With so many audio devices on the market nowadays, it can be hard for developers to find a niche that will make their brand stand out to consumers. In the end, most developers focus their energy and resources on maximizing qualities that are expected of a good pair of headphones or earbuds, such as bass strength, clarity, sound personalization options, and similar features. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since optimizing these qualities creates a selection of better products all around, but product diversity relies most heavily on the developers that try to create a new sort of listening experience. The creators that take an audio device and see the potential for something that hasn’t been tried before, or cleverly expanding upon ideas already set in motion. These are the game-changers, and this is exactly what the creators of the Creative SXFI AIR headphones set out to do. These headphones offer an experience like no other, but let’s consider the features to see exactly what we get with this device.

The most exciting feature about the Creative SXFI AIR is undoubtably the Super X-Fi technology hardwired into the system for your listening pleasure. Basically, when you first get the headphones and either plug them into your phone or Bluetooth pair it, you open the official SXFI app and take pictures of your ears within the app when prompted. What this does is create a personalized sound experience using cutting-edge technology to make it feel like you’re listening to audio with a mini surround sound system on your head. When you listen to music, it feels like the artist is performing a private concert just for you in a large venue with professional speakers surrounding you. One thing that I personally enjoyed was listening to musical theater songs, as it felt comparable to hearing the plays performed live and was overall an extremely impressive effect for music. When watching shows and films, you may not miss the movie theater quite as much due to the immersion and clarity of the audio. The only thing that I found it didn’t quite work for were podcasts, since the Super X-Fi effect makes it sound like you’re sitting in an oversized room with the podcast hosts, except everyone is seated very far away from each other and their voices echo as they speak. Granted, this means that the effect does still technically work, it just doesn’t improve the listening experience in this one medium. However, the great news is that the Super X-Fi tech can be turned on and off with a simple press of a button on the side of the headphones, so it can be activated for some listening experiences and turned off for others, rendering the headphones to a more traditional pair of quality headphones. It’s freedom like this that really gives the listener options with these headphones.

Speaking of freedom, the official SXFI app and control pad (which are two separate apps for some reason that is not specified) allows users to really make this auditory journey even more personalized than even head mapping. You get all the benefits of Super X-Fi studio-quality surround sound, as well as an equalizer to tinker with or pick from a lineup of presets, each optimized for a different audio activity. Another really cool thing is that the headphones have a glowing ring on both sides when turned on, and you can choose from a color wheel to have it be any color fathomable. It’s a neat party trick to show friends and it can also be fun to change the color every day or even with every new song. As well as the glowing ring, the side of these headphones also has a touchpad for adjusting volume, skipping songs, and pausing/playing audio. In addition to being attachable via USB and Bluetooth, there is a spot to insert an SD card with preloaded music, making this technically an MP3 Player as well! And when you throw in connective compatibility with Nintendo Switch and PS4 as well as clear phone calls that sound like they’re in the room with you, you’re left with a fantastic pair of headphones.

It’s no exaggeration that the Creative SXFI AIR is a remarkable pair of headphones that give audiophiles a listening experience that’s worth writing home about. And currently clocking in at only $159.99, it’s a price that’s very fair for the quality that you’re receiving. When I showed multiple friends who are self-professed music connoisseurs this headset and let them give it a go, all of them were impressed with the effect even when it was optimized for my head in particular. This seems to be a testament to how well the effect transforms all audio, but especially music. You haven’t heard your favorite band until you’ve heard them singing their entire discography in a quiet room with just you in the audience. It may never happen in real life, so these headphones are probably as close as you’ll get. If this sounds at all appealing or intriguing to you, I’d suggest giving the Creative SXFI AIR a try. Who knows, it may just change the way you listen to music forever!

The Creative SXFI AIR retails for $139 and is available for purchase at Amazon