Tag Archives: Earphones and in-ear monitors

Technics EAH-AZ80 earbuds launched

Never miss a beat with Technics’ model new and improved True Wireless earbuds

Whatever you’re doing, no matter your wants, Technics’ next-generation earbuds supply immersive sound and stress-free operation, mixed with perform and elegance

A brand new 10mm, free-edge aluminum diaphragm that delivers the perfect sound high quality up to now from Technics’ true wi-fi earbuds i because ofTechnics’ 55 years of sound expertise.
Industry-leading stage energetic noise cancellation.
Bluetooth® Multipoint Connection now with as much as three units.

JustMyVoice TM know-how developed to supply improved ambient noise discount functionality.

Improved design for a extra snug in-ear match.

Technics is launching two new noise-cancelling wi-fi in-ear earbuds, the flagship EAH-AZ80 and the EAH-AZ60M2, designed particularly for individuals searching for very good sound high quality and luxury all through their busy lives. Earbuds have turn into an indispensable half our lives. We are utilizing wi-fi earbuds at totally different occasions of the
day and for various issues – for good noise-cancellation on the commute; as dependable microphones for conferences; and to ship sweat-resistant, efficient sound when understanding. As Technics got down to design its subsequent technology of true wi-fi headphones, an emphasis was placed on creating earbuds that work effectively for all life-style
wants, that stay snug to put on all day, and that keep away from the necessity to change between totally different headphones or sacrifice sound high quality, consolation, or options.

The new EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 fashions permit you to freely take pleasure in impeccable sound high quality and specific your private model. When designing the brand new earbuds, Technics used its experience because the legendary audio model to make the sound high quality pure, specializing in each facet of sound – driver, acoustic construction, mechanical
construction, and digital sign processing – so you may hear each element.

The new fashions’ good options supply clear calls by superior JustMyVoice know-how, industry-leading noise-cancellation, lengthy battery life, multipoint reference to as much as three units, and wi-fi charging. Enclosed in a classy and ergonomic design to make the earbuds snug to put on all day, with seven
totally different earpiece sizes, the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 are tailor-made for the proper match.

Technics Signature Clear Sound

Clearly superior sound. Now wi-fi.

Taking benefit of its Hi-Fi sound engineering philosophy and technical experience cultivated over a 55-year historical past, Technics’ true wi-fi earbuds are the selection for anybody who calls for prime quality in each sound expertise

The flagship EAH-AZ80 encompasses a new 10mm, free-edge aluminium diaphragm that delivers the biggest sound high quality ever from Technics’ true wi-fi earbuds, extending excessive and low frequency response whereas decreasing undesirable resonance and distortion. The distinctive acoustic field design present in each the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 homes an acoustic management chamber to optimize air move for pure sounding vocals and different mid ranges: a strong bass, and a harmonizer to easy out trebles to create dynamic vary of sound with much less distortion. The result’s a wealthy, immersive, and expansive sound with easy and detailed highlights, permitting you to listen to each element.

Additionally, the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 help High-Resolution Audio Quality with Bluetooth® and LDAC know-how ii , delivering a large dynamic vary of sound with quick response and excessive definition.

Industry-Leading Level Immersive Noise Cancelling

For these conditions whenever you wish to immerse your self in music or in conferences, each the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 fashions characteristic Technics’ proprietary Dual Hybrid Noise Cancelling Technology to obtain industry-leading efficiency.iii The mixture of a digital software program filter and feedforward mic suppresses noise from outdoors the earbuds, whereas a suggestions mic paired with an analogue {hardware} filter inhibit noise from contained in the earbud. This mixture permits noise-cancelling ranges to be adjusted consistent with the encompassing atmosphere, whether or not at dwelling or on the transfer, and the no-latency processing means you received’t miss a beat.

The stage of noise cancelling can differ tremendously from individual to individual on account of variations in ear form and different components. For this purpose, attempt the varied sizes of included earpieces to seek out your good match and then use the Technics Audio Connect app to finetune the impact on your ears.

Intuitive Smart Features

Multipoint Connection with now as much as “3-Devices” concurrently

Connection is vital for these ‘dialling in’ when on-the-go, managing conferences, calls, and music throughout a number of units. The EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 now help multipoint connections with to as much as three Bluetooth® units concurrently, permitting you to modify between sources seamlessly.

JustMyVoiceTM Technology

Both the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 are geared up with JustMyVoice TM know-how, which makes use of Technics’ distinctive sign processing to analyse your voice sign and suppress surrounding noise so that your voice is captured clearly. Voice detection mics choose up your voice when talking, whereas two MEMS mics actively isolates your voice and scale back surrounding noise with beamforming know-how for a transparent name, even in noisy environments or whereas working from dwelling. A complete of eight mics – 4 on every ear – play a major position in supporting extra snug, pure dialog over the cellphone.

JustMyVoice TM know-how within the new wi-fi fashions has developed to supply improved ambient noise discount functionality in any atmosphere, similar to on a windy day or when assembly on-line in a loud espresso store. The voice detection sign and adaptive noise suppression characteristic – which routinely adjusts to the noise stage – enable your voice to be delivered extra clearly in windy or noisy environments whereas avoiding “muffled” speech.

Single Bud Operation

The EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 fashions may be operated freely when utilizing solely the left or proper earbud. Within the Technics Audio Connect App, you may freely alter the contact and maintain, single, double, and triple faucet actions (similar to quantity up/down, skip ahead/again, ambient or noise cancelling mode on/off). You may even assign particular actions to 1 or the opposite earbud. Being in a position to arrange your earbuds the way in which you need tremendously enhances personalisation choices, particularly whenever you solely wish to use a single earbud.

Ambient Sound Modes

The EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 are additionally geared up with distinctive ambient sound modes that may be set to both “Natural Ambient” or “Attention” mode. Natural Ambient Mode captures all surrounding noise, permitting you to take heed to music or speak on the phone whereas listening to your environment.

Attention Mode captures sounds within the human voice frequency vary, making certain you may hear human voices close by, similar to bulletins on the airport or a member of the family’s voice at dwelling, whereas decreasing different, undesirable exterior noises. Furthermore, utilizing the Technics Audio Connect app, you can alter precisely how a lot exterior sound you wish to hear in each modes utilizing an modern slider interface.

Long Battery Life

A protracted battery life signifies that the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 fashions are nonetheless going when your work – or play – heads into extra time. They help 7.5 hours of music playback with out noise cancellation (25 hours with the cradle); Seven hours of music playback in energetic noise-cancelling mode (24 hours with the cradle) and 4 hours of name time with each energetic noise-cancelling and JustMyVoice TM turned on (13.5 hours with the cradle). Equipped with a put on sensor that pauses playback when the earbuds are faraway from the ear and routinely resumes when they’re put again in, this sensor additionally prevents
unintentional playback and sudden energy consumption.

Smart Features: Qi Charging, Customization through App, Water Resistance (IPX4)

With newly added Qi Wireless Charge help for the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2, charging begins just by putting the cradle on a wi-fi charger.

The Technics Audio Connect app for smartphones makes it straightforward to configure and management EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 wi-fi earbuds, providing voice assistant compatibilityiv and customisation of noise cancellation and sound mode settings. New to the app are a verify battery perform, tremendous bass equaliser, and the power to toggle between voice and sound impact steering.

You can take the brand new Technics true wi-fi earbuds just about anyplace. Both the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 fashions boast water-resistant efficiency consistent with the IPX4 customary and are unhurt when splashed with water from any path. Both fashions additionally embrace Alexa inbuilt.

All-day Comfort Design

Constant companions throughout a busy day, the design of the EAH-AZ80 and EAH-AZ60M2 was improved upon previous generations to stay comfortably in place no matter your exercise. The premium EAH-AZ80 encompasses a specifically formed housing that aligns along with your ear’s concha for improved stability with out the stress utilized by standard earbud designs.

The EAH-AZ60M2 options an All-Day Comfort Fit

Design housing with an expanded contact space that feels extra snug and safe. Technics silicone earpieces mix supplies of various hardness for wonderful match, high-quality sound, and superior insulation. You can select from seven totally different earpiece sizes, starting from XXS to XL, to discover the perfect match for the perfect sound.

The flagship, premium EAH-AZ80 is obtainable in deep pure black and silver, every with a classy spin-processed touch-sensor floor for higher person expertise. The cradle encompasses a high-quality aluminum end and a hairline-engraved Technics emblem. Compact and lightweight, the easy-to-carry rounded kind matches comfortably in your hand.

The EAH-AZ60M2 is obtainable in black, silver, and midnight blue. The very compact and moveable cradle additionally encompasses a high-quality end and engraved Technics emblem for a premium really feel.

Both fashions can be found on Amazon and Technics.com beginning May 18th. The EAH-AZ80 is obtainable for $299 and the EAH-AZ60M2 is $249.99.

EAH-AZ80 solely.
ii When linked through Bluetooth®, LDAC helps as much as 96 kHz/24 bits.

iii As of 31 March 2023, in accordance with analysis by Panasonic Corporation, measured utilizing JEITA-compliant tips within the True Wireless model noise cancelling headphones market.

iv Compatible with smartphones and tablets which can be geared up with Android 6.0 or greater and that help Google Play™, or an iPhone®, iPad® and iPod Touch® geared up with iOS12 or greater.

About Technics

Technics is the model identify of hi-fi audio merchandise owned by the Panasonic Corporation with fundamental residence in Osaka, Japan. The Technics model was based in 1965. Driven by a continuing attempt for innovation and excellence inside the audio area, numerous legendary hi-fi parts have been launched by the Technics model, lots of them having set new requirements within the audio world.

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The submit Technics EAH-AZ80 earbuds launched appeared first on Hi-Fi+.

Sennheiser IE600

“Fashion is ephemeral, harmful and unfair.” Admittedly Karl Lagerfeld didn’t have the world of client electronics uppermost in his thoughts when he made this assertion, but it surely however applies. Sennheiser actually appears to suppose so.

As of proper now, it’s exhausting to think about a much less trendy sector of the hi-fi market than that of wired in-ear screens. Mainstream customers gave up on them some time in the past – at nearly precisely the identical time as smartphone producers gave up on headphone sockets, the truth is. You may be forgiven for considering wired headphones are the protect of airways who need you to benefit from the in-flight ‘leisure’ however don’t need you to be tempted to make off with their headphones after touchdown.

Wired beats wi-fi

Those who take listening severely, although, know that for sound high quality a wired connection beats the wi-fi equal 99 occasions out of 100. These are the individuals who know a conveyable digital audio participant wipes the ground, the place sound high quality is anxious, with even probably the most succesful and least compromised smartphone. And these are the individuals Sennheiser has squarely in its sights with the IE600 wired in-ear screens.

As with its IE900 wired in-ear screens we reviewed again in challenge 197, Sennheiser intends the IE600 to ship a superior on-the-go listening expertise. Unlike the IE900, although, the IE600 are merely very costly fairly than eye-wateringly dear.

But regardless of what Sennheiser would little doubt describe as a ‘inexpensive’ value, there’s next-to-no proof of corners being reduce or pennies being pinched. The IE600 could also be essentially small, however they’re very large certainly on specification.


Inside every tiny, light-weight (4g) housing, Sennheiser has discovered room for a 7mm ‘TrueResponse’ transducer to do the audio enterprise. The firm is adamant {that a} single, full-range driver is preferable to the multiple-driver-plus-balanced-armature different many self-proclaimed ‘high-end’ different designs utilise – so long as it’s correctly applied, that’s. Given that Sennheiser is claiming a frequency response of 4Hz to very almost 47kHz, its assertion that the motive force fitted right here is ‘full vary’ appears troublesome within the excessive to argue with. And on condition that Sennheiser is claiming probably the most correct channel-matching and the bottom unit-to-unit variations anyplace within the trade for its drivers, due to a producing operation that features precision cameras to watch the method, ‘correctly applied’ appears to be lined too.

Also inside every earpiece is Sennheiser’s ‘D2CA’ know-how. In layman’s phrases (that are, let’s face it, the phrases with which we’re all most snug), there are two tuned resonator chambers contained in the nozzle of every IE600 – they’re designed to mitigate the ‘masking’ impact that may present itself at decrease volumes. When comparable sounds happen concurrently in a chunk, it’s difficult for human listening to to resolve – so D2CA captures and attenuates these frequencies, permitting uncolored and naturalistic replica. The non-layman’s clarification is method too lengthy to enter right here.

3D Printed

The earbuds themselves are the results of engineering that’s no much less concerned and no extra compromised than that of what’s inside them. The housing is shaped utilizing metal-powder-based 3D printing, which means all needed chambers and channels are created with no milling required. And the zirconium alloy from which they’re shaped has triple the power and flex-resistance of (abruptly antiquated) high-performance metal – it options within the drilling head of NASA’s Mars Rover, which bodes nicely for its possibilities of standing as much as a stint within the departure lounge adopted by a long-haul flight. After an intensive cleansing, steel-shot blasting, sharpening and floor remedy (this final, admittedly, within the identify of aesthetic attraction solely), the housing is full and prepared to withstand corrosion and scratches regardless of how careless the eventual proprietor.

The IE600 are equipped with a few paramid-reinforced cables – one’s an unbalanced cable with a 3.5mm termination and the opposite a balanced 4.4mm different. They hook up with the earbuds utilizing gold-plated MMCX (micro miniature coaxial) connections which can be recessed into the housing for optimum stability. The cables themselves have built-in, versatile and pliant earhooks to assist obtain a snug match – and Sennheiser supplies six pairs of eartips (three foam, three silicone) to the identical finish. A tough, compact carry-case and a fairly self-important ‘certificates of authenticity’ full the bundle.

Painstaking engineering

In order to do some justice to this overtly painstaking engineering, the IE600 are related to each the 4.4mm output of an iFi iDSD Diablo DAC/headphone amp connected to a 2020 Apple MacBook Pro and and the three.5mm output of an EarMen TR-Amp DAC/headphone amp linked to the identical laptop computer – although not on the similar time, clearly. Surely nobody goes to drop £600 on a pair of in-ear screens after which simply hook them straight into the headphone socket of their pc, in spite of everything. Are they?

And then to double down on all of the high-end high-quality good style that this listening session appears to be all about, the primary hear is to a DSD64 (5644.8kbps) file of Stevie Wonder’s mighty Living for the City [Tamla]. The outcomes are predictable, however no much less pleasurable and engrossing for it.

The sound of the Sennheiser IE600 is totally saturated intimately – it drips from each component of the recording, regardless of how minor or how deeply buried within the combine. The soundstage the Sennheiser set up is prodigiously broad, completely rock-solid in the way in which it’s centered, and so cleanly separated that no aspect of the recording can’t be situated and individualised. No transient is simply too short-lived to flee the eye of the IE600, and the powers of organisation on show listed below are such that the unity and coherence of the general efficiency isn’t a lot hinted at as made blindingly apparent.

Remarkable Extension

Down on the backside of the frequency vary there’s exceptional extension – maybe not right down to the 4Hz Sennheiser is claiming, however actually the low frequencies dig right down to a stage the place no daylight can attain them. To complement this prodigious depth, bass sounds are fanatically straight-edged, attacking and decaying with absolute certainty – when the left hand reaches right down to the far finish of the clavinet’s keyboard, the alacrity of the IE600 response is sort of startling. As with the remainder of the frequency vary, the Sennheiser give the low stuff all of the element (of tone, of texture, of timbre) to make each notice a person incidence – they usually have the dynamic efficiency to distinguish one key-strike from the following with actual positivity.

The midrange, although, is the star of this recording – only a few singers push their voice as far ahead within the combine as Stevie Wonder, however then only a few singers have the purity and character of tone to get away with it. The IE600 are alive to the tiny contributions made by inhalation and palate noise, and consequently construct a vocal efficiency that’s thrilling in its immediacy.

The areas, silences and pauses for breath obvious all through the recording are all given due consideration too, and despite the fact that this tune is generously overdubbed the IE600 current it as a lucid and consolidated entire. Only the highest of the frequency vary, which extends as gratifyingly far because it does on the different finish, sounds the mildest of alarms – there’s an nearly subliminal edginess to the way in which the Sennheiser serve up treble sounds. As far as this recording is anxious, the shine and wolfish chew aren’t problematic – however give the IE600 a toothy recording or connect them to an unsympathetic supply of music they usually may very well be.

Power Struggle

And there are, it seems, limits to those screens’ powers of decision. ‘Girls in Their Summer Clothes’ by Bruce Springsteen [Columbia] is a slim, congested pea-souper of a recording, with competing parts piled on high of one another – and regardless of their greatest efforts, the IE600 can’t open it up or unfold it out. The listener can nearly sense an influence wrestle happening, because the screens try to drive a long way between the horns, the percussion, the piano and the voice. Still, that’s extra concerning the recording than the Sennheiser IE600.

Having sufficient cash to purchase premium in-ear screens and fasten them to a high-quality audio participant doesn’t robotically imply you solely hearken to shiny, high-fidelity recordings, in fact. But so long as you’re conscious of the restrictions of the IE600 the place the silk purse/sow’s ear interface is anxious, there’s little or no else that ought to dissuade you from making an attempt them out.

Technical specs

  • Type in-ear monitor
  • Drivers 7mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response 4Hz–46.5kHz
  • Impedance 18 Ohms
  • Noise cancellation none
  • Distortion < 0.06% at94dB / 1kHz
  • Sensitivity not quoted
  • Accessories 6 × silicon/foam eartips; exhausting case; MMCX‑terminated 2.5mm and three.5mm cables
  • Weight 4g
  • Price £599




UK Distributor




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The publish Sennheiser IE600 appeared first on Hi-Fi+.

Bowers & Wilkins Upgrades In-Ear True Wireless Headphones

The following is a press release issued by Bowers & Wilkins.

The original Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 & Pi5 in-ear noise cancelling headphones, launched in April 2021, redefined expectation in the True Wireless category and marked the renowned British audio brand’s first entry into the TWS market. Now the brand has built upon the universal acclaim for its first-generation in-ear True Wireless headphones, with the introduction of two new upgraded models, the Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2. Replacing the first-generation models, the two new designs reaffirm their status as the best-sounding True Wireless earbuds in the category.

The best just got better

Pi7 S2 maintains the industry-leading hi-resolution sound of its predecessor, while making valuable upgrades to connectivity, earbud battery life, user experience, and introducing three new premium finishes. Both Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 feature upgraded wireless connectivity via a re-engineered antenna design with increased Bluetooth range to up to 25m ensuring an even more stable, high-quality listening experience.

Both new models feature an improved earbud battery life, now offering five hours of listening time before a recharge is required. They continue to offer a quick charge function delivering an additional two hours listening time from just a 15-minute charge. Of course, the charging cases for each model provide additional battery life, with a further 16 hours available for Pi7 S2 and 19 hours available for Pi5 S2.

Premium design, new finishes

Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 continue to offer the class-leading, premium design expected from Bowers & Wilkins, while introducing a wide range of new, refined finishes. Pi7 S2 is available in three new colors; Satin Black, Canvas White and Midnight Blue. With Pi5 S2, Bowers & Wilkins has introduced its widest range of headphone colors to date, available in Cloud Grey and Storm Grey, and in new vibrant colors, Spring Lilac and Sage Green* (*available in Spring ’23).

Seamless user experience from the Music App

Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 are the latest headphone models to be fully integrated with the Bowers & Wilkins Music App. Offering a seamless user experience, complete with set-up, configuration of noise cancellation modes, and wear sensor adjustment, the Music App also supports hi-res streaming capability direct from your mobile device to your earbuds via services such as Qobuz, TIDAL and Deezer.

Smart, intuitive features

The Pi7 S2 continues to offer Wireless Audio Retransmission, a breakthrough feature originally introduced in the first-generation model, enabling users to connect to an external audio source – such as an in-flight entertainment system – and then wirelessly retransmit audio from that source to the earbuds, via the Smart charging case, all in outstanding sound quality.

Both models can be controlled via a simple one-button user interface – a single capacitive button on each earbud that can perform multiple tasks simply and elegantly – coupled to voice assistant support via either Siri or Google Assistant, depending on the connected device. The Bowers & Wilkins Music App also offers a range of user adjustments for customers who wish to fine tune their earbuds to their preferences.

 True Wireless sound, redefined

As the flagship True Wireless model, the Pi7 S2 continues to offer support for Qualcomm® aptX™ Adaptive allowing high-resolution music transmission from compatible streaming services and devices, enabled by 24-bit/48kHz wireless transmission between each earbud. Together, these two technologies continue to make the Pi7 S2 one of very few True

Wireless earbuds able to support high-resolution audio all the way from your music source to your ears.

Pi7 S2 features 9.2mm bespoke Bowers & Wilkins drive units, joined by a high-frequency ‘balanced armature’ driver, with each of the four drive units in the system actively driven by its own amplifier. Pi7 S2 also offers Adaptive Noise Cancellation to automatically monitor, analyze and adapt to its surroundings in order to produce the best possible, uninterrupted listening experience. That ANC system is paired with six microphones – three in each earbud – for crystal-clear sound quality with phone calls.

Class-leading, True Wireless sound

The new Pi5 S2 also continues to offer the best audio performance in its class, with TWS technology for robust, high-quality earbud-to-earbud synchronization, coupled to a single 9.2mm bespoke drive unit

in each earbud. The Pi5 S2 supports CD-quality playback thanks to the inclusion of high-quality aptX wireless transmission of music from an aptX-compatible mobile device. Pi5 S2 also offers seamless access to user-selectable noise-cancelling plus an ambient pass-through mode, and it features twin built-in microphones per earbud for high-quality phone calls.

The new Pi7 S2 and Pi5 S2 in-ear earbuds are available from bowerswilkins.com and select retailers from 25th January 2023.

The post Bowers & Wilkins Upgrades In-Ear True Wireless Headphones appeared first on The Absolute Sound.

Apple AirPods Pro 2: Suitable for high quality music?

Apple AirPods Pro 2 have several pros and a few cons

Nextscreen, LLC CEO Tom Martin reviews the Apple AirPods Pro 2, the latest ear buds from the Cupertino company.

Tom discusses the problems faced by most Bluetooth earbuds and if the new AirPods can compensate, but ultimately answers the question, “Are Apple AirPods Pro 2 suitable for high quality music?”

Watch the video below to see the entire review.

You can see this video and more on the Hi-Fi+ YouTube Channel, such as Tea Time with Alan and Pete.

Hi-Fi+ Editor Alan Sircom and Publisher Pete Collingwood-Trewin talk about what’s happening in the high-end audio world.

Tea Time with Alan and Pete is just one of several new series on the Hi-Fi+ YouTube channel designed for audiophiles of all levels.

Another series is History of Audio, which aims to teach viewers a little about the History of Audio, which might be a trip down memory lane for many. It also hopes those who watch will learn from the varying experiences of other audiophiles through their trials and tribulations with different equipment.

While you’re on our YouTube channel, be sure to check out our Audio Basics series. So far, this series has covered what makes a great stereo system and how to find a great stereo system.

Soon, you can find reports from manufacturers at audio shows from around the world. You can see the likes of Aurender, Focal Naim, AudioThesis, Schiit Audio, and Magnepan, just to name a few. Right now, you can see what debuted at AXPONA 2022 and a bit from the Texas Audio Roundup, including background on the Magnepan LRS+. You can also see videos from Pacific Audio Fest in Seattle, CEDIA 2022 in Dallas, and you’ll see reports from Capital Audio Fest coming next month.

You can also see additional product reviews as well as more from CEDIA Expo 2022 in Dallas on the hi-fi+ YouTube channel coming soon.

Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel so you don’t miss any episodes!

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NXEars Opera

NXEars is one of many newcomers in the personal audio space, but it comes with a lot of back-story and all of it is good. The brand was founded in California and builds in China; its founder was one of the brains behind NuForce and a former Knowles engineer, which gives the company a unique insight into what a pair of IEMs will be used with, and the construction of drivers used in most earphones, custom and universal in-ears.

NXEars may be comparatively new, but its three-strong range has already caught the attention of the personal audio cognoscenti and the Sonata, Basso and the flagship three-way, eight-driver Opera we’re testing here. Two distinct technologies unique to the brand have been noticed in a very contended world.

NXEars Opera

All three IEMs use NXEar’s unique Aperiodic Ground Loading (AGL) system, which manages to retain the core of a good IEM (shutting out the world outside) while reducing the pressure build-up that comes from pushing a mostly rigid structure into your ear. AGL restores the balance of natural pressure that occurs in the ear canal. In addition, the Opera uses NXEars’ own ‘Linear Phase Crossover’ system that corrects the irregular phasing that is an unfortunate function of multi-driver setups; even the eight Knowles balanced armature drivers, tuned and used in the Opera.

All eight drive units would occupy the same physical space in an ideal world, but this is impossible. Those different driver positions and a range of bandwidths from each driver means phase issues, even frequency cancellations. These problems go away by adding time and phase alignment to the crossover.

Opera storage

Opera comes in a black storage case in a nice white box with an NXEars on the outside. Inside are the Operas themselves, with a good Mono-crystal 6N copper, eight-conductor braided 3.5mm cable, four pairs of silicone and two pairs of foam ear tips, some clips, a smaller pocketable case, a cleaning tool and some documentation case candy. The 3D-printed earpieces are made of semi-transparent dark blue with a distinctive Stardust Blue design on the outer facing.

Each model’s outer facing is unique, and the logo is etched into this front face. The small logo is ‘subtle’, to the point of almost complete invisibility. As with most Custom and Universal-Fit IEMs, the Opera ‘screws’ into your ear, making a complete seal, then the cable has a curved strain relief that hooks over the top of your ear.

NXEars Opera

The Opera IEM has a standard MMCX connector and nozzle length to allow aftermarket cables and ear-tips. While the cable is good enough not to need an upgrade (although upgrades do improve the performance), this is a good plan because the choice of ear-tip is vital. As the AGL system relieves pressure build-up in the ear canal, the performance of the Opera is strongly contingent on making a good seal with the ear-tip itself.

However, unless they are a dreadful fit for your ears, I would recommend using the medium silicone tips fitted as supplied for the first 50 hours of listening to let the Opera’s drivers loosen up, then find the best fit knowing the Opera’s tonal balance is as good as it’s ever going to get.

Single driver over balanced armatures

Of late, I’ve found myself more drawn to single-driver IEMs rather than models with multiple balanced armatures. This is because many such models trade ‘long-term listening’ for ‘short-term excitement’; multiple drivers often sound exciting initially but ultimately wearing. The Opera is a delightful exception; the sound is detailed but not aggressively so, with a more natural and traditional loudspeaker-like presentation in all the ways that count (as in ‘refinement’ rather than ‘box coloration’ of course). It has the insight and drive of good IEMs but without the overtly exuberant or hyper-energetic sound commonly associated with the breed. There’s rich, chocolatey darkness to the sound that is more beguiling than muddy, which is truly excellent.

That richness extends down into the midrange, with a valve-like warmth and naturalness to the sound. Perhaps more significantly, there’s a seamless coherence to the sound across the frequency range that gives the Opera a sort of analogue-like openness and musical integrity often lost on multi-way IEMs. This, coupled with a surprisingly large and delateralised (perceived to be way outside of the listener’s head) soundstage, make the Operas a model of refinement in the true high-end audio sense.

It’s not all rosy, however. Or perhaps the point is it is a little too rosy at times. While I like the Opera very much for not making a bright, forward, and uneven presentation, by the same token, this can work against the Opera when playing more laid-back music, especially older, slightly rolled-off treble sounds. This can end up sounding too soft and saccharine sounding at times. But this is a trade-off I’d happily make compared to the sharp stinging treble of many IEMs.

Where the Opera shows itself to be a true star, though is in the lower regions. Bass is at once fast and warm and quite ‘meaty’ sounding. But perhaps what attracts me to the NXEars Opera sound is the way it doesn’t dissect the music in the way many IEMs can. It’s still an extremely analytical sound and gives you excellent insight into what’s going on with the music played, however, and instead focuses on the whole musical presentation. That suggests a more mature, sophisticated musical ear behind the voicing of the Opera and highlights how its tuning has paid off.

The pressure’s off

Finally, a word on that AGL system that reduces pressure in the ear canal, and that word is ‘wow!’. It works and delivers effortless long-term listening without that uncomfortable ‘underwater’ pressure build-up.

The NXEars Operas are at once easy to drive, easy to wear, and easy to listen to. They need a long run-in, and you must use the right ear-tips to get the most out of them, but it’s worth the effort if you crave refinement!


  • Type: Balanced-armature, universal-fit in-ears
  • Impedance: 18 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 100dB
  • Price: $799



URL: nxears.com

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Shure releases Special Edition Purple SE215 Sound Isolating earphones

LONDON, September 20, 2022— The wait is over! Fans of the anticipated Shure Special Edition Purple SE215 can now purchase the Sound Isolating™ earphones online and via select retailers for £109 (UK RRP).

The purple colour was selected after a global vote across 60 countries, enabling the voice of every fan to be heard. By adding the purple earphones to the 215 lineup, listeners can express themselves with this trending colour, whether they are listening to music during their daily commute or on stage.

The Special Edition SE215 purple colour variation provides the same amazing audio quality and comfortable fit as the SE215 in other colour variations. Delivering clear sound and deep bass, along with Shure’s esteemed sound isolating design, the earphones keep noise out and provide an immersive audio experience in any location. The Special Edition purple SE215 earphones are also equipped with wired to wireless flexibility to ensure they fit users’ needs. 

About Shure

About Shure Shure (www.shure.com) has been making people sound extraordinary for nearly a century. Founded in 1925, the Company is a leading global manufacturer of audio equipment known for quality, performance, and durability. We make microphones, wireless microphone systems, in-ear monitors, earphones and headphones, conferencing systems, and more. For critical listening, or high-stakes moments on stage, in the studio, and from the meeting room, you can always rely on Shure.Shure Incorporated is headquartered in Niles, Illinois, in the United States. We have nearly 40 manufacturing facilities and regional sales offices throughout the Americas, EMEA, and Asia.

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Meze Audio RAI Solo in-ear monitors

It’s very nearly a decade since Antonio Meze founded Meze Audio in Baia Mare, Romania – and it’s safe to say that his company has prioritised quality over quantity ever since.

Just have a look at the model line-up on the company’s website and you’ll see what I mean. Meze Audio’s entire product range runs to two variations on its Model 99 over-ear headphones (the ‘Classics’ and the ‘Neo’), a properly expensive (€3k) planar magnetic ‘Empyrean’ over-ear design, and the RAI Penta five-driver in-ear monitors that Mr Editor Sircom enthused about so fulsomely in issue #181.

And now there’s a fifth Meze Audio model: the RAI Solo. At roughly a quarter of the price of the RAI Penta, the RAI Solo is the in-ear monitor with which Meze Audio intends to engage with the mainstream.

Of course, one man’s ‘mainstream’ is another’s ‘disturbingly esoteric’ – and it’s safe to say the RAI Solo may not be the in-ear monitor the mainstream (which, let’s face it, is a fairly disparate group of people at the best of times) thinks it’s waiting for. It’s not wireless, it doesn’t have any active noise-cancellation, and there’s no sign of a control app. It rather looks like the mainstream is going to have to come to Meze Audio, rather than the other way around, after all.

RAI Solo may have been designed to sell at a price that can reasonably confidently be described as ‘mainstream’, but that doesn’t mean Meze Audio has sacrificed any of its increasingly obvious principles. RAI Solo is a combination of some pleasantly original thinking and the sort of rigorous engineering with which Meze Audio is becoming synonymous.

The housing of RAI Solo is a two-piece injection moulded stainless steel arrangement. It’s durable, extremely low-resonance, lends itself happily to mass production and – let’s not be coy – looks pretty good in its raw, brushed state. Meze Audio has achieved an agreeably anatomic fit with the RAI Solo – so while they’re far from the most lightweight earbuds around, they prove easy to wear for hours on end. In combination with the generous selection of eartip options Meze Audio provides, the RAI Solo are among the most comfortable in-ear monitors around.

Each earbud is joined to a 1.3m silver-plated cable using micro-miniature coaxial connectors. The RAI Solo are supplied with a cable terminating in a rhodium-plated 3.5mm jack, but the cable’s detachable nature means a switch to cable terminating in either a rhodium-plated 2.5mm jack or a gold-plated 4.4mm jack is possible. It’ll cost you, mind. The cable itself is ‘tangle-resistant’ – and if ever there was a piece of overtly disingenuous marketing-speak, ‘tangle-resistant’ might well be it.

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Westone ES80 custom-fit in-ear monitors

Westone ES80 custom-fit in-ear monitors

Westone Laboratories, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, is one of the world’s oldest and most experienced manufacturers of universal-fit earphones and custom-fit in-ear monitors. Moreover, the firm has established an enviable reputation for expertise in all things in-ear related, which explains the company’s well-deserved slogan: “Westone: The In-Ear Experts”. Over the years, Hi-Fi+ has favourably reviewed a number of Westone models including the ES5 and the then-flagship ES60 CIEMS as well as the W60 and W80 earphones—the latter representing a groundbreaking effort to achieve landmark levels of sonic openness, frequency extension, and overall accuracy and neutrality. Over time Westone …

1MORE True Wireless ANC in-ear headphones

1MORE True Wireless ANC in-ear headphones

The headphone world thought the sky was falling when Apple decided to can – pun intended – the headphone socket. While there were still ways to use a wired headphone, pretty much on that day, a lot of the world waved goodbye to wires in their portable audio, and never looked back. In fairness, what also happened was a number of companies upped their game and released high-performance wireless personal audio products. 1MORE’s True Wireless ANC in-ear ‘headphones’ – the first True Wireless design to receive THX approval – are a great example of how far this technology has progressed. …

Bowers & Wilkins Reveals the PI7 and PI5 True Wireless Headphones

The following is a press release issued by Bowers & Wilkins.

Worthing, England, April 2021: Today, British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins has unveiled two new state-of-the-art True Wireless headphones – PI7 and PI5 – that bring the brand’s acclaimed ‘True Sound’ promise and acoustic excellence to the True Wireless category.

Both PI7 and PI5 models deliver the unrivalled high-resolution sound quality that audiophiles and music lovers have come to expect from Bowers & Wilkins. Now, that same signature sound quality is offered for the first time in True Wireless form, incorporating innovative and intuitive smart features designed to fit seamlessly into an on-the-go lifestyle.

Drawing on over fifty years of industry-leading audio excellence and innovation, Bowers & Wilkins reveals  another best-in-class portfolio of products that deliver your favourite music the way it is meant to be heard – as the artist intended it.

PI7 – The new industry-defining True Wireless headphones from Bowers & Wilkins.

Every element of the flagship PI7 model has been crafted to deliver the very highest level of audio performance, redefining expectation in True Wireless. PI7 features unrivalled sound quality, driven by

high-resolution 24-bit audio processing in each earbud and Dual Hybrid Drive units that work just like high- performance speakers to create a rich and immersive listening experience.

In addition, PI7 features Adaptive Noise Cancellation that automatically adapts in real-time to its surroundings to produce the best possible listening experience – so you can block out the world and focus on the music you love. It’s driven by six microphones – three in each earbud – for crystal-clear sound quality with every call, all activated though an intuitive, one-touch user interface.

Even the Smartcase is designed for an intuitive and seamless user experience. As you would expect, it can conveniently charge your device wirelessly while you are on-the-go. But, and in an industry first, PI7 raises the bar by offering a unique wireless audio retransmission feature via its Smartcase. That means you can continue to use your PI7s even when on a plane: just connect your case directly to an audio source – such as  an in-flight entertainment system – and it will retransmit sound directly to your earbuds.

PI5 – The class-leading, Bowers & Wilkins True Wireless sound that’s with you all day.

PI5 is the class-leading True Wireless headphone with all of the high quality, audio-enhancing features expected from a Bowers & Wilkins product – the perfect accompaniment to an on-the-go lifestyle.

Alongside the exceptional audio performance and call quality, the PI5 offers over 24 hours of battery life, ensuring you stay connected throughout the day. This is accompanied by advanced Active Noise Cancellation, allowing you to easily adapt to your listening environment, whether you’re working from home or on a busy street, and a fast-charging case that provides a boost of up to two hours of battery life from just a 15-minute charge.

Bold design and Smart technology.

Both models embody the Bowers & Wilkins bold design to stand out from the crowd, with accents of color to highlight the beautifully precise detailing.

Smart technology makes living with PI7 and PI5 more convenient. Both models can be configured via the Bowers & Wilkins companion App and feature a simple one-button user interface, coupled with voice assistant support via either Siri or Google Assistant. Multiple source devices can be wirelessly paired to either model allowing the user to easily and conveniently reconnect to each source as and when needed.

Developed by the same team behind the Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers found in Abbey  Road Studios, PI7 and PI5 both embody the same industry-leading engineering and design philosophy that has led to the creation of some of the world’s finest audio products.

Geoff Edwards, Brand President, Bowers & Wilkins, said: “We are excited to be venturing into the True Wireless category with our new headphones. It’s long been our philosophy, established by our founder John  Bowers, that we would only enter a new category if we believed that we could set a new standard for audio performance in that space. With PI7 and PI5, we truly believe we have achieved that.”

The PI7 True Wireless and PI5 True Wireless headphones are available from www.bowerswilkins.com on April 21st 2021 for $399 and $249 respectively.

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