KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

Somehow, quite a few years ago, in one of the newyork supermarkets, I fell for the luxurious white skin tone and black line of the sole and bought myself Porsche Design Adidas sneakers. Really beautiful and, for me, very comfortable shoes were worn out in ... probably five exits. After that, the look was already non-marketable, but still stylishly hipster. It taught me that Porsche Design products are better to wear in the interior of a Porsche car, and not to knead the dirt of Moscow streets.

With these thoughts in mind, I set out to test the KEF Porche Design Space One headphones. At the end of it, in two weeks (I won’t intrigue, since it really has little to do with our business) I’ll say that the wires didn’t break, the skin didn’t wear off, nothing broke and continued to work. And I came to the conclusion: KEF is not Adidas for you.

And now, before moving on to the technical features of the novelty, I will make a short digression, and what does Porsche Design have to do with it.

Porsche Design

I think many of you are familiar with the phenomenon of brand licensing for certain products. Any entrepreneur can try to buy such a license, release a product agreed upon (and sometimes not) with the brand owner and calculate the profit if he can recoup his idea. That, in fact, is all. And really, there is nothing good or bad here, because the final product is more dependent on the manufacturer that makes it, and not on the brand, which only "trades the face." Since I think our readers are familiar with the English manufacturer KEF, let's take a closer look at the face.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

This man is wearing Porsche Design clothing, wears a Porsche Design watch, and wears Porsche Design headphones.

Porsche Design is very serious about what will be released under their brand. Moreover, the company itself develops some things. On the official website , in addition to the audio equipment made together with KEF, for example, the Porsche Design Book One laptop is presented. Note that there is no second brand in the name at all - it was Porsche Design that took and developed the laptop itself and manufactures it to order. It is important that this is not just a "fashionable laptop", but rather an interesting solution in a metal case and with a detachable screen. Journalists, after the presentation of Book One at MWC 2017, rated it as a dangerous competitor for Microsoft Surface (it even costs adequately for its category - $ 2,495, i.e., the “brand” markup is small).

The second unusual product also made it to our news - 911 Soundbar. This is a soundbar made in the form of the exhaust pipes of a Porsche 911. Powerful, brutal and, of course, made explicitly for Porsche fans. The inhabitant of such a thing under the TV is more likely to scare.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

There is a good chance that this person is driving a Porsche.

It makes no sense to describe all the mergers / divisions of companies, it is enough to know that today Porsche Design is owned by Porsche SE itself - that is, it is not a third-party company with the right to use the logo. The company was founded by the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche - Ferdinand Alexander Porsche . Actually, it was the grandson (with the middle name Alexander) who developed the appearance of the well-known Porsche 911 car. I note that F.A. Porsche followed a principle of laconic functional design, which I personally like very much: “If you understand what an object does, its shape will become obvious to you.” Judging by the photos of various Porsche Design products, the company remains true to this principle to this day.

And a few words about cooperation with KEF. If you think this is the first time, you are wrong. The design of all emoks - M100, M200, M400, M500 - was developed by the FAPorsche studio, which, in fact, serves Porsche Design. For this, the company has repeatedly received the Red Dot Award (a fairly prestigious award among industrial design professionals).

space one

It's time to move on to the hero of this test - the KEF Porsche Design Space One headphones. This is a full-size model with a closed acoustic design. The ear pads and headboard cover is leatherette, very pleasant to the touch, has a matte black color. The rim, the ear cups and their back wall, as well as the platform with the button and the connector on the left earpiece are made of aluminum alloy, which after sandblasting is covered with a layer of titanium, which is why the metal has a slight green tint. The result is a beautiful soft contrast of light matte metal and black matte leather. In general, for the design - the highest score.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

Inside the ear pads and the rim is a soft foam material, according to the manufacturer, with memory. The cups completely cover the ear. I wore these headphones for quite a long time, both at home and a couple of times on the street, and I can say that they are very comfortable, but still the headband pressed me a little, and I got tired of wearing them for more than an hour. For comparison, here and later I will cite the KEF M500 model - these are one of my home headphones, which are structurally close to Space One, they are still relevant and are on sale. So the M500 puts less pressure on my big head, although there is a possibility that I just already carried them.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

This photo clearly shows the panel on the left earpiece, where the input for the 3.5 mm jack is located, the button for turning on the active noise reduction mode and the LED that lights up when this mode is turned on

It is also worth considering that these are headphones with a closed acoustic design, which means that when you put them on, you will disconnect from the outside world - they have strong natural noise reduction. As a plus, people around hear less of what is playing there.

The model is equipped with a built-in active noise canceller, which is powered by a regular AAA battery (or accumulator). This battery is installed in the right earpiece, and to open the compartment cover, you need to press a small button hidden below the ear cushion - I do not advise you to try to do this without reading the pictures in the instructions. After that, you should press a single button and the noise suppressor will turn on - you can see it by the active white LED next to the key or you can simply hear it if the headphones are already on your head. On one battery, the squelch will work up to 50 hours, which is a very long time compared to competitors.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

The left earpiece has a 3.5mm jack socket and comes with a flat (and therefore tangle-free) cable. What surprised me a lot is that there is no smartphone remote control on this wire. And in the kit there is no second wire with a smartphone control panel. I would call it an overly purist approach in today's world.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

Space One comes with a carrying case, and the box itself, as befits a premium product, is worthy of becoming a work of art. I even find it difficult to say what the packaging is covered with, but it is something matte, similar to rubberized plastic to the touch. If you give these headphones as a gift, you won’t need gift wrapping, and everything looks super cool.

Kefovsky character

The headphones are equipped with a neodymium magnet driver, a voice coil wound with copper-plated aluminum wire (CCAW) and a 40 mm diaphragm. Although there is no Uni-Q speaker here, the engineers still have the habit of paying maximum attention to mid-frequencies. In other words, the sound of Space One is recognizably "Kef": clear mids, moderate highs, smooth bass, which you still have to learn to hear and listen to. And all this is combined with a high membrane reaction speed - fast attack, sharp and clear sound.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

On the right, the structure of one cup: back wall, speaker, rim, protective mesh

Fans of forced bass will not like these headphones. Moreover, due to the high resolution, the quality of the content is too well heard - MP3 is different from Hi-Res. For example, it became uncomfortable for me to listen to Apple Music in them, the sound is too smooth and poor. By the way, this distinguishes them from the KEF M500. The latter can play beautifully, clearly and collected, but they do not have such a high resolution that they had to torture themselves with downloading music. I don't know why, but Space One turned out to be more picky about recordings.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

According to the technical specifications, the impedance of these headphones is 32 ohms, therefore, they are a light load even for a regular smartphone. I checked it - the headphones took a little more energy than regular EarPods. Surprisingly, despite the high requirements for the content, Space One was not so picky about the amplifier.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

In addition to the wire, a pair of AAA batteries and an adapter for the aircraft are included in the kit.

In addition to ordinary smartphones, I also listened to them on an external Apogee DAC, as well as on an OPPO HA-2 portable amplifier. It is clear that there are differences, but it seemed to me that the release of the usual “iPhone” pulls them out quite successfully. If you do not chase the subtleties, it will be quite enough.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

I still do not understand why there are these small inserts on the top of the cups

Genre headphones turned out to be universal. Despite the quite usual, rather than forced bass, the Arctic Monkeys' AM album sounded decent, and there was enough low end. Depeche Mode's "Spirit" also played tight, and some Twenty-One Pilots had plenty of basses. However, it seems to me that the patrimony of these headphones is complex music. At least the latest releases of Radiohead and Pink Floyd, and at the most - symphonic classics, which they reproduce with ease and do it well. In general, music is rich in information, rich in timbre. It is interesting to listen to it in these headphones.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

The speaker is visible under the protective mesh

In addition, Space One can play deafeningly loud. At the same time, they do not choke but create powerful sound pressure. You won’t last long like that, but if you turn the volume knob all the way in the emotional heat, it will become very loud, but there will be no wheezing-squeaks.


Both KEF and Porsche Design emphasize active noise cancellation in their marketing materials. I think for a reason: this mode has one interesting feature - it processes sound. Here you will tell me that they all distort the signal due to the fact that noise is added in antiphase. This is true, but these headphones also turn on sound processing. Even if you activate noise reduction in complete silence, you will immediately hear that the scene has expanded (the center is slightly blurred), the bass has increased, the highs have become brighter, and even the volume has increased. And the sound, on the one hand, although it becomes simpler, but on the other hand, is much more familiar to the average listener. And no outside noise.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

However, I won’t say that the noise suppressor of these headphones greatly dampens everything around: the main competitors - Sony MDR-1000X and Bose QC3 - offer stronger suppression of the outside world. But KEFs distort the sound less, I didn’t hear a pronounced flanger effect at high frequencies. However, as I wrote above, the sound is processed and greatly simplified. Therefore, complex musical genres are no longer so interesting.

After a few trips on the subway, I realized that noise canceling is best for listening to voice podcasts - here it really helps to better perceive information, you know, pauses in speech can mean more than words. And the classic characteristic of KEF becomes especially advantageous - excellent voice transmission. One day you should listen to a podcast like " One Last Thing Before I Go " (Eng) from the famous show This American Life (it contains excerpts from NHK television recordings made in an unconnected telephone booth in the village of Otsuchi, where people came to talk to your relatives who died due to the tsunami in 2011), and you will definitely appreciate the ability of the noise suppressor to create silence, and the headphones to transmit voice clearly.


KEF Porsche Design Space One is a premium model with a premium for its design, and this must be understood. The margin, if we evaluate competitors, is approximately 20%. In other words, in terms of sound quality they compete with closed models costing more than 20 thousand rubles, and not Beats, but serious manufacturers like Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic and Audio-Technica.

KEF Porsche Design Space One Active Noise Canceling Headphone Review

It seems to me a small price to pay for beauty and style, a good brand and a quality noise suppressor. Not to mention that not only Porsche fans will find their own here, but also fans of KEF's approach to sound. By the way, if you compare them directly with the KEF M500 model, the former flagship of the lineup, then the increase in quality is clearly visible. The character is the same, but the sound is larger and more detailed.

Beautiful appearance, high sound resolution, moderate noise reduction, light weight

The smartphone remote control cable is not included

KEF Porsche Design Space One

Noise Cancellation: Active

Driver: 40 mm, 20 mm neodymium magnet and voice coil using CCAW (Copper Clad Aluminum Wire)

Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Sensitivity: 89 ± 3dB (noise reduction off), 93 ± 3dB (noise reduction on)

Resistance: 32 ohm

Battery type: AAA

Noise Canceling Single Battery Life: Up to 50 hours

Weight: 265 grams

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