A little while ago I reviewed the Brainwavz Hengja – a clamp-on headphone holder that could attach to a desk or shelf to hold your prized possessions when you’re not listening to them. Now, Brainwavz have released the somewhat unfortunately named Hooka as an alternative to the Hengja. The Hooka brings a few changes compared to the Hengja and therefore has its own pros and cons. Let’s take a look…
Unlike the Hengja that can be removed and repositioned at will thanks to a screw clamp, the Hooka uses a high quality 3M adhesive pad to attach to almost any convenient, vertical flat surface. One of the issues that faced the Hengja was a tendency to slip or tilt when clamped to a vertical surface such as the leg of a desk / table. For example, due to the thickness of my wife’s desk (my wife stole my Hengja because she liked it so much) I attached the clamp to the leg, but sometimes the clamp would slip and allow the headphones to slide off the hanger and onto the floor – not a big deal with a USB headset like she uses, but it would be a big deal if it were holding a pair of Audeze planars, Fostex TH-900s, Sennheiser HD800s or any of the other beautifully crafted and finished headphones on the market.
This is where the Hooka shines. The adhesive pad means that the Hooka can’t be moved easily once mounted – you would have to tear / cut it off and then source a new adhesive pad. However, in return for this limitation you get a rock-solid mount that happily supports 1-2 pairs of headphones on basically any surface without so much as a hint of slippage. Where the Hengja could only work on a surface it could clamp around (i.e. desktop, shelf or table leg), the Hooka can attach to any vertical surface including walls, windows, the edge of a desk, the leg of a table, etc.
In fact, the Hooka has now taken the place of the Hengja in my wife’s office where it comfortably holds both the USB headset and a pair of Ultrasone HFI-680s both at the same time.
Design & Aesthetics
The Hooka is a bit chunkier in terms of design and I can’t say I find it as visually appealing as the sleek and simple Hengja, however, the Hooka is functionally excellent and far from ugly. The surface that supports the headphone headband(s) is the same, slightly curved metal plate as used on the Hengja, but it is longer on the Hooka and therefore comfortably holds large headbands like the Audeze LCD range or multiple smaller headbands such as beyerdynamic T1s, Sennheiser HD800s, AudioQuest NightHawks, etc.
There’s a small hook at the end of the support plate to prevent your headphones being bumped off the holder and it’s just big enough to fulfill its purpose without being too big and getting in the way. Admittedly, it’s this hook that detracts from the appearance of the Hooka in my eyes, but it’s functionally very useful.
The Hooka is all black painted metal with a couple of chrome touches in the form of the screws holding the support pad onto the frame plus a white Brainwavz logo on the pad and the Brainwavz brand name on the mounting section. Underneath the support pad there’s also some bracing with a Brainwavz logo embossed in the black painted metal so there’s no missing the brand, but it’s not overdone and looks quite good in a rugged, industrial kind of way.
While the Hooka doesn’t appeal to my tastes quite as much as the more minimal Hengja did, the newer design does present greater flexibility of placement, a larger range of headphones and number of headphones it can support, and slightly more security against an accidental bump sending your beloved cans to the floor below. At a price of around $18 (direct from Brainwavz), the Hooka is one of the most functional and affordable options out there, but without any sacrifice of quality – it’s well made, nicely finished and looks and feels high quality.