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ShearMe

[Review] California Headphone Company - Silverado

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Posted · Original PosterOP

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Looks, Build, Fit
med_gallery_2468_769_932615.jpg  med_gallery_2468_769_785053.jpg med_gallery_2468_769_59106.jpg
 
 
Yes, that's all-metal construction. Yes, that's real leather padding. The CHC Silverado is a fashion headphone through and through. Fashion headphones from the likes of Skullcandy, Beats Electronics, etc. are well-known for being horrendously overpriced for the cheap creaky plastic you get, but newer companies like V-Moda and CHC are breaking that trend quickly. These seem like the best built headphones in my collection to date. Clamp is tightest I've had in a headphone, and the pads are stiff, but those two factors combined make the headphone comfortable in a snug, vice-grip-on-the-head kind of way. The band stretches out easily enough over a PC case if you don't like the clamp, but I've accidentally worn them for 12 hours straight once, and have even fallen asleep in them a few times. I was skeptical of real leather earpads before, but I quite like them now that I've had a try. Even when sweating, they don't get sticky like pleather does, and dry off better with a quick wipe down. 
 
The two negatives of the build are the only two negatives I have of the entire headphone: 1) the headband padding is thin and not plush enough to really do anything for comfort, and 2) the cable is cheap, lightweight, and thin. Comfort is already good enough for me to personally not worry about 1), and the cable is replaceable to not worry much about 2). Unfortunately, it's wired weird, so you need to buy the replacement straight from CHC or make your own - not cool CHC!.
 
Sound
  

Our Natural Vocal Centered audio technology uses metal sound chambers with 40mm drivers to create a rich, punchy sound signature that brings the vocals to the front, makes acoustic guitars resonate, and snare drums pop!

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via InnerFidelity
 
The marketing material behind this company is all about making Rock music sound great, but in reality, it sounds FUCKING FANTASTIC. These are no slouch with other genres either, because the whole frequency range is well represented. After burn-in, I can say I think these would be bright headphones without those "metal sound chambers" which amplify the upper bass/lower mids and add some reverb. They give a sort of concert-hall type sound (not exaggerated like that setting in the Realtek control panel) which is very interesting and pleasant to the ears. The chambers also make the soundstage supreme in those frequencies for which they are tuned - like when a guitar is only in one of the channels. In certain songs by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, the band has two guitars playing relatively the same notes, but they vary in distortion, note lengths, etc. With these headphones, I can more distinctly hear the two separate guitars than with any other. It's pretty cool. 
 
When I first put them on, I was surprised at how nice the bass was because I expected something more neutral or mid-friendly. For you super bass heads out there, these EQ very nicely. Using the bass boost switch on my E10, and I get a nice brain massage with my bass-heavy songs. I think I'm going to be recommending them over the V-Moda Crossfade LP from now on if the price stays low. Unlike the LP, the bass does not extend into the mids and muddy things up - the highs are still crystal clear to my ears, though I am a treble sensitive bass head. Not the prettiest graph, but it aint terrible either. Isolation is great. It's nice to finally have a pair with good isolation and low leakage.
 
Conclusion
 
Some audiophiles will scoff at the measurement graphs, but when you consider the headphone as a whole it's hard to rule it out as a good option on the market. Sure, there's a cheap driver thrown in and tuned by the earcup design. Sure, the cable rather blows. But with the nice build quality, great isolation, and "fun" sound signature, it's easy to dismiss those faults. After updating this post with conclusion, the Silverado has been "on sale" for $50 on Amazon for weeks. At this price, there's nothing that comes close to competing for closed, over-ear, portable headphones.

 

Second Pair Update: I sold my first pair whilst liquidating my collection of headphones some time ago. Recently broke down and bought another pair as Amazon's supply for $50 pairs has had a bumpy showing. The pads do not seem to be as great a quality as my first. They are softer leather, and the foam is more squishy than I remember, which is nice, but i did prefer the tougher feeling of my first pair. They are not nearly as symmetrical, and the foam within feels a little deformed. This makes it a little difficult to get a proper seal around my left ear, which effects bass response and decreases isolation. There's a few things here and there which just seem a bit off in the build, like maybe quality control has been slacking off. Still a GREAT headphone for $50, but I think we've been seeing lower and lower prices consistently on these for a reason...
 
http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/93233-looking-for-a-new-pair-of-headphones/#entry1257600

So yeah, I just got my Silverados today and they did not disappoint... I have tested them with a wide range of genres and have
found that they really have the perfect amount of bass for me.  I wouldn't say they are only good for rock though, because to my ears every genre sounded fantastic.  I even tested them with some deadmau5 and for me they were perfect there also.  Also, the build quality is fantastic because the entire headset is pretty much metal, but that also doesn't make them heavy.  They sat very light on my head, although I'm also 6'4" so our ideas of what is light may very...
 
With all of that said... I would definitely recommend these headphones if you can afford the 99$ on amazon (they are also prime eligible which was a plus...)
 
I'd be very surprised if you were disappointed with these headphones...


Laredo Update:

The Silverado has recently become unavailable on Amazon. There have been some good prices on eBay still, but otherwise the only place I know to get them is on CHC's website for MSRP prices. As such, I've got a CHC Laredo on my head as I've heard questions about it in the past. They sound pretty darn good, IMO, just like the Silverado. I've already noticed some bass panning and a mouth pop I've never heard before on some songs in my "Starred" playlist on Spotify.

 

The pieces holding the forks are plastic, the metal doesn't have as nice a finish, the cable is shorter and non-removable, and the pads are pleather. Good pleather, but the interior shape is oval and kinda weird. Overall build feels kinda loose and wobbly in the hand, but is tight on the head. Not as confident in the $99 MSRP as I was about the Silverado's $200, but if it stays under $75 I'd reckon it's still recommendable if the Silverado stays out of commission.

 

I think they are rather uncomfortable personally. The tight clamp matched with the on-ear design means they're pretty hard to wear.

 

 

Pad Information

 

Laredo pads are replaceable with anything roughly 80mm in diameter. I have tried replacing the stock pads with cheapo velours to improve comfort, which did help a little, but mostly removed all bass response.

 

Silverado pads are not removable without damaging them. They are stretched around three pins on a plastic piece which then clip into the driver housing. The driver housing is secured with three silver screws. You CAN remove said screws through the internal lining of the pads, but you WILL damage the mesh microfiber. I have done this to my own pair to reveal the interior for others.

 

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Sounds a lot like the Custom One Pros, just $50 cheaper and no bass port or customization options


"Pardon my French but this is just about the most ignorant blanket statement I've ever read. And though this is the internet, I'm not even exaggerating."

 

 

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Getting mine in the next couple days, I can't wait to listen to actual headphones instead of crappy ear buds and my monitor's speakers :D

Also what's so bad about the cable?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Getting mine in the next couple days, I can't wait to listen to actual headphones instead of crappy ear buds and my monitor's speakers :D

Also what's so bad about the cable?

 

The cable is too thin for my liking. Seems durable enough thanks to the braiding, but I like my full sized headphones to have thicker cables.

 

The Amazon price you posted is no longer accurate.

 

Hence the "at the moment" part of the sentence. I also noted their full MSRP.

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This is the best! Audio especially the rock music I listen to is beyond belief, not to mention the delicious industrial design that actually uses metal and leather. Feels amazing on my head :)

Thanks for making this review and helping my decision on these sexy gold cans!\

 

Color me impressed, don't color my audio ;D

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Honestly going into this I heard California and Headphones and immediately assumed these would be over priced crap just like beats. Seems I might be wrong will have to see more reviews first.


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I was only living because it was too much trouble to die.

 

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How do you feel strong bass music sounds with these headphones? Do you think you'll be able to hear the rumbling with these or not that extreme?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This is the best! Audio especially the rock music I listen to is beyond belief, not to mention the delicious industrial design that actually uses metal and leather. Feels amazing on my head :)

Thanks for making this review and helping my decision on these sexy gold cans!\

 

Color me impressed, don't color my audio ;D

 

Glad you like them! :)

 

 

Honestly going into this I heard California and Headphones and immediately assumed these would be over priced crap just like beats. Seems I might be wrong will have to see more reviews first.

 

Yeah, I avoided them when I heard about them too, but since I only paid $60 during a super special sale...

 

 

How do you feel strong bass music sounds with these headphones? Do you think you'll be able to hear the rumbling with these or not that extreme?

 

Bass in great, and EQ's very nicely if you want more.

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has anyone found a replacement cable? the cable really sucks, I've put up with it for a few months but I'm thinking of just selling this and getting a siberia v2 if there aren't any better cables available, and I can't find any.

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has anyone found a replacement cable? the cable really sucks, I've put up with it for a few months but I'm thinking of just selling this and getting a siberia v2 if there aren't any better cables available, and I can't find any.

there are a bunch of cables just look for a Y 3.5mm cable that fits your likings.

I don't really care about the cable and will only replace if it breaks but something annoying happened to where it connects to the right earcup and the connector inside has become loose... any suggestions?

I'm thinking of just shoving something really thin inside to stop it from wobbleing like an uneven table.

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there are a bunch of cables just look for a Y 3.5mm cable that fits your likings.

I don't really care about the cable and will only replace if it breaks but something annoying happened to where it connects to the right earcup and the connector inside has become loose... any suggestions?

I'm thinking of just shoving something really thin inside to stop it from wobbleing like an uneven table.

the only ones I can find are normal splitter cables, I still haven't found one that splits into left and right.

My problem with the cable is that since it's made of cloth it'll brush against my clothes and any slight movement will my head will make a lot of noise. That coupled with the problem of there not being any decent microphones for less than 30€ makes it a pretty crappy experience.

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the only ones I can find are normal splitter cables, I still haven't found one that splits into left and right.

My problem with the cable is that since it's made of cloth it'll brush against my clothes and any slight movement will my head will make a lot of noise. That coupled with the problem of there not being any decent microphones for less than 30€ makes it a pretty crappy experience.

options for purchase

if you want a desktop mic the blue yeti might be in your price range $50 and theres the zalman clip on and the antmod modmic that attach to the headphones

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options for purchase

if you want a desktop mic the blue yeti might be in your price range $50 and theres the zalman clip on and the antmod modmic that attach to the headphones

I have the zalman and it's pretty much terrible even if you disregard the fact that it won't clip on to the cable on the silverados. It's just way too sensitive to be useful, if a dog barks on the other side of the block the mic will pick it up. I also notice a faint echo on it, probably due to build quality of the enclosure. The modmic is probably the only thing that can decently replace a headset's microphone, but if I'm paying 30$+ for a cheap microphone I might as well just get a headset.

 

That isn't an option at all, that's 3.5mm to 2.5mm.

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I have the zalman and it's pretty much terrible even if you disregard the fact that it won't clip on to the cable on the silverados. It's just way too sensitive to be useful, if a dog barks on the other side of the block the mic will pick it up. I also notice a faint echo on it, probably due to build quality of the enclosure. The modmic is probably the only thing that can decently replace a headset's microphone, but if I'm paying 30$+ for a cheap microphone I might as well just get a headset.

 

That isn't an option at all, that's 3.5mm to 2.5mm.

If you'd rather have a better microphone than headphone, which is very generous of you btw :) you could get a headset but trusth be told they're not much better than a modmic so why not both [insert taco girl meme here]

actually it is a 3.5mm cable check the spercifications

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If you'd rather have a better microphone than headphone, which is very generous of you btw :) you could get a headset but trusth be told they're not much better than a modmic so why not both [insert taco girl meme here]

actually it is a 3.5mm cable check the spercifications

It's a 3.5mm to 2x 2.5mm cable. The specifications only mention the 3.5mm end because the other end is for the H-83380 headphones.

 

A better microphone than headphones? No, I require both to be at least decent and something like a siberia v2 would give me a decent mic and decent headphones. Either way right now I have the silverados, which have worse sound quality than the siberia due to the insane amount of noise, and the zalman mic-1 which is also much much worse than the siberia's mic for the reasons already specified.

So now my options are waste 35€ on a modmic and 15€ on a replacement cable for the silverados (if I manage to actually find one) and hope the problem will be fixed or I can just get a siberia v2 for the 50€ and I know the problem will be fixed but will have to throw away the 150€ I've already spent on the silverados+zalman mic1.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Either way right now I have the silverados, which have worse sound quality than the siberia due to the insane amount of noise,

 

I have the zalman and it's pretty much terrible .... It's just way too sensitive to be useful, if a dog barks on the other side of the block the mic will pick it up.

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

again, it won't. it's 3.5 to 2.5mm.

 

thanks for suggesting this crappy setup and then laughing afterwards. it's been really helpful.

 

I realized that was the wrong cable after posting and edited, but I guess you're too quck. I went searching and I think this'd work: http://www.miniinthebox.com/2x3-5mm-single-track-male-to-3-5mm-dual-track-male-audio-cable-black-for-musical-recording-1-5m_p713682.html?currency=USD&litb_from=paid_adwords_shopping&gclid=COjxiueJ0rwCFczm7Aodi0cAiA

 

Laughed because it sounds like you're saying these are bad products because they're too good.

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I realized that was the wrong cable after posting and edited, but I guess you're too quck. I went searching and I think this'd work: http://www.miniinthebox.com/2x3-5mm-single-track-male-to-3-5mm-dual-track-male-audio-cable-black-for-musical-recording-1-5m_p713682.html?currency=USD&litb_from=paid_adwords_shopping&gclid=COjxiueJ0rwCFczm7Aodi0cAiA

 

Laughed because it sounds like you're saying these are bad products because they're too good.

thanks, that will do. I tried several searches and couldn't figure out what this type of splitter is actually called.

 

Ideally you want a cable with as low friction as possible because with tight-fit closed headphones if it brushes against something then all the noise will travel into the headphones, like the yogurt-cups cord telephone thingy. And for that this cable is one of the worst designs anyone could ever think off. How can you guys not notice this? There's so much noise it drives me insane. Right now the only way I can appreciate music is if I sit perfectly still.

 

The microphone is too "good" for the enclosure, the enclosure sucks so noise is travelling through it and given the high sensitivity of the microphone it will create a very faint but still noticeable echo, as if I was in a bathroom or something. This makes the microphone omnidirectional, which is terrible because it'll always pick up slightly heavier keystrokes, and I still use a membrane keyboard. I need to use teamspeak's noise cancellation and echo reduction on top of realtek's noise cancellation and echo reduction, and that is after having put the microphone inside a glove in order to dampen sound, so I'm heavily degrading sound quality for it to be remotely useful. Why anyone recommends this microphone is beyond me, it's really terrible. Just so you have an idea, the first time I tried it it was actually picking up the sound leak from the silverados, that's how sensitive it is.

But the money won't be entirely wasted as I'm going to glue this to the ground and use it to measure earthquakes on the other side of the planet. I think it'll be a fun project.

With that said please never recommend this microphone to anyone ever again. Maybe they don't notice it because their friends don't tell them, but it picks up everything and while it transmits what you're saying very clearly it will also transmit everything else people don't want to be hearing over teamspeak.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

But the money won't be entirely wasted as I'm going to glue this to the ground and use it to measure earthquakes on the other side of the planet. I think it'll be a fun project.

 

Now, that deserves a true laugh. I'd repost that gif but you get the idea. Never heard of someone getting one that sensitive before, but even so I'm still going to recommend it as a simple cheap mic that works. Push To Talk master race doesn't care if it picks up your keyboard.

 

As for the cable microphonics, I guess it depends on more than a few personal factors. The resonant chambers do pick up that noise and amplify it, but I never had a problem using it a work (lots of walking and physical activity).

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Posted · Original PosterOP

would you say these are worth it at the $80 they are at right now even though I already have hd650s and Denon d600?

 

If you like experiencing new headphones, or need something more "portable" than your Denon, then yes.

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The cable http://www.miniinthebox.com/2x3-5mm-single-track-male-to-3-5mm-dual-track-male-audio-cable-black-for-musical-recording-1-5m_p713682.html?currency=USD&litb_from=paid_adwords_shopping&gclid=COjxiueJ0rwCFczm7Aodi0cAiA does not work as a replacement for the silverado. The cable from the silverado uses middle conductor of the jack to carry the audio, so normal splitter cables do not work.

If you want a replacement then you'll need to buy it from the CHC, any other cord won't work.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

The cable http://www.miniinthebox.com/2x3-5mm-single-track-male-to-3-5mm-dual-track-male-audio-cable-black-for-musical-recording-1-5m_p713682.html?currency=USD&litb_from=paid_adwords_shopping&gclid=COjxiueJ0rwCFczm7Aodi0cAiA does not work as a replacement for the silverado. The cable from the silverado uses middle conductor of the jack to carry the audio, so normal splitter cables do not work.

If you want a replacement then you'll need to buy it from the CHC, any other cord won't work.

 

Fucking stupid..... time to edit le review

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