Archeer AH07: Impact in 3…2…1…
Today we are going to be checking out a Bluetooth headphone from Archeer, the newly revised, lower latency AH07.
With the trend of manufacturers phasing out 3.5mm jacks on smart phones (thanks Apple…) it seem Bluetooth enabled headphones are becoming less of a luxury and more the norm. With improved Bluetooth tech like aptX reducing the gap in sound quality between wired vs. wireless play, it’s making more and more sense to spend that little extra on a high quality headphone so you can get the most out of your listening experience.
In the case of the Archeer AH07, you don’t need to spend that ‘little extra’ to get a very well-rounded product and something that both feels and sounds much more premium than the fairly meager cost of entry would lead you to believe. It’s certainly not a perfect headphone, but it’s one of the best I’ve experienced so far in the Bluetooth world. Let’s check out why.
I would like to thank Lucas at Archeer for reaching out to see if I would be interested in reviewing the AH07. It was provided free of charge in exchange for a fair and impartial review. Everything that follows are my thoughts and opinions, and are not representative of Archeer or any other entity. The AH07 is considered their property until they state otherwise.
The AH07 can be purchased through a variety of Amazon locations worldwide and at the time of this review is selling for 55.99 USD. You can access links to each regional Amazon store here on their website; http://www.archeer.com/Archeer-AH07-Foldable-Wireless-Over-Ear-Stereo-Bluetooth-Headphone-with-Built-in-MIC,Soft-Ear-Cups-and-Adjustable-Headband-for-Sporting-Gaming-Reading-Relaxing,Up-to-14-Hours-Playback-Time-p-20.html
Packaging and Accessories:
When it comes to budget products, I generally don’t have high expectations for the packaging. While the AH07’s matte black package is about as basic as it gets, the cardboard selected is tough as nails. Somewhat ironic then that on the front below the image of the AH07 itself it says “Impact”. It would have taken a serious one to cause the damage you see in those images, as that cardboard is solid.
The rear outlines product features such as apt-X, a mic for taking phone calls, and that they function both wirelessly or through a standard auxiliary in, 3.5mm connection. One feature that could be misinterpreted is “enhanced noise reduction function to ensure better entertaining experience.” Translate that to ‘strong passive noise isolation’ and you’ve got a more accurate description of that particular ‘function’.
Inside the box you find the AH07 folder and placed within a plastic tray. To emphasis just how much of a shock that box must have taken, the tray was cracked in two places. The headphones were untouched though. Kudos again to Archeer for making such a robust package. Lift out the tray and you find the included accessories; a micro USB cable for charging and a fairly basic aux cable terminated in 3.5mm connections. A user manual is included (English only) and is one of the few I’ve come across that clearly explains the earphone, how to use it, and all it’s functions.
Overall an unspectacular unboxing experience with decent and perfectly functional accessories. This I am fine with because it’s clear Archeer’s money went elsewhere, namely towards build and sound quality.
Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
Dense. That was the word that came to mind the moment I picked up the AH07 for the first time. It’s surprisingly weighty, solid, and feels very durable. The earcups are composed of a very thick plastic. The earpads twist off and are easily replaceable as they’re attached via a fairly thick plastic clip. Way more durable and effective than the brittle, hyper-cheap rings that hold the pads in place on the HiFiMan HE-350, and in line with what you find on the premium thinksound On2.
The headband arms seems made of the same material as the earcups, backed by a brushed aluminum strip. The headband itself I’m thinking is plastic as it is resists bending and flexing. Luckily it’s covered by a fairly thick layer of plush padding. The folding mechanism is opposite the norm; primarily metal supported by plastic inserts.
The headband extensions are also primarily metal, supported by plastic, and move with solid clicks. Fully extended they give you an extra inch of room on either side which might not be enough for those with large noggins.
The AH07 is a pretty heavy earphone which you notice the moment they’re placed on your head. The weight is distributed well, aided along by the plush headband padding and earcups that swivel and pivot quite freely. Unfortunately, comfort takes a hit, at least for me it did, when we move to those plush ear cups. They’re square which itself isn’t a bad thing, but they’re not large enough to make the AH07 over-ear, or small enough to make them on-ear. As a result, I found it pretty much impossible to seat them comfortably as they were always putting pressure on some part of my outer ear, despite the pads themselves being fairly plush though somewhat shallow. This resulted in very mild discomfort after 20 minutes or so, and then further adjustments to accommodate for that. Rinse and repeat. Obviously not everyone will have these issues, but for me the earcup design was particularly troublesome.
The media control buttons on the right ear cup are hit and miss. It’s easy to find the button you want, but they’re pretty spongy when pressed. This along with a slight delay between when you press and when your player reacts means I often press too many times. I’ve gotten more and more used to it over the last few weeks, but it’s still easier and more effective to just pull out my phone to change volume or songs.
Passive isolation is excellent pending you can seat the AH07 properly. With music playing, they did a great job of drowning out external noise, phones, talking, etc. These would be a solid option if you travel on public transit.
Overall the AH07 is a very well-built headphone with some potential comfort issues that arise from their indecision as to whether it wants to be an over- or on-ear headphone. Archeer, I would love to see you include both on-ear and over-ear pads options in the future to help address this. Shouldn’t be too hard to do with the excellent pad removal system in place.
They have a claimed charge time of 2 hours and run time of 14 hours. When they first arrived I drained the battery and tossed them on the charger. From fully drained, they took just over an hour and 50 minutes to charge to full. I left them on overnight at 50% volume on both the headphones and my HTC One M8. This is much louder than I personally would listen on a regular basis. At these settings, they died the next morning after just over 13 and a half hours. Solid.
Outside of the occasional little skip here and there, pretty good! Pairing was as easy as you would expect. Hold the power button until the led starts flashing red/blue, search for devices through your source, and select the device called “AH07”. Repairing later on down the road was as easy as turning on both devices. Within a couple seconds they’d find each other and you’re good to go.
Archeer claims a 33 foot range which sounds about right. I was able to travel anywhere in my apartment without losing connection with my phone placed on my desk, only experiencing drops if I went into the bathroom. That puts two concrete walls between the headphone and source, so not entirely unexpected. I noticed that covering the right earpiece with my hand would cause drops. An unexpected mute feature? Heh…
Wired vs. Wireless: I found there was a difference between the two with wired use offering up noticeably superior sound. Wireless use softened the sound taking away from the punch and authority of the low end, while also lessening detail and accuracy across the board. The AH07 was great either way, but wired used is the way to go if you want the best sound quality. The majority of my testing was done wired through my HTC One M8 or XDuoo X3/NX1 combo.
Slam, bam, thank you…Archeer for a very entertaining headphone. The AH07 is characterized by a warm, impactful, u-shaped signature with a prominent and powerful low end. Damn if they won’t put a smile on your face.
Treble is smartly emphasized with a good amount of sparkle. Detail and clarity is on point, bringing everything forward but not in an aggressive, uncomfortable way. It’s sharp and accurate without any sloppiness or splashiness getting in the way, something that can very quickly stand out when giving a headphone a go with Grammatik’s ‘Bluestep’ or the grimy “low-fi” sounds on The Prodigy’s ‘Get Your Fight On’.
The AH07’s midrange is just as clean and clear with vocals coming through loud and clear, albeit slightly recessed. When vocals or guitars are intended to be the primary focus, they seem to be just a little less prominent than the song would normally call for. A mild boost here would be welcome, though not entirely necessary since it doesn’t detract from the experience.
Bass is where the AH07 shines for me. It’s way punchier and more controlled than the competition I have on hand, and has awesome sub-bass presence with just the right amount of mid-bass. Despite being very prominent it somehow avoids bleeding into the midrange or distorting at high volumes. Very fun, very powerful, and not for the bass averse.
Soundstage is where the AH07 stumbles a bit in my opinion. I was hoping a good amount of “burn in”, be it physical and/or mental, would help them out. The AH07 doesn’t come across as particularly spacious and therefore presents you with a very forward and intimate experience. On particularly busy tracks this also leads to congestion, such as King Crimson’s ‘Starless and Bible Black’. Not an issue when you’re listening to EDM or hip hope, but toss on some jazz and the AH07 loses composure. Disappointing because they’re ace in pretty much every other way.
Overall, I find the AH07 to be a very competent and entertaining performer, especially with the genres of music I listen to most.
Ausdom M05 (~50 USD): The M05 is much darker and overly mid-bassy in comparison lacking clarity and detail found in the AH07. It is more open however, and avoid the same levels of congestion Archeer’s offering can run into. The AH07 is the better built using high quality materials and with cleaner fit and finish. The only real edge the M05 has is it’s flexible metal headband. Comfort is better on the M05 but ends up being a bit of a wash. The M05 is significantly lighter but has trouble sealing properly at the base of the ear cups, so as with the AH07, I’m always fiddling about to find the right fit. In the end, superior sound quality takes the cake and the AH07 is the one I’d take home.
Mixcder ShareMe 5 (~45 USD): As with the M05, the ShareMe 5 comes across as the darker and more mid-bassy of the two, however the ShareMe’s treble presence and presentation does hold up better against the AH07. The ShareMe 5 is notably more airy with better instrument separation, though it lacks the directness and control of the AH07. Audio quality is closer than I was expecting, but the AH07 displays it’s dominance via it’s slightly more balanced, less bass focused signature and improved technical ability. The AH07 uses more durable plastics and feels more substantial, especially in the headband. That said, the ShareMe 5 is miles ahead in comfort. It’s weighs next to nothing and gracefully perches itself upon your head with it’s light, airy presence. Based purely on comfort alone the ShareMe 5 is the one I would choose, even though I prefer the AH07’s sound and build quality. It’s just too uncomfortable for me to wear for any length of time and given these are meant to be portable headphones used on the move, comfort is key.
The Archeer AH07 is a very strong Bluetooth headphone with performance that exceeds similarly priced sets I’ve come across. The build quality is outstanding, wireless performance is great, and battery life is pretty good too. Their sound signature is fun and detailed with some of the tightest, punchiest bass I’ve come across, and it’s a joy to listen to.
The only real complaint I can levy against them is the shape and size of the ear cups and the resulting discomfort this causes. Since fit and comfort will vary from user to user and this certainly isn’t going to be an issue for everyone, so don’t let it detract you from considering this very competent performer.
Thanks for reading!
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Aesop Rock – Saturn Missiles
BT – The Antikythera Mechanism
Daft Punk – Touch
Dillon Francis and NGHTMRE – Need You
Gramatik – Bluestep (Album Version)
Incubus – 2nd/3rd/4th Movements of the Odyssey
Infected Mushroom – Deeply Disturbed
Infected Mushroom – The Legend of the Black Shawarma
Jessie J – Bang Bang
Kiesza – Hideaway
King Crimson – Red (full album)
Pink Floyd – Money
Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling (Don’t Cry)
Skindred – Death to all Spies
Supertramp – Rudy
The Prodigy – Get Your Fight On