The problem with spending more than £150 on a pair of earphones, is not the quality of the earphones but the quality of the music you are listening to. Unless your iPod is full of Wav files or you are plugged into a record player. (remember vinyl?), the music you are listening to will been heavily compressed.
in other words some of the dynamics of the top and bottom ranges created while recording will be lost. The end result being everything will sound a bit ‘middle of the road’ (even if you listen to Slayer!).
The Flush the Fashion offices have been overrun with earphones for the last few weeks and we have had them quite literally coming out of our ears…(sorry, bad joke!).
All the sets were tested on the same records. The new Radiohead record, Hafdis Hurd’s great new Synchronised Swimmers and our fantastic Flush the Fashion March Music Sampler (download here).
Instead of telling you which ones you shouldn’t buy we thought it would be easier to let you know about the ones you should.
Phonak’s Audeo Perfect Bass PFE 022
First up was Phonak’s Audeo Perfect Bass PFE 022 earphones. Phonak are a Swiss company respected worldwide for their cutting edge hearing aid technology, so it’s no wonder their earphones are among the very best.
The PFE 022’s are the ‘over the ear’ types and from personal experience these tend to stay a lot more secure than the traditional hanging down earphones. They come with 3 different size silicone buds to fit any ear (mine are large), and once you get a good seal external noise is virtually nil.
Great for listening to music, but terrifying if someone taps you on the shoulder!
The sound quality is exceptional across the frequencies and as you would expect from phones called Perfect Bass, the lower ranges are really clear without distortion even on the highest volume.
Built into the lead is a Microphone with playback and pause buttons so you can plug these into your iPhone and make and receive calls without having to take them off.
The only small issue I had was getting a good fit using the silicone buds. Once they are in it’s great, but a softer set would be nice too. You can pick them up for around £80-90 online, overall a worthy replacement for your battered iPhone earphones.
The SE115’s are cheaper than the PFE 022’s (you can pick them up for about £60-£70) and are a great alternative if you are on a budget. There is no built-in Mic, so if you don’t need one these might be the best choice.
Again sound quality is exceptional and we tried earphones that cost 3 times the amount that weren’t as good.
The dense foam buds included fit really well into your ears, however you may find yourself having to replace these now and again as have a tendency to get a bit squashed in your ear..
Noise isolation was superb, perfect for lying on your bed and drifting away (or on a bus full of weirdo’s).