Shinola Canfield On-ear headphones review

Shinola Canfield On-ear headphones

MSRP $495.00

“The Canfield is beautifully designed, but comfort and performance fall short of their royal price tag.”


  • Elegant and modern design

  • Excellent build quality

  • It’s easy to drive with a smartphone

  • Warm, powerful bass


  • The midrange definition does not match the price

  • The lack of cushioning wears on the ears over time

  • Unusually difficult to adjust the size

In the greater Detroit area, Shinola is a household name. The company has become popular in its home base, as well as beyond, for its line of elegant wristwatches and business-class accessories such as notebooks and leather-bound handbags. Shinola makes cool and classy stuff and, these days, that’s enough to mean the brand feels ready to jump into the ever-growing luxury headphone market. Following its first turntable, The Runwell, Shinola introduced the Canfield series of headphones, including on-ear, over-ear and in-ear models.

Here we check out the Canfield on-ears, which are luxuriously outfitted with gleaming steel and rich leather trim, and priced accordingly at a whopping $495 per pair in silver and cognac or silver and black (and $550 in gloss black). Those prices put Canfield’s headphones in very powerful company. But can this watchmaker turned audio brand produce a pair of audiophile cans worth their audiophile price tag?


The Canfield On-ears arrive, like most high-end headphones, in an all-black box wrapped in a cardboard sleeve with glamorous can images on the front and back. Inside, the earphones are housed in a durable hard case attached with foam and accompanied by a removable braided cable with a built-in three-button iOS microphone. One part oddly missing from the package is a quarter-inch adapter. Shinola says the headphones are designed “specifically to work with any smartphone,” and we’ll agree—they’re incredibly easy to drive with any device. But at this price point, we were surprised that an adapter wasn’t included for use with high-end components — especially since the instructions specifically recommend using an amp for “critical listening.” Never mind, we have our own.

See also  The best wireless headphones for 2023 from Bose, Sony, 1More and more

The Canfield’s design reminds us of many high-end headphones — and that’s a good thing. The cans are made from heavy steel components, including chrome inserts where the earcups meet the band and chrome ribbons wrapped around the earcups that match the sexy matte caps on the outside of the earcups with Shinola’s lightning bolt logo placed in the center.

The band itself seems rough and yet refined, like a weekend warrior who frees himself from office worries to spend enough time in the mountains. The steel frame is covered in a sharp-looking leather coat with a smooth suede lining. However, we find the first flaws in the design on the band.

The lack of cushioning above and on the sides results in a fit that doesn’t jive with the headset’s luxurious design.

As stylish as the headband’s leather wrap is, it doesn’t offer nearly enough padding for a pair of three-quarter-pound cans. Additionally, the angle at which the retractable arms pull out of the headband for adjustment is awkward. Push the retractable part at any angle more than a few millimeters off-axis and the headphones will appear to be stuck in place. This is doubly true when you’re wearing headphones, making it nearly impossible to adjust the size on the fly without actually removing the headphones.

Rich lambskin covers the ear pads, which are magnetically attached and easily removed in the vein of headphones like Bowers & Wilkins’ P-series models. But again, we complain because there is very little padding. As stylish as the headphones look, the lack of dedicated cushioning above and on the sides gives a snug fit that doesn’t jive with the headphones’ luxurious design. Rigid is the word that comes to mind; Canfield simply never wears, even after a few weeks, relying on their business-chic design with a cut that feels as stiff as a boardroom meeting. Going back and forth between our similarly priced Audeze Sine earbuds, which we initially wished had more padding, we were surprised by how comfortable they were in comparison.

See also  Gamers have resorted to buying this 4-year-old graphics card, but they shouldn’t

Furthermore, the fact that the braided cable is extremely noisy whenever it rubs against your clothes doesn’t help the headphones either.


We’ve mentioned Bowers & Wilkins before, and it’s fitting here again because, like B&W’s P-series (especially the flagship P9), the Canfield on-ears aim for a deep bass flavor previously rarely found in headphones costing significantly more than mainstream. That doesn’t mean the sound won’t be popular. The Canfield does some impressive things in the low frequencies, offering a tight bass response that’s dominant without being completely overpowered when it comes to the higher registers.

Review by Shinola CanfieldBill Roberson/Digital Trends

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The sound signature is saturated with darker flavors throughout the record, which is evident in lighter tunes like Elton John Your song, although there is also plenty of detail to discover in the midrange. John’s raspy vocals are relatively well showcased in the song, breaking through a creamy piano accompanied by a wide range of string instruments in a wide soundstage.

While bass lovers will enjoy the bold low-end excitement, the midrange frequencies aren’t revealed with the presence or precision you’d expect from a pair of headphones at this price point. Bouncing back and forth between our usual Sine and Canfield headphones with more nuanced music, such as Ahmad Jamal’s hard-hitting jazz tracks Silver and Back to futureit reveals not only a lack of presence in the upper registers, but also a lack of several layers of textural definition in the Canfield that we find free and readily available in the Son.

Admittedly, we’re comparing Shinola’s first attempt in the genre to perhaps the best in-ear headphones you can find at their price point, and to be fair, the Canfield’s 40mm dynamic drivers have a tough job keeping up with the brilliantly engineered planar magnetic drivers Audeze uses in the Sine . When you dive into the $500 line, though, you’d better make sure your cans are up to the tough competition.

See also  Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 vs. Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: which is best?


The Canfield comes with a two-year limited warranty, which can be extended to three years with registration.

Our example

Beautifully designed and as rugged as any cans you’ll find in their class, the Shinoline Canfield On-ears fit the part right from the start. But for lack of comfort or top-notch performance, we’d recommend shelling out the cash for a pair of headphones more worthy of Canfield’s king price.

Is there a better alternative?

The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to sound quality is obviously Audeze Sine, whose praises we have sung throughout this review. If you’re looking for something that emulates Canfield’s classy design, we recommend checking out the Master and Dynamic MW50, which not only offer similar build quality, but also great sound and wireless connectivity.

How long will it last?

Although Shinola is new to the headphone game, the company knows how to make well-made products, and the Canfield’s premium components and solid design should make them long-lasting.

Should you buy it?

While they’re certainly stylish and well-built, at this price point we simply can’t recommend a pair of headphones that aren’t comfortable and don’t match our favorite options when it comes to sound quality.

Editor’s recommendations

Categories: GAMING

Rate this post

Leave a Comment