The most recent launch from Audeze, the iSine 20, takes expertise usually discovered solely in over-ear headphones and squeezes it right into a pair of ultra-portable earbuds. Whereas that’s definitely commendable, individuals accustomed to common earphones—which comfortably envelop the ears—should make some compromises. And at $600, there’s no simple buy-in. However with the best tunes and the best setting, it turns into clear that Audeze has accomplished borders on miraculous.
Audeze iSine 20
Large-headphone tech in a pocketable design. Cool retro-future aesthetic. In-line DAC for iPhone customers.
Odd form and weight may cause fatigue, discomfort. Ear clips are too flimsy. DAC could be cumbersome. Open design means no non-public listening—the individual seated subsequent to you on the aircraft will hear each notice of your music.
How We Price
- 1/10A full failure in each means
- 2/10Sad, actually
- 3/10Serious flaws; proceed with warning
- 4/10Downsides outweigh upsides
- 5/10Recommended with reservations
- 6/10Solid with some points
- 7/10Very good, however not fairly nice
- 8/10Excellent, with room to kvetch
- 9/10Nearly flawless
- 10/10Metaphysical perfection
The iSine 20s appear like one thing straight out of the Nineteen Seventies, with matte-gold mesh on the perimeters. iPhone customers may also go for an in-line digital-to-analog converter. The converter isn’t mandatory, but it surely does give the buds a cleaner audio sign than your telephone offers by itself—in case you don’t thoughts it hanging in your chest like a hefty necklace. These buds are so freakishly massive you need to connect a few plastic helps. These slot into your ears to stabilize the earpieces and supply a safe match. Blame the added bulk on the iSine’s raison d’etre: planar-magnetic drivers. Slightly than the cone-shaped audio system present in standard drivers, planar-magnetic drivers are flat and paper-thin. They supply extra audio element however require extra energy. The innovation within the iSine 20 is that it compresses the advanced electronics that drive a few of the world’s greatest units into one thing you may cram into your pocket. And Audeze actually has pulled it off—the road 20s are a symphonic marvel. Once I closed my eyes and listened to numerous tracks—from Huge Assault’s “Angel” to Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Obtained the Love”—I may select each notice on each instrument. Music isn’t incidental right here, it’s a full-body expertise that fills you.
It begins falling aside, although, if you understand how a lot your ears harm. Whereas the iSine 20s (and the $400 iSine 10) stands out as the first to pack audiophile-grade planar magnetic drivers into an earbud, that mantle comes at the price of consolation. Audeze offers two varieties of clips: one hangs behind the ear and the opposite lodges into the ear’s pure folds. I discovered each awkward, and irksome. Some may be capable of get away with out them, however for many, these plastic appendages might be mandatory. Plus, the plastic clips are brittle and low-cost, snapping simply. And if that occurs when you’re carrying the buds, effectively you’re out of luck. Audeze may have solved this drawback by making the set bigger, however, after all, then it might have misplaced out on being first to the market with one thing small and funky and bizarre.