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Onkyo steps into the portable arena with a pair of headphones aimed squarely at the mainstream market for over-the-ear quality cans - the category currently dominated by 'Beats' headphones. The ES-FC300 features aluminum housings, 40mm Titanium drivers and a choice of two detachable cords. The new Onkyo sports a flat cable for $149 or an 'audiophile grade' option which increases the cost to $179. Onkyo floated the possibility of adding a remote and microphone dial on an accessory cable, but that's purely speculative. The over-the-ear model will be accompanied by a pair of in-ear models. Headphones are a crowded market, but Onkyo looks like they've done a good job on their first attempt.
Both models will be available in black, white, and purple when they ship in March. As for sound, it's what you'd expect from a more audiophile-oriented headphone: natural, balanced sound with good detail.
They are vibrant and fun, with a solid bass kick that doesn’t veer into bass bloat territory, as many stylish headphones of the day do. This is matched with a sparky treble, a nice wide soundstage for a closed pair and reasonably good separation. They’re not going to replace our open-back headphones for at-home use, but they certainly attract our attention more than the pricier Beats Solo HD – a hugely popular set.