“Avanti” conjures an image of a fine Italian sports car (or a Studebaker for car aficionados); and like those beautiful objects, Moshi’s Avanti deliver gorgeous hardware. Italian sports cars can be finicky though, and their reliability is often beaten by their less-glamorous German counterparts. Luckily, Moshi has expertly blended superior sound with dazzling design, offering the best of both worlds.
Avanti Headphone Design
Moshi has been transforming from an accessory maker to a premium digital lifestyle brand, and the Avanti headphones are an excellent example of that. I’m generally not a fan of on- or over-ear headphones, as they are either too flimsy to stay in place or too heavy to wear for extended periods. The Avanti is made from a thin but sturdy strip of stainless steel that’s lightened by ingenious cutouts. This translated to six solid hours of wear without giving me a headache. The ear cups are highly adjustable along a railing, and they’re articulated on ball joints that allow for almost a surprising degree of flexibility.
I received a range of compliments while wearing the Avanti headphones out in public, and they were uniformly positive. Some people liked how simple but warm they look (the leather and stainless steel have a refined midcentury modern look), while others commented that the headphones looked more like a fashion accessory than headphones. Moshi nailed it with the design, offering a choice between nerdy engineer-style reference headphones and the overly flashy design of Beats. The leather elements come in either a subtle caramel beige or the racier Burgundy red.
Avanti Headphone Sound
German sports cars may not be as flamboyantly designed as their Italian counterparts, but they do tend to be more reliable. Did Moshi manage to combine quality sound with a beautiful design? Most definitely! If you’re into EDM, you should look elsewhere. But if you like a wide range of music and want balanced, smooth sound, then Avanti delivers in spades.
I used my review time with these headphones to catch up on the album No Place in Heaven from one of my favorite artists, MIKA. Simple orchestrations and vocals were crisp and immersive, while the occasional bass line was punchy but properly represented underneath the song it supported. For intense bass I played through Fifth Harmony’s album 7/27; while I never got my skull rattled, the sound was accurate and well presented. Jazz, live performances, and even conference calls all sounded great, and without the usual pain of on-ear headphones I was able to fully enjoy the sound.
Avanti Design: 1, Flexibility: 0
I found just one minor complaint with Avanti, but it is a fairly critical issue. To reduce complexity in the headband Moshi used a traditional Y-shaped cable. This is not a problem by itself, but the ports where the cable meets each ear cup are proprietary. Currently, the only cable available is the one that ships with the headphones, and it’s a single button with microphone. If, as I do, you prefer a three-button remote, or you lose/damage the included cable, you’re out of luck. Like a beautiful but temperamental Italian car, this could leave you stranded. Although not an absolute necessity, this is an inconvenience one doesn’t expect in $200 headphones (which are otherwise perfect).
In all, Moshi has delivered a winner with the Avanti headphones. They’re beautiful, lightweight, and deliver an incredible sound experience. Hopefully the cable issue gets resolved with some future replacement options.