- Decent sound quality for the price, some isolation
- Lacking in treble, slightly tight fit and not easily adjusted
For the price, Creative's HQ-1400 headphones offer good sound quality, though they can be slightly uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time.
Price$ 49.00 (AUD)
Creative recently released these headphones at the same time as its more expensive HQ-1900. The HQ-1400 is a budget, hi-fi model headphone intended for use with MP3 players and computer systems. While they provide good sound quality for the purchase price, they're not easily adjustable and can be quite tight-fitting—so anyone with an above average sized head may find them uncomfortable to wear.
The HQ-1400s deliver reasonable audio quality despite being positioned towards the bottom of Creative's headphone range. They produce a slightly muffled sound, with the range produced not extending too far on both extreme bass and treble notes.
The mid-range definitely dominates the audio quality and guitar notes, vocals and drum beats really stand out. Listening to acoustic music was a pleasant experience, and all the elements were reproduced well.
Bass notes were reproduced reasonably well, but they lacked the low-down punch we found in Creative's higher-end models. Bass is a bit slow in these headphones, leading to a very rich, warm sound. Despite this, they're adequate for listening to beat-driven genres such as electronic music.
Treble quality was overall less remarkable than the other frequencies, often tending to be a bit quiet and overpowered by the bass and mid-range. This was slightly problematic when listening to female vocalists and pop music, where the higher notes often felt rolled off.
We didn't notice any digital noise or fuzziness when connecting the headphones to a variety of input devices. The headphones are easily driven and can play at reasonably high volumes. When turned to its maximum levels there was a small amount of distortion evident, especially in the bass range, although this would not be a common listening volume over a long-term.
The headphone design has a minimalist look, with gloss-black ear-cups. The ear padding is foam covered with soft velvet, a different approach than the leatherette commonly found on other companies' headphones. The ear-cups are quite large and hold 40mm drivers, though the headphones are light at a weight of 200 grams.
The build quality is solid, with no creaking or cracking evident when flexing the headphones. At a length of three metres the built-in cable is a good length for PC use, but those who use it with a portable player might find they have a bundle of cord in excess.
The HQ1400 isn't as adjustable as headphones further up Creative's product range. The flexible headband is often slightly too tight, pressing down on the top of the head. This also leads to the ear-cups clamping quite heavily on the ears. While this seals the headphones nicely and blocks out some external noise, it has the potential to become uncomfortable during long listening sessions. At high volumes a little noise leaks out, but they're not open enough to disturb anyone sitting near you.
It's possible that if you have a large head, the headphones may bend over time, but for initial wearing they may be slightly uncomfortable. There have been a few incidents of cracked headbands on the HQ-1400s, but this shouldn't happen during normal use.
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