Mitchell & Johnson GL1 headphones review

by MaddOx
0 comment

Sometimes it’s nice to just sit down, put your headphones on and zone out listening to your favourite music. Sure you might miss someone delivering a parcel, or not hear your other half shouting from the toilet asking you to pass her toilet roll, but that time taken to just unwind can do wonders for the mind, body and soul, so it’s definitely worthwhile. We recently got our hands on a set of Mitchell & Johnson GL1 headphones, so let us see how good they were at taking me off to another place.

AUDIO – 5/5

A lot of people will tell you that all headphones are the same and that you don’t need to fork out big money for a decent pair. And although to an extent you can find some bargains out there, there is a massive difference in quality between a set you pick up at Poundland and something along the lines of the GL1s.

When it comes to audio quality, the GL1s tick all the boxes; excellent clarity, bass that packs a punch and detail that you may not necessarily pick up when using a cheaper pair of headphones. To put into perspective how good these headphones were, I managed to listen to Disturbed’s version of The Sound of Silence on full volume without a snap, crackle or a pop. Although I did have a bit of an earache due to the uncomfortableness of such loud music in my ear hole.

The reason for such good quality is down to the technology Mitchell & Johnson used. Instead of a magnet and cone diaphragm structure used by your normal headphones, the GL1s use what is known as electrostatic principles which I could explain, but I’ll let Mitchell & Johnson do that in this quote from their website explaining their technology:

ESL’s use electrostatic principals to reproduce which are very different from the principals [of ordinary headphones]. Instead of a magnet and cone diaphragm structure, ESL’s use a large, heavily biased (high voltage) ultra-thin plastic membrane ‘hat’ is sandwiched between two conductive stator plates to reproduce the sound. The ESL is a linear source and the music disperses evenly over the whole surface of the diaphragm. They are also dipole, meaning sound waves radiate from the front and rear, and the membrane is not usually enclosed in a cabinet, thus the thin speaker profiles and unique acoustic qualities.


In terms of build quality and comfort, the GL1s score very highly again. If I was marking on build quality alone it should be 5/5, as the main frame feels robust and the braided cable is tough plus adds an extra layer of protection to your standard rubber coating.

Where it loses marks for me is down to the comfort of the headphones. The padding on the top was a little thinner than I like and just giving it a light squeeze between your fingers you could feel the channelling where the wires ran through the frame. It wasn’t too bad for short periods such as the walk to work from my car, but if I stuck it on to try and help me focus when playing PES 18 I’d have to take it off after a while. In addition to the padding was also the normal issue for me which is that the ear pads are made of leather, and so after prolonged use, I seem to get sweaty, although with the GL1s it did take longer than usual for me to become a sweaty mess.


We’ve established that they fulfil their main purpose pretty well, but what about the rest of the headphones? On the braided cable is a small in-line control box that like most headphones allows you control volume. With most devices this seemed to work perfectly fine, taking control of your phone volume for example, but plugging it into my laptop, the controls didn’t work. I tried adjusting my settings and how the device was identified, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get it to do what I wanted.


Now, this was a tough bit for me because it was a fantastic product, but would I spend £199 on a pair of GL1s? I’m not so sure. I mean, by far my favourite headphones ever have been my JAM Transit headphones that I’ve had for a few years now and they were a fraction of the cost. They were very different I admit as they were on the ear, not over ear headphones but the quality of the audio was just as good for the price and they were wireless. With having to fork out nearly £200 on these, I think that I’d want all the bells and whistles with it; wireless technology, a collapsible design, swappable aux cables to switch things up and allow you to transform your headphones into a proper headset. That for me is why its not maybe worth a purchase unless A) you have stupid amounts of money to spend on stuff or B) you’re an audiophile who is specifically looking for headphones of this nature.

OVERALL – 4.1/5

The idea has always been that British manufacturing has been renowned for quality all around the globe from cars and ships to hoovers and whisky, and Mitchell & Johnson have very much kept that ethos alive. Providing excellent audio quality, at what is personally a typically overinflated British price (sounds like your average English premier league player), the GL1 is amazing in many senses. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few tweaks that are needed, but with their pioneering technology, its sleek and stylish lightweight design, the GL1 will almost certainly give any audiophiles an audio sensation orgasm. It may not be my favourite set of headphones I’ve ever been graced with, but it is definitely one of the best.

The TL;DR:

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Quite pricey
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Uses electrostatic technology

You can find more information on the Mitchell & Johnson GL1 headphones by clicking HERE which will take you to their website. 

You may also like

Leave a Comment