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KEF M500

KEF is famous for its speakers, but the M500 headphones
 (and the KEF M200 in- ears) are the company's first attempt at tackling the headphone market.
It’s a bold move going straight in with a £250 pair of headphones, but out of the box the KEF M500s make a good first impression.
The precision-tooled and sandblasted aluminium frame feels sturdy and weighty – we wonder if it’s any coincidence that they look good next to an Apple laptop.

Both have a 3.5mm connector for your smartphone, tablet or music source and
 a 2.5mm jack which fits in to the corresponding hole in the rear of the left earpiece;
 you’ll soon know if you’ve got the cable the wrong way round.
KEF’s ‘Smart Hinge’ rotates on two axes to help them fit to your head: they sit snugly
but don’t feel vice-like. Adjusting the headband length could be smoother
though – it’s a very stiff sliding action for both ear-pieces. 
There are two tangle-proof 1.3m cables in the box. 
One has an in-line mic and three-button control for iPhone users, and the other is a plain cable.
Otherwise, the left-to-right movement of the earpads helps to angle the drive units 

depending on the shape of your ears, and helps keep them secure.
Sat on your ears, the pads add a good degree of isolation from outside noise
, although they’re no match for a pair of active noise-cancelling headphones such as the Bose QuietComfort 15.

KEF M500: sound qualityimage: 

 The KEFs favour refinement and solidity above mega-enthusiasm, but that does prevent them conveying the intent in this track.
Play Adele’s Skyfall and the track sounds suitably dramatic. Vocals are smooth and refined
, too – an M500 tonal trait that means the M500s can still be your friend when it comes to harsh recordings.
However, there’s a slight lack of subtlety. Even more affordable headphones such as

 the excellent AKG K551 cans bring dynamic subtlety, fluidity and a neutrality that the KEF M500s can’t quite match. [left side bar]

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