Our Verdict 
It’s all very well having a bold, bassy sound, but that’s not enough to make a stir in the crowded mid-range headphone market
For 
Enthusiastic sound
Attractively shiny body
Solid build
Cable connects to either ear cup
Against 
Sound outclassed in most areas
Make our ears warm after a while
Headband needs more cushioning
Reviewed on

These on-ears “will take you straight to Ibiza”, says Pioneer’s website. If you don’t take the statement too literally, of course, it’s not far wrong.

Design

Leather-style pads sit nicely on the ears, even if they make ours a little warm

With a summer anthem like Avicii’s Wake Me Up, the Pioneers have enough fire in their belly to make the track sound exhilarating.

Driven and bulging with bass, their 50mm drivers go to town with the thumping dance beats, while vocals are reasonably clear and focused throughout.

Their closed-back design means tunes are nicely isolated for your ears only (and not a passer-by) no matter how loud the volume is cranked up.

The Pioneer’s bottom-heavy manner is at the expense of balance, however, toppling a harmonious midrange and treble at almost every opportunity.

The track’s prominent acoustic guitar sounds like a mere afterthought, and lacks some clarity and detail.

More after the break

Performance

The earcups are moveable within the outer frame for flexibility

These traits don’t bode well with most music types. Spin through our playlist and the headphones are off-balance for most music: detail falls short and dynamics are fairly drab.

John Williams’s Theme from Schindler’s List is an oscillating orchestration with many fluctuating violin sequences, although you’d never know with the Pioneer’s stagnant dynamics.

They overlook the composition’s stop-starts and soaring violins too, and you have to strain to hear the (albeit) faint plucking of harps.

Ultimately, they fail to muster the insight and transparency of the competition. The Pioneers do have a neat trick, though: 3.5mm sockets in each ear cup mean you can choose which side the coiled cable hangs.

Build

A thin, rubber headband lining doesn't help long listening

The 2m, 3.5mm-ended cable has an in-line remote microphone – compatible with Android and iPhone – for hands-free calls, while a 6.3mm adapter to plug into your hi-fi system is supplied, along with a material carry case, in-flight adapter and extra cable completing a generous accessory bundle.

When it comes to appearance, you could easily think these are Beats, but with a bright-silver, indigo-black or bright-copper body and ‘Pioneer’ badge instead.

This sample is a copper pair and (although they colour clash with the supplied red cable) they look smart in the shiny, metallic coating. Sturdy and solidly built, these will survive a few scrapes.

The ear cups, which are part aluminium, are movable within the outer frame for a more flexible fit, while small, circular leather-type ear pads sit securely on the ears. If you don’t mind your ears getting warm after half-an-hour or so, they are reasonably comfy.

Which is more than we can say for the headband. With just a thin rubber lining underneath, a straight two-hour listen feels like punishment.

The band itself can be easily adjusted thanks to a sliding mechanism, though.

Verdict

These cans are targeted at dance music lovers and no doubt that’s where they will find their audience.

Enthusiastic and bass heavy (did someone say ‘Beats’?), they have their uses with certain beat-driven music – but simply don’t have the balance, dynamics or detail to gain our recommendation.

MORE: Best headphones to buy in 2015

The Competition 

Sennheiser Momentum

Our Rating 
97%
Price from £70.99

Philips Fidelio M1MKII

Our Rating 
0%
Price from £77.45
Breakdown 
Sound
Comfort
Build