Last month, we took a look at the Blue Yeti Blackout and, as you might imagine with such an esteemed mic, were extremely impressed. When we found out that Blue also had a pair of high-end headphones targeted at gamers and music lovers alike, we had to take a look. Enter the Blue Lola, a $249 set of monitors packed big 50mm drivers, a striking design, and exceptional quality that makes it the perfect companion to the Blue Yeti.
- Type and size: 50mm, fiber reinforced dynamic driver
- Impedance: 42 ohms
- Frequency Response: 15Hz – 20kHz
- Enclosure details: Sealed enclosure with tuned damping materials
- Weight: 397g
The first thing you'll notice about the Lola is it's unique design. As you can see in the picture, it features a vintage aesthetic that matches the Blue logo very well. This design grew on me the more I used them. Not only do they look unique, but the retro styling really supports the impression that these aren't your average headphones. I have to admit, it's nice to not be another person rocking Beats or Skullcandys when out and about.
The frame is all metal, a carryover from the company's previous Mo-Fi headset (now called the Sadie), and its a great inclusion on the Lola. Too many “premium” items rely on cheap plastic for my taste, so it's nice to see Blue go for the more durable, high quality route with the Lola. The enclosures use plastic bodies but since these are rarely the point where headphones break, I'm comfortable with this. The all metal Sadie's are also $399, so it's a welcome trade off.
I was concerned about weight – 397g is nothing to scoff at – but it turns out I needn't be. The headset eschews the usual adjustment band and opts for a multi-jointed headband instead. When seated on your ears, twisting the cups adjusts the headband to the shape of your head. The suspension system at play not only secures the headset to create a nice seal around your ears, but does so without squeezing your head or ratcheting a band into your hair, giving you headphone head. I've always avoided wearing over-ears out of the house because my hair always winds up a mess and the Lola completely solves that while also being more durable and giving a much better impression of quality.
The cans are exceptionally comfortable. They were large enough to fit entirely over my ears and the padding is thick enough to make wearing them for long gaming sessions enjoyable. Having used many headsets, cheaper pads have a tendency to tear or flake over time, but the material on the Lola's is much better than any pure “gaming” headset I've ever owned. They also do an exceptionally good job of blocking out outside noise. They're not noise cancelling, but they create a nice seal and dampen outside noise so that with any sound coming out of them everything else is pretty much blocked. For gaming, this really lets you hear those small ambient noises and footsteps that might otherwise be hidden. Like any enclosed headset, however, they will make your ears sweat.
When it comes to sound quality, the Lola's are just fantastic. The frequency response is slightly outside the typical range of human hearing, at least on the low end. Humans can generally here between 20Hz and 20kHz and the Lola's are rated for 15Hz on the low end, meaning that bass hits won't distort when given the proper juice. These are headphones tuned for accuracy and only slightly favor the low end. This is again good for games where booms and bangs, or even the reverberation of boot stomps is going to be nice and clear, but for music using an EQ will get you the best results.
The Lola is a stereo headset with no surround sound. While it would be nice to see Blue's take on this, the reality is that most headsets opt for virtual surround anyway. In games, simulating surround like this can sometimes even obfuscate the direction of audio cues and especially reverberating footsteps. A good stereo headset like the Lola may use only two channels, but does so much more effectively than your average gaming “surround sound” headset.
A little less impressive is the in-line microphone included on the mobile audio cable. The controller here is fairly standard, with play/pause and volume up/down buttons (on Android, only play/pause is functional). Like the frame on the headset, the controller is also all metal, which is another nice touch. Coming from Blue, however, I expected the microphone to be better than what it actually was. Used with a smartphone, recordings are clear but tinny. On Windows, it's just too quiet without adding extra gain and with it extra hiss. Compared to other in-line mics, like any number of Skullcandy's, it's pretty standard but not impressive.
The other big difference between the Lola and the Sadie is the lack of a built in amplifier. The Lola is made to be a more straightforward headset, amplifiers being a more audiophile inclusion anyway, but there's something to be said for the distortion free volume afforded by a small amp. The larger-than-average 50mm drivers in each cup can pack a serious punch. The average PC or smartphone headphone jack is perfectly capable of making these headphones sound good (especially because the noise isolation means they don't need to be turned up all the way), but I'd still recommend a cheap amplifier to help push them to the next level.
Blue's opinion, clearly, is that an amplifier isn't necessary to enjoy the headset. I would definitely agree. You don't need one. At the same time, the increased width of your soundstage (the perceived separation of sounds) and the clarity at high volumes makes an amp a great add-on for the headset. Since these headphones are made to be used on everything from smartphones to professional audio equipment (there's an extra 3m cable for just that purpose), it's not surprising that it elevates the experience.
Unlike our fellow tech writer, Kasey Gilder, I'm not an audio engineer. I'm a gamer and music lover. What I can tell you is that the Blue Lola headphones impressed me in nearly every way. In my home, I have multiple $30 in-ear headphones and over-ears ranging from $40-250. The Lola is the best of the bunch. It sounds great and a much higher quality headset. I wish the in-line microphone was a bit better, but it works well for calls and you're probably not using an in-line on PC anyway. If the Yeti impressed you, the Lola is its perfect companion for streaming, gaming, and generally enjoying the world of high fidelity PC audio.
- Excellent build quality with metal frame
- Fantastic sound
- Two detachable audio cables for studio and mobile
- Nice included case
- Looks great and doesn’t cause “headphone head”
- A little pricey
- Ear sweat common to closed ear headphones
The product discussed in this article was provided by public relations for the purposes of review.
Hey, MMORPG Readers! We're looking for your recommendations on high quality headphones and headsets. Have something recent that you'd like to see reviewed? Something exceptional we need to be considering? Let us know in the comments below!