Let’s see Ugly. I have to point to a Gizmodo article that is worth the visit. I find the Tube Surround headphone and the Jecklin Float Electrostatics to be particularly wonderfully horrifying. Yes, they make fun of STAX, but that’s easy to do on appearance.
I’ve seen many people say Stax headphones are ugly, but in a geeky way, I kind of like them. Even if you don’t, they have a serious look to them, though.
Oh, I like them. I even like how they look. But I can understand how some people might make fun of them. My present go-to headphones are STAX SR-5Ns* that I bought new. Recently I upgraded the old SRD for a modified SRM-T1S tube amp. Birger ( @spritzer ) did the mod, and now I have pro-bias sockets.
This has made me set my next serious headphone purchase on an SR-L700. **
*They narrowly beat out my Hifiman HE-560s, the Massdrop Sennheiser 6xx, and several others.
** Here’s a rabbit hole for you to jump down. All the best anime elf-girls wear STAX headphones.
I saw that story a while back, and concluded the category needs to be split into two very different groups:
Uncommon or exploratory technologies: e.g., Jecklin Float, AKG, Stax, Tube Surround. These were honest efforts in making better sound with minimal consideration of style. And the AKG K1000 isn’t that ugly to my eyes. If any of these became popular they wouldn’t necessarily be considered ugly any more.
Bad fashion taste with little consideration for sound: fuzzy, diamonds, fake bullets. These are just trashy “look at me” bling for the ears. They could be hats or purses and it wouldn’t change the take away message.
IMO only the fashion items should be considered ‘ugly’, as only they aimed for beauty.
The Abyss kind of splits the difference a serious product that makes you look like a CyberMan from Dr. Who.
Yes, I was internalizing Dalek envy at any other Dr. Who foe.