Published on January 28th, 2017 | by Greg0
Audeze iSine10: Planar Magnetic Earphones, iPhone 7 Compatible
Reviewing headphones and much of today’s audio gear is often straightforward- compare and contrast them with other, similar models, across a range of music and sources. Test them in a few conditions, try out the cables and controls, and you’ll have a pretty good understanding of what any particular set can offer. But sometimes, a pair of headphones is unique enough that comparisons are challenging- as with today’s model.
The Audeze iSine10 are some of the only commercially available planar magnetic in-ear headphones, using their custom Fluxor Magnets and large 30mm planar magnetic diaphragms instead of traditional drivers. They look sort of like earbuds with a speaker attached, and unusually for earbuds, provide an open-back style that is airier and less isolating than most. And, weighing in at only 20 grams, they claim these are the lightest planar headphone ever created. Despite their size, they still manage to be pretty comfortable once you’ve got them fitted properly, using two different types of little hooks to help keep them in place and stable (one set slides around your ear, the other fits above your ear canal). Three sets of tips should fit most folks, and a pretty tough carrying case is included in the package as well.
Make no mistake, though, you won’t be hiding the fact you’re wearing these, but luckily they look almost like futuristic props from a sci-fi movie. Even the cable here is worthy of particular note: they come with a regular headphone cable as well as Audeze’s award-winning Cipher Lightning cable for use with iOS devices (and even the iPhone 7, making these very handy for those who don’t want to deal with Bluetooth). Using the Lightning cable also provides for a better sonic experience, bypassing the onboard DAC and relying on the hardware and amplifier in the iSine10 instead. And transparency is the ultimate goal here, as these have no real distortion at even peak volumes, a hallmark of the technology. For acoustic tracks, anything with warmth, they’re transporting, with a soundstage that will impress even the most cynical and grizzled ears. Electronic music can seem a bit harsh, too present or raw, but rock and pop offer plenty of energy. One important note: we strongly recommend using high-resolution, high bitrate files, lossless if possible- otherwise, you’ll hear every noise or error in the file.
We’ve checked out planar magnetic gear in the past, both speakers and over-ear headphones, but Audeze has traditionally been amongst the most expensive audiophile brands out there. It’s great to see them push into the prosumer market, and these are pretty affordable- but if you have a bit more to spend, the higher-end iSINE 20