As seen on HighSnobiety
In 2014, I introduced readers to Phonon, a Japanese audio company that developed what many consider to be the most well-tuned pair of headphones today: Phonon SMB-02. Some, like New York’s famed Stereo Exchange, consider the SMB-02 the “holy grail” of headphones, delivering pristine sound unparalleled at its $350 price point. My review agreed with their assessment, adding that low volume detail made the SMB-02 my top pick of the year and the perfect choice for studio and home/office use.
But the Phonon SMB-02 is not a portable headphone. They’re certainly usable outside the home or studio, but you’ll find that external elements of city noise will make their way into the soundstage, and they’re simply not close-fitting enough to provide a “lock” while wearing.
Their answer to portability comes in the form of the Phonon 4400, a compact version of the SMB-02 built using the same 40mm driver on a travel-friendly foldable chassis that grips well. That grip allows for a strong seal when used outdoors, providing fantastic dynamics, in a package even more durable than its older brother. The fit of the Phonon 4000 is just right. It’s worth noting that the Phonon 4000 features the same heavy-duty cabling found on the SMB-02; it’s thicker than most portable headphone cables and super durable. Highly recommended.
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More info on Phonon 4400