If you own an Amazon Echo or a third-party speaker with Amazon’s digital assistant built-in, you probably go through Alexa withdrawal when you wander out of range of the microphone. 66 Audio has you covered with their PRO Voice wireless headphones with integrated Amazon Alexa voice control.
66 Audio worked closely with Amazon engineers for 18 months to pull this off. 66 Audio’s advanced ActiveVoice technology ensures accurate, always-on voice recognition. Slip the headphones on, pair with a smartphone running the MotionControl app (free for iOS and Android), and Alexa is in your ear.
You can do everything you would with an Amazon Echo. Ask Alexa about the weather, order something from amazon.com, control your Alexa-enabled smart devices, or take charge of your music playback (Amazon Music, naturally, plus iHeart Radio, Pandora, and TuneIn are supported, with Spotify coming soon). It’s that voice control of music playback that has 66 Audio’s CEO really excited. There are physical controls on one ear cup, but voice control is more natural and lets you easily specify a band, track, or playlist from the tens of millions of songs on tap from a service like Amazon Music.
I found Alexa responsive, with no voice recognition issues. I was warned that differences between Android and iOS result in a slight lag for iPhone owners, but it really wasn’t noticeable. Say “Alexa,” wait a second, then give the instructions.
And if you don’t want Alexa listening in, that feature can be turned off.
The PRO Voice headphones deliver on the audio front as well, so you’ll be able to really enjoy the songs you have Alexa play. The ear cups have room for big, 36mm drivers. All the latest digital audio technology is onboard, including the 66 SoundEngine 24-bit DSP, Bluetooth 4.2 with Qualcomm aptX, AAC and SBC, plus 44.1kHz (CD quality) low-latency streaming.
The end result is high-performance audio, with plenty of bass, clear detail, and a warmth that earbuds have trouble reproducing. You can also fine-tune the sound using the Motion Control app.
Comfortable, Minimalist Design
I mentioned the performance compare to earbuds because unlike most on-ear headphones, 66 Audio’s PRO Voice headphones are designed to appeal to people who choose earbuds to avoid bulk. The ear cups are comfortably padded, but they are reasonably slim. There’s no big, padded headband. Instead, PRO Voice uses a combination ear hook and a thin, flexible neckband. The look is very minimalist, comfortable and secure—the design ditches much of the bulk of traditional on-ear headphones, without the audio and fit compromises of earbuds.
When not in use, they collapse into a compact bundle that slips into an included, hard shell travel case.
Long Battery Life and Extended Range
One more key advantage of the design is battery life. True wireless earbuds tend to max out at four to five hours of battery life. The PRO Voice headphones are good for up to 40 hours on a charge.
Another innovation is a custom 3DRF antenna. Combined with Bluetooth 4.2, it offers a range of up to 125 feet. During my time testing the headphones, I managed about 60 feet before the connection got dicey, but there are all sorts of factors that can influence wireless transmission and the area around my house is a hotbed of connected devices and other potential interference sources. PRO Voice still managed to double the distance I typically see with Bluetooth headphones (and speakers).
Why would you care about distance? If I’m mowing the lawn or washing the car while listening to music, I don’t necessarily want to be lugging my iPhone around with me. With the PRO Voice headphones, the smartphone can be left safely in the house, while still streaming music.
Should You Buy Them?
At $139.99, the 66 Audio PRO Voice headphones deliver excellent audio performance and long battery life. They look uniquely sleek and stylish, too. Throw Alexa voice control into the mix and they are tough to resist, especially if you happen to have an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription (and if you don’t have one, a PRO Voice purchase gets you the option of a 99 cent, three-month trial).
Disclosure: 66 Audio provided PRO Voice headphones for evaluation but had no input into this review.