High-end, California-based headphone manufacturer Audeze has taken much of the same technology found in the excellent Sine on-ear headphones, and put it into two dinky pairs of in-ears. The iSine 10 and iSine 20 bear a slight resemblance to the Millennium Falcon and the technology found inside the casings really is space-age. Rather than use a traditional configuration of a mid/bass driver and a tweeter, the iSine use planar magnetic technology.
This setup marries Fluxor magnets with 30mm planar magnetic diaphragms, which also happen to feature patented Uniform Voice-coil technology. Audeze says the result should be "precise control and fast response times without distortion".
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We're inclined to agree, as some brief hands-on time with the iSine 10 proved they sounded incredibly spacious and almost as if we were wearing a pair of over-ear headphones instead. Bear in mind, they’re semi-open-backed, so passengers around you on a train may be able to hear what you’re listening to. Here’s looking at you One Direction fans.
They’re relatively heavy for in-ear headphones too, mainly because of the 24-bit DAC found halfway down the cable. It’s this DAC that helps the iSine sound so good, as it takes the audio signal from your iPhone - and only the iPhone, as the iSine connect via the Lightning connection - and puts it through the built-in DSP to improve the sound.
Put them on though and that weight becomes barely noticeable, as they come with transparent ear hooks to fit over your ears, ensuring they stay in place, although we probably wouldn’t recommend you wear them on a run.
The difference between the iSine 10 and 20 is that the 20 get a longer Uniforce voice coil which covers even more of the planar magnetic diaphragms. Audeze says the extra coverage enables “better control and responsiveness for enhanced bass, clarity and imaging”.
The Audeze iSine 10 in-ears will be available from October for £379 while the iSine 20 can be had for £579.