Most people use in-ear headphones while exercising – not necessarily because they prefer the experience, but because on-ear and over-ear headphones don’t cope well with things like running.
This was the problem former NFL player Mark Clayton set out to solve with the LIVV wireless headphones ($299), specifically designed to provide a full over-ear headphone experience while staying firmly in place no matter how vigorous your exercise regime …
Look & feel
The headphones would go well with a Jet Black iPhone 7, as they have a very similar high-gloss black finish – though they are also available in white. They have memory foam cups, which are comfortable to wear even with the tight fit needed to ensure they don’t slip while exercising. I wore them for an hour at a time on several occasions without ever finding them uncomfortable.
I did my best to shake them from my head, but they remained firmly in place no matter what I did, so they certainly live up to their primary claim.
The traditional over-head band is replaced by what feels like a wire spring covered in soft silicone. These sit in a position somewhat between over and behind your head. In my case, they don’t make contact with my head at all.
Looks-wise, the red LIVV logo is the main thing that stands out, making them somewhat reminiscent of a Beats design. Otherwise, they look relatively anonymous. I would describe the appearance as neutral rather than either cheap or expensive.
They claim to be both sweat and rain-resistant. I did get the chance to use them in the rain once, and they coped fine. I gave them a wipe down with a cloth when I got in, and they didn’t appear to have in any way suffered from the experience.
The controls are also very much geared to use while active. Volume up and down, and previous and next track, all sit on the right cup. The buttons are both large and tactile:
This makes them really easy to use, as your fingers can identify them by feel as well as by position. They also have a positive click action, so you can feel when you’ve activated them. The power button is on the left earcup, and you get a spoken ‘power on’ or ‘power off’ message as you hold it down.
I must say that I wasn’t expecting to be impressed here. Clayton said that he came up with the idea for them after dropping and breaking a pair of Beats headphones, so I was fully expecting the same kind of unsubtle bass-heavy sound, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The sound is very neutral and pleasing, with no distortion and good sound isolation. They are not quite in B&W or B&O territory, but as someone who is fussy about audio quality, I was perfectly happy using them – and that says a lot.
It turns out that the company partnered with Aurisonics, now owned by Fender, using the company’s 40mm drivers – so my experience of the audio quality turned out to be not so surprising after all.
There’s a 8GB built-in mp3 player if you want to use them without your phone or Apple Watch.
Price & conclusions
The headphones are priced at $299. Whether that price is justified will, I think, be a very personal decision. How much exercise do you do, and how strong is your preference for over-ear headphones?
For an over-ear fan who appreciates quality audio and exercises daily, I’d say they would be an excellent investment, letting you enjoy your music fully no matter what you’re doing.
LIVV headphones are available directly from the company’s website for $299. They are on backorder at the time of writing, so you may want to check estimated delivery time.