The Pendulumic Stance S1 ($199) is a strikingly versatile headphone that packs a lot of practicality into a relatively inexpensive package.
There’s “Wireless Mode”, which uses Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX and promises to provide CD-quality sound wirelessly. “Amplified Mode” makes use of a built-in amplifier to juice up normal wired listening, but the headphones also allow for non-amplified wired use, as well. Handily, Stance S1 has a noise-reducing mic and will switch automatically into phone mode with an incoming call, pausing playback and giving single-button control, then picking up where the music left off when you end the call. The headphones are rechargeable, but also have space for two AAA batteries, which serve as a back-up for up to twelve additional hours of listening once the built-in lithium-ion battery runs out of juice.
I’m currently using a wired headset at work for conference calls and other pursuits that require headphones, and trying out the Stance S1 definitely had me contemplating whether it might be time for a replacement. Frankly, even if they didn’t sound that great, the comfort and ease of use in comparison to my current headset would be seriously tempting: the headphones sat comfortably on my head with just the right amount of squeeze, and I had no sense that I was going to lose them if I turned around too fast or ducked under my desk for a dropped pen. With the limited listening time I was able to dedicate to them at the show, however, I feel pretty comfortable in saying they are very much competitive with other similarly priced headphones out there, and definitely offer a crisper and sonically richer listening experience than other wireless headsets I’ve tried. As shocking as this may sound coming from a self-professed audiophile, I LOVE products that make my life easier, and the ease of use and flexibility here make these headphones a very appealing tool.