Planar magnetic headphones aren’t exactly common these days, and most of the headphones that do have planar magnetic drivers are pretty darn pricey. Coming in with a price tag of $450, the Audeze Sine headphones certainly aren’t cheap, but they’re some of the cheapest planar magnetic headphones available.
To find out what makes planar magnetic headphones different than almost every other pair of headphones, head here. If not, however, there’s something you should know — while the vast majority of planar magnetic headphones come with an open design, the Audeze Sine’s are closed, making them a little more usable around other people.
But do they still deliver with an above-par sound? We put the Audeze Sine headphones to the test to find out.
When you free the headphones from their cardboard box, you’ll first notice how premium the headphones are. The minimalistic design, which comes in part courtesy of BMW’s Designworks U.S.A., is adorned with swaths of leather and plenty of padding. The Audeze Sine headphones are an expensive pair, but the way they look almost makes them worth the price on their own.
An interesting part of the design of these headphones is their shape — the Sine’s have a triangular earcup that’s reminiscent of the shape of your ear. No, they’re not exactly ear shaped, but they’re pretty close. Audeze touts these headphones as “on-ear,” but some people with smaller ears will find them function as “over-ear” headphones too.
You’ll also notice how thing the earcups seem to be. According to Audeze, these headphones feature the thinnest drivers the company has ever produced, really putting the physical limitations of a planar magnetic driver to the test. The reason they’re so thin is because instead of using a piston-like design often found in dynamic drivers, the planar magnetic cans use an ultra-thin membrane to deliver sound.
Apart from the headphones themselves, in the box you’ll find a slew of accessories. You’ll get one stereo 3.5mm cable, one set of mono 3.5mm cables, and another interesting cable: one that plugs into your iPhone through its Lightning port. The interesting part? These headphones were announced at CES last year, months before Apple announced the new iPhone 7, which drops the headphone jack in favor of wireless headphones and Lightning connected headphones. That means you’ll be able to enjoy these cans without the need for a Lightning-3.5mm dongle, which is a very welcome addition for iPhone users.
When you buy these headphones new, you should also get a carry case, though we didn’t get one in the review unit we were sent.
The Audeze Sine headphones are packed with padding, but that doesn’t mean that they’re as comfortable as they could be. The cans feature an on-ear design, which means they’ll press on your ears. Unfortunately for us, they did so in a way that got a little uncomfortable after a few hours of listening. That’s because they seem to press only on the very edges of our ears.
Still, that’s not to say that they’re uncomfortable. Generally with headphones, we find that they start out kind of uncomfortable, then get comfortable, and then uncomfortable again after a few hours. The Audeze Sine’s are no different.
Apart from the ear padding, there’s plenty of padding on the headband, which is a helpful addition, especially considering the fact that these headphones are a little heavy.
The Sine’s aren’t groundbreaking when it comes to comfort, but they’re certainly not bad either.
Let’s make something very clear. These are some of the most balanced, clear sounding headphones we’ve ever tried on. Every song we put these headphones through was perfectly detailed and balanced, with frequencies sculpted as precisely as far more expensive headphones. The guitars on ACDC’s Back in Black punch you in the face, the vocals on Betty Who’s I Love You Always Forever sizzle and shine like the pop diva Betty Who is, and the strings on J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor were enough to give anyone goosebumps.
The bass on these bad boys isn’t so bad either. Actually, that’s an understatement — it’s excellent. Listening to Kanye West’s Jesus Walks delivered the punchy bass we’ve always wanted from that song. It’s clear and concise, yet not muddy or overbearing.
The midrange is equally as impressive — some headphones either dip the midrange too much and leave a big hole in the mix, or overdo it and give the sound that “radio” sound. Not the Audeze Sine’s. The midrange is beautifully balanced and we never found ourselves wishing there was more or less midrange.
The high end is where these headphones really shines. It’s clear and concise, yet it doesn’t sound shrill or piercing. It’s super well sculpted and clear.
Interestingly enough, it seems like using the Lightning cable on these headphones offers a slightly cleaner listening experience, with slightly more bass. Although, that could have something to do with how the iPhone handles sound rather than the connection itself.
If we had to say one negative thing about these headphones, its that they don’t offer much in the way of sound isolation. Sure, we don’t expect flight quality audio, and the music is good enough to where you’re not going to get distracted, but at some times it prevents us from being able to really get lost in the beautiful sound these headphones have to offer.
Got $500 to spend on a pair of headphones? We highly recommend you get these. They’re an audiophiles dream — they sound amazing and look great. They’re perfect for the audiophile on the go. Sure, they’re not as comfortable as they could be, but they’re still pretty nice to wear. With their amazing sound, not only are the Audeze Sine’s the highest rated sounding headphones we’ve ever reviewed, but they’re the highest rated in general.
|Frequency response||10Hz – 50kHz||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Drivers||Planar Magnetic||In-line controls||No|
|Rated impedance||20Ω||Earpad material||Foam|
|Total harmonic distortion||<1% at 100dB||Magnet material||Neodymium|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Water resistance||No|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Battery life||N/A|
|Wireless connection||No||Wireless distance||N/A|
|Wired connection||3.5mm, Lightning||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
|Detachable cable||Yes||Case type||Soft bag|
|Weight||230g||In-the-box||Soft bag, 3.5mm cable, stereo 3.5mm cable, Lightning cable|
|Active noise cancellation||No||Colors||Black|