Best known for its legendary guitars, including the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazzmaster models, Fender Musical Instruments is now looking to plug into the ears of music professionals and audiophiles with its first in-ear monitors. The Pro range will initially be made up of five models, with the line boasting patented hybrid driver technology and 3D-printed housings designed to fit the vast majority of ears just like custom-molded monitors.
The humble audio jack has served music lovers well over the years, but listening to tunes on mobile devices can be something of a disappointment for budding audiophiles. Manufacturers naturally concentrate on upping processor performance, squeezing more pixels per inch into the display and extending battery life, while audio components often appear something of an afterthought. Folks who like to groove on the move to high quality playback can opt for a portable DAC like the DacMagic XS, but the P5 Digital Headphones and Z1 Digital Earphones have their own hi-res DACs and are compatible with both USB and Lightning connections.
Altec Lansing has unveiled a new set of earphones that are "truly wireless," meaning there are no cables in sight – not even between the two earbuds themselves. The Freedom earbuds, which have a lengthy battery life and waterproof design, are on show at CES this week in Las Vegas.
Last June, a team led by mechanical and design engineer Olle Lindén embarked on a Kickstarter campaign to bring some new Bluetooth earphones into production. There are a good many wireless earphones already available of course, but what made the Earins stand out from the crowd was a world's smallest claim, and that they really were wireless. Where other BT plugs, like the NuForce earphones we reviewed a couple of months back, have a cable running between each earpiece, the Earins have none. Project backers started to receive their Earin earphones in early October, and they've just recently been made available for non-backers to buy, too. Gizmag was sent some to try out.
Though a very few mobile music lovers will be lucky enough to own some perfect fit off-the-shelf earphones, for the rest of us, fallout is a frustratingly frequent problem. If you've got lots of time and patience, and a rather large budget, you could take a trip to an audiologist, get your ears scanned and then order a pair of in-ear headphones molded to precisely fit your ear canals. A startup running a Kickstarter campaign says that it's come up with a quicker, cheaper and simpler way. You just stick a Revols earpiece in each ear, wiggle it about and push it around until it feels snug and then hit "start" on a companion app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone ... and a minute later you've got yourself some custom-fit earphones.
For its first in-ear headphones in four years, V-Moda is offering a heady mix of toughness, good looks and the promise of great sound. Zn is, of course, the symbol for zinc, which V-Moda says has a "unique hardness and resonance nature to deliver a balanced sound." Each dynamic driver is wrapped in solid yet lightweight zinc alloy housing, and the limited edition Zn in-ears boast a signature that's been fine-tuned to appeal to the modern and mobile audiophile. The earphones also come with detachable ear hooks reported capable of keeping them in place no matter the physical demands of the sport-loving, high resolution music lover.
When it comes to personal audio, manufacturers create styles that are meant to accommodate the vast majority of people. Although many headphones and earphones offer enhanced comfort and/or interchangeable ear tips, very few are tailored to individuals. For those looking to get a perfect fit without a trip to an audiologist, Decibullz Wireless offers DIY custom-molded earpieces along with Bluetooth wireless technology.
Wireless audio may be convenient, but can lack a certain ease and purity that comes from listening to music through a cable. Plus, you never have to worry about battery life or carrying additional accessories when a simple 3.5 mm plug does the job. Phiaton, which has made a name for itself by successfully combining features, style, and great audio quality at competitive price points, has recently made available the PS 202 NC wired earphones. We get some ears-in to see how the company’s latest delivers, especially with the added hush of active noise cancellation.
Optoma has today released the BE6 earphones, its fourth since acquiring the NuForce brand late last year, and its first wireless models. The stylish bullets are reported smaller than Bluetooth market leaders and are being aimed squarely at mobile music lovers with an ear for quality. Gizmag was sent a pre-release pair for review.
While basic earbuds will get the job done, many eventually choose to upgrade their audio with something that both looks and sounds better. If you happen to have an appreciation for precision-machining and fine material, the latest from Master & Dynamic may catch your fancy. The ME05 earphones feature 8-mm Neodymium drivers encased in a solid brass body with a hand-finished shine.