The worlds of Bluetooth and good audio have traditionally not been the best of bedfellows, although that’s all changing. In the traditional stereo world, companies like Chord Electronics have performed wonders with Bluetooth enabled DACs and the rest. In the headphone world, though, Bluetooth has been considerably more widely adopted, but mostly in a low to mid end manner, hooking smartphone to the headset for commuters and joggers who hate wires.
The Pendulumic Stance S1+ is different. It’s a legitimately high-end, studio-grade headphone that runs wirelessly through Bluetooth. It also has a wired mode, and can even be used to make calls. It runs along all the latest and greatest Bluetooth lines (Bluetooth 4.0, aptX, and A2DP), which means CD quality. It auto-pairs with devices, and has a 15m radius, even as a phone headset (with built-in microphone).
The battery part is really clever too, allowing a hybrid approach to long-term music replay. In the S1+’s left earcup is a small non-removable lithium-ion battery, charged periodically from a USB cable. This gives about 30 hours of listening and wireless audio, with about a three-hour charge to bring it back to life. However, the front of the ear-cup removes and has space for two AAA batteries. Put a pair of alkalines in there and you can extend battery life, or reboot your Stance S1+ for more play. It has to be alkalines, though – rechargeable AAA batteries seem to lose Bluetooth lock quickly. The left-hand earcup also has a slider for flipping between power sources or turning the headphones off completely.
The right-hand ear cup has a slider to switch between wireless, actively powered (with cord), and straight passive sound, with a rear dial (more like the crown of a wristwatch) to control volume and turn the headphones into a Bluetooth phone headset – you can use the dial to search through a list of tracks, play and pause, and answer calls (there’s a little grille to the front of the headset for the mic). Two small LEDs on the side of the earcup show battery and wireless status.