Audeze EL-8 Titanium headphones shun iPhone audio jack for Lightning port

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The Audeze EL-8 Titanium planar headphones come with a Lightning cable with built-in amp, DAC and DSP

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Whatever your mobile music poison, there's a good chance that your earphones or headphones are plugged into the tune-playing source hardware via the 3.5 mm audio jack. Earlier this year we reviewed some earphones from Hong Kong-based Zorloo that took a wholly different route, and one that served up a good slice of high resolution goodness in the process. The new EL-8 Titanium headphones come shipped with an audio cable which, like the Z:ero earphones, sports a built-in headphone amp and high resolution DAC in the cable. But this one ends in a Lightning connector.

Designed by BMW's DesignWorksUSA consultancy, the EL-8 Titanium closed-back over-ear headphones are home to huge 100 mm (4 in) planar magnetic drivers, with Fluxor magnetic arrays and nanoscale diaphragms. This makes them both bulky (each earcup measures 115 x 95 mm/4.5 x 3.7 in) and heavy (tipping the scales at 480 g/17 oz), though aluminum construction will doubtless have resulted in some weight savings.

Audeze reports that they're capable of being driven by "a wide variety of portable players and headphone amps," with an impedance of 30 ohms and SPL of >130 dB, and have a wide frequency response of 10 Hz to 50 kHz and less than 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (at 1 kHz, 1 mW).

In addition to coming with a 2 m (6.6 ft) Audeze 3.5 mm jack audio cable and a 3.5 to 6.4 mm adapter, the new kids on the Audeze block are also supplied with a Cypher Lightning cable. This features an inline control unit with an integrated 24-bit DAC and a high quality DSP for high resolution listening enjoyment. The control also houses a built-in microphone for taking calls and communicating with Siri. There's also a free Audeze iOS app available for calling up sound presets and tweaking the EQ.

The EL-8 Titanium headphones are on sale now from select Apple stores in the US and Canada, and online, for US$799. That's a good bit cheaper than the Hifiman planar over-ears we covered earlier in the week, but still quite a serious investment for music on the move.

Product page: EL-8 Titanium

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