Armin van Buuren is an artist known for very high sound quality demands. It’s therefore not surprising that he has cooperated with one of the larger audio brands for developing headphones. What is a surprise is that he’s teamed up with Philips, since the company is not very well known for being a DJ brand. But it seems steps are being made to move in that direction with the advent of the A5-PRO renewal. As for headsets, Philips have always had a decent presence in that market for decades, so we were eager to check out the new A5-Pro and put them to the test.
Philips A5-PRO feels like you would expect from a professional level headset. They feel solid, a little on the heavy side, but they’re still very flexible headphones. They’re sleek and (thanks to the leather headband) give a classic look. What makes the A5-PRO stand out from the crowd are the removable caps on the outside of the ear cups. That way, you can give them their own appearance. Cool right!?
What’s in the box
To start with, of course, are the headphones themselves. There’s also a sturdy carrying case for transporting the headphones in an easy and safe way, a replaceable cable which we are all now used to with headphones and a conversion plug. There’s also extra ear cushion pads, so there’s always the right one for you to chose from and finally a basic manual.
You only have to hold the A5-PRO to feel that they have a high build quality, which is a good thing because the ability to withstand a lot of abuse is often more important than the sound quality. Even when the headphones still sound the same, it’s not good when you cannot wear them anymore because the parts are worn or fallen off, so it’s good to know that these headphones have been designed in collaboration with a DJ, as they lack the obvious weaknesses of other competing models. For the A5, Philips have had the hinge points specially developed. It’s good having foldable ear pieces and the ability to individually adjust them. Also, the shells themselves have a slight tilt, so as always to perfectly connect the headphones over your ears.
Another important feature to the A5-PRO is flexibility. You can stretch them quite far, which was a bit of surprise, because they feel reasonably stiff. The leather headband is also a plus point. This allows you to wear them for an extended period of time without the A5-PRO starting to irritate you. They remain pleasant to wear, which is nice considering that they are relatively heavy.
The cable attaches on either the left or right side, so you can choose whichever you like. The cord is 1.3 meters long, but when you pull it, can be extended to 4.5 meters, which is very long! Most competitors only extend to around three meters in length.
You can choose the ear pads. In this way, anyone can use his (or her) personal preference in terms of size or thickness and you can also choose (like the HD25) between leather or velvet pillows. Of course this means that they are also easy to replace when they are worn out. Please note though, these are rather heavy headphones, which is a thing you either like or detest.
Here, it’s good to note the cooperation with Armin. The A5-PRO sound particularly good and have their own characteristic sound, as opposed to (for example) a set of HD25’s or V-Moda’s, the sound is very spatial. This is because the mid and high frequencies are slightly emphasized. Please note, this is not equally pleasant for every musical style. For a Trance set, it sounds just perfect, but then of course, the A5-PRO were developed with trance in mind!
When you use them for normal listening sessions, they are a very pleasant sounding headphones, which you can wear without them becoming irritating, so for hi-fi use, you can certainly consider them.
The A5-PRO is a very good product. Not only in the design, but also in the sound and build quality, as all of these features were of paramount importance in the development of these headphones. The fact that you can replace the caps and ear pads gives them the ability for long-term use. The wearing comfort makes these very fine headphones indeed. The only question is whether you like the sound, so you have to test this for yourself. All in all, I have nothing but praise for the A5-PRO, they are very fine headphones!
Philips A5-PRO has a MSRP of 349 euro