Last December a representative for Puro Sound Labs offered me a test device of the company’s Bluetooth hybrid headphones. Your timing couldn’t have been better – I had an operation planned for January 8th that put me on the couch all day for two weeks with nothing to do but watch movies and television (ideally without my wife and driving my kids insane).
The Puro Pro is an over-the-ear design that can be connected to audio sources via Bluetooth 5.0 pairing or a simple headphone cable. It offers almost every function that you can imagine for headphones: limiting the safety volume (configurable for 85 dB (ABA) or 95 dB (A)), battery life of more than 30 hours, content control via the buttons on the left, active noise cancellation and even an inline microphone for phone calls.
At $ 200, the Puro Pro costs more than I would normally spend on headphones for late night watching TV and the occasional plane flight (my two main use cases). But after spending several hours a day with the Puro Pro for a few months, I immediately dropped the money.
How I tested
Puro Sound Labs PuroPro hybrid headphones with active noise cancellation
Most of the time I spent with the Puro Pro was on my couch, watching content from YouTube Music, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, as well as some locally stored TVs and movies. Both mine Roku Premiere + The 4K UHD media player (for streaming content) and my custom built HTPC (for local content) are connected to my Denon AVR-S510BT receiver and from the Denon’s headphone jack to a low-latency Boltune Bluetooth 5.0 Transceiver.
This setup was my main testing scenario for the headphones, but I also gave them more sophisticated tests of musical accuracy by plugging them (wired) into the Scarlett Solo preamp I use in my podcasting studio. The Scarlett Solo is connected to my workstation. Its main “work” function is to provide an XLR input for mine RE230 micHowever, through the 1/4 “headphone jack that is usually connected to a pair, it is the primary role for my system’s audio output Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Studio headphones.
I should be very clear that my tests are up subjective– I actually used the headphones and compared them to several reference devices and I share my impressions here. Still, I’m a pretty demanding listener. I grew up with a broadcast engineer for a dad and for the past 30 years have tried buying personal audio equipment that crosses the line between “this is one of the best one can buy” and “this is a wallet-draining audiophile” nonsense. “
I’m a night owl, but my wife is an early bird, so it is imperative in the Salter household to quietly watch movies and TV at night. Wireless earbuds turned out to be a no-go for me. I’ve tried several models and I liked the sound of them, but although I found them pleasant at first, all of them resulted in repeated ear infections after prolonged daily use. The battery life wasn’t optimal either – the LG Tone HBS-510 The earbuds, which I used the most, only had eight to 10 hours of playtime, with similar results for a variety of lesser-known brands.
Next I tried a number of Monodeal on-ear bluetooth headphones– At $ 35 they are incredible value, and I got a second pair for my wife (who she loved too). But I still had comfort issues; After several TV episodes in a row, the on-ear design was going to get a little ouch. The battery life also left a lot to be desired at around eight hours – not bad for the price, but not long enough to guide you through cross-continental air travel without careful treatment.
I ended up using a $ 200 pair JBL Live 650BTNC Over-the-ear bluetooth headphones. Their over-the-ear design was far more comfortable than the monodeal pair for long-term use, and the 20+ hour playtime was a huge improvement. The audio quality was also slightly better than the mono deal. Due to the weight, imbalance, and the combination of very firm padding and significant clamping pressure on my head, they were still not 100 percent comfortable for long-term use.
While the JBL headphones weren’t perfect, they were so functional that I didn’t really look for a replacement in the market.
Review of Puro Pro
For my main use case – watching TV late at night on the couch and watching movies without disturbing my wife – the Puro Pro headphones are by far the best I’ve tried. I also found them great for listening to a variety of genres of music including classical, acoustic, a cappella, and hip-hop.
The only flaw I was able to find with them – aside from the fact that the charging port isn’t USB-C – is an annoying background buzz artifact that is generated at maximum headphone volume and a staccato sound (e.g. the “Click” while moving focus) The Roku interface from one element to another is created. This error is easy to fix: just turn down the volume on the headphones with a single click and no more buzzing.
The padding is extremely soft and comfortable, and the headphones provide just enough pinch pressure to hold on tight without getting ouched after a few hours.
Although the JBL and Puro headphones are similar in weight, the balance is different. I don’t notice this immediately when I put on one of the headphones – but after several hours of episodes of a (or a) show Lord of the rings Movie), the JBL phones keep my neck tense while the Puro Pro phones don’t.
Due to the lighter clamping pressure and the softer padding of the Puro Pro headphones, after several hours of prolonged use, I have a significantly lower “sweaty ear” than with the JBL headphones – or with my Sennheiser HD 280 Pro studio phones after recording one Podcasts.