Rating: ★★★☆☆


  • Cheap
  • Lightweight


  • Tepid, stale sound
  • Mildly uncomfortable
  • Cheap

When it comes to choosing a pair of head or earphones the most important factor is generally price.  Next to that is sound and style.  I still see fools using those crappy Apple Earbuds and I guess some people just don’t care, or they have no discerning audio palette that would even point them in the direction of what good tone is.

SkullCandy broke the marketplace wide open several years back with affordable head and earphones that sounded decent and had skater boy written all over them.  Wicked Audio wants a stake in that same marketplace it seems.  With a wide assortment of products to choose from, I am giving the “Gain” headphones a run for their money.  And their money is around $20.  Entry level at best, these are the headphones you give to your kid or as a gift to some other kid to tote around the skatepark.  The aesthetic is mildy gaudy, oozing with a mild Jersey Shore essence.

The construction is light and airy and the size of the headphone itself is definitely around child size.  I didn’t find them that comfortable during periods of extended use.  They didn’t feel super cheap, and they might even survive some light wear and tear.  Left and Right markings are clearly evident which is nice and there’s some excellent grip action atop the band to help you easily adjust the length of the phones to fit your head.

The sound was shallow at best.  Mp3′s sounded lame and unbalanced.  The stereo field was way muffled, distant, and generally duller than a petrified shank.  There is a decent amount of bass but it cuts out before you really feel it.  I felt like I was trapped inside the shell of rotting tree.  They sounded much better when playing portable video games on my PSP and iPhone 4 as well as podcasts.  Honestly, I’ve reviewed so many headphones and earphones that categorizing Wicked Audio’s “Gain” is too easy.  You get what you pay for.  At $20, these will be fine for some teenager as he/she loiters in front of Hot Topic.

At the end of the day, I like these headphones for what they are, but what they are is not much.  Still, not a bad product given their price point.  You can find them at your local FYE on your way to Hot Topic of course.

    Jeff B