Review: Gerrard Street PRINCE, a great and sustainable headphone

Gerrard Street's PRINCE

Especially, since the lockdowns, I have become an active user of headsets. Increasingly quality-oriented. Not in the last place when my 8- and 10-year-olds were banned from school, and created background noises in their -e-school breaks. Then I invested in a wired Jabra headset with active noise canceling, which does an excellent job for me during the many Zoom, Meet, Skype and Teams calls we have with clients, colleagues, investors, partners, and suppliers. One level up is the PRINCE, the BlueTooth headphone/headset of Gerrard Street with Active Noise Canceling (ANC). Gerrard Street has a somewhat similar sustainability philosophy as Fairphone by adopting a modular design. If one component is broken it can be easily replaced. In a bid to reduce waste, Gerrard Street offers a headphone-as-a-subscription service with unlimited repairs for a fixed amount per year.

Efficient delivery of the assembly package

I receive the PRINCE at my home address in a slim carton box that fits the standard mailbox of our front door. This makes the last mile of e-commerce more efficient. Furthermore, congruent with its mission, I receive the headphone as an assembly package with 9 elements: two speakers, two earpads, one headband, one headband bracket, two G-branded screws, and a USB charging cable. Complementary, two alternative 3.5mm-plugged headset cables are added.

Given that the assembly will need some attention, I plan it on a Friday, which is normally not my busiest day.

Quick assembly

Although assembly is a small threshold, with the four steps graphical manual, it’s a walk in the park. In a few minutes, I have the “IKEA”-job done. Given its sustainability and modularity philosophy, the assembly approach makes sense. However, for Gerrard Street to reach a mass market, a plug & play option will be a requirement. The only thing confusing me is the three wires. They are not described in the quick manual. But, I learn quickly that I don’t need any of them if I use the BlueTooth option.

Wireless versus wired use

After pressing and pairing the BlueTooth headphone with my notebook, I come into known territory. I switch the noise-canceling on and off and indeed experience the difference. Quite similar to what I am used to with my Jabra. I also switch to wires and then back, and experience small sound quality differences. The supra-aural earpads plus ANC make me shut out my environment so good, that only the nonverbal in my visual periphery makes me aware of my oldest, politely asking if he can read a book in the room. He does that aloud for training reasons. Of course, he can!

Using the PRINCE in an online meeting also works well. Though, my own voice sounds strange as the supra-aural pads isolate too well for such use. By adjusting one to leak some environmental sound, I can hack it, but it’s clear that active meetings are not the primary purpose of the product’s form factor.

Conclusion: great sustainable headphone option

In conclusion, the Gerrard Street PRINCE is a great, sustainable headphone and headset option. Given the sustainability trends, a great consumer and professional choice. Not just for an audiophile , but also for online meetings. Although better for listening than talking.

Founder and CEO of Icecat NV. Investor. Ph.D.

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