Audeze, the boutique US manufacturer of luxuriously large and expensive headphones, has just started shipping its most compact and affordable cans. The Audeze Sine are the world's first on-ear planar magnetic headphones, replacing the traditional dynamic sound driver with an ultra-thin membrane for greater precision. Taking planar magnetics down in weight and size is something that Oppo had already successfully done with the $399 PM3s, but it's always nice to see more competition and choice on offer.
Announced at CES, the Sine are Audeze's second set of headphones to offer an optional Lightning connector for listening from Apple's iOS devices. They cost $499 with a Cipher Lightning cable, which integrates its own amplifier and 24-bit digital-to-analog converter, or $449 without it. I've been listening to the Sine and the Lightning-connected EL-8 Titaniums from Audeze and I can confirm that the all-digital Lightning connection makes a world of difference. The Cipher cable is actually powerful enough to drive Audeze's headphones to their maximum, which iPhones and most other smartphones are not.
The Sine are available through Audeze.com and select Apple Stores now. Stay tuned to The Verge for my review comparing them against the Oppo PM3, the established leader in the portable planar magnetic category. That's coming very soon, I promise.