When you think of Plantronics—a company best known for call center and aviation headsets—music may not be the first thing that comes to mind. These ultra comfy and great sounding headphones will have you rethinking that, though.
Recently the company has branched out with some excellent sounding headphones and earphones. The BackBeat line of earphones and BackBeat Pro 2 over-the-ear headphones offer great sound, albeit at a premium price. The vendor’s latest over-the-ear headphones are the Voyager 8200 UC. These add to the product line rather than replacing Plantronics’ premium BackBeat Pro 2 headphones, the previous top of the line.
My Ears, Not Yours: A Headphone Review Primer
Before reading any audio review, whether it’s about headphones, speakers, or any other piece of audio equipment, keep in mind that everyone’s hearing is somewhat different. People tend to be more sensitive to certain frequencies, and not everyone enjoys the same kind of music. As a reviewer, I could use available measuring equipment and software to graph out the headphone’s frequency response. But a graph isn’t going to really give you any idea of what the headphones actually sound like or feel like after wearing them for more than a few hours. To be informative, any audio review has to be at least somewhat subjective.
Most reviewers have a list of tracks they use to test a set of earphones/headphones. Since my taste in music is probably different than yours, I’m not going to list the tracks I used, only state that I spent several hours a day over a period of two weeks playing through tracks in my Spotify playlist, which has a bit over 600 songs at present. These vary from Chicago and Texas Blues to 60s Garage Band rock. There’s even some Country in there.
If you’re interested in putting these or any other headphones through their paces, check out our guide to testing out headphones. Also useful if you want to create your own test suite, this site has a wide variety of audio test files. If you want something super quick and easy, Spotify even has a self-curated headphone test playlist you can take for a spin.
That being said, my preferences tend more towards bass than treble, but I also listen for a balanced response. After all, most audio equipment and applications have equalizers where you can tune the response to your liking. As they used to say in commercials, your mileage may vary.
A Step Up from My Trusty Sennheisers
I’ve had a lot of headphones over the years, and my favorites have shifted as I’ve had the opportunity to test new ones. Strangely enough, still one of my favorites is a pair of Sennheiser HD Pro 280 phones that have to be almost two decades old. They’re worn to the point of being uncomfortable to wear for any amount of time, but still sound great.
Before testing the Voyager 8200 UCs, my go-to headphones were also Plantronics–the BackBeat Pro 2. These offer great sound, very good battery life, and are comfortable to wear for hours on end. The Voyager 8200 UC phones offer pretty much the same positive features, plus a few more that make them better for using in the office, while traveling, and while just listening to music or the TV.