Multi-purpose products are wonderful when they excel at all of their claimed abilities and uses. But when they don’t, they end up in this gray zone of being mediocre at a few things and just okay at some, rendering those multi-purpose products all but purposeless. And the Haymaker headphones are tossing around some of those multi-purpose claims…”headphones designed do it all”, “outperform other products when it comes to any task” and “these badass headphones are set to completely disrupt the market through their sleek and premium design with innovative features that are perfect for travelers, audiophiles, fitness junkies, gamers and more!” So, let’s dig in and see if these $330 headphones are really “designed to do it all”.
First Impressions of the Haymakers
In and out of the box the Haymakers deliver a luxurious presentation with the box and the hard shell zip case, maybe even a bit over the top considering most people are not likely to keep the box itself. The hard shell zip case is a monstrosity that holds the Haymakers, extra ear cups and all of the included cables with some room to spare for a battery pack or additional cables, should you so choose. But with the colossal size of the headphone case, it looks like it will be anything but convenient for toting along, packing for a trip, or even tossing in a backpack.
As for the Haymakers, they have a sleek, black carbon fiber finish and weigh in at ~12 ounces and have that premium look and durable feel that you would expect from a $300+ set of headphones. The headphones embody a high end position with features like touch controls and magnetic interchangeability for the ear cups. The joints feel solid and the headphones do fold up nicely.
The included 3.5mm auxiliary cord, universal micro-USB-C cord, and PC gaming controller adaptor are all protectively braid wrapped and feel like first rate items.
All and all I would say we are off to a good start from an appearance standpoint. But looks mean absolutely nothing if the audio quality is not there, so lets take a listen.
Acoustical Performance of the Haymakers
The Haymaker headphones feature “Premium HD sound” using “DIRAC 3D ultra-high resolution audio” for both gaming and playback. So what exactly does that mean? HD sound refers to high-definition audio, which allows streaming music to sound similar to the original studio recording. HD sound use lossless compression so that more of the information from the original track recording is retained.
Audiophiles and music fanatics prefer to use headphones with HD sound because the soundtracks and music playback are high definition quality and provide the listener with a full immersion audio experience. If you are using a high end system, a pair of high end headphones with premium HD sound is the best way to experience full quality audio.
What about “DIRAC 3D ultra-high resolution audio”? A few too many adjectives after the fact to make it sound extra impressive, more often just known as Dirac or even optimized by Dirac. Dirac is a world-renowned audio tech company specializing in digital audio optimization out of Sweden. All meaning that the Haymakers were sent over and tuned by Dirac, digitally optimizing the Haymakers sound to overcome any limitations there might have been on the hardware side of things and lets the headphones perform at their full potential.
So does all of that fancy lingo translate into a superior listening experience? It is certainly an enjoyable and nicely balanced full spectrum range of sound when listening to music. The bass is rich and nuanced, but not over powering. The mids are solid and wide and the highs are crisp and clear. I didn’t notice any distortion throughout numerous genres and even listening at volumes that could only be acceptable by teenagers.
Movies and Video Audio on the Haymakers
Watching movies and videos with the Haymakers resulted in zero audio delay thanks to the inclusion of Bluetooth 5.0 and multiple codec support. The Haymakers delivered depth and fullness to the movie soundscape and even picked up on some subtle sounds that would ordinarily be missed listening over a tv sound bar or computer speakers.
Gaming with the Haymakers
Gaming with the Haymakers is one category that you really begin to notice the special touch of Dirac. The full 7.1 Surround Sound and True 3D Audio provide a precise and smooth frequency spectrum for detailed, true to life ambience and localization of sound that can almost be felt and certainly offers a competitive edge in high stakes first person shooter games. The crisp highs, melodize mids and full bodied bass renders a cinematic resolution to gaming audio that brings clarity, directionality and 3D positional audio accompaniment, which is brilliant for gaming because it not only makes it easier to detect where other players are but it also allows for a full immersion into the game itself.
Of note, the Haymakers are not natively wireless compatible for Xbox or PlayStation and all testing for gaming was done using the included 3.5mm auxiliary cord plugged into their individual controllers and the USB gaming controller adaptor for PC gaming with the free downloadable Dirac software. The Haymakers can be setup for wireless use with both gaming stations if you buy a separate Bluetooth wireless adaptor, but you will likely loose some of the audio quality and experience should you decide to go that route.
If you are a gamer, the Haymakers will not disappoint.
Noise Canceling on the Haymakers
The Haymaker uses dual noise canceling microphones to actively block out external noise by adding a second sound. This second sound acts as a buffer to reduce unwanted noises, so you can enjoy music, movies, or gaming in peace without being exposed to unwelcomed sounds from your environment. This feature is activated by a simple slide of the switch on the left side of the Haymakers to the “NC” position. This can be done while content is playing and can also be switched off without interrupting the content you are enjoying. When the noise cancelling feature is activated there is an expected, but unfortunate decrease in overall volume, likely loosing around 20% and most all of the unwanted ambient noises disappear. Overall, an above average use of noise cancelling, but not at the very top of the rankings from my experience with other noise canceling headphones.
Wear-ability of the Haymakers
While audio quality and performance are important factors, those won’t mean much if the Haymakers aren’t comfortable. And when I am rating the comfort of headphones, there are two main factors that I take into consideration; the fit of the headband and fit of the ear pads. Putting on the Haymakers delivers right off the bat comfort and a perfect tension from the headband. The memory foam used in the top of the band offers just enough padding to rest comfortably on the top of the head. The ear cups are the perfect size allowing almost my entire ear to sit snuggly inside of the opening. Both the cloth and leather earcups have about an inch of plush memory foam that rests pleasantly on the side of the head. The leather cups are great to help seal in audio and block out noise, where as the cloth option is more breathable and offer a super cozy fit and feel.
Circling back to the “headphones designed do it all”, let’s breakdown the four main categories mentioned above, since wear-ability factors largely into them :
- Travelers – Thanks to the on board noise cancelling, the comfortable leather earcups and wired or wireless option the Haymakers would work very well for travelers.
- Audiophiles – Thanks to the Dirac tuning, HD Audio, high sensitivity, and wired input the Haymakers are a great choice for audiophiles.
- Gamers – The full 7.1 Surround Sound and True 3D Audio let the Haymakers excel at gaming and for those marathon gaming sessions, opting for the cloth earcups will let you play in pure tranquility for hours on end with little to no headphone fatigue.
- Fitness junkies – Depending on the session, this is one area that I would leave the Haymakers at home. While they are highly water resistant, there is no IP rating to lend to the confidence that a sweaty workout session will leave the Haymakers unharmed. The touch sensors falter with moisture and if you plan on doing anything with high intensity, beyond basic weightlifting the Haymakers are very likely to leave your head in a dramatic fashion. So if you are doing slow heavy lifts, the Haymakers can do the trick. But if your doing Crossfit, running or any other high intensity workout the Haymakers should probably opt out.
Touch Screen Controls on the Haymakers
The Haymakers have touch screen controls on both ear logos that enable you to navigate RGB color lighting, control music, and answer calls. The right side is used to control the RGB lights and left side is used to control the music. The touch control requires you to swipe your finger across the outside logo on the earpiece, up and down for volume and back and forth for tracks, it takes some getting used to and can be quite finicky at times, but seems to get easier and a bit better the more you do it. Not great, but not terrible either.
RGB Lights on the Haymakers
The Haymaker uses RGB LED lights as part of its aesthetics. RGB means that there are red, blue, and green LEDs incorporated into the headphones both in the headband and into the logos on the ears. The RGB lights on the Haymaker works as mood lighting, which are there for creating the desired atmosphere during a gaming session or dance party…I suppose.
The logos and text on the headband use these RGB lights and allow you to change the color on the fly by swiping the touch sensor on the right hand side logo. There are eight color options that are built into the Haymaker headphones and allow you to pick your favorite color or even choose a breathe mode or flash mode.
For me personally, the RGB lights don’t offer a better or worse experience, they are just there and are what they are. But I know there are gamers out there that like to set a certain tone and think that RBG lighting looks fantastic, especially when it synchronizes with other gaming items like chairs, computer towers, keyboards, controllers and even a mouse.
Cables Included with the Haymaker
The provided cables are high quality and protectively braid wrapped, included are a 3.5mm auxiliary cord for audio, an universal USB-C cord for charging, and a PC gaming controller adaptor. The USB PC gaming controller adaptor allows you to switch between standard stereo 2.0, HD and 7.1, mute, and control volume with the free downloadable DIRAC software that enables the control module. Without the software installed, the control will not activate and pushing the selection button does nothing.
My one nitpick is with the specialized 3.5 mm ends on both the 3.5mm auxiliary cord and PC gaming controller adaptor that plug into the Haymakers, it is has “winged” designed end that has to fit into the headphones “winged” port, thus making it a specialized cable or proprietary cable that can only be purchased from Haymaker (as far as I know) if either needs to be replaced. The reasoning behind the “winged” end is for added durability to help reduce wear and tear on the cable and the port and hopefully stand up to years of use compared to just a standard 3.5mm end….I get it and it makes sense, but we shall see.
As for the universal USB-C cord for charging, it works as it should and fully charges the Haymakers in about an hour and a half. On the note of charging, you cannot charge the Haymakers and use them at the same time, so plan accordingly if you dive into a Netflix marathon.
The rechargeable battery in the Haymaker is a 800mAh/3.7V battery. And below are some battery life stats with volume at 60%:
- 12 Hours in Bluetooth mode using Active Noise Canceling and Lights ON.
- 26 Hours in Bluetooth mode using Active Noise Cancelling, No Lights
- 30 Hours using Auxiliary Cord and Noise Cancelling ON
- 43 Hours in Bluetooth mode without Active Noise Canceling, No lights
And of course you can use the Haymakers with just the Auxiliary Cord with Active Noise Canceling OFF and NO lights and they will not use the battery.
Features of the Haymaker
- Features two magnetic interchangeable memory foam speaker pad sets – one leather set and one perforated cloth set for both music and gaming
- Multicolor synchronous RGB LED lights (eight color options total) line the earphone housing and the headband which is both stretchable and foldable
- Equipped with dual mode adaptive noise canceling and touch sensor interfaces to control music, calls and lighting
- Compatible with smart devices and desktop computers via Bluetooth to control music transmission
- An LED indicator (red/blue double-color LED lighting) on the headphone frame also indicates Bluetooth connectivity, power charge status and low voltage
- Additional accessories include a 3.5mm auxiliary cord, universal micro-USB-C cord, carrying case, PC gaming controller adaptor, additional set of memory foam speaker pads and a quick-start guide
Final Thoughts on the Haymaker
So do the Haymaker headphones live up to their multi-purpose claims and are they “designed to do it all” …almost, but I would say that they are NOT perfect for fitness junkies. They are perfect for people who want a superior gaming headset and a great all around headset for music, movies, and travel. The Haymakers are absolutely magical in the gaming category and would be a welcome addition to any music connoisseurs audio equipment collection.
The Haymaker headphones are available now for $329.95 on the Haymaker website and on Amazon. To learn more about Haymaker, please visit The-Haymaker.com.