Services like Spotify and Netflix have turned our idea of owning things upside down. But what about hardware? Look at the smartphone world and everything has become a disposable product. Fortunately, the hi-fi world has been largely spared from that trend, because most hi-fi devices are made to last, and in many cases are supported by service and possibly repair to ensure that. D board free headphones however are the exception, as they are rarely repaired when they fail. The Rotterdam Gerrard Street would like to do something about this. We started working with the Gerrard Street Prince, the top mode
The idea behind Gerrard Street is that you no longer buy headphones and throw them away after a year or two. Does that disposable use sound excessive? According to the Dutch startup, we throw away 50 million worth of electronics. Now yes ‘gone’. The reality is that our junk ends up somewhere in a third world country, where some precious metals and parts are still being recovered in bad conditions. The rest will pollute the local communities, it turns out.
Gerrard Street contrasts this with a different model. They now offer three modular headphones that you can rent for a fixed amount per month or year. If something breaks, you will get what you need to repair your headphones. Due to the modular construction, this is not difficult at all and the waste content remains under control.
Here we take a look at the Prince, the top model with Bluetooth and noise cancellation. There is also the Boss (wireless) and the Day (wired).
Gerrard Street Prince
That is a very flat box … We have a very inventive postman, but this is the first time that he has managed to stuff a full pair of headphones through the slot of the bus. Admittedly, it was also made easy for him. The Prince is delivered in a disassembled condition, in a very flat box. First impression: the postman drove over the box with his delivery van. Which incidentally is a reflection on format and not on content; they present the parts in a very neat way, no loose bags taped together.
So step one is assembling the Prince headphone. You can view the necessary explanation via a QR code, but we were able to assemble the six parts without too much mess. It is self-explanatory. You just don’t have to forcefully attach the drivers to the metal bracket without first putting the bracket through the padded headband. The cable that you plug into the two driver housings also runs along that headband. Gerrard Street opted for USB-C plugs here. Smart, because they are trusted and you cannot insert them wrong.
Assembly took about two minutes for us and, as said, was anything but challenging. It does give a warm I-am-not-just-a-consumer feeling.
Despite the DIY approach, the Prince appears to be quite ahead in terms of technology. Bluetooth 5.0 and support for the aptX codec are two things that ensure a quick connection with your smartphone and good sound quality. If you own an iPhone instead of a recent Android phone, switch to the AAC codec. The autonomy is also very good with 22 hours (with NC, 44 hours without), charging is done via a USB-C cable and your phone charger.
There is also noise canceling on board, which can be operated via a button on the right ear. You adjust the volume on the left. You can switch off the noise suppression, or switch between an ambient mode or maximum NC. With the ambient mode you get a lot of your surroundings, but even with maximum noise canceling, voices are still relatively well audible. Of course it depends on how loud you listen to your music. Since flying is not a smart idea now, we test the noise canceling by listening to quiet music (‘Getting into Knives’ by The Mountain Goats) with a YouTube video of a train journey through a snowstorm playing in the background through speakers. Although we still hear a lot of the train between tracks (pun not intended, ed.), It turns out that during the moments when music is playing, this is not really bothersome.
We may not be talking here about NC at the level of the top models from Bose or Sony, but about noise cancellation at a better level. You notice that even when no music is playing; much noise or artifacts from the digital NC cannot be detected. It is not completely silent, but it is almost impossible. In any case, you will not suffer from it.
What the Prince is of course mainly about is the separate rental model. There is certainly something to be said for it. Two years from now, you will still have working headphones in good condition, for example. The fact that you can replace parts is more sustainable, and in our opinion more durability is certainly allowed. Apart from that: whether the financial picture is correct, actually depends on your own habits. If you do lose (or destroy) a pair of headphones every year or two, then you’re better off with the Gerrard Street model.
In any case, you will not be disappointed by the quality. The headphones themselves are a fine thing and seem sturdy. In any case, it will be assembled by someone you know. The battery lasts a long time, features such as Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX are very welcome, the noise canceling is effective and especially the wearing comfort is excellent. The Prince also has a pleasant, slightly bass heavier tuning that is perfect for many types of music. They are also very suitable headphones for watching a movie on Netflix on the go.
- Very good autonomy
- Comfortable and light
- Trendy, compelling sound
- Innovative concept
- Rental model should suit you
- NC does not achieve ultimate efficiency