Ropes in-ear headphones cut the cord – sort of
Beats headphones have had a huge impact on the audio world since the first set of Studios sold in 2008. They've spawned countless products trying to recreate Dr. Dre's signature style and sound, but none have quite the same potential to replicate the magic as Ropes. The creation of ex-Beats team member Steven Lamar, Roam Ropes are stylish Bluetooth in-ear headphones with a built in amplifier and companion app.
On the surface, Ropes is wading into battle with a bit of a handicap. We've reached a point where you can buy Bluetooth earbuds with no cable at all, so a set of Bluetooth headphones with a giant "pendant" dangling off them seems like a bit of a step backwards for overall portability.
There's method to the madness, though, because that pendant is home to the hardware designed to make these headphones sound far better than your average set of EarPods. Inside there's an amplifier, Bluetooth 4.1 hardware, a 50-MIPS processor and a 24-bit stereo DAC. These components, along with the earbuds themselves, are powered by an inbuilt lithium-polymer battery, though its capacity or how long it will last between charges isn't specified.
The team at Roam claims the Ropes deliver excellent response through sub-bass, bass and lower-midrange frequencies thanks to a 10 mm dynamic transducer. Meanwhile, an ultra-low mass balanced armature have been chosen to deliver clear midrange and top-end
To make sure they're comfortable, there's a range of different shaped and sized rubber tips included in the box.
As is becoming more common, listeners have the opportunity to tweak the sound profile of these headphones. The Roam application doesn't go quite as far as the team at Nura, but it will let you choose from a range of preset EQs or, if you're confident, you can mess around with a set of sliders to properly personalize the sound.
Oh, and what about the styling? As usual it's in the eye of the beholder, but they look no better or worse than a set of Beats from what we can gather. They look especially good in the red, white and blue chosen to celebrate the company's partnership with the US Olympic Team.
At the moment, you can preorder a set of Ropes on Kickstarter, where the campaign has raised more than 10 percent of its US$100,000 goal with 29 days remaining. A pledge of $119 puts you inline to be among the first to get a set if the campaign is successful.
Should the project see the light of day, pricing will start at $199.