CLAS­SIC SOUNDS

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH - —NANDAGOPAL RA­JAN

Sennheiser’s lat­est audiophile ear­phones in the IE range, the IE 80 and IE 60, are small ear-canal units that are easy to dis­miss as the reg­u­lar stuff. But plug them on and you will re­alise they are dif­fer­ent. They are the only ear­phones around with sound-tun­ing func­tions, let­ting you choose within a wide range or fre­quen­cies to max­imise your lis­ten­ing plea­sure.

We tested the IE 80, which is the high-end model in the range. The de­sign of this model is very dif­fer­ent from other ear­phones in the mar­ket. The metal­lic ear­pieces have a rhom­bus shape and it is a bit dif­fi­cult at first to as­cer­tain which piece goes in which ear. Once you get over this de­tail, you re­alise that the de­sign is very com­fort­able and af­ter a while you don’t feel the ear­phones there.

The sound tun­ing here is ba­si­cally a bass dial be­hind the two ear pieces which can be changed with a small plas­tic tool in the kit. As bass is a very sub­jec­tive thing it is best to find the level that suits you. We en­joyed the lower end more than the top scale which seemed for suited for heavy metal. We tried clas­si­cal, jazz and pop, al­ways com­ing back sat­is­fied.

The sound re­pro­duc­tion, with or with­out the bass ad­just­ment, is top notch. You will never need to move the vol­ume be­yond the ideal 60 per cent and even at this level the lower notes and vo­cals are pro­nounced and clear. Be­ing an in-ear model, the IE 80 com­pletely blocks all ex­ter­nal sounds, let­ting you en­joy your mu­sic in peace. Plus, even at high vol­umes the ear phones don’t emit noise ex­ter­nally.

On the flip side, your quest for per­fect mu­sic qual­ity has a high price to pay. The IE 80 costs 24,990, but

` comes with a metal­lic hold­ing case, mul­ti­ple ear­buds and a plas­tic tool to ad­just the bass dial. BAG IT OR JUNK IT?

Best sound you will hear in an in-ear head­phone.

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