Arctic Cooling, a brand that made its name selling cooling supplies for computers, has delved into the headphone market with their new Arctic Sound line. I had the opportunity to review Arctic Sound E352 headphones, the premium model of their five model collection. The E352 is built with a wooden chassis and a large driver coil which gives these headphones a high quality output with a warm and natural sound. Arctic Sound headphones are precisely engineered by Swiss and German audio experts, but does that really mean anything these days? How nicely has Arctic Cooling diversified into the headphone market? Dive in with me for the full review…
What’s in the Box:
-Arctic Cooling E352 Headphones (of course!)
-Durable Carrying Case with Zipper – Perfect for Storing and Protecting your earphones. Also prevents cord tangling
-3 Sets of Silicone Eartips – Small Medium and Large
The E352s stands out from regular earbuds; The glossy wooden chassis distinguishes the E352s as a classier set of ‘buds. The earbud cable is a regular Y shaped cable with a rubber casing. The thickness of the cable is standard compared to any other inexpensive headphones. The strangest design flaw choice is that there is no “Right” and “Left” labels anywhere on these earbuds (no ‘R’s or ‘L’s either). The buds are shaped exactly the same so that’s no help either. The only design queue to help you orient your earbuds is the AC logo on the Y point of the headphones (where the headphone cable splits into separate right and left cables). The logo must face away from your body to properly listen. The driver enclosure on the buds are relatively long. This generally means the driver is larger, which is good. The buds will sit about half an inch outside of your ear canal. Personally, I found this feature enabled the bud to come loose from my ear with any decent amount of cable movement.
The performance of these E352 headphones is largely dependent on the type of music that is playing through them. Arctic Sound lived up to their claims of high quality sound with a warm and natural sound when listening to soft acoustical music (Simon & Garfunkel sounded great). This type of music was kind to the E352′s weak mid-range audio output. When playing songs with more low-range audio (bass) like a rock or rap song, the “enhanced bass” overshadowed the vocals (weak on treble). The bass sounded unnatural and forced. This unbalance of bass and treble makes these heavier genres of music sound untrue to how the song was intended to be heard. It is possible some users prefer this type of sound though.
The carrying case that came with Arctic Sound’s E352s is great. It’s durable, zipper sealed, and even allows you to wrap up the earbuds inside so they do not tangle. It may leave a small bulge in your pocket, but it’s sure to keep the earbuds safe and untangled.
Considering the E352′s are Arctic Sound’s most expensive earbuds ($69.95 from the website) they were a bit disappointing. Soft and Acoustical types of music sounded pretty good, but $70 is a lot to pay for headphones that don’t always sound good. Personally, I would wait until Arctic Cooling makes it further along on the headphone learning curve. The Enhanced Bass seems like a marketing gimmick; yes the bass is loud, but it does not sound good. Also, leaving off a “left” and “right” indicator on their earbuds seems a bit silly. The one thing Arctic Sound actually did right was the case; I will be sure to use it in the future. I would strongly recommend anyone considering the E352s to check out ThinkSound’s TS01 Earphones. Also encased in wood, the TS01′s sound much better and are priced just under $50.