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Employing a tidy sealed-back earcup construction and full foldability for ease of travel, the Audeze Sine is a pretty unique headphone in several ways. First off, the historically giant planar magnetic driver designs of yore have been shrunk into much lighter and smaller dimensions suitable for a portable headphone build. So the Sine is certainly among the most ergonomic of all Audeze headphones thanks to input from the DesignWorksUSA industrial concept team, the same folks responsible for the high-end BMW automotive ‘look & feel’ and who most recently crafted stylish earphones for top Sennheiser in-ear models.
The cosmetic look of the Audeze Sine is surprisingly unflashy, colored throughout in matte black without any overbearing graphics on the earcups. The Sine logo discretely appears on just one of the earpiece frames. It’s a rather rugged, simple look that bespeaks solid construction without quarter given to candified cosmetic headphone trends. Being rugged Montana types ourselves, we like it.
The Audeze Sine fit is decidedly on-ear and rests directly on the earlobes for most wearers, making the comfort factor not quite as excellent as with larger full-size headphones that can more evenly distribute the clamping force. The Sine headphone is nicely padded with high-quality genuine leather but the angular earpieces can be hit or miss in terms of achieving a solid comfortable fit - it’s all going to depend on the shape and size of your ears. The earpad seal against ambient noise can also be impacted by the caliber of fit, and some heads may have issues getting the Sine to sit squarely on the noggin and properly align with the ears for maximized sound quality. The Sine earpieces can rotate and fold 180 degrees for easy transport and the leather earpads are fully replaceable, a nice plus for extending the life of the headphones.
Sonically, the Audeze Sine presented us with an unforeseen dilemma. We quite liked this non-Cipher edition; without the Cipher D-to-A cable or the EQ in play, the Sine sound seemed to tighten up noticeably and become more direct and less grainy without the slight low-level digital artifacts we noted using the Cipher cable.
Of course, employing high-quality music files or lossless Tidal streaming with the Sine remains key for best sonic performance; compressed files will expose clear evidence of their sonic limitations especially if using the Sine and the Cipher 24-bit connection. And to complete the Apple iOS panorama for the Sine headphone, the Cipher DAC cable edition does also include a built-in 3-button remote/mic ready for your iPhone telecommunications, a nice feature that may seal the deal if you own recent iOS devices.
Sonically, we hear the Audeze Sine exhibiting a classic U-shaped response with emphasis placed at the low bass and upper treble ends of the spectrum with slightly recessed midranges. This tonality creates a musically exciting albeit somewhat colored instrumental sound that places vocals in a darker relief against the music. The forward presentation of the Sine can become a bit fatiguing after a long session of listening and lovers of chesty, throaty voices may find themselves wishing for a bit better midrange presence.
The Sine soundstage is fairly well-layered but has a more vertical approach versus a wide-screen horizontal image, a typical sonic quality for most closed-back on-ear headphones. That being said, the most attractive qualities of the Sine was the great bass response - especially for a small on-ear can - and the excellent treble extension which makes the Sine sound more airy and bright than some others near this price. It’s also the least expensive headphone in the Audeze line, so listeners wanting a taste of the hallmark clarity, detail and low-end impact of Audeze cans may have a good entry point with the Sine.
As mentioned above, the Audeze Sine headphone is available in this version with a standard wired cable or with the Cipher DAC cable [add $50]. The Audeze Sine packaging also includes a soft storage pouch and the Audeze owner's manual. The free 2-year Audeze manufacturer’s warranty stays in place with your headphone.com '100% authorized dealer 'purchase.