I’ve been eager to see what the next product from Attitude 1 would be, it has been 8 months now since I reviewed the Attitude One Tunguska 7.1 headset and while it did have a few minor issues, I was really impressed with its overall sound quality and performance for a budget headset. The one we have in the eTeknix office today is a aimed a little higher up the market, with a price tag of around £100 there is no doubt that this is targeted at the premium market, but at that price we hope it has the features and performance to match.
At this price range you’ve no shortage of great options, with many rival brands new and old offering products that are nothing short of incredible, feature packed, stylish and usually a one or two unique features. Attitude 1 are a fairly new brand to the market and they’ve got everything to prove to win over the end user, so it will be interesting to see what the Almaz has to offer in an already very competitive market.
As you can see from the specifications below we have large and powerful 40mm drivers, an omnidirectional microphone, multi-length cables (more on those in a moment), and a set of gold-plated connectors.
The box is nice and clean-looking with a big photo of the headset on the front, looking good!
The cover flips open to give us a nice look at the headset, microphone and a quick run down of some of the features, but we’ll take a better look at those in a moment.
Tucked away behind the headset is a smaller box filled with all the major cables and accessories, as well as an easy to follow user guide.
In the box you’ll find a borderline crazy number of cables, two for iDevices, two for Android, Hifi cable (standard 3.5mm) and a high quality 6.3mm adaptor.
All the cables are given a soft rubber treatment that should help keep them tangle free. Both the android and iDevice cables feature a flat design and come fitted with an in-line controller. The standard stereo cable is wonderfully long at 7 meters. You’ll also notice a soft carry pouch under the swath of cables in this picture.
The pouch is perfect for keeping the headset scratch free when you chuck them in your bag, and I assure you they fit in there perfectly, I just left them poking out for the photograph.
Finally we have the in-line microphone which features a flexible boom, master mute switch and can be plugged directly into the side of the headset.
A Closer Look
Now that we’ve covered the plethora of included extra cables and accessories for the Almaz it’s time to take a good look at the headset its self. The Almaz is available in a wide range of colours, but the model we have today is a rich blue and white design. On the back of each ear cup you’ll find a closed back design with a silver plastic trim and the A1 logo.
The bottom of the left driver features a standard 3.5mm input jack, this can be used with any of the included cables of the chat microphone boom connection.
Each driver is pretty deep, so I wouldn’t expect a close fit from the side of the headband, but a closed back and deep dish design does hold a lot of promise for those who like heavy bass tones.
The headband is pretty minimal and finished in the same high quality plastics that we see on the rest of the headset. It’s clear from the look and feel of the headset that Attitude 1 have put a lot of care into giving the headset a sleek and premium quality finish.
the headband features a slim layer of padding, it’s a little firm, but feels comfortable enough and the grippy rubbery material that covers it will help provide some extra grip to keep the headset from slipping off your head when you’re out and about.
The side of the headband is extendible on each side and can be folded inwards to allow for easy storage in the included protective pouch.
Each driver is mounted on a small swivel mount, there isn’t a lot of room for movement, but it will still help provide a good fit over your ears.
Here you can see the attachable boom microphone, which comes with a master must and a volume dial on the side, converting the mobile / music headphones into a perfectly capable gaming headset, or even just something for use on Skype, given the amount of cables and connections that have been included you would expect it to be versatile, and it is.
Both the iDevice and Android cables are very similar, featuring a small in-line controller that’s perfect for answering calls, skipping through your music collection and general multimedia controls. There are two for Android and two for iDevice, each with a different cable length so you can find something that suits your own needs.
The drivers are nicely padded and covered with a hard-wearing leather material and a soft white mesh backing on the drivers. It looks great, but may take a few hours usage to break-in to your personal fit.
To put the Almaz through their paces I hooked them up to the wonderful Silverstone EB03S Headphone AMP via the Silverstone EB01-E Desktop DAC. I spun up a few of my favourite albums and was immediately impressed with the range and clarity available from the 40mm drivers on the Almaz.
There is a really rich low-end to the sound that is packed with detail, it’s not even a loud or really heavy base, but it certainly has presence overall that managed to rip through “Strapping Young Lad – The New Black (YouTube)” without faulter or distortion, even when things got really manic on the track “Wrongside (YouTube)” it was crystal clear. This can likely be attributed to the closed back design on the drivers, the air is being locked in against your ear and that also helps keep a lot of excess noise leaking out and bothering others near to you. The clear bass doesn’t affect the rest of the frequency range either, crystal clear highs really lifted the finer sounds of “Steve Vai’s – Passion & Warfare (YouTube)”, and some delightful mid tones really bring out the guitar tones in any music.
I’m a big music fan and it’s important to me that a set of headphones or a headset can handle anything I throw at them, regardless of the volume being low or high and maybe even a little extra EQ for good measure. The Almaz never faltered and while testing the maximum volume I must admit that I had to chicken out, only knowing for a certain that they can go “very very very loud”. While I know fans of electronic music such as dance, dub-step, such as “Project Bassline (YouTube)” will get a lot of love from the Almaz because of the detailed low-end, so to will anyone else, be that classical or thrash metal.
Mobile performance was pretty spectacular too and the in-line controllers do come in handy for making quick changes. My only issue for mobile use is the fit of the head band. It’s a little uncomfortable and the back of the drivers sit quite wide from your ears. Personally I know for a fact I always look stupid in over ear headphones, but the Almaz really look like they’re trying to get away from me when I wear them. However, I don’t care that I look silly in them, so long as the sound performance is up to scratch, and it certainly is. The microphone on the boom isn’t too bad either, nothing remarkable overall but there rarely is anything remarkable about a microphone these days. Skype and in-game chat were nice and clear overall and really that’s all that matters for most of us.
If you’re looking to invest in the Almaz, there actually a little tricky to obtain and only one retailer I know of sells them at the moment as they’re fairly new products to market. They’re currently listed for £112 from Alternate. The RRP is actually only 99.9 EUR, but we’re told prices will be updated soon to reflect this, as it stands we see the Almaz are overpriced by about £20 here in the UK, likely as a reflection of their currently limited availability.
The Almaz are quite expensive, but their performance is on par with sets of headphones that often cost £150+ and that does make them great value for money. The fact that you get so many cables in the box does seem a little excessive and I wonder if this could have been reduced to offer slightly better value for money. That being said, the inclusion of all these cables means that you may never need another headset again, given that you can use the Almaz as a pro-gaming headset, for work duties such as Skype, listening to music from a high-end amp, getting out and about with your phone and using it to make calls, listen to music, play games on the go, or hook it up to your MP3 player and go out for a jog, versatile indeed.
The fit could be a little better, ergonomics are far from perfect here and having the drivers more in-line with the headband would be a big improvement for this. The only plus side to the drivers being on the inside of the headband is that it helps keep them pinned tight to your ears. I’ll admit that it’s a little uncomfortable and the padding is a little tough, but that’s not uncommon on this kind of headset and it will improve with extended use as the padding moulds to your head and ear shape.
Build quality is superb, the headset feels durable and the overall finish of the plastics and trim are really nice too. All the cables are of a high standard and come with gold-plated fittings, pretty much what you would expect when investing around £100 on a product such as this.
Overall I think the Almaz are superb, I would love to see a few changes being made to their design should Attitude 1 take another shot at it, just to tweak the overall ergonomics and perhaps show a little more restraint in terms of how many cables are included in the box, sure they’re all useful but it does seem excessive. The Almaz still get an Editors Choice Award from me today though, because as a music lover I’ll take performance over style all day long and the Almaz are a prime pick for those wanting to kick back with a headphone amp and enjoy the full range of their music collection with sublime clarity.
- Flawless sound quality
- Very powerful drivers
- Extensive connectivity options
- Multi-format support (PC, portable devices, mobile, etc.)
- Great build quality
- Competitive price (given overall performance)
- Ergonomics aren’t as sleek as they could be when wearing the headphones
- Higher price may put off those unfamiliar with the brand
- Do we really need two iPhone and two Android cables?
- Availability could be better
Thank you Attitude 1 for providing us with this information.