new products

In-ear headphones and headset designed for high-res audio


Elecom has launched a new line of stereo headphones and headsets that support Hi-Res Audio.

High-res audio far exceeds the fidelity found in compact discs and is a file format that reproduces the finest details in a piece of audio. These new products in an original and sophisticated design have evolved further from the existing series of hi-res headphones, realizing the sound quality perfect for playing back high-res audio in the best state.

Equipped with a 12.5 mm diameter driver designed for powerful sounds in the low ranges and clean and comfortable mid to high ranges, the new line comes with various features to utilize the performance of the driver. The driver features a rigid vibrating plate in a radial construction with Teijin Tetoron MLF, a PET film developed by Teijin Limited, as the base material, reproducing a rich sound field with natural expansion. Neodymium magnets placed on both sides of the vibrating plate accelerate the vibration speed so that even more powerful low sounds can be delivered.

The “Magnetic Turbo Axial Port” design situates the driver, bowl and magnets along the same axes, allowing for a smooth response that spans from lows to peaks. New models use super-hard aluminum for the housings, shutting out excess vibration from the driver yokes and faithfully reproducing sound signal from the diaphragm, while achieving robustness and lightness.

In addition to refinements in audio, Elecom has given detailed attention to its design. The military-style earpieces are available in stylish black and khaki. The “Depth Fit Earpiece” design features an enlarged tip for greater air-tightness, assuring the delivery of overwhelmingly powerful low sounds reproduced by high-res audio and other great features. The earpiece structure features a deeper twin-stage layout that cuts noise, achieving better fidelity and a cleaner fit. Both models utilize in-ear phones that dampen noise and keep sound played through the headphones in the listener's ear, not outside. The line cables have been designed to be tangle-free and easy to move around, and they are generously sized at 1.2m.

A cable keeper is also included for storing the excess length. The headphones can be plugged into any music player that takes a stereo mini jack. The smartphone-compatible headset comes with a condenser microphone that can be used for regular telephone calls. The remote switch contains the microphone components and allows for picking up and terminating incoming calls, as well as adjusting volume with a slider switch.

Price: ¥10,249~¥15,984

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Is it just me, or do others find in-ear headphones a painful - and likely dangerous -- ordeal to wear. Whenever I insert them, take them out, or turn or move my head, they create blasting sonic distortion from the friction caused by the sticky silicone rubbing against the highly sensitive tissue right outside my eardrum. The boom goes right thru my head.

And the earpieces never fit. They're standard sizes and they really need to be custom made, like hearing aid kits.

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Is it just me

I don't know if it's just you, but I have none of those issues myself.

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They never fit for me either. I have to use over the head style earphones when I run.

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Wow, so much techno-gibberish and advertising bumf! (And I'm an audiophile.)

For the rest of you, probably your best bet for making your earbuds comfortable are Comply Foam Tips; they're made for most major (aka expensive) name brand earbuds, and provide better fit than most silicon tips (your mileage may vary).

Finally, much as I hate to say it, most recent Hi-Res products are a bit of a scam. I love my Pono player and Sennheiser HD800s, but even so, I find it difficult to discern much difference between CDs and hi-res files. Often well ripped MP3s are more than sufficient for my needs.

Digital production has improved enormously since its inception and I suspect that most of the sonic improvements we have enjoyed of late are due to good 24-bit remixes rather than the extended--and inaudible--frequency ranges being touted these days.

That said, the Pono player is the best investment in audio quality I have ever made. The Ayre circuitry is super and the Pono is a joy to listen to either as a portable or as part of a home system.

Again, your mileage may vary.

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The price--around US$85 to $133 based on the current exchange rate--is not bad for such an earphone. The nice thing is the 12.5 mm size driver, 3.5 mm larger than the drivers found on most in-ear headphones, which should make for improved bass response.

Really nice in-ear earphones from the likes of Etymotics, Klipsch, Shure and Ultimate Ears (now a part of Logitech) can be very expensive--US$150 to well over US$1,000 for the higher-end models. As such, this Elecom model is a bit of a bargain in comparison.

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