Headphone Review: Grain Audio's Walnut Wood OEHP

Headphone Review: Grain Audio's Walnut Wood OEHP

Wood has a subtle, yet amazing propensity for being able to enhance the richness and resonance of sound waves. It's no wonder that so many beautiful-sounding instruments are made of wood, nor is it any wonder that so many speaker designs utilize wood enclosures to make the sound come alive. As you might imagine, headphones are no different and those that do incorporate wood into their speaker housing tend to have more naturally balanced acoustics. Recently I was turned on to a new arrival in the category of wooden headphones; the OEHP, (short for Over Ear Headphones) by Grain Audio. I put them through their paces, using them for several weeks as my primary iPad headphones, find out how they measure up after the break.

Grain Audio's OEHP ($199) is a lightweight and durable pair of cans. These headphones are exceptionally comfortable, in part thanks to their minimal weight, and in part because of their generously padded ear cushions that gently surround the ear lobe and are sufficiently deep to keep even larger sized ears from feeling clamped.

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Their earcups are gimbaled to help achieve the perfect fit and the headband can be adjusted with ease, with sliding extensions that click gently into place as you set the position of the earcups. The headband is lightly padded and constructed out of a featherweight plastic that seems resilient and flexible. While the plastic was clearly sturdy enough to do a fine job, its extremely light weight took some getting used to, considering that like many of us, I've been conditioned to equate the weight of a headphone with quality.

In terms of sonic response, the OEHP truly shine. As I said from the get go, it's hard to compete with the way that wood treats sound. Wood brings a warmth of timbre and creates a sound chamber that does an amazing job at accurately reproducing acoustics. When I listened to music on the OEHP I was so impressed with the way that all the music I listened to while sounded so clear and so precise. The composition of the FSC solid Walnut, combined with the spaciousness of the ear cushion created the effect of listening to live music in an open-air amphitheater in the forest. External sounds were effectively sealed out and the music came across as perfectly balanced, with a clarity of tone that I loved.

 Grain Audio's Walnut Wood OEHP

Pros:

  • Lightweight. Ideal for travel.
  • Comfortable ear cushions make these ideal for long listening sessions.
  • Excellent and accurate sound reproduction.
  • Eco-friendly FSC certified wood.
  • Made from durable materials. Should provide many years of use.

Cons:

  • Although the OEHP do have an audio cable with an inline mic, which also lets you answer calls and control pause/playback, it would be nice if Grain included the ability to skip song selection forward and backward in their next iteration of these headphones.
  • A minor gripe, but I didn't much care for the light grey and walnut-brown wood color theme. And since at present they only offer one color option, I can't recommend an alternative. I hope to see Grain come out with more of a selection of colors (perhaps a black or white variation?) in the future so as to broaden the appeal of these well designed cans.

Final Verdict:

Grain Audio's OEHP is a dynamic, minimalist, and durable pair of headphones. The company behind them wants users to be able to focus on the music, instead of a slew of sonic "enhancing" features, which in Grain Audio's opinion, can be a hindrance to fully appreciating the music in its most natural and balanced state. I spent several weeks trying these headphones out with my iPad mini, watching Netflix's Ultra 4K Moving Art series with its HD soundtrack. I was suitably impressed. Not the headphones to get for those looking for fancy-feature headphones, and the lack of color choices may be a deterrent to some, but for those looking for an accurate audio experience, and who appreciate the natural resonance of wood, Grain Audio's OEHPs are well worth your consideration.

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Dig Om's picture

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech