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VINCI Headphone Review

Cuckoo Studio

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Welcome to Cuckoo Studio review. I'm Anzol. The following content is presented from the perspective of a mixing engineer.

Measurement Conditions Explanation And Chart Interpretation Of Cuckoo Studio Review​


We have received the VINCI headphones sent by Qingmiao. We appreciate his support for the channel. This is a pair of headphones that caught my attention back in 2017. The reviews from popular YouTubers like UnboxTherapy certainly generated a lot of interest. However, after six years, the manufacturing company is now Unknown whereabouts, It is said that they closed down in 2018. The headphones have also gone from being $199 to a budget option available in second hand markets for $10
(On Kickstarter, a total of 4,885 supporters pledged $987,384!!)

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The version we have is the yellow one,which is probably the most eye-catching yellow I’ve seen on headphones.It’s so bright that it’s almost surreal. The VINCI branding and patterns are displayed on both sides. The headband feels a bit stiff, and the clamping force is strong. Combined with the small and overly square ear cup design, the overall wearing experience can be a bit uncomfortable.

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Below is a micro USB port for data transfer and charging, as well as a separate 3.5mm audio input port. On the right side, there are the SIM card slot and the power switch. The main feature of VINCI is the operational screen on the left side, which, combined with internal sensors and the extra touch panel on the right side, allows for various operations under the native system, such as voice command for song selection/recording, sliding the screen to switch songs, and other personalized visual audio effects functionalities. However, after flashing the firmware, the left side of VINCI becomes a smartphone attached to the headphones. It features MediaTek MTK6572 chipset, 1GB RAM, and 32GB storage space, enabling users to download content, connect to NAS for movie streaming, browse video websites, and play some simple games, among other things.



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However, you probably wouldn’t want to do that because:
1.It looks suspicious to "playing" your headphones on hand in the subway.
2.You won’t be able to hear the audio from the headphones since you are holding them…
3.There are no back and multitasking buttons; the circular button at the bottom is the home button. During my usage, I couldn’t close the apps I wanted to close. Basic functions like going back to the previous level are extremely difficult. Unless you install a virtual button app, you have to perform a lengthy restart every time to solve the problem.


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Furthermore, the VINCI device doesn’t even have direct volume control buttons on the body. You can only adjust the volume through an app. Throughout the entire
user experience, I felt a level of strangeness that I had never experienced before. The only legitimate use case I can think of at the moment is installing a system EQ on the Android system to create built-in equalization adjustments. However, due to the outdated system version, it doesn’t support software like Wavelet. You can only use older software for simple adjustments (uncertain if the new system is compatible).

Let’s take a look at its sound performance.

Vertical frequency response graph: Why is it flipped vertically?


Frequency response:
In the 400-800Hz, 3kHz, and 7kHz ranges, VINCI exhibits a significant attenuation of around 10dB. The lower frequencies experience a slight roll-off, but it doesn’t have a major impact. In the higher frequencies, apart from a 4dB peak around 5kHz, there are no other noticeable gains. Overall, this headphone has a sound signature that makes instruments and vocals sound distant.

VINCI freq.jpg


raw data for ASR:
VINCI RAW L+R.jpg

and to harman 2013:
VINCI to harman 2013.jpg

Distortion:
VINCI has a decent performance in terms of low distortion. Apart from the typical increase in distortion in the low frequencies, the mid and high frequencies remain clean. Even at high sound pressure levels, there are no noteworthy issues. The distortion is generally consistent between the left and right channels, and there are no problems with individual unit quality control.

dis VINCI 86DB&96DB&104DB L.jpg


dis VINCI 104DB L&R.jpg


3D Mixing Space: representation of sound spatialization.


The three significant attenuations in the midrange and upper midrange frequencies effectively decrease the volume of instruments and vocals. This also amplifies the relative proportion of low-frequency instruments and high-frequency percussion. However, since there are no significant gains in other frequency ranges, aside from the impact on the midrange, there aren’t many exaggerated elements. Regarding left-right consistency, there’s a slight deviation of around 2dB in the mid-low frequencies, as well as some in the mid-high frequencies. However, the amplitude is not particularly large, and the perception is not very noticeable. The slight distortion in the low frequencies adds a subtle coloration, and the slight deviation smears some spatial imaging. But with the relatively clean and low-distortion mid-high frequencies, the overall cleanliness is still acceptable. Most of the remaining characteristics can be attributed to the distant listening sensation induced by the frequency response.

VINCI-3D-Space-front-GIF.gif



VINCI-3D-Space-side-GIF.gif


Subjectively speaking, I find that it doesn’t particularly repel me. This is somewhat unexpected. Most likely, it’s because it doesn’t have much piercing gain, like in the 4-6kHz range, that would bother my ears. It simply has a V-shaped curve after the mid-frequency attenuation. So, even though the sound is not neutral, it’s not that unpleasant to listen to either. However, there is significant background noise during playback. This is something that cannot be ignored. Although it seems like a noise gate is applied to automatically mute it, it’s still noticeable when listening at low volumes.

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“Innovation” and “weirdness” are sometimes just a thin line apart. At least in the case of VINCI’s current situation, it seems to lean more towards the latter, and it has indeed gone a bit overboard with what it has done.

This is Cuckoo Studio review. Please stay tuned. I will continue to explore the secrets of headphones with you.
 

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AdamG

Follow the Science, no matter where it may lead.
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I guess if you get creative with mirrors and such the video screens on the side of your head might serve some useful purposes. But the design concept is eluding me. :facepalm:
 

norcalscott

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(On Kickstarter, a total of 4,885 supporters pledged $987,384!!)
People really do back some weird stuff on Kickstarter and Indiegogo…
 

SuicideSquid

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That is a brutal hole in the frequency response right where most musical information is present in recordings, and where our ears are particularly sensitive.

I wonder what caused this - is it a multi-driver headphone with a terribly-designed crossover, or is something else going on? This would be absolutely unlistenable.
 

617

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What did I just read
 

Njoy

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Looks like an oversized smart watch if not for that headband!! Thanks for the review.
 

beefkabob

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That's a hell of an article. You did slip in the old cuck oo logo alongside the newer, nicer, and less bad in English cuc koo version.
 

Robbo99999

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Wow, this is one ill-conceived product! I'll go with ill-executed too!
 

PeteL

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It is weird indeed, and I wouldn’t be into it. Plus it doesn’t seem to perform. But I find strange the comment that the only legitimate use case would be to install an EQ so not sure I understand. Isn’t this a music player, that can allow you to listen to music without a phone? Really It’s not for everybody, but this is the only use case worth talking about. How’s the player app, how’s the wifi performance, does it plays hi res, etc. I mean, sure it’s odd, but that’s what this thing do, no?
 

Robbo99999

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VINCI is a huge company from France, specialised in, for example, building and designing waste handling factories, maybe they know what to do with this headphone :)
Recycle that mother!
 

DearSX

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Very interesting and forward thinking device, I hope they refine it a bit and release a better version. Thanks for the review!
 

Guralex

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Not sure if I've seen some real "innovations" since AirPods release.
The only problem of devices of such class - sound, but instead of moving towards this direction and rework drivers/invent better amplification for such size/implement fresh new high-res wireless protocol ( e.g. re-invent MQA, I don't know)...they are focusing on designs and strange gimmicks :(
 

Dennis_FL

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I think if the screen could show an actual photo of your ear as a default that would be interesting.

I suspect if you wear this in public, it would be stolen in short order. I photo of the ear may help, though.
 

Billy Budapest

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I don’t really understand what this product is or its purpose. You can’t see the screen while you are listening to the headphones, and if you take it off to use the screen, you obviously cannot be listening to the headphones.
 
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