Lightweight, Modern, and Stylish — Moshi Avanti
How many times in your life have you heard the phrase ‘less is more?’ I’m willing to bet that the high majority of you have heard it dozens of times. For weeks now, I’ve been wrestling with how to best describe (in one sentence or less) the Avanti on-ear headphones from Moshi. After trying out these headphones for a few weeks, the phrase ‘less is more’ is an appropriate one. You see, these compact, lightweight supra-aural headphones produce quite the punch with their HD40 drivers. Are compact and lightweight what you’re looking for in your next headset? Let’s take a closer look in this Moshi Avanti headphones review.
• Modern, minimalist design
• Compact & lightweight
• Soft, yet firm fit
• 40mm neodymium drivers
• Very good sound reproduction
• Fit may be too firm for some listeners
• No wireless capability
Moshi Avanti Headphones Review – Modern Design
For many of us, myself included, Moshi is not a brand I associate with headphones. Sure, they’ve got a handful of earbuds in their product lineup, but those of us who are familiar with the name are familiar because of their cases, bags, cables, and battery packs. So this was as much an introduction for me as it probably is for you now.
The first thing you notice about the Avanti on-ear headphones is that these aren’t your typical headphones. Gone are the heft, the weight, the size, and the volume of what you’re used to wearing. Notice I made no mention of missing features. The Avanti is a compact, collapsible, lightweight, 40mm neodymium driven pair of headphones. Let’s start with the design.
The Avanti headphones weigh in at 5.85 ounces. For most of you out there, this is significantly less than what you’re currently wearing. The headphones come beautifully packaged in a box usually reserved for a headset at twice the price. The box is worth saving. The package contents include the headphones, a 4.3′ light gray cable with red and silver metallic labeled connectors, a user manual, and hard carrying case.
When first introduced, the Avanti was available in two colors: Burgundy Red and Caramel Beige. One week ago, a third color–Onyx Black was added.
The headband is made of a very sturdy and narrow piece of tensioned stainless steel. Don’t try bending it as 1) it will take quite a bit of effort and 2) you’ll make the entire headset unwearable. On the inside of the headband is thin, leatherette-wrapped padding. My first thought on seeing such thin padding was that this wouldn’t do. Well, I was wrong. The padding was more than enough to comfort my head. I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion.
Attached to the headband are two more pieces of stainless steel which not only make the headphones collapsible but also adjustable. The headphones collapse in one direction, allowing it to fit in the above-mentioned hard carrying case. The earcups are adjustable via a highly-engineered and unique sliding mechanism. As a degreed mechanical engineer, I rather like this design as there’s no sound when you’re trying to achieve the perfect fit. And the mechanism has enough friction in its materials that it won’t self-adjust. The earcups pivot as to provide an even better seal against your ear. If the earcuff positions were fixed, which they are not, this would have made for a poor design.
The earcups are leatherette-wrapped, rectangular-shaped with an angled design that fits the ears quite well. The padding is rather comfortable with the headband providing enough force to stay on your noggin. The one downside I noticed is the larger your head is, that is larger than mine, the applied force on your ears will be felt more towards the top, less on the bottom.
The 4.3′ cable has several features in its inline control that allow for complete headphone functionality. This control has a condenser mic, along with a multi-function single button for the following: Music Play and Pause, Song Forwarding and Back to Previous, Call Answering, Call Declining, and Call Waiting.
• Lady Gaga – Born This Way
• Lana Del Rey – Born To Die, Paradise
• Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events
• John Coltrane – The Ultimate Blue Train
• Rush – Clockwork Angels
• My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
As we often state here at Beantown, when reviewing headphones, the most important performance factor is the quality of sound. From the list above, I tested the Avanti with a broad range of music. I also tested them against a few headphones I randomly selected from my collection. The results surprised me.
The short story is that I decided to retire my House of Marley Liberate XLBT and B&O Play H6 headphones from future testing. By the time you read this, you’ll have missed the giveaway on the latter. The Avanti outperformed a $299 (formerly $399) pair of B&O Play high-end headphones.
The sound across the 15 Hz – 22 kHz spectrum was quite good. I was impressed with instrumental sounds particularly Alex Lifeson’s guitar work on Clockwork Angels and most impressed with Lana Del Rey’s vocal reproduction on Paradise. Sounds felt more lively with the Avanti than they did with the other headphones. If you’re in the market for headphones with strong bass, I believe you’ll like what comes out of these headphones, but I would fully understand if you chose headphones dedicated to strong bass.
Burn-In Tool App
Moshi takes the headphones market with a high level of seriousness, so much so that they offer an app which assists with the burn in of their earbuds and headphones. The app simply called Burn-in Tool is available via Apple’s iTunes and Google Play Store. We’ve sampled dozens of headphones and have never seen any of these established brands offer such a tool. The closest app that comes to mind is Captune by Sennheiser, but it’s quite different than Moshi’s Burn-in Tool.
I used an Android-based Motorola Moto X Pure mobile phone and had no issue with the app. The one thing I will say about Burn-in Tool is the sound pattern is quite annoying and not meant for your ears. If you’re going to use Burn-in Tool, I highly recommend you place your mobile phone and headphones in some other room, close the door, and let them do their thing for at least four hours. If you need your phone at some point, you can always pause the sound pattern and complete the task later.
In my testing, the Avanti headphones are best when worn for an hour or two at a time. The long-term fit is a good one. Best use of these headphones is at home, office, and in transit. They are not (and we do not recommend them) for use in sporting activities like jogging. There are plenty of headphones on the market for that purpose.
At $199, the Avanti headphones are well-priced in the marketplace. As I stated above, I liked them so much that I’ve removed a pair of House of Marley headphones from my headset rotation and replaced them with the Avanti.
If you’re looking for a pair of on-ear (supra-aural) headphones which offer a minimalist design but not minimalist features, then Moshi’s Avanti is worth taking a serious look at. We give this headphone high marks.
Have you tried Moshi’s Avanti headphones? Do you agree or disagree with our analysis? Let us know in the comment section below or via social media. We’re eager to hear your thoughts.
The Avanti headphones come with a one-year limited end-user warranty.
FTC Disclosure: Moshi provided Beantown LLC with one Avanti headphones sample for review purposes. This writer’s opinion is 100% his own and not a paid product ambassador.
All photographs are the copyrighted property of Beantown LLC 2016.