Hot on the heels of the announcement of the wireless Satellite, Blue is back with two more new headphones to add to its growing lineup: Ella, a planar magnetic headphone; and Sadie, which serves as the next generation of the Blue Mo-Fi-powered headphone.
Planar magnetic headphones work by pushing a thin diaphragm to generate sound, instead of moving voice coils and cones, as most dynamic drivers do. Planar technology is considered by most to offer more accuracy, but it also commands a price premium, which is what tends to keep it niche.
Ella is the new top-of-the-line model for Blue at $699.99 — more expensive than any of Blue's other headphones by a fair margin, but also a price point that makes them some of the cheaper planar magnetic headphones on the market. Audeze's EL-8 is the Ella's most direct incumbent competition. Ella has square 50mm planar drivers that the company claims offer the high fidelity that planar headphones can provide without sacrificing the power of dynamic drivers. That's partly due to the design of Ella, which includes a built-in 250mW amp, something that Blue notes is an industry first for planar magnetics. It’ll be available for preorder later this month.
Sadie is a more minor update when compared to the other headphones Blue is announcing at CES this year, serving as an improved version of the earlier Mo-Fi headphones. Like the Mo-Fi, Sadie offers a built-in amplifier and custom-tuned 50mm dynamic drivers, but Blue claims that the Sadie has been further refined to offer improved sound. It’s still unclear exactly how they differ from the Mo-Fis, however, aside from some slight design changes. Sadie will cost $399.99 when it's released sometime in January.
Both Ella and Sadie feature a newly redesigned headband system that reduces the weight and bulk of Blue's original headphone offerings. Blue notes that the headphones use a "four-point multi-jointed linkage system" to offer an improved fit for a wider range of head shapes. But it’s not much of a change from Blue’s earlier headphone models, which is fine: the Mo-Fi and Lola shared a classic, retro-inspired design, and reducing the bulk a bit can only be a good thing. Visually, that also means that the Ella and Sadie look almost identical to each other.
Both headphones also follow in the footsteps of the Mo-Fi by offering three different modes for the amplifier: On, where the amp is active, On+, which activates a low-frequency enhancement mode to boost bass, and Off, a passive mode that disables the on-board amplifier for use with an external amp or when the battery dies.
Taking Blue’s CES offerings as a whole — the wireless, more portable offering of Satellite, the improved mid-line model of Sadie, and the new, planar magnetic high-end Ella — it’s clear Blue is taking the high-end headphone market more seriously going forward, with more varied options that offer distinct spins on the company’s core headphone design.