It's true we rarely pay attention when inexpensive headphones hit the booming audio market, especially when they're made by brands without particular promise. Because finding that diamond in the rough is no easy task. Why bother waste time when you pretty much know the outcome in stone. Alas, I've decided to come off that high horse they call audiophile bliss, and for once try something that looks unappetizing to see if its worth your money. Subjekt's TNT are a pair of low profile on-ear headphones said to pack a glorious supercharged, ultra-premium (not just any premium) 40mm dynamic drivers that'll deliver rich and crystal clear sound. We will be the judge of that of course. Our full review awaits!
The TNT will run you $50 and for that, you have a wide selection of quirky designed pattern artwork and even plain solid colors to pick from. The Astronaut model we've got is the latest design to feature a silhouette of an urbanish astronaut in a army green color tone. Design wise, the TNT are ridiculously generic. We've already reviewed two different types of on-ear headphones that feature the same exact low profile design that belongs on the city streets it's so urbanely hip. The Urbanears Plattan and Nocs NS700 Phaser. Thankfully Subjekt's TNT headphones are somewhat different and have their own original patterns on top of the ear cups. That said, the TNT headphones end up looking very cheap and tacky with the design appeal geared for a 10 year old.
You can tell they feel cheap the moment you set your hands on them. The plastic parts which is everything except for the wire metal hinges, is coated with a matte rubbery soft-touch coating. However, the finish isn't as svelte-feeling as some of the headphones we've reviewed earlier. The cabling on the TNT is surprisingly robust, connects to only one side and comes with a generous length, but isn't detachable of course.
And that mesh covered headband is one of the worst constructed headbands I've seen thus far. It's essentially a thin sheet of bowed metal that runs along the middle covered with two thin sheets of wide cardboard-like material that give it no structural integrity whatsoever. Though there is a good amount of padding I'll give it that. The adjustment mechanism for the length of the headband is very poor with no ratcheting or smooth up and down motion. You'll find that it's so inconsistently tight that it needs some lubrication.
The TNT are equipped with a mic and one button to take control of calls on your handset whether it be running Android or iOS. Making phone calls and chatting about with friends is apparently a more important feature than having convenient controls for adjusting music playback and volume. Not good enough.
Although the TNT share the same core structure as the NS700 Phaser we found to be very comfortable to wear for long periods of time, the TNT have turned out be quite the opposite. The rounded on-ear pads have no meat on the bones it seems and are covered with pleather, but have a very firm layer of low-profile foam padding that doesn't sit well on your ears to form a good seal nor does it feel comfortable especially after less than an hour of use. The ear cups don't articulate to fit different people which can be a different comfort issue from person to person.
Muddy galore. Highs sound terribly drowned out and muddy like something covered the TNT with a pillow right before opening fire. No crystal clear sound to be found. Mids are also on the muddy side and lack detail and the lows are unsurprisingly the better of the three. Bass is thumpy but nothing remotely as exciting and full of energy as some other similarly priced headphones. I can't help but feel like I'm left wanting more out of the TNT.
Comparing the TNT against the equally styled $100 NS700 Phaser is like comparing night and day. It's amazing what an extra $50 and a brand that's passionate about sound and quality can do. You'll be extremely happy if you spend that extra cash for a much better overall experience in every possible category. While $50 sounds inexpensive, it's actually an overpriced asking price considering other headphones that perform better at this price range like the $60 RHA SA950i on-ear headphones, the retro $50 Incipio Forte 38 on-ear headphones or the $80 Incase Reflex on-ear headphones (can be found for under $50 on Amazon).
Subjekt has no original design. In our mind, a company that doesn't design its own products and re-brands generic headphones and other accessories tells us to stay away. If only the TNT performed well right out of the box, we wouldn't have mind the unoriginal design as much. We can't appreciate a company that slaps its logo on an already available generic product and sells it as its own. And Subjekt is definitely not the only company that does this. This tells us there's absolutely no care put into making a truly unique experience just a sub-par pair of cans.
In other words, you'll be better off passing up on Subjekt's TNT and choosing a different pair of on-ear headphones for around $50, or more if you really want a great package. But if you haven't tried any headphones priced above the TNT or better, it's likely that you'll find them to be decent if not good sounding. As for comfort and build quality however, they're left behind a plume of dust.