Audeze is one of the more exciting headphone brands to emerge in recent years. The company is most famous for its SINE headphone series which features the company’s advanced planar magnetic driver technology. In fact, all Audeze headphones feature planar magnetic drivers including their in-ears. The Audeze iSINE LX In-Ear Headphone is the most affordable Audeze headphone even though it’s just shy of $200!
At a Glance
What Are Planar Magnetic Drivers?
If you haven’t heard of Audeze before reading this article, it’s likely you haven’t heard of planar magnetic drivers either. Planar magnetic drivers look similar to a ribbon driver in that they’re both thin flexible membranes, however, their functionality is slightly different.
The planar magnetic driver features a flexible membrane with a voice coil printed or mounted on it. Current passes through the membrane causing it to vibrate which in turn produces an audible sound. The resulting sound is more accurate, detailed and produces less resonance than a standard coil-driven flat diaphragm. This detail and accuracy is why audiophiles prefer planar magnetic headphones.
The iSINE LX is modeled off the hugely popular iSINE 10 and iSINE 20 which have received rave reviews and are arguably the best in-ear headphones on the market. The iSINE LX is supposed to be an entry-level option for those looking for the Audeze experience at a significantly reduced price point.
The Audeze iSINE LX features a 30mm planar magnetic driver in each earbud. Using such advanced headphone drivers means the iSINE LX is significantly larger than your average in-ear headphone. What does this mean for audio quality? The results are truly impressive for an in-ear headphone. However, there are some flaws, especially when compared with the premium iSINE 10 and iSINE 20 models.
Unlike the iSINE 10 and 20, the iSINE LX is slightly lacking in low-end response. While the bass is significantly better than other in-ear headphones at this price point, it’s not the same quality we have come to expect from Audeze headphones. The mid-range and highs are clean with the iSINE LX providing a detailed sound stage, however, this is nowhere near the superior performance you get from the iSINE 10 and 20. Overall, the iSINE LX is a well-balanced, pleasant headphone to listen to but definitely not as exciting as the more expensive models. Having said that, at more than half the price, you wouldn’t expect them to sound the same as the iSINE 10 or 20. More about these premium options later in this article.
The iSINE LX comes standard with a detachable non-microphonic Y-split headphone cable. The standard cable does not have any inline microphone or controls meaning the headphones can only be used as a listening device. One issue with the cable is that the Y-split is not very wide and cannot be adjusted. This means if you have a wide head or large neck, you might feel like the cable is somewhat restricting around the neck area.
If you own an Apple device with a lightning connection, there is the option to purchase the iSINE LX with a Cipher™ Lightning cable for an extra $60. The Cipher cable features an inline remote with microphone for hands-free calling and giving voice commands to Siri. In addition, the Cipher cable incorporates its own DAC for superior audio and call quality.
The four button Cipher remote allows you to access several functions and controls of your connected device. These include play/pause, previous track, next track, volume up, volume down, track rewind/fast-forward, activate Siri and call management.
Audeze have done a fantastic job with the iSINE LX when it comes to comfort and fit. Each earbud features a silicone ear tip which fits snug inside the ear offering excellent passive isolation. The iSINE LX comes with several ear tip sizes so you’re sure to find a fit that’s right for you. In addition, the iSINE LX comes with detachable ear hooks to keep the headphones securely in place. Even with the iSINE LX being larger than your average in-ear headphone, they are surprisingly light and still manage to beat most of the competition when it comes to comfort.
iSINE 10 & iSINE 20
The iSINE 10 and 20 were the worlds first planar magnetic in-ear headphones. The sound quality these headphones produce is nothing short of spectacular. The frequency response was flat and true with a wider sound stage than any previous in-ear headphone had ever managed to achieve. Like the iSINE LX, the iSINE 10 had a 16-ohm impedance while the iSINE 20 had a 24-ohm impedance. This increased impedance in the iSINE 20 is what gave the headphone such a superior sound stage and listening experience.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Audeze iSINE LX In-Ear Headphone:
- Audeze iSINE LX Headphones
- Assorted silicone ear tips
- Shirt clip for cable
- 2 x ear hooks
- Carry pouch
If you’re looking for an Audeze listening experience at an “affordable” price, then the iSINE LX is a great place to start. While the iSINE LX is modeled off the iSINE 10 and 20, the listening experience certainly doesn’t mirror the more premium versions. Having said that, the iSINE LX sounds significantly better than most in-ear headphones under $200. If you’re looking for a good in-ear headphone for under $200, then the iSINE LX is definitely the way to go. If you’re looking for the best in-ear headphone on the market, then the iSINE 20 is what you’re after.