Aero earphones offer hi-fi on the move
Hong Kong-based Zorloo has followed last year's inexpensive but very capable Z:ero digital earphones with what's described as a complete musical system. Like the previous models, the Aero in-ears ignore the source device's own (often poor) audio system and route the signal to the earphones over a digital audio connection. Three interface varieties are being supported and, in a modular twist, users can swap out driver modules to change the sound being thrown down their ears.
As with the company's Z:ero digital earphones, all of the sonic enhancement circuitry has been squeezed into the inline controller of the upcoming Aeros. In this case, Zorloo has selected an ESS Sabre 9018Q2C digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with its own built-in amp that allows digital audio playback up to better-than-CD 24-bit/48 kHz resolution.
There's a custom-designed 14.8 mm driver in each aluminum earphone module, with the creators promising 105 dB SNR and 0.003 percent total harmonic distortion for crystal clear audio. HearSwap interchangeable earphone driver modules allow users to fine tune the listening experience. There will be three driver modules will be available at launch – the Acoustic module has been tuned for a linear response, the Euphonic unit pumps out a stronger bass and the Nostalgic version is reported to offer a warm signature.
Each pair of earphones will come with a 1.2 m (4 ft) detachable cable that hooks around the ear for a secure fit. Lightning, micro-USB and USB-C interface options are being supported. Power for the integrated electronics comes from the source device, which was found to impact on battery life a little during our review of the Z:eros. Mobile devices running older versions of Android may also have to make use of a music app that has its own USB Audio driver, such as the excellent USB Audio Player Pro.
Zorloo hasn't included a microphone in the inline controller, so users won't be able to take calls through the earphones, but a pair of Comply T500 foam tips will be in the box for improved comfort and better isolation compared to silicone buds.
An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to bring the Aero digital earphones to production kicked off yesterday. At the time of writing, pledges start at US$69, representing a significant saving on the expected retail price of $119. The three different versions of the Aero earphones (Lightning, micro-USB and USB-C) will come with the Acoustic driver module as standard, with the other two flavors available separately.
You can get a taste of what's on offer in the overview video below.