Headphone innovation — or at least variation — is alive and well right now. Audeze just stuffed planar magnetic diaphragms into its new iSine 10 in-ear headphones, which seems like a crazy thing to do if the pictures are any indication. We loved the sound of Audeze's most recent foray into ultraportable planar magnetics, the Sine, but found them uncomfortable and perhaps iSine 10 will continue that trend.
Instead of a traditional speaker cone and magnet which originates vibrations from the center, planar magnetics are spread out over a larger surface. That typically requires a bigger headphone to hold all those magnets, but Audeze seems bent on getting the size down. The 30mm diaphragm here is still absurd for an "in-ear" headphone — really, the iSine 10 is a small on-ear headphone with a funnel — but it's astonishingly small up against classic planar magnetic headphones.
Like Audeze’s other recent headphones, iSine 10 comes with a fancy "Cipher" cable that connects to an iPhone’s Lightning port and does the DAC and amplification duties, but there’s also a standard audio cable included and Audeze claims they have a low impedance (16 ohms) so perhaps no amp will be necessary to drive them.
The iSine 10 costs $399, but if you want to really hear the pinnacle of in-ear planar magnetic funnel technologies, there’s also an iSine 20 for $599 in the same shape but with better sound. There’s a longer voice coil inside, meaning more impedance (24 ohms), meaning you’d better use that Cipher cable or bring your own amp.
Both headphones are available now for preorder and will ship in October.