Released last year, Blue’s Mo-Fi headphones were an ambitious concept for better-sounding cans. They were awesome, but not quite awesome enough to justify their inconveniences. Can the new Lola model deliver on the big promise for a different kind of headphone?

To recap, the Mo-Fi headphones sounded very good due in part to their totally integrated power design: They have built-in amplifiers. Lots of people use headphone amplifiers to drive their headphones—without diving into it too much, it makes many headphones, especially fancy ones, sound better. The Mo-Fi sounded great but they were huge and cumbersome, and no one, save a very devoted audiophile fanatic, would ever want to use them. (And yes, you recognize Blue as the American manufacturer of boutique quality studio microphones.)

The new Lola headphones use the same odd, mech-like design as the Mo-Fi headphones, as well as the same 50mm drivers. This time, however, the headphones don’t have the built-in amps, enabling a lighter, slimmer design. The new headphones weigh 14 ounces compared to 16.4 ounces on the older model. That might not seem like much, but even a little bit of weight matters when you’re carrying it on your head.

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At $250, the headphones still aren’t a bargain. More crucially, there’s a risk that without the amps, the headphones will lose the magic that made them sound good in the first place. Still, I’m certainly looking forward to trying them, at the very least to see if they can deliver a shadow of the quality of the originals.

[Blue]