How much would you pay for a pair of in-ear headphones? £50? £150? How about £1,000? That's the asking price for the latest luxury pair from AKG, the K3003 in-ear headphones. They were on show at IFA 2011, and…
When it comes to pop music royalty, names don't come much bigger than that of Quincy Jones. From humble beginnings as a travelling jazz musician to the stratospheric success he garnered working with the late Michael Jackson, there are few more respected producers in modern music than Mr Jones. He's recently put his name to a new AKG audio line, and we've got our hands on a pair of Q350 in-ear earphones. Do they live up to their namesake's legendary reputation?
Sennheiser have released three new in-ear headphones, the CX 550 STYLE II, OMX 95 VC Style II and MX 95 VC Style II.
Aimed squarely at well-groomed, jogging, Audi drivers the Style II series all feature premium quality crafted metal designs and are “optimized for iPod,” (Just how? That’s what I want to know).
They all wield “extra-powerful neodymium-iron magnets” which are sure to sound loads better than the buds bundled with your mp3 player do.
They also come with a snazzy case to put them in for that 1% of time they aren’t wrapped around your iPod – we all know we’re not meant to but we do it anyway, because its easier right, so deal with it.
The CX 550s feature ambient noise dampening and are designed to stop sound leakage annoying other passengers but retailing at £80 you might want to try the cheaper alternative the OMXs at £60 or the MXs for £40.
Sennheiser, a company with a long heritage in headphone design, has just unveiled five new pairs of headphones that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. Only one pair – the high-end CX 380 Sport II’s – are noise-isolating, presumably because you often need to hear the outside world, too, when you’re indulging in exercise.
Starting with the low-end, let’s begin at the MX 80s. These are fairly standard earbuds, with a little bit of extra bass and a waterproof and ‘sweatproof’ (eww) design. They’re also pretty tough, and should be able to take a bit of knocking about. £25.
Then there’s the MX 85s which are very similar to the MX 80s but have a ‘twist-to-fit’ system that should keep the buds in your ear a little more effectively if you’re waving your head about wildly, as one is wont to do while ‘sporting’. They cost £35. A tenner for a fit mechanism?
Moving up the range further, there’s the OMX 80s, which are again pretty much the same phones, but with earhooks on them, providing a slightly different way of keeping them on your head. They come with a ‘reflective rear stripe’ too, so you don’t get run over in the dark. Also £35.
Refusing to quit with the different ways of keeping headphones attached to your head, Sennheiser’s also got the PMX 80s, which have an ergonomic neckband to hold things in place, and ensure that just as that power chorus comes in, you won’t get your buds rudely yanked out. They also have the aforementioned reflective strip, and cost £35.
Then lastly, at the top of the range, are the CX 380s. These are more like it – silicon sleeves provide a tight fit for the in-ear design, they’re washable, and have a rather more high-performance driver than the cheaper models. They cost more, though – £50.
My thoughts are that the extra price on these compared to standard models might not really be worth the outlay. It’s only a bit of plastic, after all. That said, I don’t do an awful lot of sport, so if you do, then put me right on Twitter at @techdigest.
Let’s talk about bass. You don’t hear proper bass – you feel it. In your stomach, your gut. That feeling is generated by massive subwoofers bigger than your head vibrating the air. That’s why I’m more than a little skeptical of Sony’s new XB series of headphones.
They claim to recreate “club ambiance”, which presumably includes meat-headed bouncers, two-hour queues for the cloakroom and many, many, identical men in white shirts. There’s five models in the range – three closed-cup, over-the-head designs (the MDR-XB700/500/300s) and two in-ear models (MDR-XB40EX/20EX).
The over-the-heads have 50mm drivers, and the in-ears have “an innovative ‘direct vibe’ acoustic design”, apparently. They’ll all be available in March, but there’s no pricing info available yet. For all kinds of scientific diagrams, click to Sony’s Extra Bass page on their website.
Sennheiser has announced a new professional line of in-ear earphones, the IE series, offering high quality, accurate sound for a range of budgets (well, except under £120).
The Sennheiser IE 6 are hi-fi earphones with enhanced bass and come in at £119.99. The Sennheiser IE 7 are classic hi-fi earphones with a balanced sound, for £169.99, while the top-of-line IE 8s are aimed at audiophiles and cost £249.99.
All feature high-end, accurate, pro-grade audio and are based on Sennheiser’s in-ear stage monitors, having a single driver to eliminate distortions, strong Kevlar cabling, metal carry cases, and a two year guarantee.
High-end audio manufacturer Klipsch has just announced a new set of earphones to sit alongside its prosumer X10 and budget Custom-1 models.They’re called the X5s, and they’re ever so slightly larger than the X10s.
That slight embiggening saves £50 in the manufacturing process, which they’ve passed on to the consumer, so the X5s will cost £130. For that, you’re getting 50 ohm impedence, 110dB sensitivity, and -26 dB noise isolation. Klipsch are calling these “the least fatiguing in-ear headphones around”, and they’ll be available in ‘late November’.
Audio-Technica’s new earbuds, the ATH-CK100s, feature a slightly-ridiculous triple-driver system. Why would anyone need three speakers in an earbud, especially when even the best sound-isolating earbuds don’t block out enough noise to hear sophisticated sound improvements on the bus?
Sony has decided that it’s time to introduce some more headphones and a Bluetooth headset to the market, and while it’s hard to get excited by either Sony’s product naming convention or the actual designs, they do at least provide an alternative brand for the likes of “Which?” magazine to compare.
First up comes the MDR-EX33LP and MDR-EX35LP in-ear headphones, described as “fun” and “affordable”. The “33” series comes in five high-fashion colours, and the “55” in three colours, and both feature hybrid silicone earbuds for a secure fit, a 9mm EX driver unit for wide dynamic range and deep bass, and cord adjuster/slider to stop the wires getting caught up…
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