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Review: LSTN Troubadour Headphones

by Paul Strauss

If you’re in the market for a pair of stylish headphones with unique finishes and solid sound, you might want to check out LSTN. Their lightweight headphones look good, and support a good cause. Buying a pair of LSTN headphones helps the Starkey Hearing Foundation help those with hearing loss.

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The first thing you’ll notice about LSTN’s Troubadour headphones is their snazzy wood ear covers. These are made from recycled exotic woods, reclaimed from old furniture and flooring, then polished to a high-gloss finish. My review unit had ebony wood covers, but you can also get them in beech, cherry, and zebra wood. The cherry ones are my personal favorite color scheme. The headphones include a detachable, tangle-resistant braided cord with gold-plated plugs and an inline microphone.

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The Troubadours are exceptionally light in weight, and comfortable enough to wear for long sittings thanks to their padded ear cushions and the very gentle pressure they exert on ears. The main structure of the headphones is made from a shiny metal, which offers easy adjustments whether you have a dainty head or a huge noggin like me. The ear cups also pivot and swivel for optimal fit. One tradeoff of the lightweight construction is that the metal feels a bit delicate for my tastes. I don’t think that it’ll break or anything like that, but the hose-clamp like construction doesn’t feel as substantial as some headphones I’ve tested. At the end of the day though, it’s all about how the headphones sound, and the Troubadours don’t disappoint.

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Sound is clean and natural, without over-emphasis of any portion of the spectrum. I did find that when driving them with my iPhone, they produced more than enough volume.  With my iMac, they required that the volume be set much higher. Distortion is imperceptible at normal and even very loud listening levels. I listened to a variety of material, ranging from blues to classic rock to alternative and EDM, and in all cases, the LSTNs performed admirably. I was especially impressed with the Troubadours’ ability to produce tight and punchy bass while at the same time hitting high notes that aren’t tinny.

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The LSTN Troubadours are definitely good looking, and strike a good balance between design, comfort and sound quality. Priced at $150(USD), they’re smack dab in the middle of the market, and priced quite competitively with other designer headphones. In my testing, they’re ideally matched to smartphones and portable media players, thanks to their lightweight and impressive output volume when used with those devices. If you’re looking for stylish headphones that sound good and won’t cost you $300, you should definitely check out the Troubadours.

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