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Published on January 28th, 2017 | by Greg


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 has a longer voice coil (24 ohms), higher resolution and a bit more detail than their siblings. If you’re the sort of listener who needs to block outside noise to concentrate, these aren’t the right option, nor if you want something to exercise with, to make calls with, or if you need noise-cancellation capabilities. For music lovers with an iPhone 7, these might be the best-sounding earphones out there though. Expect to spend around $399, online and in stores for the Audeze iSine10.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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