Are the Audeze iSINE 10 headphones for you?
Until recently, planar magnetic headphones have been out of reach for most consumers because of the price. The market is starting to change, however, with companies like boutique audiophile brand Audeze now introducing lower-priced products that utilize the technology.
Last year, I reviewed the on-ear Audeze SINE, which I consider one of the best headphones currently on the market. Recently, I had the opportunity to try one of Audeze’s newest in-ear headphones, the iSINE 10.
Are these exciting new headphones worth the price of admission? It’s time to find out.
Unlike traditional dynamic headphones, which use moving coil drivers, planar magnetic headphones spread the voice coil over a large area. In the case of the iSINE 10, the voice coil measures 16 ohms. As a result, these drivers can dissipate heat that would otherwise build up. In doing so, the sound they produce is punchy, dynamic, and detailed.
Call me a skeptic, but I didn’t think this technology could work in a little in-ear design. (They weigh just 20 grams without the cables.) And yet it does — more, rather than less.
There are lots of beautiful headphones in the world. However, because of the lack of real estate, few of these are of the in-ear variety. When it came to designing its iSINE lineup, Audeze had the additional burden of figuring out a way to hide the miniaturized planar drivers found in each headphone. The result is an oversized, hexagonal design that looks like something out of the Aliens or Star Trek films.
From a design perspective, this look doesn’t work for me, although I understand why it was chosen. After all, hiding those drivers couldn’t have been an easy process.
I’m not crazy about how these things fit in the ears, however. They aren’t very comfortable, although calling them uncomfortable wouldn’t be accurate either. Perhaps the best word here would be ordinary. They provide an ordinary fit, and that’s even after trying the many plastic hooks, ear tips, and earlocks that ship with each iSINE.
(Audeze hopes to over custom-fit iSINE models later this year.)
Is this a deal breaker? Probably not, especially when you consider that most in-ear monitors are also less than ideal in the comfort department.
The iSINE 10 headphones shine where it matters the most. From providing deep sub-bass to high-end treble, these headphones offer incredible sounds without noticeable distortion.
To maximize the listening experience, be sure to use the tangle-free Cipher Lightning cable with your iOS device, rather than the standard cord.
With Lightning, you aren’t just getting a new way to connect your headphones to a mobile device. You're also getting 24bit/48kHZ resolution.
With Lightning, you aren’t just getting a new way to connect your headphones to a mobile device. You’re also getting 24bit/48kHZ resolution. Better still, the cable includes a high-quality inline amplifier, digital-to-analog converter, and DSP.
Looking for more customization? Use the free Audeze iOS app, which features two presets and a 10-band equalizer that changes EQ in real time. The two EQ presets travel with the cable when switching devices.
Besides the many headphone attachments, the iSINE 10 also ships with a nylon carry case, Cipher Lightning cable, and standard audio cable. You’ll also receive a 3.5mm stereo plug.
If you’ve been wanting to try a pair of planar magnetic headphones but didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars, you can’t go wrong with the $399 iSINE 10. They provide excellent sound in an incredibly small package.
Rather experience the technology first with a pair of on-ear headphones? Consider the $449 SINE, which I continue to recommend.
The iSINE 10 is available for purchase through the Audeze website.
For $599, you can purchase the similar looking iSINE 20 headphones. This model provides a longer voice coil (24 ohms) and other improvements, offering higher resolution and detail than the iSINE 10.
- Ships with a CIPHER Lightning cable specially optimized for the iSINE Series
- Includes multiple plastic hooks, ear tips, and earlocks for added comfort
- Weighs just 20 grams without the cables