AUDEZE iSINE-20 In-Ear headphone w fluxor magnets w Apple Cipher Lightning cable

AD 01 HP ISINE20
NZ$ 995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Audeze Headphones

Audeze’s goal is to re-create sound exactly as the artist intended.

New
  • PROS
    Excellent audio performance with robust lows, clear highs, and wonderful dynamics. Includes two detachable cables, one with inline remote control. Utilises Lightning port on iOS devices. 
  • BOTTOM LINE
    The Audeze iSine20 earphones deliver a balanced, truly impressive audio experience, 
  • …..PC NEWS

GOOD STUFF:

  • Unparalleled purity of sound for the price
  • Light yet durable construction
  • iPhone-friendly Lightning cable option

VERGE RATING 9.3/10

The NEW iSINE 20 In-Ear heaphone is one step up from the iSINE 10 featuring an even longer Uniforce voice-coil that covers the ultra-thin diaphragm to a greater extent, enabling better control and responsiveness for better bass, clarity, and improved imaging. 

Zero distortion sound means you’ll feel closer to the recorded to your music. Add the included Lightning cable with DSP and there’s no other in-ear headphone that even comes close to its performance. 

To ensure all-day comfort, a pair of Ear Hooks and EarLocks® are provided along with silicon and foam tips.

Exclusive iSINE planar magnetic technology
Miniaturising Planar drivers is no small feat. The new iSINE Series barely weighs 20 grams, contains all our exclusive patented technology including power enhancing Fluxor Magnets that nearly double the magnetic driving force on our large, ultra-thin diaphragms with patented Uniforce voice-coil technology that delivers the most accurate in-ear headphones experience ever. The distortion (THD) is less the 0.1% overall even at high volumes, an amazing achievement for in-ear headphone designs.

The world’s first 24-bit Lightning cable for higher-resolution sound
Audeze’s award-winning CIPHER Lightning cable specially optimised for the iSINE Series, delivers 24-bit digital audio from iPhone/iPad/IPod to the headphones. The CIPHER cable contains a high-quality inline amplifier, digital-to-analog converter, and DSP. With the powerful DSP capabilities of the Cipher cable, the iSINE headphones deliver a vivid, almost like-you’re-there experience. Customise the sound in real-time with the Audeze iOS App. It features two presets and a 10-band equaliser that changes EQ in real time. Refine the bass levels and tamp down the highs on peaky recordings you still love to hear. The two EQ presets travel with the cable when switching devices

Customise your sound in real-time with the Audeze iOS App
The Audeze DSP app features two presets to personalise your music playback. It features a 10-band equaliser that changes EQ in real time. Refine the bass levels and tamp down the highs on peaky recordings you still love. Save two EQ curve presets that travel with the cable when switching devices.

Engineered and handcrafted in our California factory
Both the iSINE10 and iSINE20 headphones are engineered for superb long-term comfort and deliver an immersive, dynamic music experience. Audeze’s innovative planar magnetic technology delivers astonishingly clear and accurate sound wherever you go.

Great Sound comes in small packages

Cutting-edge industrial design by BMW’s i8 team
To bring the sound of our award-winning LCD Collection to in-ear headphones, we worked closely with our strategic partner Designworks USA, a BMW Group Company. Every part of the iSINE is designed to bring our world-renowned Audeze sound to a global market in a smaller, lighter package. Great care has gone into the design of the iSINE series, from the housings that minimise reflections and diffractions to ensuring a comfortable, secure fit. At 20 grams, it is the lightest planar headphone ever made.

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Features

  • Planar magnetic drivers for better dynamics and frequency response
  • Premium materials for style and durability
  • Sleek contemporary design by DesignWorksUSA a BMW group company
  • Ear hooks and Earlocks for long listening comfortability

Audeze Technology

  • Fluxor magnetic arrays
  • Uniforce diaphragms

Package Includes

  • Certificate of authenticity
  • User guide and warranty
  • 1/8” to 1/4” adapter
  • 1.5m audio cable, 1/8” stereo plug input to 2-pin plug output
  • 1.5m Cipher cable, Lightning plug input to 2-pin plug output

Specifications

STYLE:   In-Ear, Universal fit
TRANSDUCER TYPE:   Planer Magnetic, semi open
MAGNET TYPE:   Fluxor high-grade Neodymium
DIAPHRAGM TYPE:   Ultra -Thin Uniforce 
TRANSDUCER SIZE:   30mm
MAX POWER HANDLING:   3W
MAX SPL:   >120dB
FREQUENCY RESPONSE:   10Hz-50kHz
THD:   ,0.1% @ 100dB
IMPEDANCE:   24ohms
CABLE TYPE:   Non-Microphonic 
EIGHT:   20g without cable

Reviews

Audeze’s terrifying iSine 10 headphones sound terrific - If aliens had headphones, they'd probably look and sound like this
Vlad Savov@vladsavov

SUMMARY: I was able to run through my usual set of test tracks on Tidal, checking out the realism of vocals, acoustic instruments, and some good old bass-pumping EDM. The bass was brutal when it needed to be, and the voices came through sounding natural and real.

EXTENDED REVIEW: I’m ready to crown this the best IFA of this decade. In a show already highlighted by Lenovo’s Yoga Book, Acer’s ultraslim notebook, and LG’s enchanting tunnel of OLED, there’s somehow still room to fit in an astounding pair of headphones as well.

Audeze, the boutique audiophile brand responsible for some of the best planar magnetic headphones in the world, has done what many might have thought impossible and shrunken its technology to fit into an in-ear design. The result is the imposing, alien-looking thing you see before you: the Audeze iSine 10. It’s basically a 30mm planar magnetic headphone with a funnel to channel its sound into your ear.

As much as I’ve enjoyed Audeze’s high-end over-the-ear offerings over the years, I was skeptical about the wisdom of the in-ear iSine — but then I was quickly dissuaded by listening to the new headphones. The iSine 10 sound phenomenal, even inside the noisy IFA hall dedicated to audio equipment. Their soundstage is broad, their imaging’s precise, and their range extension, from deep sub-bass to high end treble, is outstanding. Overcoming the din around me, these headphones got loud using only the power of my Galaxy Note 7.

DON'T BE DAUNTED BY THE SIZE AND TECH, THE ISINES CAN BE POWERED BY A PHONE EASILY

Audeze sells the iSine with two cables in the box: one terminating on a regular 3.5mm jack and the other plugging into Apple’s Lightning port and also incorporating Audeze’s Cipher digital-to-analog converter and amplifier. Both the Cipher-amped iSine 10 and the pair plugging into my Note sounded terrific. I can already say, with a high degree of confidence, that Audeze has justified its oversized, outlandish design with extremely high sound quality. The $399 price point is a highly competitive spot for entry-level audiophile gear, and Audeze has asserted its credentials very nicely. But the company’s ambitions are grander than that still — Audeze tells me it’s a little worried that it underpriced the iSines, fearing that audiophiles wouldn’t take them seriously as a competitor to the very best in-ear headphones in the world.

Beside the iPhone-friendly version, Audeze will offer alternative options of the iSine 10 with specific cables for connecting to an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive. Both of those will cost the same as the iOS variant, so it’s really a matter of what you favor most. There will also be an iSine 20, with a longer voice coil and a touch of extra resolution.

THE SOUND IS TYPICAL AUDEZE: CLEAN, BALANCED, DYNAMIC, AND EXCITING

The iSine aren’t without any compromises, of course. For one thing, they offer precious little noise isolation. The 3D-printed prototype I tested today had glorious sound, but offered mediocre fit. Not uncomfortable, just awkward to wear. Audeze offers Comply foam tips along with the usual silicone options, but the company admits that even in the best case scenario, you’ll hear plenty of exterior noise. On the other hand, these headphones don’t leak out much of your music at all.

In my 10-minute listen of the Sine, I was able to run through my usual set of test tracks on Tidal, checking out the realism of vocals, acoustic instruments, and some good old bass-pumping EDM. The bass was brutal when it needed to be, and the voices came through sounding natural and real. IFA is obviously a suboptimal testing environment, but the quality of the iSine feels just as obvious from even a brief listen.

The iSine 10 and iSine 20 will be available from the end of October, with their final design opting for a matte black finish rather than the present glossy look. On the evidence of my first time with them, these are going to be another win for Audeze, looking and sounding like a truly unique pair of headphones.

iSINE-20 is BRILLIANT and EMOTIONALLY ENGAGING
Vlad Savov

GOOD STUFF:

  • Unparalleled purity of sound for the price
  • Light yet durable construction
  • iPhone-friendly Lightning cable option

VERGE RATING 9.3/10

It’s not often that you see a new pair of headphones that upsets the basic taxonomy of personal audio gear, but Audeze’s new iSine series is precisely that. The iSINE 20 that I’m reviewing today are ostensibly in-ear headphones, but they also use planar magnetic technology from over-ear cans, and they’re roughly the size of on-ear models. So they’re the ultimate hybrid, and their alien appearance certainly speaks to their uniqueness. What has me really excited about the iSines, however, is that they don’t just look out of this world, they sound like it, too.

Let’s get the basics out of the way first: the iSine 20s cost $549 with a regular detachable cable or $599 with an additional Cipher cable that provides a Lightning connection for iOS devices and a built-in 24-bit DAC and amplifier. My review is based on the experience of listening to them without the extra Lightning jazz, because that’s the fairest way to judge the performance of the headphones themselves.

The process of getting set up with the iSines is... well, it’s a process. You have to discard all your usual expectations of easily portable in-ear headphones, because that’s not what these are. The vast protrusions emerging from the iSines house a 30mm (1.2-inch) planar magnetic diaphragm, which is basically an ultra-thin sheet that dances back and forth, generating sound waves that are then funneled into your ear. There’s no getting around the bulk of such a large sound driver, and Audeze hasn’t really figured out a design that makes the iSines easy to strap to the sides of your face.

In the box, you get three sets of almost identically sized silicone tips, one shirt clip, a cleaning tool, and a 128MB USB drive with the iSine user guide. Two sets of over-ear hooks are provided, but I find myself most comfortable with the alternative plastic inserts that fit inside the ear cavity to stabilise each headphone. The over-ear stuff eventually makes my ears hurt, whereas using the headphones without anything holding them in place is an unstable proposition that leads to them falling out of my ears. With the plastic stabilisers, the iSine 20s rest lightly and easily inside the ear, and they can be worn for hours at a time, provided you don’t need to move around too much.

To minimize unwanted resonance resulting from reflections within the housing, the exterior of the iSines is semi-open — meaning they don’t insulate you from exterior noise very well and they leak some of their own sound out. Audeze provides a nice and rugged nylon case for these, but it’s quite bulky and doesn’t provide the same sort of impact or water ingress protection that a hard shell case would have done. Without the Cipher cable, you also don’t get an in-line mic.

Basically, every practical advantage of in-ear headphones is missing from these in-ear headphones. So why bother?

The answer is easy: these are endgame headphones. Every audiophile will tell you that headphones are a deep and dark rabbit hole — one where every step is an accelerating descent into a mad obsession with minimizing distortion, perfecting frequency response, and realizing the most faithful sound possible. What if you could sidestep all of that? Skip the struggle, expense, and time investment of learning all about audio and just buy the headphones that you know have nailed it. I could offer you some examples that guarantee that, like the Focal Utopia, but they weigh about as much as a modern laptop and cost several times more.

The Audeze iSine 20 are expensive and unwieldy by the standards of in-ear headphones, but they’re exactly the opposite when judged against other, truly high-fidelity headphones. If you want soundstage — the sensation of music and sound surrounding you; the feeling of distance, depth, and separation between the various instruments and sound sources — the iSines have it in abundance. They’re capable of incredible subtlety, projecting sounds so quiet and far away as to make me question where they were coming from. And these headphones are just as spectacular at high volume levels, where every note is full, convincing, and distortion-free. As far as human (or at least my) hearing is concerned, Audeze’s claim of "zero distortion" with the iSine 20 is a fully legitimate one. Their sound is faultless.

There are many technically impressive headphones out there that are guilty of sounding, frankly, boring. The Oppo PM3s, which also use planar magnetic tech like the iSines, are the perfect example of that. These are better. Audeze’s own on-ear Sines and over-ear EL-8s are also surpassed, in my judgment, by their weird-looking younger sibling: the 20s are that extra bit purer and more realistic, and their bass feels fuller, warmer, and more satisfying that the EL-8s can produce.

Good headphones are full of contradictions: the moment you expand the soundstage, you reduce the intimacy of a performance; when you add an extra kick of bass to bring dynamism in, vocals are pushed back; and amped-up treble frequencies give you the greatest sense of detail and airiness, but are also the most fatiguing to listen to. Audeze’s newest headphones balance all those spinning plates in a way that pleases both the critical listener and the casual music lover in me. They vastly outperform their price tag, high as it might be, and that’s what makes me willing to look past their impracticality.

If you want deep subterranean bass for artists like Aphex Twin or Feed Me, the iSines have it. 

Steve Reich’s orchestral and instrumental works also sound amazing. 

Rage Against the Machine’s eponymous album is revealed in all its detail and splendour. 

And genre-defying musicians like Björk finally have a pair of headphones that’s just as comfortable straddling a wide variety of styles.

Recall the scene in The MATRIX where Cypher cuts into a fine steak, masticates thoughtfully, and decides to betray "all of the humanity" for what he knows is the synthetic illusion of a "juicy and delicious" meal. Headphones are kind of like that: most of them are like video game recreations of a musical performance, while the best among them approach a Matrix-like realism that's beguiling and enchanting. I think the iSine 20s are in the latter category.

These are not the headphones for every person or every occasion. But listening to them is, in itself, an occasion of the sort that everyone can appreciate.

For those on a smaller budget, Audeze also has the cheaper/smaller iSINE10, which aren't quite as life-altering as the 20s, but still deliver an expansive and satisfying sound that is light years ahead of most things you can plug into your ears. At CES this year, Audeze also introduced the iSINE-VR, which is the 10, but with cabling specifically tailored for virtual reality headsets.

…….Vlad Savov / The Verge