Numark have a habit of bucking trends and leading the way right now. But when it comes to headphones, they tend to follow the safe path and not do much to make waves (see what I did there?). But the Red Waves seem to be gathering a lot of fans, so I figured I’d give them a go.
In The Box: A pouch, a removable straight cable and an adaptor. Yep, a 3m straight cable – I like it, but others might not be so forgiving. BUT 3 metres of straight cable slopping around your DJ setup is likely to cause trouble. On the plus side, it does lock into position.
Looks: Due to the construction, they do look like a lot of others on the market. But they’re called Red Waves for a reason, and that’s the flashes that set them apart from all the other Silver and Black ones out there. On your head, they’re pretty big – a long way from discreet, but certainly eye catching.
Build Quality: They share the same basic construction as other headphones out there, but they do feel like they’ll take a decent amount of rough justice. When I dish out the bendy headband stretch, they don’t make the usual creaks that others do. And they spring right back too, largely thanks to the metal strip that reinforces the headband.
Hinges are always a weak point, especially if the construction is complex. But after much twisting, I can’t see an obvious weak spot. If pushed too far i.e. beyond the point of reasonable use, they will, like all others, break, but given the slightly chunkier construction, I think these will last a tad longer.
Sound Quality: The Red Waves have the classic DJ sound – heavy bass which follows right through the mids as well. This may give the impression of a lack of top end, but it’s more typified as having a fuller lower. The clarity is still there.
Isolation: There’s always an Achilles heel, and this is it. The isolation is just OK – perfectly serviceable in most instances, but they do let a lot of noise in and out as well. I wouldn’t want to be sat next to someone with these cranked up on the train though.
Comfort and Stability: If the Red Waves were to redeem themselves anywhere, it would be with comfort. The earpads are soft and forgiving, but kept in place firmly with the lavish headband. It feels like the Red Waves are gripping your head rather than sitting on it, thus stability is excellent, but feels comfortable due to the comfy earpads.
I would recommend people with small heads to check them out first – these do almost fit without having to open them up at all.
Compactness: Being as chunky as they are, the Red Waves don’t really sit well around your neck. With the hinging however, they do fold up pretty small and take up less space in your bag than some others in this group.
Value for money: And now we come to the bottom line, which is where the Red Waves really excel. While I may pick at some details, there’s no denying the wallet friendly price. The Red Waves are priced to sell, but offer way more than the price point should.
Numark are obviously tapping into their Red/Black aesthetic found in their NSx range of controllers. But beyond that, the Red Waves offer a solid amount of features and quality for a not a lot of cash. These would serve any DJ well.