The iFrogz Audio Coda Headphones with Mic has finally fit the bill for an inexpensive set of over-the-ear headphones that also includes a microphone. The headphones, made by Zagg under their iFrogz label, offer excellent sound at a most excellent price, and everything about the headset works just the way you'd expect it to. The 3.5 mm plug works well with any of today's consumer electronics, whether it's a cellular phone or a computer.
These headphones feature a 40 mm neodymium driver unit with 32 ohms impedance. Zagg advertises the headphones as having a frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, sensitive to 105 dB +/- 3 dB at 1 kHz. In my own testing with NCH Software's Tone Generator, I found that sounds above and beyond that range could be distinguished, but were noisy and scratchy. Within the advertised range, however, the tones were clear and accurate.
The fact of the matter is, very few people really test their headphones with a tone generator. The true test of quality lies in the listening, so I listened. My musical interests range widely, so I followed those interests to see just how well the headphones would serve me. No matter what I listened to, from the bass-heavy songs by Lecrae and MGK to the screaming trumpet solos of Maynard Ferguson, and everything in between sounded great.
The Audio Coda headphones render the bass lines of even the most throaty raps and songs with crisp notes almost totally devoid of muddiness. Whether I've got the Bass Booster on or off, the bass sound is rich and warm, letting the thumpingly deep tones work their way into my ears and heart.
Mids and Highs
To really test the fullness of sound provided by iFrogz Audio Coda headphones, I put Woody Herman's La Fiesta through my headphones and listened carefully during the verses and refrains. Every part of the song, from the deep bass trombone and bariton saxophone to the acrobatic trumpet refrains, had crisp and clear separation while blending nicely together in the way that only Woody's band and a good pair of speakers or headphones can allow. Even James Morrison's Scream Machine gave me a wonderfully vibrant mix of the bass, mids, and highs.
The major drawback to any over-the-ear headphones is the comfort factor, especially if you wear glasses. When the ear cups press the flesh of your ear against the earpieces on your glasses for too long, it usually hurts. The only way around that is a set of ear cups large enough to make you look like you're wearing an aviator's headset instead of a classy pair of headphones. iFrogz does a decent job of maintaining the comfort level with my glasses, but I can still start to notice a touch of pain after several hours of wearing the headphones. Even so, the headphones are lightweight and adjustable beyond most other headsets I've owned, so my comfort complaint is only minimal.
Materials & Construction
The Audio Coda headphones are coated in a soft touch plastic, and are made so that they are not collapsible. Even so, these are very durable and seem to resist scratching, since I regularly toss them into the top of my backpack and carry them around all day without a care. The headphones are available in 12 different colors to suit your particular style, with matching color nylon sheaths around the cords.
The 47-inch (1.2 meter) long cord is a tangle-free design and sheathed in nylon, giving the audio cable a sturdiness I've never found in headphones within this price range. Truth be told, I can't figure out a way to damage this cable and trust me, I've tried. Should I ever succeed in damaging the cord, though, it won't be the end of this headset: the cord is detachable and thus replaceable.
One nice feature of the cord is that it only plugs into the left side, which lessens the likelihood of me suffering cord choke when something (or someone) gives my headset cord a yank from behind. The plugs fit snugly into both the headphone and my iOS and Mac devices. As an added surprise, the L-shaped plug fits nicely even through the headset port in my Otterbox Defender iPhone 5 case. For those of you with the Otterbox Defender, you know that it takes a special kind of cord to actually work right with this case, and Zagg has made just that kind of cord.
Zagg includes a single-button microphone in the detachable cable, and I've put the microphone to excellent use. When I don't feel like using my Bluetooth headset around the house, I'll plug in the headphones and use the built-in microphone for recording notes, talking to Siri, or talking on the phone. I've even maintained a phone call with the headset while vacuuming, and the party at the other end barely noticed the noise of the vacuum cleaner.
The mic button is a bit difficult to find the right orientation for, but it works pretty much as you would think. You press and release once to play or pause your music, answer a ringing call, or hang up a call. If you want to trigger Siri, press and hold the button until Siri wakes up.
Don't get me wrong here: if I had unlimited money, I'd probably jump right into the bandwagon and buy a pair of $300 headphones. I don't have unlimited money, so when I look for a quality set of headphones, cost is definitely a factor. At a price less than $40, the iFrogz Audio Coda headphones with mic are probably the most robust, comfortable and useful headphones within in the under $100 market. At a price less than $50, the iFrogz Audio Coda headphones definitely provide value for the money.