I get a lot of headphones requests coming through my email. Companies left and right are touting new sets of cans nearly every day and it takes a lot to get me to pay attention. That is exactly what Wicked audio was able to do however with their new Heist earbuds. While they look like traditional in-ear headphones, a closer look reveals they have one very unique feature, a built in audio splitter.
That audio splitter is what gives the Heist its name. Your friends can literally heist your music without the need for any adaptor. The splitter itself rests roughly two-thirds up the cord, about where you would expect volume controls, and is a direct tap into the audio feed. Just plug in a second set of headphones and away you go. In theory it is a great idea, but we did run into a few hiccups. The first is that unless you are running through a preamp or
using a powerful head unit, audio volume drops on both headsets. You get the same issue when using a traditional splitter, but it helps to be aware. We obviously were able to exacerbate this issue by plugging in a large set of power hungry headphones like our V-Moda Crossfade Customs. Of course, unless your friend is someone like me, he likely won’t be carrying a studio quality set of headphones with him everywhere he/she goes, so the impact will be minimal.
The trick audio splitter may be cool, but it is not the only reason to pick up a set of Heist headphones, they also have surprisingly great sound. Seeing as how these things only retail for $30, they come packed with features like the splitter, 10mm drivers and even gold plated connectors. While I am not here to debate the effectiveness of gold plating your plugs, it is hard to argue that seeing it on any audio gear south of $50 is a rare thing. Now true, these buds will not knock your socks off, especially when compared to more expensive sets of cans like the V-Modas and the Kilpsch Image Ones, they can hold their own with most anything I have tested below the $75 range.
Of course, Wicked Audio tends to cater to style as much as substance, so the headphones come in three colors, the white and black we have here, a white and red model, and finally a garish but surely popular canary yellow and gray. Aside from the two tone color scheme, the Heist earbuds are fairly traditional in styling featuring a simple rubber coated cord and straight plug design that is guaranteed to fit in your phone, even with a large case on it.
During my testing, I have to say I was continually surprised by the Heist headphones. They fit well, blocked out most noise and had remarkably good sound quality. My only points of contention with them are the lack of in-line controls/mic and the placement of the audio splitter. While having the plug farther up the cord means that you can keep your expensive device in your pocket and away from sticky fingers, it can create some awkward weighting of the headphones and some tugging on the cord. It does have a clip built onto the splitter so that the tugging happens at your shirt and doesn’t pull the headphones out, but we feel that if you are sharing music, you are likely among friends. I don’t anticipate sharing a song with a stranger on the subway, so keeping my device in my pocket is much less of an issue. Plus if the splitter was at the base, they would have been able to include in-line audio control and mic; a near must with today’s smartphone dominance.
All in all, the Wicked Audio Heist headphones are a great thing to have. Thanks to the unique built in splitter, great sound and rock bottom price, they can be a great addition to anyone’s audio arsenal. I am not entirely sold on some of the more outrageous color designs, and I am bummed with the lack of in-line mic, but all-in they are hard to fault.
Pros: Great sound, built in audio splitter, rock bottom price
Cons: Design may seem cheesy, audio splitter location can be odd, lack of in-line mic or controls.
Guys Gab Score: 7.5/10