Astell & Kern UW100 Review: Best Wireless Earbuds for Audiophiles

Astell & Kern UW100 Review: Best Wireless Earbuds for Audiophiles Leave a comment

Do you bear in mind the primary time you tried one thing aside from the crappy plastic earbuds that got here together with your cell system? I recall studying a discussion board submit on-line, shopping for a then spendy $100 pair of Shure headphones, and blowing my very own thoughts after I plugged them into my iPod Nano.

That’s the feeling you get once you bounce from entry-level wi-fi earbuds like AirPods to a premium pair like the brand new Astell & Kern UW100. With glorious digital-to-analog conversion, bespoke drivers, and a smooth design, I can see these being a simple entry level 
for aspiring audiophiles.

It’s taken a while for high-end wi-fi earbuds to do something particular, apart from look higher than the versions from Apple, Samsung, and others. The UW100 show that we’re lastly getting higher sound for our additional {dollars}, they usually may make a couple of audiophiles minimize the twine when out and about.

Form and Function

Photograph:  Astell & Kern

If you’re not into hoarding FLAC information and dropping hundreds of {dollars} on attractive digital gamers, it’s very probably you’ve by no means heard of Astell & Kern. The small audio model has made acclaimed digital-to-analog converters, headphone amps, and moveable gamers for the Rolex class for years, however solely lately has it taken the deep dive into higher-end mainstream audio merchandise.

When it involves each design and audio efficiency, the technological trickle-down is evident. Astell & Kern is prepared to promote merchandise for below $500 now, however the engineers are nonetheless unwilling to promote bad-sounding ones.

The jagged, gem-like exterior of every earbud instantly stands out amidst a bunch of wi-fi buds that appear to be golf tees. They’re like one thing you may spot in a Star Trek spinoff, doubling as fancy space-age communicators. That’s to not say the buds don’t feel and look elegant, however until your private fashion could be very fashionable, you may discover them a bit flashy.

Such visible cues are par for the course from Astell & Kern, which makes use of jagged edges as a centerpiece of its design language. However, the case is a bit giant and really plasticky, which I wouldn’t anticipate from buds that value practically twice as a lot as AirPods. I’ll dislike Apple’s primary buds, however the case is twice as smooth and half the dimensions.

Despite having no ear fins, the UW100 match extraordinarily properly in my medium-sized ears. I’ve been in a position to take them on lengthy runs, do yard work, and customarily putter about with out ever dropping a bud. Of course, that is partly a fluke: Unless your ears are equivalent to mine, your mileage might differ. But so long as you don’t have small ears (these are on the medium-large aspect of the spectrum, however not loopy large), they need to suit you simply high quality.

Well Sorted

Sound high quality is the actual showstopper with the UW100, although. A 32-bit digital-to-analog converter and customized balanced armature drivers pair with help for the aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec to ship the cleanest, most detailed audio I’ve ever heard from wi-fi earbuds.

A large soundstage and assertive (however not overly boomy) bass are aided by the headphones’ glorious passive noise isolation. At occasions, I swore these earbuds had energetic noise canceling, since they blocked out the skin world so properly. This is a indisputable fact that Astell & Kern’s engineers clearly acknowledged too; you may activate Ambient mode with a faucet of an exterior contact sensor, and you will find your self utilizing it for those who purchase these buds.

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