as dedicated headphone amps.
Running through each of the amp control settings while listening to various recordings ranging from streaming audio and MP3s to HD tracks, dynamic response remained excellent. The Mo-Fi’s ability to faithfully reproduce audio in a wide range of formats using various devices is impressive.
The Mo-Fi’s intelligent power management system includes a 1020mAh battery that takes three to four hours to fully charge. Blue says each charge delivers 12 hours of playback. Time will tell as I’ve only put six hours on the set, and they’re still going strong.
A smart design feature powers the Mop-Fi on and off automatically when the headphones are opened and closed, saving power when not in use. In addition, should you run out of battery power, the headphones will play in the Off/passive mode for continued use until you’re able to fully charge again.
The Mo-Fi Headphones should fill the bill for everyone from the casual listener to the audiophile or studio professional who seeks tonal depth and sonic clarity. Given their size and weight they’re a little cumbersome for on-the-go use. These are clearly premium headphones intended for critical listening with a price tag to match.
Blue Microphones has done a stellar job jumping into the headphone market with Mo-Fi, and I hope it won’t be their only venture into this market. With the innovative minds at Blue it would be nice to see an additional model in the future. Maybe a slightly scaled-down version that would be easier to store (collapsible perhaps) and carry around. That said, I consider the Mo-Fi to be my new go-to headphones at home.
Get more details and order the Blue Mo-Fi Headphones here.
- Output power: 240mW
- THD+N: 0.004%
- Frequency response: 10Hz-20kHz
- SNR, self-noise: <105 dB
- Noise: < 20 uV
- Battery capacity: 1020mAh
- Type and size: 50mm, fiber-reinforced dynamic driver
- Impedance: 42 ohms
- Frequency response: 15-20kHz
- Enclosure details: Sealed enclosure with tuned damping materials
- Weight: 466 g (16.44 oz)
- Outer dimensions
- (closed): 21mm x14mm x12mm (8.27” x 5.51” x 4.72”)
- Outer dimensions (open): 18mm x 29mm x 12mm (7.09” x 11.42” x 4.72”)
- 1.2 meter audio cable with Apple iPhone/iPad controls
- 3 meter audio cable
- 1 meter USB charging cable