Like every other old school component audio company in the world, Onkyo is getting into the headphones game. Its first set, the ES-HF300 on-ear folding headphones, even nod to their heritage with earcups that look like volume knobs on Onkyo receivers. That's cute and clever, but we can't help but wonder if the expertise in building A/V receivers, multi-channel home theater systems, and CD players translates to building the speakers you fit over your head.
Onkyo has definitely done its homework when it comes to headphones: they've got 40mm titanium drivers inside aluminum earcups, attractive design finish options, and touches that audiophiles care about like detachable cables. In fact, the cables the ES-HF300 cans ship with are straight up component audio stock with their dubiously better, but highly-coveted gold plated connectors.
Make no mistake: audio quality is something this company knows, so we should be excited. But! Building a great set of headphones isn't the same thing as building a badass speaker. You don't have to wear a speaker on your body. Headphones are audio you have to wear. They need to be comfortable. We'll report back on the cans once we have the chance to hang the ESHF-300s on our heads. They'll be available sometime in the first quarter of this year for $180. [Onkyo]