Phonak have created a new model of earphones designed for music lovers who want a dynamic and powerful bass sound. The Audeo Perfect Bass earphones have in-built filters which are designed to boost low frequencies and provide a clean bass notes. I was sent a pair to test and compare to my normal choice of earphones.
These are designed to use with any MP3 player with a 3.5mm headphone socket, including iPods and the vast majority of other players/stereos. The idea is that they fit snuggly, giving you less external noise mingling with your music – in turn meaning you can play songs at a lower volume, and so reduce potential damage to your hearing. This in addition to the finely tuned bass sound.
You wear these earphones upside down – so the wire actually goes towards the sky, looping around the back of your ear and down towards your neck. It took a couple of goes to get them just right (I went for the middle-sized silicone ear tips which seemed to fit me best out of the three sizes provided), but from then on they were very simple to wear. I tried these just sat listening to music, sat typing at a computer, and walking around – even when mowing the lawn and packing boxes. I found there was very little noise transfer (including when using the mower), and my husband said the noise leakage was much less compared to my Sennheiser CX400s.
The one position I struggled a little with was when sat down leaning over reading something – like a magazine or book. Ok so that’s not a great position to sit in (you’ll get an achy back!) but it is my normal position for reading. The earphones themselves didn’t come out of my ears (they were very secure), but the wires kept flopping forward and getting in the way. It was just a little niggle that I had to keep putting the wire back over my ears again, like a hair that was getting in my face. I’ve seen on the website you can buy a little silicone ear guides and I am very tempted to get these to stop the wires going anywhere – I would definitely want these before going out running in them.
I listened to a number of CDs I know inside out, some jazz, some rock and some classical music. I was listening out for detail, texture, sound signature, balance, colouration, dynamics, and of course pitch. I am really into my music and appreciate technical musicianship and great sound – especially bass, and these earphones were promising a lot.
I found the string bass sound in Imelda May’s Johnny Got a Boom Boom to be quite awesome – you can really hear the fingers pluck those strings, a very important part of this track. Imelda’s voice has a deep tone which is crisp and clear through the Audeos, a really nice sound that helps you become completely immersed in the music. Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me is similar in tone, although a slower track. Jazz-style ballads sound amazing in these headphones, the really deep full bass sounds takes you to another place, and the guitar solo on this track sounded beautiful. Female singers like Norah Jones and Narina Pallot should insist you buy these as they really compliment their style! They give you a relaxing sound, penetrating right into your head without needing the volume to be way up high.
With classical music, such as the Star Wars theme, I found once again it was the bass coming through, and the mid tones sounded great. The flutes and clarinets sat over the bass nicely, you could hear ever note clearly, but I wanted just a little bit more at that top end. With rock and pop music I found some tracks sounded really brilliant, while others didn’t. For example, Bon Jovi Living on a Prayer sounded fantastic, while I really wanted more treble in Blaze of Glory. And Queen Invisible Man with that well-known bass riff had excellent colour and detail, while I Want To Break Free needed something extra somehow.
Splodz Blogz Verdict
It is pretty obvious from the moment you plug these in that they have been designed for the bass-lover – they sound absolutely fantastic for anything where the bass is important. The “perfect fit” means there is very little outside noise coming through, so you can absolutely concentrate on the music. These are earphones that are all about the musical experience, taking you to that place that only music can take you.
As all round earphones, these are really excellent, certainly superior to the pair of Sennheiser CX400s I am used to. I’ve always thought my CX400s were giving me good sound quality, especially for the price point (£35 a couple of years ago). However when swapping from the Audeos back to my CX400s, I found the treble a bit harsh, maybe even a tad tinny, and I realised that if you pay £90 you get something far better.
If I am being very critical, the mid to low frequencies are perhaps a bit too pronounced, leaving the overall sound lacking a bit of sparkle at the top end – not to the point where you could call it muddy, just a little something missing. But overall they are very good quality earphones with excellent sound and a really good fit.
Audeo Perfect Bass Earphones are available from Audeo World priced at £89.99.