Customer's honest review of Pula Sorsa headphones
Author Valco Laboratoriot
Disclaimer: I commented on a Valco sponsored post on Facebook in December 2018 and they contacted me asking me to write about my experience using their Pula Sorsa anti-snoring headphones that I had previously purchased. As compensation for writing the review, I was promised a gift card to their store, i.e. compensation for writing the review. I don't know the entrepreneurs or retailers through any other means.
I am writing this now after about four weeks of use. I have no previous experience of using noise-cancelling headphones and have never invested more than EUR 40 in headphones before.
I work for a large software company in an open office. Towards the end of 2018, I started to feel the stress of multitasking was getting to me and watching my colleague with headphones on, concentrating on his work, made me think about getting them for myself. With headphones I could at least reduce some of the external distractions.
Unfortunately, the Black Friday offers were over and the Valco Sorsa headphones my friend recommended to me were also out of stock. However, the Facebook advertising algorithm worked for once and I came across the Valco Pula Sorsa headphones. test report.
Based on what I read, I took the plunge and ordered the headphones. It wasn't a bad price to pay, if the headphones worked as well as promised - and you could always return them. The headphones came in a neat package with a plug-in connector and some kind of adapter, the purpose of which I have yet to find out. (ed. note: the adapter is for airplanes).
Special mention should be made of the instructions in Finnish, which are apparently translated by Valco, as they follow the humorous line familiar from advertising.
My first experience of the new model was quite positive. I tested the headphones for the first time before our meeting in the Lutako dance hall, where the air conditioning hums significantly more than in an open-plan office. The noise cancelled out the air conditioning really well, but the conversation at the next table seemed to come through.
Although I had to refer to the instructions, I was able to pair the headphones with my mobile phone's Bluetooth easily and the music drowned out the rest of the background noise. In no time at all I was in my own world and, to my chagrin, I had to take off the headphones to talk to others.
My first impression of the sound quality was very bassy, but otherwise quite good. Not that I'm talking about studio headphones, but for my own metal-oriented music listening, that kind of pronounced bass is fine and doesn't seem to bother me, especially in noisier environments.
The best use of the headphones is on commuting in the local bus, where you can really notice the effects of back noise. It allows you to keep the volume quite low and hear other instruments at the same volume, where without the reverberation you would only hear an electric guitar.
However, there is a slight problem with the volume control on the headphones, as it jumps up one notch on my mobile phone, which is too much for my ears indoors. Sometimes I have to adjust the volume on my phone to find the right level.
I don't know if that's just a problem with my Android phone, as it works better with a computer.
Unfortunately, the BT pairing of the headphones with my work computer (Win10) has not gone smoothly and I often have to settle for listening to music on my phone at work. In this case, the range comfortably covers my trip to the coffee machine and sometimes I return from there.
Otherwise, my experience at work has not been entirely positive.
You don't get quite as much benefit from counter-noise in an open plan office, and you can't listen to the roar of counter-noise for very long. On the other hand, the headphones fit comfortably in my ears and are light enough to listen to music all day.
I tried using them once for a Skype call, but my microphone picked up all the sounds coming from the coffee room. I'm not sure if I had the sound settings right at the time. However, my friend made the same observation about the sensitivity of the microphone when I was on a WhatsApp call at home and trying to move moving boxes or rinse plates.
Otherwise, the headphones have been comfortable to use at home.
I'm from the country and after 11 years in the city, I'm still bothered in my new apartment by the thunder from the motorway, the noise from the neighbours and the noise from the car park coming through the wall.
After Independence Day, as I lay hungover in my flat with headphones on, I cursed why I hadn't thought of getting noise-cancelling headphones earlier.
The headphones managed to block out all the above distractions even better than earplugs. I only realised when I took the headphones off that someone was testing their car's subbar in the car park for Friday lunchtime. Apparently, it takes a while to get used to that counter-noise.
However, sometimes, for example in the vibration of a bus, I feel that the back noise puts unpleasant pressure on my ears and I have to turn it off. This may also be partly due to the headphones themselves, as sometimes when walking, it seems that the closed headphones cause unpleasant shock waves when they are vibrating, even without the headphones.
Despite Valco's advertising claims, wearing headphones does not, in my opinion, significantly improve your chances of being hit by a car, as they do not attenuate higher pitched sounds as well as lower ones. You can hear an approaching car, though the lowest rumble cuts through nicely.
They are certainly big and awkward looking, but because of the backlash, you'll want to wear them around town too. It would be more fun to write a longer analysis of the shortage of Sors, but I'm writing this at home at Christmas and my ten-year-old daughter insists I play with her.
So I'm copy-pasting here a slightly edited version of the summary I wrote for my friends, wanha cunnon tl;dr:
- Muffles air conditioning noise nicely and works especially well in the city and on local buses
- Bluetooth carries all the way to the coffee machine (~15m).
- Sound quality is adequate for me, although bassy when ANC is on
- The switches are nicely displayed and easy to find
- Good battery life
- Folds up nicely for transport
Not so cool:
- Quite poor attenuation of speech and other non-"static" higher frequency noise
- Buzzing ANC (counter-noise) on top. Although so do the 300€ Bosets.
- Volume control "bounces". When playing from the phone, the volume seems to be too low or TOO HIGH. When listening from the computer, the volume bounces from zero to quite loud.
- The sound announcing BT connection etc. is quite loud. You can hear it even if you don't have the headphones on.
- The sound quality is quite muffled/soft when ANC is off.
- These make a nasty clicking sound when ANC is switched on/off
- ANC can go on quite sensitively during transport. I haven't noticed any timeout on ANC or Bluetooth (paired).
In summary, rating: 4/5
I am positively surprised. A colleague with a 300€ Bose said "well you got your money's worth" and I agree.
T: Heikki and the copyright for the pictures is also Heikki.
Ps. Mentioned that I survived Whamageddon 2018 probably thanks to these headphones.