Around Christmas time, Sleek Audio injected a little class into their product line when they introduced the wooden SA1 earphone. Pretty in natural rosewood and shiny turned aluminium, it’s a luxurious earphone at a reasonable price. It is also the first earphone the in Sleek’s arsenal to sport a dynamic driver. In typical Sleek Audio fashion, the SA1 features both VQ sound tuning and a removable cable. For its price, it may well be the most versatile earphone on the planet. Feel free to discuss the this Sleek Audio SA1 Review in our forums.
Car audio enthusiast Rockford Fosgate have taken a personal step with their newest product, the Punch Plug earphone. The earphone carries a massive 15mm driver which is smaller only than Final Audio’s 1601 series which stretches the ruler to 16mm per driver. The new Punch Plugs however, will debut in March at a much easier to swallow 99$. Recently there have been a lot of great sub 100$ earphones to hit market among which the Rockford’s debut model may be one to watch.
Piccies and more info after the gap:
With all my bagging on Korean devices, I am surprised at how much the EXS X10 rocks my socks off. EXS are one of the world’s largest OEM headphone companies and are based in Korea. Actually, there is a lot more to go ‘wow’ about than just sound. This ~55$ earphone performs well and should handle bumps better than a lot of mid-tier upgrade earphones. While I won’t ask you to go out and abuse an EXS, I will suggest that if you are on a budget and looking for a great earphone, the X10 is pretty darn good. Feel free to discuss the EXS X10 review in our forums.
2009’s party, mixed by last year’s Monster Turbine earphone, was off the charts. But in 2010, Monster’s sophomore Turbine, the Turbine Pro Gold, does everything better. Everything the original Turbine did right: bass, mids, treble – is trumped, and each is more controlled, more readily adapted for any music you throw at it. The Turbine Pro proves that Monster are ready to pick up the cheque as the best high-volume dynamic inner earphone maker on the planet. If you’d like to discuss the Monster Turbine Pro Gold, head to our forums.
MEElectronics’ earphones rode onto the scene last year with aplomb. Not only are they priced to sell, they sound good and in general, are made well. Now, MEEl have jumped on the wood bandwagon started by the venerable Victor FX500. The R-1 is a solid earphone which will rock the clocks of bass lovers who happen to have no more than 40$ in the bank.
Final Audio Design’s earphones say hi-end better than any headphone product. They are built from the ground up to deliver perfect sound rather than convenience. To accomplish this, Final Audio employ a special metal alloy on the earphone’s inner sound chamber which eliminates distracting vibrations. Equally as important is the regularisation of air pressure on both sides of the speaker. Both earphones are things of audio beauty, but as we will see, are as audiophile esoteric as high-end power supplies. The all-steel FI-DC1601SS tips the scale at just above 800$ US, while the FI-DC1350M2 checks in nearer 250$. Their top model, the FI-DC1601SC costs more than 2000$. But contrary to most expensive earphones, Final Audio Designs’ products strike impressive balance of sound quality rather than diamond dust.
Please take a look at Final Audio Design’s earphone webpage (Japanese) for more information and stay tuned for our in-depth article.
The venerable Shure SE530 is a great inner earphone which has stood the test of time. But, after nearly 3,5 years, it is getting long in the tooth. Fortunately for Shure fans, a two new models, the SE535 and SE425 have been spotted at CES. These new earphones are slimmer than the old triple-driver model and come with breakaway (coaxial?) cables. Other than that, not much is yet known about the new earphones which are expected to ship in the middle of 2010.
With the release of the CK100, Audio Technica have reinvented the inner earphone. Their former flagship portable, the dual-driver CK10 is a thing of neutral, fast, and airy beauty. But no matter how good it is, its younger, pricier sibling hurdles it in every imaginable way. The CK100 houses 3 balanced armature speakers per earphone from which a brilliant atmospheric sound haunts. For audiophiles looking for a high-quality, good-sounding inner earphone, there is none better for the price.
If anyone can one-up the Nuforce, it is Maximo. They sport many reasonably priced headsets and upgrade inner earphones which work well and sound good to boot. The iP-HS5 is their premium model which hits the important price point set by Apple’s new dual-driver inner earphone headset. But unlike the white-on-white of Apple’s sparsely accessorised kit, Maximo pack in a lot of black. In fact, its accessories kit might even make Jays blush.
UPDATE: Maximo have informed me that newer iP-HS5 cables are different to the model I have. If that is the case, I will update this review accordingly.
Not sure what’s afoot, but as I was digging up information on Sleek Audio‘s intriguing new dynamic driver SA1 inner earphone, I got the above from Sleek’s homepage. Something is up. I’ve seen this sort of thing before, but not at Sleek, so I will put forward a couple of guesses. A: Sleek are upgrading their website and have it offline for a few hours. B: The above webpage is a spare tyre, installed because Sleek have too much traffic. C: They have been hacked. I have a feeling that it might be one of the first two. Sleek have just been picked as a recipient of CES’s video award, so they may well have been deluged recently with traffic. I hope it isn’t the latter.
Their video and some SA1 glamour shots after the gap. Warning, video is Flash.