Audeze EL-8 Titanium headphones shun iPhone audio jack for Lightning portView gallery - 3 images
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.
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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 TitaniumView gallery - 3 images