We all appreciate a clear flow. But good sound is important too. This is why I was so pleased to find such a uniquely named headphone on my desk this morning. At under 300 bucks, these noise-cancelling headphones are cheaper than Sony’s now famous, WH-1000. Does the Cleer Flow come close to the effectiveness of the more celebrated noise-cancelling models on the market? And how does my pharmacist feel about it? And what can you expect in terms of sound quality? Let’s find out in this Cleer Flow Headphones Review.
Cleer Flow Headphones Review
IN the BOX
Though these cans are on the heavy side, they’re luxuriously padded, and I didn’t feel the weight once the Flow was on my head. The earpads are super plush, and there’s some nice padding on the headband as well. However, the fit is quite firm, which might bother some folks with glasses. I actually enjoyed the secure, swaddled feel. And it provides a good amount of sound isolation even with the noise-cancelling function turned off.
The Flow is one solid-looking headphone. Apart from it’s significant weight, it’s got a bulky, masculine structure, which I find sexy after a few cold ones. But despite it’s heftiness, this headphone folds and swivels flat into its hard carrying case, making it an easy traveling companion.
Now, let’s be honest. Aesthetics are important. And I always love a headphone company that offers a little bedazzle. This is why I was so thrilled to find that the shiny metal rings on the sides of the earcups are interchangeable. You can stick with the silver color, or go for rose gold rings that are included in the box.
Noise-cancellation is decent on these cans. The Flow probably cuts out more noise than a Sennheiser model, though not as much as the pricier Sony WH-1000. And like the WH-1000, the Flow also has an ambient mode, which lets in the outside sound. Handy for when you’re ordering coffee or riding a unicycle.
The Flow offers 20 hours of battery life, which isn’t particularly long when you compare it to a cheaper headphone like the Sennheiser HD 4.50BT, which provides 25 hours. But when you do finally run out of charge, you can use the Flow in passive mode with the included cable.
These cans have touch controls on the left earcup that allow you to play/pause, skip, adjust volume and answer calls. The Flow is also Hi-Res Audio certified and supports the most popular codecs, including LDAC and aptX (not aptX HD).
With the noise-cancellation feature active, the bass is deep and rich, giving ample body to the low-end. For some, that “thermal,” bassy feel may prove too much. And when the noise-cancelling is off, you’ll get a more tempered bass response. But those who love a lot of warmth in this frequency range will probably dig the sound signature. Pop has tons of punch, and listening to rock, basslines sound fat and expansive. That being said, it’s not the cleerest flow I’ve ever heard in this range. And those who prefer a well delineated sound may need a headphone with a cleaner profile.
There’s some nice midrange presence here, even if the bass often steals the stage from the low-mids. The upper mids don’t sit too far forward, so you won’t get any harsh vocal presence. And you’ll still feel like you’re getting the full scope of the mix in this range. So, you can expect a meaty sound when listening to big rock choruses. Moving onto folk music, acoustic guitar strums had good separation, even in the lower-mids. At the same time, these headphones add a little softness and color to acoustic instruments, making the sound easy and pleasing to the ear. And transparency isn’t bad either. Brass instruments, for example, had plenty of breathiness and tonality, making these cans reasonably suitable for jazz and classical music, at least with respect to this frequency range.
The Flow falls on the darker side. So, percussion instruments, for example, lack the snap or sparkle you’d find in a brighter sound signature. And listening to strings in this range, you can expect more smoothness than transparency. So, this headphone is most ideal for folks who are very sensitive to high frequencies or become easily fatigued during a listening session.
You won’t get a particularly wide soundstage here, but the Flow presents a nice amount of depth. At the same time, instrument placement is not the most precise I’ve heard at this price point, and it falls short of a 3D sound experience.
If you appreciate a study build, effective noise-cancellation and a warm sound signature, these cans are a respectable and more affordable alternative to the Sony WH-1000. Add to that some shiny earcups, and you’ve got a nice deal.