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Old 05-08-2007, 07:26 AM
atrax atrax is offline
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Exclamation Creative SL3100 Wireless Headphones User Review

Creative SL3100 Wireless Headphones

Well, after weeks and weeks of procrastination, I've finally bitten to bullet and began the long overdue for the Creative SL3100 Wireless Headphones. It's not often you come across a pair of truly good quality, and completely wireless headphones. The SL3100's are very well made and designs, with a touch but good looking build and superb audio quality, even through the bluetooth. These headphones mean business.

After simply going on one of my internet trawls I came across these little gems on Creative website and even now I'm still impressed. Lets take a look...or listen...whatever...

Reviewed by: Brendan O'Reilly (Atrax)



Accessories


The box comes with all the usual bits & pieces, but one interesting thing I found was that there was still a headphones cable but with two 'male' ends, which I was delighted to find, meant that the headphones could be used even when the wireless transmitter has run out of charge. Here's the rundown:
  • Creative Wireless Audio Adapter
  • AC-DC Power Adapter (110~220V)
  • Audio Cable (1.5 meters)
  • User Manual
  • Additional pair of leatherette earcup cushions
First off, the transmitter. While it's a nice little package and simply plugs into your audio device's headphones jack, the fact that I had to charge it for 3 hours before I actually got to use it was a bit of an annoyance. The transmitter uses the now familiar Bluetooth technology to connect and it continues to transmit crystal clear audio as long as the headphones don't go out of a 10 metre radius.

The power adapter...well, its nothing special, still has the massive box which takes up space on each side of the plug but one nice little thing was that at the end it split into two plugs so as to charge both the transmitter and the headphones at the same time.

The audio cable which I mentioned before was a nice surprise. It saves me having to carry my set of little earbuds around with me at least. They plug into one side of the headphones in the usual fashion. While a nice little touch there's not much else to talk about. It is after all, just a cable.

User Manual....well, I haven't even look at it yet...

Now these are interesting. While these headphones are not big enough to cover my ears, these little earcups are very very comfortable job, and do a pretty good job of cutting out most outside noise but they are by no means noise-canceling but they're a good alternative. I switch between the soft ones and these over and over and I'm not sure which ones are more comfortable, they're both just as comfortable as the other.


Design


The SL3100's have one of the most unique designs I've come across ever since I've become interested in portable audio. While the wrap-around design is quite common in mid-size headphones, it is the actual speakers which I find interesting.

When you first put the headphones on, the fit perfectly around the back of your neck and over you ears. The domes, while heavy have a strong, durable feel about it, as with all the Creative products I own, though I'm not going to tempt fate. Once you put them them domes move and almost mold to your ears shape, giving a very nice, close, comfortable fit, this is actually because the headphone domes and on what seems to be a ball-mount, attached to the outer domes whih house the bluetooth equipment and batteries

I actually prefer the look of these headphones to come, such as the enormous Sony and Sennheiser headphones I've owned in the past, due to the fact that these headphones just look so sleek and stylish. While there is clearly evidence of a biomorphic design, the SL3100's are covered by smooth, glossy and reflective surfaces, which give them a beautiful modern look.

The transmitter, while not bulky is a bit annoying to carry around. One thing I wish is that the cord connection it to the audio devices headphone jack was at least a bit longer. In the last few days I've been testing them out and the transmitter is usually in my pants pocket, along with my DAP. This is annoying due to the fact that there is alot of stuff blocking the transmission from to the headphones, don't get me wrong, they usually work perfectly sometimes, but when your pocket is crammed with things and the signal isn't getting through to well, I usually resort to the headphone cable.

The edges of the outer domes are lined with a range or various controls, all of which work perfectly with my DAP. These include:

Skip/Back-track

Pause/Play

Volume Up/Down

On/Off

These buttons work seamlessly with my device and I even managed to make someone think my DAP was going to explode, by remotely controlling it via the SL3100's while it was in his hand. The back-up headphone cable jack is located on the same dome along with with charging socket and various status lights.


Specifications

Bluetooth Specifications: Bluetooth v1.2 Class 2 radio, up to distance of 10 meters (32.8 feet)*
Bluetooth Profiles:
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)
Battery:
Built-in Lithium-Ion battery (rechargeable)
Frequency Range: 2.4 - 2.4835 GHz
Audio Sampling Frequency:
48kHz
Headphones Drivers:
40mm Neodymium transducer
Frequency Response: 10Hz - 20kHz
Signal-to-Noise Ratio:
Up to 85dB
Play Time:
Up to 8 hours*

*Range is dependant on environment and usage


This, apart from my mobile phone, is the first Bluetooth product I use frequently, and while most of the technical stuff doesn't really make much sense to my, the 10 metre range and the fact that I can pair the headphones with my mobile phone (or cell phone for the Americans) and my Laptop, as well as a few other Bluetooth toting devices is a big surprise and a big bonus.

The battery...well, while they last me the whole day, they fact I must charge both the receiver and the actual headphones every night is a bit of an annoyance, but it's not much of a sacrifice seeing that I charge all of my other gadgets at night aswell.

Okay, all the technical stuff doesn't make sense to me at the moment, but I can say that the headphones sound beautiful, the high's are crystal clear and the bass is like being punched in the ear with every beat, but I'll get to that in a moment.



Sound Quality

Okay, all the other stuff out of the way, time for the sound quality. Its not all just looks and specs...

I've only tried it on a few separate setups which are listed below:

Zen Vision:M > SL3100's
Laptop > SL3100's
Desktop > SL3200's
Stereo > SL3100's
Friends iPod > SL3100's

Well, that being said, the SL3100's don't sound very different played through the various sources. Obviously the stereo and computer's would sound slightly better but compared to some of the headphones I've used with them, the SL3100's are the best.

During their use, I changed genre's alot, just to see how they coped and I was pleasantly surprised to find they not only coped with the heaviest album of DevilDriver but made it sound so much better than any other time I had listened to it before. These headphones are no X-FI headphones, but they do pack one hell of a punch especially for a Bluetooh device.

Creative seem to have a reputation for pumping out high-quality headphones, to be honest, after playing around with my Sony and Sennheiser's, I prefer the sound from these in so many ways. One, the bass is the best I have heard in any headphone. Period. Every beat feel's like you've been punched in the ear (except without the pain), the sound is deep and feel like it vibrates into your skull.While the bass is beautiful, the treble does not fall short in any way. Without so much as a crackle, the SL3100's managed to support the loudest, most hight pitch music I could find, the performed brilliantly and I would recommend these to anyone who is looking for a pair of hight-quality headphones for a reasonable price.


Wireless/Bluetooth

The wireless is obviously the selling feature of these headphones. With a range of up to 10 metres you can move comfortably around your room or study without loosing your music, another bonus is that the quality doesn't diminish the further you move away from the transmitter, rather as soon as you pass the 10 metre mark the headphones simply disconnect and begin acquisition of a new transmitter, or obvously, its original one.

I have managed to sync just the headphones with the bluetooth transmitter on my new cell phone and even though the sound quality isn't anywhere as good as it is using the supplied transmitter, it's still good that they actually connect and you can listen to music from your cell through them.


Comfort

As far as wraparound headphones go, these are very comfortable but a little on the heavy side. The smooth contoured lines and designs are shaped to your head and neck and so, fit perfectly. After a couple of hours of use though, you have to take them off for a little while and let your ears rise back to their normal positions and also message the slight pain out of the tops of your ears.

Apart from the weight, they are great, the actual speakers are mounted on the movable axis' which means that they are positioned perfectly whenever you put them on and don't pump out the tunes into the outside world instead of into your ears, like some rigid wraparounds do.

They stay in position and even when I've shaken my head in every Humanly possible direction as hard and fast as I can, and went for a run and even a rock climb, they haven't fallen off or moved even the slightest. So overall, the comfort is good but they do get heavy.


Conclusion


If you are looking for some great quality headphones without the hassle of wires constantly getting in your way, if you're a 'free spirit' who doesn't want to be tied down or just want to have something to boast about, these are for you. Sound quality is amazing for a wireless device or indeed any wireless headphones I've tried, with a deep thumping bass and crisp highs and they're a steal at $150AUD.

The actual Bluetooth is very very useful and I rarely have any trouble with reception or signal, is delivers beautiful sound and superb performance. I would recommend these to anyone who is looking for some good inexpensive headphones.

Pros

  • Beautiful Audio Quality
  • Comfortable and aesthetically pleasing design
  • Inclusion of the male-male headphone cable
  • Controls (Play/pause, skip track, volume) mounted on domes
  • Price
  • Avaibility
Cons
  • Weighs down on ears after prolonged use
  • Battery life
  • Dome-mounted controls support only new Creative devices









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Last edited by atrax; 05-10-2007 at 02:56 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2007, 11:14 PM
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skippyg skippyg is offline
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ooooO!! i want some of those now!@
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:59 PM
John566 John566 is offline
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Thanks for the review. I've been considering getting the SL3100. Can you confirm that they will FF/RW if the skip button is held? I listen to a lot of Audible and podcasts. Thanks atrax.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:04 PM
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skippyg skippyg is offline
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i think it depends which dap your using. it might work great with the Zen line.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:36 PM
John566 John566 is offline
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I wish the DAP manufactures would give the option for audiobooks and podcasts to only FF/RW to avoid loosing the place in a program when the skip button gets accidentally bumped. It stinks spending 5 minutes trying to find a place in a program once it's lost.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:07 PM
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sumx4182 sumx4182 is offline
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the transmitter seems much less convenient than the one on my FreePulse...i don't like how the wire is there, I'd much rather have it just plug in and then have an extender wire if you need it (the freepulse comes with an extender wire)
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:55 PM
John566 John566 is offline
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sumx,
Does the freepulse work with the ZVM and support play/pause FF/RW like the creative one? Also, do you know if they sell it without the headphones? I already have two different Moto BT stereo headsets.
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:04 AM
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The FreePulse will work with any device (mp3 player, TV, laptop, stereo) that has a headphone jack but does not come equipped with play buttons. He headphones themselves have volume buttons and bass boost but do not control your player. And as far as i know, they are only sold as a set, though you may look on ebay for a set of broken headphones with a working transmitter or see if some one is selling one seperately...
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Old 09-12-2008, 03:50 PM
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Awesome Man 990 Awesome Man 990 is offline
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So would this work with the bluetooth capabilities of a P2? I mean, they sound nice, except for the fact they wrap around the back of your neck. But there again, that makes them stay on anyway. Very good-sounding. Where are they sold, and for how much?
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