The UK-based HiFi specialist online website
“This is an excellent sounding and beautifully built headphone that consistently delivers a sound that is lively and powerful without being ruthlessly revealing of less than perfect or compressed material. I’ve no idea if I’ve been bowled over by the PHD driver but I do know that I’ve listened to the Phonon by preference over the many pairs of headphones in the house over the last few weeks and that has to count for something. If you are looking for a compact home headphone, you need to try a pair of these.
It is also a very civilised one too. My notes (such as they are- I’ve never been one for pages and pages of shorthand) keep referencing the exceptionally civilised way that the Phonon goes about making music. ‘Civilised’ should not be taken to be a polite word for ‘dull’ however. The SMB-02 manages to be detailed and usually very entertaining but it is able to get the best out of recordings that are a bit rough around the edges. The very fine Head Down by Rival Sons is a fine album but not a masterpiece of the recording art. The Phonon manages to capture the energy of the record while helpfully masking some of the roughest edges of the piece.
This means that the SMB-02 is very easy indeed to listen to for long periods. By avoiding any superficial excitement, you get a consistently rewarding presentation that has plenty of drive and attack when needed but is relaxed and refined when it isn’t. If you exist solely on a diet of speed metal and the most amphetamine fuelled drum & bass, you might find that the Phonon is a little too polite to truly deliver what you want but for a more varied musical repertoire, it does rather well.”» Read More…