In ear monitors have been popular as of lately with new companies bringing out their new top of the line in ear monitors. In ear monitors usually use dynamic or armature drivers. However, planar magnetic drivers commonly used in higher end audiophile grade headphones is not something you’ve seen before in an in ear. Audeze being one of the innovators and leaders of this kind of technology decided to make one. As of today, they have three in total. The isine 10, 20 and LCDi4.
This unit was lent to me by bay bloor radio
from their website:
Audeze’s origins go back to 2008 when founders Sankar Thiagasamudram and Alexander Rosson met engineer Pete Uka who developed specialized flexible circuit materials for NASA. They quickly realized the material might be perfect for headphones. That’s when Dragoslav Colich, who has 30+ years’ experience in designing planar drivers, joined the team as CTO to create the LCD-1 headphone.
Then we created the legendary, award-winning LCD-2 and LCD-3 headphones, and the higher-efficiency LCD-X and XC models. More recently, we made planar magnetic technology accessible to a wider audience with the EL-8 and SINE series headphones. Audeze turned to their strategic partner Designworks, a BMW Group Subsidiary, for the cutting-edge industrial design for the new headphones as well as the Deckard DAC/Amplifier.
Audeze feature proprietary planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets. Planars overcome many limitations inherent in typical cone drivers; our lightweight diaphragms are, for example, faster and more responsive than heavier moving-coil or dome drivers. Planar magnetic diaphragm also have a voice-coil circuit spread across the diaphragm surface. The diaphragm’s voice-coil circuit interacts with the magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic force that moves the diaphragm back and forth creating the sound you hear when energized by an audio signal.
Style In-ear, universal fit Transducer type Planar magnetic, semi-open Magnetic structure Fluxor Magnet type High-grade neodymium Diaphragm type Ultra-thin Uniforce Transducer size 30mm Maximum power handling 3W Maximum SPL >120dB Frequency response 10Hz – 50kHz THD <0.1% @ 100dB Impedance 16 ohms Cable type non-microphonic Dimension 31mm x 35mm Weight 11g (per side)
WHERE DO I BUY IT?
Bay bloor radio in you are in Canada.
I apologize that pictures are not provided for this review. It was deleted before I could write this review. I will make sure to add in photos in the near future.
First off, I would say the build quality at this price range is excellent.
It is made of high quality plastic. Some of you are not keen to see plastic in a set of highly priced in ears but there is a reason to why highly reputable companies, including sennheiser use it. Especially here, it was a great choice of material to keep things light as possible because it does use planar magnetic drivers that are bigger. Audeze really wanted to punch in the idea that they can create something planar and not always heavy.
For those who found Audeze headphones really good sounding but just way too heavy to wear, this may just be something that may float your boat.
Cabling is simple with 2 pin connectors and this does mean you can use third party cables, if that is your thing.
Flat braided cables as typical of their cables and you can opt in for their EQ functionality lightning cable or just the 3.5mm cable.
THE FIT: Fit is everything with the Isine10, you will love it if you can or you will hate it if you cannot. It is a big hit or a miss type of scenario. I would imagine Audeze will improve this in their future line ups.
SOUND ISOLATION: These are semi open back and does leak, despite what others say about these not leaking… which I found odd unless you listen to your music really quietly. These do leak and it was proved in my tests. You can do this easily… you can just turn your music off and talk to other without taking the isine10s off your ears, you will be able to hear everything perfectly fine. Try asking at least 10 individuals if they can hear your music.
PAIRING: These are not the hardest to drive but they are still planar magnetic and need some good sources and amps to really shine
SUGGESTED USE: Probably around the house or in the office where it doesn’t matter if a little bit of music leaks out. If you are the type of person that is not keen to share your music taste, this may not be the right choice.
review without EQ
LOWS – Very solid presentation but not the best or punchiest. Quite simple and this region relies heavily on how well you get it to fit. Get the right fit and you will feel some great thumping and sub bass.
MIDS – I found these to be a little too mid-centric with vocal a little recessed. it is either that this region is too forward or everything else is recessed. All in all this mid region seems to be the most unreliable in its presentation as imaging did not seem to be on par with other in ear monitors I’ve reviewed.
HIGHS – Well extended but lacks sparkle and a little recessed.
I was not aware of being able to EQ with 3.5mm cables from your DAP or what have you. Audeze do have put out their recommended EQ setting on headfi forums for those that are not keen on lightning cables. I would love to see the EQ settings come back and hit hard for those of us that would not like to see the 3.5mm terminations taken over entirely.
- Sound stage is larger than most in ear monitors in this price range but I do have to disagree with it being an in ear headphone. I would say this falls closer to an in ear still. I will be reviewing the LCDI4 soon, as I hope that will be a different story.
- Imaging was not the best, with center imaging being the most lacking in presentation
- Separation was descent but again, not the best I have seen in this price range.
This is their first in ear monitor and world’s first planar one. I would say this is a great start and I would love to see them improve with community feedback.