While it is still to early to reliably suss the future, there is definitely something clever about a partnership between three major audio companies. Started in April of this year, ACS and Etymotic joined forces to create force a bit of audiophile air into UK Apple Stores. Apple, undisputedly an audio company, happily obliged, and the HF2 + ACS custom sleeve was born.
More exciting is the buzz this product has created. Apple’s ubiquitous retail presence has led to inadvertent audiophiles who, upon asking a few questions at the store, discover a latent desire to upgrade. The excellent combination has earned a well-placed 2009 iPhone Accessory of the Year from Macworld.
The HF2 is a high-quality headset from one of the most renowned inner earphone makers in the world, Etymotic, who practically invented the universal inner earphone market. ACS are perhaps a little less known outside of their professional market: musicians and formula 1 drivers, but are no less groundbreaking: they developed the first commercially-available soft-silicon custom earphone.
Like Sensaphonics’ 2x-S, ACS’ ear pieces are made from soft silicon, a material which is supremely isolating and comfortable. Sound from silicon ear pieces is a bit more relaxed than that of hard acrylic, but both have their advantages.
If you are lucky enough to live in the UK, your ear can be treated to ACS’ custom tip by simply contacting an ACS impression centre, making an appointment and showing up. I can vouch for the painless process which takes only about 10-15 minutes. A quick look at TMA’s Sleek Audio CT6 earphone review will reveal some of the inherent qualities custom earphones have over their universal counterparts.
If you are interested in the ACS + Etymotic combo, Apple’s UK page has a load of juicy details.
And, if you cannot get enough of headphones, boil some tea water and have a read in our headphone section.