Ferrari Cavallino T350 Headphones
Ferrari is well known around the world as a premium automaker. Its iconic prancing horse logo is as recognizable as the silhouette of a Coca-Cola bottle. Owners and admirers of the car consume Ferrari-branded merchandise (T-shirts, caps, mugs, etc.) with equal enthusiasm, but most audiophiles cringe at the thought of automobile-branded audio products; the mediocre reception to the Ferrari-branded Art.Engine floorstanding loudspeaker introduced a few years ago is a perfect example.
Understandably, the famed Italian carmaker does not put its name on standard, off-the-shelf products, so it sought out Logic3 (which is now 36 years old), and the two companies worked closely together to design and build a complete line of headphones and music docks. The Cavallino collection draws its inspiration from Ferrari’s GT road cars, while the Scuderia collection reflects the company’s F1 racing team.
The $399 T350 is the top-of-the-range headphone in the Cavallino collection, and its attractive tan-colored leather skin wrapped around its aluminum body is an instant head turner. Those feeling more incognito can choose the all-black model. But when you are wearing something from Ferrari, why not attract a little attention?
While the T350s are considered full-size headphones, they are not circumaural (around-the-ear). Instead, they feature ear cushions that rest on the ear (and are thus called supra-aural). For this reason, their passive noise isolation is quite good. The headphones also employ rather impressive active noise cancelation (ANC) for even better ambient noise rejection—maybe not as good ANC as some models from Bose, but it’s better than most ANC models I’ve experienced. But, as with all ANC headphones, do expect some hiss when the circuit is engaged.
The T350 requires a pair of AAA batteries to operate, because a passive mode is not present. Luckily, the T350 sports a ridiculously long battery life. I use the included alkaline batteries for a couple of hours before bed nightly for over two weeks before the battery light turns amber, indicating that the juice is low. Those using rechargeable batteries should consider that the charge stamina will suffer slightly if you do.
Like most modern headphones, the T350 is Apple-device friendly, thanks to its removable audio cable with 3.5-mm plug and integrated microphone and remote—but the designers didn’t stop there. The T350 also comes with cables that will work with your Windows, Android and BlackBerry devices for phone calls and music playback, making them truly platform independent. And everything can be stored neatly in the included faux-carbon-fiber travel case.
I use the latest-generation 160-gigabyte iPod classic for most of this review. Listening to Rodríguez’ Searching For Sugar Man soundtrack via the Cavallino T350 is a pleasant experience, with his vocals nicely separated from the acoustic guitar and percussion throughout. These are a closed-back set of phones with a very spacious sound—the echo in the track “Cause” feels as if it extends way beyond the boundaries of my head.
The headphones’ overall tonal balance is fairly linear through the mids to the upper highs, and they possess excellent sibilance-free extension, with the vocals sounding organic rather than processed. Pink Martini’s Smypathique is a go-to album that offers audiophile sound quality while remaining perky. With these phones, there is plenty of air around the vocals in “Song of the Black Lizard,” but switching the program material to some classic hip-hop tracks reveals the only shortcoming: The lower bass is somewhat lacking, but part of this is the result of using the iPod directly. These phones will need a proper amp to get the full-bodied bass they are capable of. Plugging into the Red Wine Audio Isabellina DAC/amp, for example, brings Snoop Dogg back to life. Comparing these to a few other recently reviewed phones, like the Logitech UE9000s, also shows the Logic3 phones to be slightly grainy.
Either way, this is a superb collaboration out of the chute. Ferrari by Logic3 has created a competent, stylish and musical pair of headphones worthy of the prancing horse. The big question is whether these will appeal equally to the Ferrari tifosi(Italian for fans) and the audiophiles. Regardless, I’m looking forward to Logic3’s next effort, with or without the prancing horse badge. -Jeff Dorgay
Ferrari Cavallino T350 Headphones