If you haven’t already noticed, nearly every company in consumer electronics makes a headphone now, whether they have audio chops or not. From our experience, it’s best to stick with a company known for its audio gear. But when it comes to headphones, we know you need something with some swagger, too. You want something that’s both rugged and comfortable. And of course, it’d be nice to find a pair with understated style that won’t make you look like some wannabe DJ in a Miley Cyrus video. Luckily, Polk Audio’s latest leather-bound creation, the Buckle, has you covered.
Part of Polk’s Heritage collection, the Buckle offers a heady blend of classic style and modern innovation at a very manageable $200 online. The stout headband is carved from thick cuts of matte-finished metal and cloaked in strips of worn leather in either black, or chocolate brown. The plush ear pads wear a smooth coat of leather as well, encircling turtle-shell ear cups with a jaw-forward lean for an ergonomic fit. And adding a clever touch of innovation, the Buckle leave their iOS compatible control mic off of the removable cable, incorporating it into the headband instead for convenient control and crystal-clear call performance.
The Buckle’s sound is as smooth as its style, offering brooding bass lines, and a warm and ruddy color to the midrange that still manages to expose plenty of detail. The treble is a little more laid back than most, so it doesn’t sparkle as bright, rounding down the snap of percussion like snare drums and cymbals just a notch. But the headphones still bring a deep level of dimension and balance to their task, especially for their price range, capping off an extremely valuable overall package in a genre that’s as competitive as they come.