Meters' OV-1-B Connect headphones have VU dials and a $349 price tag

The best plans of mice, men and niche UK audio brands can go wrong when the world is hit by a global pandemic. Meters Music announced its new flagship headphones back in January. The delivery takes place a few months later. It's December now and this is the first time we've seen the new OV-1-B Connect cans in the meat.
Meters Music is part of Ashdown Engineering, a UK company that makes bass amps for musicians. The selling point is the inclusion of analog VU (Volume Unit) meters in the Pro hardware which is also added to the headphones. Here, both ear cups have outward-facing VU monitors, so it looks like you're wearing a '70s hi-fi unit on your head.
The headphones are sturdy built, with an emphasis on retro design, a silver aluminum case and a faux leather headband in tan, black or white. They're not the lightest cans in the world, but the weight is at least balanced and the thick synthetic leather keeps them soft. I've worn them for two or three hours straight and found that if only they were placed that way, they would sit comfortably enough on my head.
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Connect the OV-1-B from Meters Music Bluetooth headphones to your ears
I'm not the first (or 100th) person to point out how badly the VU meters have been hit. You can only see them if you have a couple of mirrors and a curved neck. As such, they aren't particularly useful for determining if your music is too loud. They are calibrated to EU listening standards and therefore only really start to jump when the sound has reached a semi-unpleasant level anyway. However, they are so sensitive that with the audio turned off they will jump quite a distance if you have a small coughing fit.
According to Meters, they're not just about showing parents if their kids are listening to their music too loud. (Who knew there was a market for parents buying luxury headphones for their kids big enough to feed an entire business?) Really, they're an easy way for you to tell the world that You really care about music, yes?
There is an RGB LED hidden behind each VU meter, and you can change the backlight color from standard yellow, as well as change the brightness. In terms of additional flourishes, it's nice, but you'll soon find that the other colors don't really match the retro styles of the set. After scrolling through the colors I found that the default yellow was placed there for a reason.
Connect the OV-1-B from Meters Music Bluetooth headphones to your ears
Great emphasis was placed on integrating Qualcomm's QC5124 SoC, which offers low-power Bluetooth 5.0 connections and 24-bit audio. The resulting sound is ruthlessly clean and clear, which makes it ideal for songs that aren't too aggressive, with subtle highs and vocal traces. Go for something meatier with lots of bass, and things will stay pretty polite and clean.
I switched to a high definition audio player and played some studio masters in FLAC. The strengths and weaknesses of Meters are even clearer. If you play classical or delicate like spider silk songs in the OV-1-B-Connect, you will be spoiled with beautiful songs that are beautifully reproduced. It is characterized by delicate music, but this Milquetoast reproduction is at odds with its rock and roll styles.
With the ear cups closed and ANC, these things can drown out a lot of ambient noise. Since we can't fly right now, I sat down instead and asked my two children to scream, jump around and generally be terrible in my general direction. And I could barely hear about it while listening to something mild and enjoying the happiest moment of zen I've had in weeks.
Connect the OV-1-B from Meters Music Bluetooth headphones to your ears
Not all is perfect, however. One of the biggest objections to the previous version of these headphones was the fixed ANC and EQ modes controlled by a physical switch. To remedy that, the company launched Meters Connect, an Android / iOS app that lets you dynamically adjust the EQ (and change the backlighting of the VU meter). To say I had problems with the app is a bit of an understatement, as regular connection failures slow firmware updates.
However, once I got to play with the EQ, I found that you can make the songs either overly, uncomfortably crispy, or sizzling but still relatively flat. In fact, it's one of those options that might make sense to someone somewhere, but seems less than pointless for general use. Perhaps the professional musicians and producers Meters contacts (and uses in his promotional materials) are getting more out of the technology than I am.
Connect the OV-1-B from Meters Music Bluetooth headphones to your ears
While I'm not pecking, I'd like to add that this is a brand new pair of headphones worth $ 349 that still come with a micro-USB cable for charging. It's not a deal breaker, but it does mean that if you live in a USB-C world, you still can't throw away the old cables in your tote bag.
Basically, Meters had numerous basics in place, with a good looking pair of well-made headphones and a unique statement feature. But I'm struggling to really connect to this device in the sound itself, which seems more awkward to my non-audiophile ears than it needs to be. If you're asking for that kind of money, not only do you have to be good - whatever it can be - you have to be better than Sony's class leading WH-1000XM4. Unfortunately we're not quite there yet.

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