Last December, a representative from Puro Sound Labs gave me a review sample of the company’s flagship Bluetooth hybrid headphones. Her timing couldn’t have been better – I had surgery scheduled for Jan. 8 that would put me on the couch all day, every day, for two weeks in a row doing nothing but watching movies and TV (ideally without driving my wife and kids mindless).
The Puro Pro is an over-the-ear design, which can be connected to audio sources via Bluetooth 5.0 pairing or a simple headphone cord. It offers just about all the features you could imagine for a pair of headphones: safety volume limiting (configurable for 85dBA or 95dBA), over 30 hours of battery life, content control via buttons on the left, active noise cancellation and even a built-in mic for phone calls.
At $ 200, the Puro Pro costs more than I would normally spend on a pair of headphones to watch late-night TV and fly on an occasional plane (my two main use cases). But after spending several hours a day with the Puro Pro for a few months, I was dropping the money in the blink of an eye.
How i tested
Puro Sound Labs PuroPro Hybrid Active Noise Canceling Headphones
The majority of the time I spent with the Puro Pro was on my couch, watching content from YouTube Music, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, as well as locally stored TV shows and movies. My Roku Premiere + 4K UHD media player (for streaming content) and my custom HTPC (for local content) are connected to my Denon AVR-S510BT receiver and from the Denon’s headphone jack to a low Bluetooth 5.0 transceiver Boltune latency.
This setup was my most important test case for the headphones, but I also gave them more demanding tests of musical accuracy by connecting them (wired) to the Scarlett Solo preamp that I use in my podcasting studio. The Scarlett Solo is connected to my workstation; its main “working” function is to provide an XLR input for my RE230 mic, but it doubles as my system’s main audio output interface, via its 1/4 “headphone jack – normally connected to a pair Sennheiser HD 280 Pro studio headphones.
I should be very clear that my tests are subjective“I’ve actually used the headphones and compared them to several sets of benchmark gear, and I’m sharing my thoughts here. Having said that, I am a fairly demanding listener; I grew up being a broadcast engineer for a dad and have spent the last 30 years trying to buy personal audio gear that straddles the line between “this is one of the best you can buy” and “This is an audiophile draining your nonsense wallet.”
I’m a night owl, but my wife is an early riser, so watching movies and TV late at night is essential at the Salter House. Wireless headphones turned out to be off limits for me. I tried several models that I liked the sound of, but – although I found them comfortable initially – all of them led to repeated ear infections after long-term daily use. Battery life was also far from ideal: The LG Tone HBS-510 headphones I used the most only had eight to ten hours of play time, with similar results for a variety of brands. less known.
Then I tried out a set of Monodeal on-ear bluetooth headphones – at $ 35 they’re amazing value, and ended up getting a second pair for my wife (who loved them too). But I still had comfort issues; after several TV episodes in a row, the design on the ear was getting a bit sour. Battery life also left something to be desired, at around eight hours – not bad for the price, but not long enough to get you through airplane trips across the mainland without a careful husband.
Finally, I used a pair of $ 200 JBL Live 650BTNC Bluetooth headphones. Their over-the-ear design was much more comfortable for long-term use than the Monodeal pair, and the 20+ hour play time was a huge improvement. The audio quality was also a bit better than that of the Monodeal. However, they were still not 100% comfortable for long term use, due to issues with weight, balance and the combination of very firm padding and heavy clamping pressure on my head. .
While the JBL headphones aren’t perfect, they were functional enough that I wasn’t really looking for a replacement.
Puro Pro review
For my main use case – watching TV and movies late at night on the couch without disturbing my wife – the Puro Pro headphones are by far the best thing I’ve tried. I have also found them to be excellent for listening to a wide variety of musical genres including classical, acoustic, a capella, and hip-hop.
The only flaw I could find with them – aside from the charging port not being USB-C – is an annoying background hum artifact produced when the headphone volume is at maximum and staccato sound (per example, the “click” when moving the focus on the Roku interface from one element to another) is produced. This defect is easily corrected: just lower the volume of the headphones with one click and no more buzz.
The padding is extremely soft and comfortable, and the earbuds provide just enough tightening pressure to stay firm without sore after a few hours.
Although the weight of the JBL and Puro headphones is similar, the balance is different. It’s not something I notice instantly upon putting on either earphone, but after several hour-long episodes of a show the Lord of the Rings movie), JBL phones leave my neck a bit strained, unlike Puro Pro phones.
The lighter clamping pressure and softer padding of the Puro Pro earphones also leaves me with a lot less ‘sweaty ear’ feeling after several hours of prolonged use than I got with JBL earphones – or, incidentally, with my studio Sennheiser HD 280 Pro phones after recording a podcast.