Torque t402v Convertible On-Ear/Over-Ear Headphone

Choice is good. My laptop can convert to a tablet. My hiking pants convert to shorts. My car converts to a stargazing roadster. And my Torque t402v on-ear headphones convert to over-ear headphones. Even better than that—the sound converts from balanced headphones to bass-heavy beasts.

The Torque t402v headphones are so unique that I was really curious to try them out. They’re a well-built headset with interchangeable earpads—circumaural for over-ear, and supra-aural for on-ear listening. The earpads swap out easily—magnets help align the earpad over the 40mm driver and a gentle snap ensures they’re properly attached. For even more versatility, each earpad has four options that manipulate the bass response. Torque calls it modi:fi technology. Color-coded bands let you position the earpad in one of four orientations that create bass ranging from booming to balanced. Do the math—that’s eight different playback options from one headset. Choice is good!

When I was first asked to review these, I was skeptical about the whole thing. How different can a earpad sound just by shifting it 90 degrees? Looking at the earpads closely, you can see different sized holes for each color that cover a portion of the driver—yellow has the smallest, blue is the next smallest, then red, and finally black with almost no resistance at all. The bass boost from the yellow is the most pronounced; the black filter has the flattest bass response. And using the same driver, how different could supra-aural and circumaural be? The answer surprised me. They were all very different, and I could see where it would be beneficial to change things out depending on your specific situation.

I started out listening to the over-ear pads. They use SoftRide memory foam and were extremely comfortable. With the yellow filter engaged, the sound was open, but boomy. On the other side of the spectrum, the black filter was too thin. For me, the blue filter was the most pleasing. It retained the open feeling in the treble while keeping the bass in check. With the earpads properly positioned over my ears, outside ambience is substantially blocked out. These aren’t noise-cancelling headphones, but their physical shape passively reduced outside noise. It’s easy to rotate the pads so you can quickly and simply change filters based on your music selection.

As easy as it is to rotate the pads to change filters, you can just as easily swap out the over-ear for on-ear pads. With less padding, and obviously sitting on top of the ears, they weren’t as plush as the over-ear pads, but were still comfortable after an hour of critical listening. These also have the same four filter options. However, even with the black filter—the one that has the least amount of bass boost, I was surprised at how much more impactful the bass was. With the over-ear pads, the bass was loose and boomy. With the on-ear pads, the bass was taut and punchy.

Each earpad and each filter position has its place. For me, I liked the sound of the on-ear options best. But, for relaxed listening, particularly with a classical playlist, the over-ear with the red filter would be my choice for comfort and natural sound quality.

The t402v comes with a carrying case for the headset, but also has an additional pouch for the unused earpads. You choose, wherever you are, whatever mood you’re in. Torque’s t402v have given you the power to choose whatever sound you want. Check out their Kickstarter campaign running from June 11 through July 13, 2015.