Review: Mycroft IzoPhones-30 and 30S – Kaizen

Disclaimer: Review samples were supplied for a long loan directly by Mycroft. Both Mycroft IzoPhones -30 and 30S go for 990$ USD. You can find out more about them here: Mycroft Planar headphones.

NOTE: the blemishes evident in the photos are due to these units being press samples that have travelled the globe many times. They’ve held up well, but are certainly no longer clean. If you purchase a brand new unit, it should be clean.

I still reckon that MyST’s IzoPhones can be used to steal a car. But when you’re not out busting windscreens with their prongy bits, I suggest keeping it easy. IzoPhones-30 and 30S are as rough and tumble as IzoPhones-60, but they may have single exhaust port just waiting to be wombatted.

That exhaust port is the headband yoke, which busted on the more expensive OrtoPhones. More on that next week.

IzoPhones-30 post-1

Maybe. This week I’ll be focusing on the IzoPhones; next I’ll look at Mycroft’s TOTL: OrtoPhones, which sound great, but which arrived at my office with a broken yolk. Since every model utilises the same manufacturing techniques, I assume that the yolk could break free on any Mycroft headphone – I just don’t know terror you’d have to commit for them to open up. Beyond that, and in accordance with last year’s review of IzoPhones-60, IzoPhones-30 and 30S are equal parts new tank-tough, equal parts tank-classy. For more detail, check that review out.

Their ear cup yokes are rough, sharp-edged, and slightly misshapen. Roman from Mycroft informs me that they’re working on making IzoPhones both look and feel better: eliminating manufacturing anomalies, cleaning up glue scat, and improving weaknesses. It’s a kaizen philosophy: when an improvement is made, it is applied to current production. Just as early Fujifilm X-T1 cameras came with mushy buttons, bowed doors, and light leaks, and later models were quietly released with fixes, an IzoPhones from late 2014 may be less polished than an IzoPhones from 2015. The review units I am borrowing are actually gunked up and it appears that brand new units can be less than pretty.

IzoPhones-30 grill-1

I get the impression that Mycroft is handling production to near capacity. And if the current yolk has fastening issues, the overall design is impressively tough. Sure, it’s not pretty, but it will last. Again, please reference last year’s review of the IzoPhones-60.

Some headphones are heavy (IzoPhones are), some can’t be adjusted for topless heads (IzoPhones barely pass), some come strapped to impossibly stiff, garden hoses of cables (IzoPhones’s cable is wonderfully supple and lean), some headphones clamp like mad (to be sure, IzoPhones clamp, but they can be stretched out). In other words, IzoPhones-30 and 30S are, on a comfort scale, just so-so. By the way, if you want to put on a garden hose, it’s easy: all IzoPhones models click in to 3,5mm stereo plugs at the cup. While supple, the stock cable, tangles and looks chintzy on a large, pricey headphone. Currently I have the 30 (non-S) tethered by a Verisonix cable.

IzoPhones’s 670g encourage me to give my head a rest every hour or so, or about an hour or two faster than DT880 head time, or on par with Audeze.

Sound impressions after the jump:

Review: Mycroft IzoPhones-30 and 30S – Kaizen
5 (100%) 11 vote[s]

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

11 Comments

  • Reply February 4, 2016

    Barun C

    Thanks for another enjoyable experience of images and words, Nathan. They are pretty interesting at around $650 (Approximately) . Do you believe personally, that the price premium is worth paying to get the 60 over the 30?

    • Reply February 4, 2016

      ohm image

      As I don’t have the 60 on hand (wish that could be rectified) I can’t answer you. I remember being _that_ much more floored by the 60, but I’m recollecting events from a year ago. I can say this: Mycroft got a LOT right: connections, secure fit, robust build, and as far as preferences go, the non-S 30 totally nails my likes. I wonder if Lieven might like the S version as he prefers warmer sound. The thing is that even the S version, warmer as it may be, isn’t warm and silky. It is warm and a bit chalky, which is the sort of warmth that I feel mates better with a wide variety of music.

      That is a long way to say that I don’t know. I was wonderfully surprised by 30 – so much so that I’ve asked Mycroft to leave a unit with us so that I can compare/contrast it in the future. I understand the line is growing.

      • Reply February 4, 2016

        Barun C

        Yes. So hopefully you’ll be doing a review of the $1500 OrtoPhones with the 30 as a reference followed by the Nail line of IEMs.

    • Reply February 5, 2016

      Roman Zaytsev

      sorry for i get in conversation 🙂
      izo 30 cost 900USD

      650 – it;s special Russian only price without boxes and package at all. Only phones. And only in Russia and cash in office.

      what i think about 30 and 60 (as manufacturer :)) Izo60 much more clean and sleek (like polished) but they have litle bit less bass and has some peak on hight-midle range. Sound some like… clarity and more light weight. Izo-30 is more neutral (in general) but hase not so sleek and polished sound.

      What beter i can’t realy say 🙂 In fact (keep it in secret please :)) we aredon’t think manufacture Izo60 (even we like them much!!!) because thought people will want sound like Audeze – more bassy more weight even with more distortion. But we are was wrong. People start asking it. fist time we made it only for every custome personaly but now it’s “serial” model. in line 🙂

      P.S. sorry for my english! 🙂

      • Reply February 5, 2016

        Barun C

        Thanks for the clarification. Will now eagerly wait for the OrtoPhones review.

        • Reply February 5, 2016

          Roman Zaytsev

          wait it to!

        • Reply February 11, 2016

          ohm image

          Next week!

          • Reply February 11, 2016

            Barun C

            That was fast!!

  • Reply February 12, 2016

    GrizzlybEast

    Are there any comparisons to other headphones that are more popular so that we can have a good reference Ie he560, 500, LCD2.2 or something of the likes? The 60 has little bass extension and I can’t find measurements of the other models.

    • Reply February 13, 2016

      ohm image

      It is likely that I will never own a HE560 or an LCD2.2 as I dislike the fit of either. I’m sorry.

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