Blue Lola? More like Blue NO-La! I’m so sorry.

Here’s a fancy product shot of the Blue Lola’s, taken from the press photos on the Blue web site. Sadly, looking at this photo provides a more pleasing experience than I had with the headphones.

I love the Blue Mo-Fi headphones. I wrote a glowing review of them, like, a week ago. I’m listening to mine this very moment. And so, I became curious about the Lola, Blue’s other headphone, released one year later.

“Could Blue keep the good things about the Mo-Fi while still making a cheaper product?” I asked myself.

The answer is no. A resounding no. They absolutely could not.

The Lola is a bad thing. Let me tell you why.

The Mo-Fi’s feature a titanium-coated, custom designed driver that provides a clean, powerful sound. The Lola also uses this driver. So far so good. They actually sound pretty close to the Mo-Fi’s. Sadly, the Lola retains nothing else that was good from the Mo-Fi design.

The frame is lighter, with a slightly tweaked headband. The tension adjustment knob has been removed from the headband, and the plates have been made a little thinner. This gives the whole thing a lighter feel on the head…but also a cheaper feel overall.

Also, the new “auto-adjusting” headband doesn’t work at all, at least on my head. My first unit (uh oh) had a defective spot on the right side, where two of the headband plates were rubbing and sticking together, causing the paint to shear right off the unit after about 2 seconds of use. They wouldn’t sit straight on my head unless I gave them a good tug, and each time I did, more paint would shear off.

The whole idea of the auto headband was to make the fiddly Mo-Fi design a little easier to put straight onto your head without thinking about it, but I don’t think it works at all. I returned my defective Lola unit to the dealer I bought it from, and they immediately agreed that it was broken. They let me try another unit they had in stock. The good news: the plates weren’t sticking and rubbing against each other. The bad news: The headband still refused to sit straight on my head without a good prodding.

I am of the opinion that the removal of the headband adjustment knob, and the slight tweaking of the materials, totally ruined the headband. The padding on the top is not as robust as on the Mo-Fi, to a fault. It’s softer and squishier, and not as comfy as a result.

The ear pads are the same, which is good…but everything else about the ear cups is sub-par. The rubber membrane under the Blue logo (you can see it in the photo above) is much larger and much more stiff. This means that the ear cups have almost no swivel or tilt to them whatsoever.

What.

Seriously?

This is a $250 dollar headphone where the ear cups don’t tilt at all. They just kind of sit there, nice and rigid. I hope that your head is perfectly straight and conforms exactly to the shape that Blue thinks it should, cause otherwise the ear cups are going to press into your face awkwardly and cause fatigue. They pressed into my jaw.

The Mo-Fi’s, and pretty much every other decent headphone, solve this problem with swiveling/tilting ear cups. What a concept. I don’t understand why the same adjustable membrane from the Mo-Fi couldn’t have been used on the Lola. There’s still a rubber membrane there. I can’t imagine that one which tilts slightly costs dramatically more than one that’s rigid.

The material used in the backs of ear cups doesn’t feel as substantial, just like the rest of the headphone. The headphone is still built of a mix of metal and plastic, like the Mo-Fi, but it just feels…off. The rigid nature of the ear cups in the Mo-Fi helps them to have the sound quality that they do, and prevent sound leak. I didn’t keep the Lola long enough to test their leaking, but I suspect the larger cheaper rubber membrane and thinner feeling ear cups mean it leaks more sound than the Mo-Fi.

There’s no longer a powered analog headphone amp. That’s fine…although the amp in the Mo-Fi’s is really good. These aren’t that hard to power. The cables have been redesigned too. They’re flat now, and they don’t use a proprietary connector. Like the rest of the Lola though, the cables feel cheaper in a dissatisfying way. I expect many Lola owners will take advantage of the standard 3.5mm jack and just buy better cables.

The bag that comes with the Lola is the same as the bag that came with the Mo-Fi. Finally, a feature that wasn’t changed for the worse!

I thought that the main cost differences between these two headphones would be the removal of the amp, battery, and headphone tension adjustment. That makes sense for a product that’s $250 dollars instead of $350. Sadly, there are a bunch of other little tweaks that make the Lola vastly inferior, uncomfortable, and disappointing. The headband didn’t work right for me. The materials feel cheaper. The ear cups don’t tilt. It’s just a mess for this price range.

If you’re going to buy a headphone from Blue, you might as well pretend they only make the Mo-Fi. That’s a competitive product in its price range with a bunch of cool features. The Lola is a pale imitation and isn’t worth the money. Here now is a picture of me looking frustrated with a crooked stuck headband on my head.

This is the look of bad headphones. Behold.