Over Engineering Never Sounded so Beautiful
To say that The Audeze Sine Headphones have attracted a whole heap of praise from influential tech reviewers would be a serious understatement. PC Mag have heralded them as “powerful, vibrant, balanced, stylish and comfortable”, while Metal-Fi, called them “outstanding” and Digital Trends quite pointedly noted their ability to overcome the limitations faced by other headphones.
Oh, and then they’ve also won the Reviewed.com Editors’ Choice Award; the CES Choice Award and the Best of CES Award (twice over).
With a pretty high bench mark set, consumers should expect much from the Audeze Sine Headphones. So, do they live up to the overwhelming hype? In a word, absolutely. In 900 more words, here’s why…
The Audeze Sine headphones are the epitome of beautiful technology (the design has been developed in partnership with Designworks, a BMW subsidiary); which is nothing less than is to be expected from this brand (a brand that features a pair of headphones that break the mould and the price ceiling with a price tag of $3,995).
The Audeze Sine Headphones come complete with a 30-day trial on all direct sales (so that’s applicable when you purchase from the Audeze website, rather than from dealers). There’s free shipping throughout the US, which includes Hawaii and Alaska – seems these guys are determined to bring incredible sounds to each corner of the states.
Style and design
The Sine headphones opt for a slick industrial style direction, and boy, are they are beautiful. The quality is apparent from the moment you pick the headphones up, and when you check out the mechanics of the matt black hinges you’ll soon discover that the movement matches, being both smooth and robust at the same time.
The headband and ear cups feature in soft, pliable black leather, which aren’t only strikingly handsome, but moreover comfortable to wear and clearly durable enough to stand the test of time. Teamed with memory phone ear cups and the Sine headphones are as comfy to wear as they are a style icon in the making.
As there’s no cabling within the headphone unit, the wearer is left to look forward to 180 degree top to bottom swivel movement, and cans that can pivot by 45 degrees. This versatility is coupled with arms that can be adjusted to your ears without restriction, with no set latches into which they must fit.
Unlike others, these headphones get the ergonomics perfectly right – they’re not so tight so as to be uncomfortable after an hour or more wear, whilst they have grip and lightness that could make you forget that they were there at all.
The Audeze Sine Headphones are putting their best foot forward with wireless tech, however the Sine’s are meant to shine with a cable. We’re not talking about just any cable however, we’re talking about a cable specifically designed to take advantage of the digital signal and power transmitting capabilities of a Lightning port.
Meet the Cipher cable. A super fat, heavy duty, tangle free cable that not only transmits your music losslessly to your ears but also includes a built in DAC as well. We’re talking about a “system-on-a-chip inline” cable that uses the iPhones internal DAC and amplifier to directly stream 24-bit digital audio to a hi-res DAC with DSP (digital signal processor) inside the CIPHER cable itself.
Additionally the cable includes a micr0phone for voice calls, full SIRI compatibility, built in DSP, and a dedicated EQ app to adjust your music to your taste directly from your smartphone.
Finally, you can sleep sound at night knowing all the money you plop down for a pair of Sines won’t become outdated any time soon as Audeze say with their Cipher cable they are essentially “future proofing” your cans:
We are continuously working on improving the algorithms and adding new features to the Cipher cable. The firmware on the cipher cable can be updated using the Audeze app when we make enhancements or add new features. -Audeze
The Cipher cable is one of the stand out features of the Sines and a very practical application of the benefits afforded by using lightning connections instead of analog.
Superb Sound Quality
All Audeze headphones feature “proprietary planar magnetic design”, which capitalizes upon super thin-film driver materials and powerful magnets. If this tech sounds like rocket science, then you wouldn’t be far wrong, as one of the founders of Audeze hails from the NASA engineering team. Anyway, back to the impact of this on the sound – ultimately this tech delivers a consistent, precise, detailed sound. It’s worth noting that this technology is pretty generic stuff in headphones that cost $1000 upwards, but in headphones in this price range? Well, if you find any other brands that offer this, let us know, as we’re yet to discover them.
Suffice to say that the Audeze Sine headphones deliver a big, bold sound – the planar magnetic technology offers a deeper bass, and the super thin-film means that there’s little to no distortion.
The Sine offers up a wide frequency response – for you, this means regardless as to how much you crank up the treble, or how much you lower the bass, you’re still going to get a full affront of sound.
The Nitty Gritty Specs
The Dedicated Audeze EQ App
The Audeze headphones are all good to go with plug and play that sounds amazing. But, let’s face it, these headphones have been built for those who are serious about their music. For these people, there’s an app. This allows you to tweak two EQ pre-sets and 10 frequencies. You can easily refine the bass and tamp down highs – which is going to work like a dream on songs where previously there were peaks that you’ve always needed to address.
You can also save two EQ curve pre-sets on the cable (which is perfect for when you switch between devices).
Dedicated CIPHER Cabling
The Audeze Sine headphones come with two types of cabling: traditional 3.5mm, or iPhone 7-friendly Lightning – both of which are nice and rigid (so, no more tangling – a gift from the audio gods if ever there was one).
The Lightning cable features a 3-button remote and built-in mic (which is Siri compatible), and that’s just the beginning. It also accounts as the world’s first 24-bit DAC cable, which in layman’s terms means that it is the headphones that are handling the audio decoding legwork, rather than the phone. All of which translates to say that you get a boosted music quality that perfectly represents even the highest resolution of audio.
*Yeah we know, we touched on this above.. but honestly, this cable plus the planar magnetic tech are two of the Sine’s most standout features and worth driving home how freaking cool they are!
Let’s Talk About Price
Priced at $449.00, The Audeze Sine Headphones aren’t your middle of the road headphones, and nor do they pretend to be. If you’re looking for something a little more affordable but still engineered with a dedicated lightning cable, check out the Philips Fidelio M2L, which at around an average of $165 are quite a bit cheaper than the Sines and still offer solid audio quality.
Likewise, the Q Adapt On Ears from Libratone are a uniquely designed set of headphones designed to work seemlessly with your iPhone via a dedicated app. They are however Bluetooth so if hifi is your thing, better off with either the Sine’s or the Fidelios, depending on your budget.
The question as to whether this price is worth it for the Sines, comes down to this: Audeze pitch themselves as a progressive, innovative brand to take earphone technology further, to push the boundaries of what’s possible. The Sine headphones tick every box of even the most demanding audiophile – for whom they have been so meticulously designed and developed for. So, are they worth it? You bet every last one of your 449 dollars they are.