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The iSINE 20 is one step up from the iSINE 10 featuring an even longer Uniforce voice-coil that...

Audeze iSine 20

Rating:
4.08333/5,
  • The iSINE 20 is one step up from the iSINE 10 featuring an even longer Uniforce voice-coil that covers the ultra-thin diaphragm to a greater extent, enabling better control and responsiveness for better bass, clarity, and improved imaging. Zero distortion sound means you’ll feel closer to the recorded to your music. Add the included Lightning cable with DSP and there’s no other in-ear headphone that even comes close to its performance. To ensure all-day comfort, a pair of Ear Hooks and EarLocks® are provided along with silicon and foam tips.

Recent Reviews

  1. Dobrescu George
    Magical Warmth - Audeze iSine 20 Planar IEMs Revie
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Apr 4, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - + Open-Back Planar inside a IEM design
    + Excellent clarity
    + Soft and smooth sound that is easy to listen to and enjoy
    + Airy and open experience, more so than most IEMs on the market
    + Nice aesthetic and easy usage when using the cipher cable
    + Good overall package, solid build quality and detachable cables
    Cons - - Needs extremely heavy and complicated EQ to sound good with any source that won't connect to the cipher cable
    - Comfort isn't the best, they are not only open, but also have large bores and have a wearing mechanism different from most IEMs out there, won't fit for everyone
    - Detail has a bit to suffer, the soft sound doesn't provide a very satisfying treble sparkle
    - Not the most punchy sound out there
    - Basically only works well with iPhone and Apple devices, not much with anything else

    Magical Warmth - Audeze iSine 20 Planar IEMs Review

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    Audeze iSine 20 is a truly amazing headphone, because it is the first planar magnetic IEM (In-Ear Monitor), which is also open back, made by Audeze, that I am reviewing. It has a midrange price, but it really needs the cipher cable, as I'll explain in the review.




    Introduction

    Audeze is a large company, founded in 2008, and which started with designing large planar headphones, like the LCD-1, LCD-2 and LCD-3, all of which have been received really well by everyone who heard them. I have reviewed Audeze LCD-MX4 already, and can ensure you Audeze does stay behind their products, and if any kind of problems are to appear, even minor ones, they will solve those for you, and offer you an experience truly commendable and reliable.

    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Audeze, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Audeze or anyone else. The review sample for this review is a personal unit, I have owned for a while, and about which I decided to make a review. This review reflects my personal, subjective experience with Audeze iSine20. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Audeze iSine20 find their next music companion.



    About me


    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



    Packaging


    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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    I have noted in my Audeze LCD-MX4 review that Audeze are really good with designing an interesting and rather useful package, and the iSine 20 is no exception, those things come in a cool and pretty funky package.

    Inside the main package, you can find their rather intricate carrying case, as well as the two IEM units, seated in a foam and hard plastic cutout.

    One hing to keep in mind with iSine 20 is that the main case is protected by a rather thick transparent plastic cover.

    While Audeze LCD-MX4 came packaged in a really hard yet not so flowery large pelican hard carrying case, iSine20 comes in a more friendly package, with lots of details about them on the package.

    This review unit is with a latest generation cipher cable, but that one was ordered separately, so I'm not sure if the package that includes it by default is different from this official package.

    You also receive ear clips, and tips with the package, and considering that they work best with the cipher cable, getting that variant means that they'll have included everything you could need with the package.




    What to look in when purchasing a high-end In-Ear Monitor


    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



    Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

    Starting with the built quality, those IEMs are quite solid and made of plastic and metal, but even before we start talking about that, we need to talk about their shape and size. You may have noticed that they aren't your typical Sunday Morning IEMs, and are rather something different, they are more like two speakers that have an IEM plug that connects to your ear.

    This is because those are two larger planar drivers, which are made to be worn as IEMs (In-Ear Monitors), and have silicone plugs to connect to your ears, but they aren't really IEMs, and they are a touch heavy, requiring Audeze's own ear clips to attach to your ears.


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    The clips are a bit easy to break, and most people seem to require exchanges, but most people seem to be fine ordering some from third party sellers, which can be found on Head-Fi iSine threads, or glueing the original clips back. Audeze also sells replacement clips if you need more.

    Now, the locking mechanism is quite different, because this unit being so large won't just stay in your ears, and the cable is made to go straight down, so you need to use a clip, or plastic ear hook that goes around your ear, to keep the IEMs in your ears safe and sound.

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    The bore, or the sonic tube is on the large side with iSine20, so you may need to experiment a bit with tips to get the best comfort. Isine 20 uses a very typical tube design, but the larger size means that not all tips will be compatible.


    Overall, after you manage to get a good seal / fit, you may notice that there is a bit of driver flex, and this is actually something real for pretty much all planar drivers, even those found in headphones sometimes, but it won't damage the unit, nor be dangerous in any way. If anything, it may be concerning at first, but since this is an open-back IEM, it doesn't matter and it doesn't affect comfort in any way.

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    After getting them seated properly, iSine 20 is very comfortable, becomes very natural to wear, and the fact they are open means that you aren't isolated from the outside noise, so you can take them in a morning jog, or when going on a walk without having to worry that you'll be separated from the outside noise entirely.

    One thing to notice though, is that they leak quite a lot of noise, so you will not be able to listen to technical death metal at maximum volumes in a library using iSine20.

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    Now, the build quality is quite eccentric, they use metal and high quality plastic in the build quality, and the entire IEM feels very solid, there is a grille on the outside, so you won't have to worry about dust and debris getting to the driver, and overall, the whole IEM simply feels trustworthy. They also look pretty cool, although I can't say whether the design would best fit with either a casual or an office environment, rather, having a style of their own that should fit with any suite.

    In terms of aesthetics and build quality, they are a golden IEM, but the comfort, while good, can't be golden, because the bores are a bit wide / large and won't fit all ear canals out there.



    Sound Quality


    I need to start by saying that this review is about the iSine20 and their cipher cable, using an apple-based source and Audeze's own DSP embedded within. It makes no sense to review them without the cipher cable, and I do not recommend them at all without it, they need a complex EQ that I wasn't able to reproduce using any of the typical EQ within Hiby Music and such, and at the end of the day, iSine 20 sounds better from an apple source using their cipher cable, than from any audiophile music player, their DSP being required to truly enjoy them.

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    So, after you get the cipher cable, and an apple source, the sound can be described as one of the most natural, one of the most open and euphonic sounds you have ever heard. Everything simply flows, and there's a unique melody to everything that you most probably haven't heard before, and not even all Planars don't sound this way, the fact that those are open-back IEMs, with this degree of open-backness means that you get a really huge soundstage out of them, but with a good instrument separation and definition. The sound could also be described as laid back, and it most certainly isn't one of those super energetic types of sound, rather being something on the leaner and more musical side.

    The bass feels very liquid and smooth, there's a certain quality to Audeze bass that you simply can't get enough of, like a high-end subwoofer, but even better, they simply make bass flow, and in a big way, similar to the way their larger headphone counterparts do. This being said, the quantity is what I'd call enhanced, but not over-the-top, the bass rather being enough for most people, but not enough for true bassheads. For me, it is enough, and the musical note thickness is good, and so are lower male vocals, but the bass doesn't bleed into the midrange, and feels right in its place. The bass speed and agility is exactly what you'd expect out of an Audeze product, quick, yet still natural.


    The midrange is extremely musical, liquid and smooth, laid-back, and slightly forward. The soundstage openness is very real, and so is the really natural tonality they manage to play with (kindly keep in mind, this is with the latest cipher cable). Warm, musical and clean, the midrange feels pretty much like you'd expect the midrange to sound like, knowing this is an Audeze planar magnetic IEM. The voices, on an overall level, are a touch forward, but the background instruments are placed in a proper different background layer, offering enough space in between for a proper detail to take shape. There's a bit of bloom, and the midrange has softer edges, and a more friendly overall approach, so you'll be able to listen to iSine20 for long hours in a row without any hint of fatigue, and I could call them laid-back in terms of textures, they aren't analytical nor overly textured, rather offering what you could consider a fairly lean and musical experience, although they do not lack bite in acoustic music, and they also have proper tonality and overall texture for electric guitar solos, like those found in rock and metal ballads.

    The treble is soft and lacks the uppermost part of the sparkle, is reserved in quantity, but to their advantage, this also means it will offer a truly fatigue-free experience, and as with all smooth and lean IEMs, when listening to more aggressive music, metal, or EDM, you may desire that it had a touch more sparkle. This being said, they do have enough for most music styles, and Jazz or other more laid back music styles feel truly magical. The same can be said about pop, which sounds very euphonic, and I could say that artists like Lady Gaga are very nicely portrayed.


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    Overall, this is one musical, smooth and free-flowing IEM that feels very easy to listen to for long hours in a row, and which has a nice warm and clean overall sound.



    Portable Usage


    The portable usage is average.

    Actually, iSine20 doesn't feel quite that portable, considering that you either require large amounts of power to drive them, if not using the cipher cable, but even when using the cipher cable and making them easy to power from an iPhone, they still leak a lot of sound, and are open.

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    This means that while they would make a really fun experience while walking through a park, taking a subway while wearing them, or going through an crowded place, you'll be hearing pretty much everything, and by the time you increase the volume enough to cover all the other sounds, you're listening quite loud.

    The design doesn't make them overly practical either, the cables are positioned at a slight angle, and they may feel like they're pulling from the IEMs by their own weight, making walking or jogging with iSine20 a touch more complicated.


    This being said, I was able to enjoy them even on more brisk walks, but I don't mind if other people are able to hear my music, and Bucharest is a more noisy place, but I enjoy music loud when out and about, but if you're looking for a typical IEM experience from iSine 20, maybe you won't be getting quite exactly that, but rather more of an open-back experience in an IEM factor.



    Comparisons


    iSine 20 is pretty different than most IEMs, but they have a pretty clear price of 600 USD, when you purchase them with the cipher cable, which is the review setup of today. This makes them pretty much in competition with something like HIFIMAN RE800 Silver (600 USD launch price, currently on sale for 300 USD), Acoustune HS1650CU (650USD), and Beyerdynamic Xelento (800 USD).

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    Audeze iSine20 vs HIFIMAN RE800 Silver - Starting with the build quality and the package, RE800 Silver is actually much smaller, and comes with less accessories than iSine20, but RE800 Silver has no detachable cables. This being said, RE800 Silver is much more comfortable, and easier to wear, and has no driver flex, while isine20 has driver flex, is larger and more complicated to wear, making RE800 Silver a better choice for portability. The sound is much brighter and more energetic on RE800 Silver, with more edge and more detail, more clarity and more overall energy, it is more punchy and more forward, and also more analytic, where it is more euphonic, larger and more airy, more smooth, laid back and liquid, with a smoother bass, smoother midrange and smoother treble with iSine20, feeling like iSine20 was created for pure relaxation, while RE800 Silver is more versatile, especially if you listen to a lot of rock, metal, EDM and upbeat music, where iSine will shine better with classical and Jazz, and acoustic or laid back music in general. The value is better on RE800 Silver at this moment, as they are priced at 300 USD, making them a deal really hard to beat, although iSine20 is not to be taken lightly, because although they cost 600 USD, which was the launch price of RE800 Silver, in that price you also get the DAC/AMP, where with RE800 Silver, even though they are about 300 USD now, you'd still want a high quality DAC/AMP which means that the whole setup may cost more than the 300 USD implied, although a HIFIMAN Megamini won't add that much to the price. The difference in tuning and sonic style should make this an easy choice though, RE800 Silver is much better for energetic and upbeat music, while iSine20 is much better if you prefer a smooth, laid back and euphonic sound.

    Audeze iSine20 vs Acoustune HS1650CU - Acoustune HS1650CU comes with a better overall package, with a more intricate carrying case, and with a better cable, with better ergonomics, and it has a much better comfort, being easier to wear than iSine20, although iSine 20 feels like the whole IEM is also created really well. The sound is more creamy and more tight on HS1650CU, with better overall detail and with a much better dynamic and punchiness, iSine20 being more laid back, liquid and smooth, HS1650CU having a much more textured bass, although iSine20 has more air and feels more open overall, has a wider soundstage, and expands more in all directions, the whole experience being more open. HS1650CU has no driver flex, where iSine20 has some driver flex. The price is similar between the two IEMs, and both feel like a good value, both have metal in their build quality, although iSine 20 feels like the package is more premium, where HS1650CU feels like the IEM itself was designed more premium. The overall choice is simple, if you want a smooth sound, but if you want it punchy, creamy and with a textured bass, then HS1650CU is the option, while if you want a laid back, smooth and more liquid, flowing experience, and if you prefer a more open and airy experience, then iSine20 should be your choice.

    Audeze iSine20 vs Beyerdynamic Xelento - Beyerdynamic Xelento has already been on the market for a while now, but it still is a very relevant IEM. When it comes to their package, both iSine20 and Xelento come in a pretty eccentric package. Both have a more unique type of tip, and you may need to make sure you're getting good comfort with both. Both Xelento and iSine20 have a bit of driver flex, but only iSine20 is open-back and has a larger size. In terms of sound, Xelento and iSine20 are both very smooth, laid back and liquid, but Xelento is much much bassier, much warmer, and its bass is much more the focus point of its signature, where with iSine20, the entire sound is more tuned to be clean and clear, without making the bass the star of the day. In fact, that is the largest difference, Xelento is like an iSine 20 with much better bass for a basshead, and with a bass that could make being a basshead the guilty pleasure of anyone, while iSine20 is a more open and clean experience, if you don't wish for that much bass. Overall, if you're looking for a really smooth, warm, bassy, thick and punchy experience, Xelento is one of the best there are, while if you're looking for a really liquid, smooth, soft and open / airy experience, iSine20 would make better sense.




    Value and Conclusion


    It has been very fun reviewing iSine20, and so it's been using them, especially since they're one of the very few open or semi-open IEMs out there, in this sense of the word.

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    For 600 USD, you don't get just the IEMs, but you also get the cipher cable, which is basically a DAC/AMP for them, and as long as you have an iDevice as your daily smartphone and such, you won't need anything else soon, as they really sound better with their own cipher cable, than most high-end Audiophile Players, the DSP Audeze made fitting like a glove to them.

    You may notice that I've taken them outside to take photos of them, and speaking of their reliability, I can say that even after taking all those photos of them, they still work very well and didn't take any damage, so you don't have to worry about their build quality, they are made really well.

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    Furthermore, they are fairly comfortable, after you manage to get the sweet spot for your own ears, and they will sit there, offering a very open experience.


    The sound is not very characteristic of IEMs, but more open, and airy that what you're most probably used to. The same can be said about the warmth and smooth experience, Audeze really managed to nail it with the way they portray the sound, a liquid yet euphonic experience that is rarely seen, so easy to listen to, yet so addictively clear and engaging.

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    Overall, if you have an iphone, and if you're looking for an open-back IEM, something to sound airy and open, yet smooth and musical, you should totally check out Audeze iSine20, as they're one of the best IEMs to pair with an iPhone, the 600 USD price mark being everything you need to pay for them, as long as you'll keep using your iDevice.




    Full Playlist used for this review

    While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

    Tidal Playlist


    https://tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

    Song List

    Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
    Eskimo Callboy - Frances
    Incubus - Summer Romance
    Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
    Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
    Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
    Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
    Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
    Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
    Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
    Doctor P - Bulletproof
    Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
    Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
    Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
    SOAD - Chop Suey
    Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
    Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
    Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
    Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
    Eminem - Rap God
    Stromae - Humain À L'eau
    Sonata Arctica - My Selene
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Metallica - Fuel
    Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
    Masa Works - Golden Japang
    REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
    Dope - Addiction
    Korn - Word Up!
    Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
    Fever The Ghost - Source
    Fall Out Boy - Immortals
    Green Day - Know The Enemy
    Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
    A static Lullaby - Toxic
    Royal Republic - Addictive
    Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
    We Came As Romans - My Love
    Skillet - What I Believe
    Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Yasuda Rei - Mirror
    Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
    Falling Up - Falling In Love
    Manafest - Retro Love
    Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
    Zomboy - Lights Out
    Muse - Resistance
    T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
    Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
    Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
    Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
    Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
    Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
    Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
    Saving Abel - Addicted
    Hollywood Undead - Levitate
    The Offspring - Special Delivery
    Escape The Fate - Smooth
    Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
    Dope - Rebel Yell
    Crazy Town - Butterfly
    Silverstein - My Heroine


    I hope my review is helpful to you!

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      Zelda likes this.
  2. Richter Di
    Apple friendly allround inEar
    Written by Richter Di
    Published Jan 1, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fun to listen to, very practical for Apple i-products
    Cons - You need other tips and clips, needs EQ or Cipher cable
    I bought these new in May 2017 from an official dealer in Germany. I receive and received no benefits from Audeze or any other party to write this review. This is only my personal opinion.

    These were my first Audeze headphones and my second pair of planar-magnetic headphones. The other planars being a Hifiman HE-500 which I bought as an alternative for my Sennheiser HD 800. You will find a list of my headphones at the end of this review.

    The reason for buying these was that I read a lot of good reviews about the Audeze Sine 20 and I was looking for something to connect directly to my iPhone and iPad to listen to my favorite streaming service Qobuz.

    Since I bought the Sine 20 Audeze offered a 50 Dollar replacement program for their Cipher-Lightning cable, which is a 24bit DAC and DSP, and I used the offer. Especially since the original Cipher had some problems with my devices. There was often a low level, high frequency tone sometimes left, sometimes right, sometimes both sides when I stopped a song using any iOs app. This happened not always but very often. The tone sometimes staid at the same frequency and sometimes changed to a different frequency. The tone staid for approx 3 - 4 seconds. None of the firmware updates changed this, but with the change to the new Cipher cable the problem is gone.

    I use the Audeze HQ app with the Sine 20 which offers two presets and a 10-band equalizer but after several tries based on proposals here on headfi, I only do a 4db plus lift in the 4kHz region, maybe because I am above 50. The sound signature of the iSine 20 with the original Cipher has changed considerable and is now more laid back and less forward.
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    Audeze offers the iSine with the Cipher and without the Cipher. The price difference is only 50 Dollars, which I find very fair. The US market price being 599 US Dollar including the Cipher.

    I tried different EQs without the Cipher cable offered by Dr. Karthick Manivannan, Director of Research at Audeze, he offered under the alias KMann on my Sony NW-ZX2 with the Onkyo app and also the Audeze Reveal Plugin for Windows 10. All of these options deliver a very similar result as using the Cipher cable.

    I compared my iSine 20 with the LCDi4 inEars at the former German distributor in June 2017.
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    And without any doubt the LCDi4 are a completely different league also price wise with 2495 US Dollar at the moment of the review.

    When considering the iSine 20, they are inEar but at the same time completely open. Which was one of the reasons for me buying them, as it makes me approachable while listening to music and it is even possible at the typical low volumes I use for listening, to have a short conversation.

    Since I bought the iSine 20 I also bought via Indiegogo the Audeze Mobius, and as you can see from my personal ranking list, I would rate them very closely.

    The iSine 20 are great inEars which makes it easy to listen to for a long time. They are resolving enought to hear differences between 16bit and 24bit files and they are easy to EQ to your own taste. They also sound great at low volumes and louder volumes which is a clear plus. If you are using them without the Cipher cable you have to EQ them since they sound in my opinion realy bad without EQ.

    Sonically there are no negatives and only if you have listened to the LCDi4 you know how much more deep bass would be possible. With the LCDi4 I was not sure sometimes if someone had turned the loudspeakers on, in the show room of the former German distributor. A mistake that would never happen with the iSine 20.

    Audeze offeres two possibilities of attaching the iSine 20 with either Clips or with so called Earhooks. I also bought the additional Clips and eartips they offered when they brought the LCDi4 to the market. To be honest none of them worked for me. So I ended up trying different eartips and finally found in the SpinFit which are specifically designed for the iSine. I can fully recommend them. When it comes to the clips I also had finally settle for a third party solution as Audeze clips where just too thin and too uncomfortable. Also they break easily. So I bought 3D printed clips which attach to the iSine from a fellow headfier and which allow clips from other inEars to be attached. Now the solution is great but I wished Audeze would have come up by themselves with great eartips and clips. But you can not ask everything.

    Besides these caveats, I can full recommend the iSine 20 because of their good imaging, versatility to become the inEars you want them to by by EQing and their open build which is good for work environments and partners who want to be able to address you at all times.


    Ranking of headphones I own:
    1. Sennheiser HD 800 (with french Helmholtz mod)
    2. Fostex Massdrop TH-X00 Ebony
    3. Audeze isine20
    4. Audeze Mobius
    5. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro 250 Ohm
    6. mitchell & johnson MJ2
    7. Hifiman HE-500
    8. Sennheiser HD 630 VB
    9. Sennheiser HD-25
    10. Beyerdynamic DT 770 80 Ohm
    11. Audiofly AF78M
    12. Pioneer SE-LTC5R-T
    13. KZ ZSA inEar
    14. Hifiman RE-400
    15. Ultrasone Edition 9
    16. Etymotic ER4S
    17. Audio Technica Sovereign ATH-EW9 Clip-on Headphones
    18. Westone 3
    19. Harman Kardon BT
    20. Stax SR-001 MK2
    21. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7
    22. iGrado

    Previously owned:
    AKG K-1000 with BAP 1000
    Audio-Technica ATH-ESW1
    Audio-Technica ATH-W1000
    Audio-Technica ATH-W5000
    Sennheiser HD 650 (with Cardas cabel)
    Beyerdynamic DT 911
    Stax 4040
    Stax 4070
    Stax Omega 2
    Beats by dr dre studio original
      WHO23 likes this.
  3. Nec3
    Not worth the price.
    Written by Nec3
    Published Sep 10, 2017
    2.0/5,
    Pros - Aesthetically pleasing, low distortion (easy EQ), semi-open planar!
    Cons - NEEDS EQ without a cipher cable (Tonality is off without EQ), lackluster accessories, reliablity issues (dead in 5 months)
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    Why 1 Star?

    • Right driver died in 6 months, but a certified Audeze repair center replaced these instantly for me.

    Why 2 Stars?

    1. Toss a tin can (that has both sides cut out) to your favorite vocalist and ask them to sing through that, that's the iSine 20 mids. Less treble and bass presence on the iSine's only emphasize this. I'm disappointed by first impressions. Android and PC users only wish they had a device that had a lightning connector for a Cipher Cable, because yes, the Cipher cable has a DAC with DSP filters that change how the iSine 20's sound.
    2. The smaller earhooks are not rubber coated therefore feel and look like dollar store quality plastic you find in sunglasses. The earhooks are not malleable like Sennheiser IE80's memory wire earhooks, thus the iSine 20 earhooks apply a small area of pressure behind the back of my ear since they stick out.
    3. The carry pouch has 4 holes on each corner, the size of dime. This wouldn't be very protective if a water bottle leaks in my bag and the iSines are under minimal protection here.
    4. Earlocks only come in 2 sizes, small and large. Medium would be nice. Even Bose IE2's provide 3 StayHear tips. Taking these for a walk is a chore, I don't even want to take these on a run.
    5. A straight plug cable in a portable earphone, don't expect to have a flagship phone and expect to bend over with a straight plug. I definitely can, but I get a nervous feeling that one day that I'll end up with a flayed cable.
    The combination of all the negative aspects of the iSine is enough to justify the 2 star rating for a $600 earphone.

    What Makes the iSine 20, 3 Stars?

    1. The iSine 20 has very low distortion, thus allowing flexible EQ settings. The iSine can be bass monsters, mid masters, or both at the same time. The instrument separation is amazing after smoothing out the frequency response (even better than Etymotic Research ER4S or the Sennheiser HD600). Scroll to the bottom to see EQ settings on Equalizer APO.
    2. Semi-open; these have stayed in my ears for 6 hours at some point at my desk. I only had to adjust them every hour. Closed back earphones/headphones are fatiguing in comparison.
    3. Desktop headphone performance in an earphone. Imaging is great, soundstage is great, even slightly better than my Sennheiser HD600 for gaming.
    4. The carry case will smell like fresh electronics for a very, very long time. I like the smell.
    5. To me, these are aesthetically pleasing and head turns in public transit prove my point. I've only used them in a subway for one day, the lack of isolation from screeching train tracks is disappointing.

    What Makes the iSine 20, 4 Stars?
    1. It's a planar, an in-ear planar.
    Should you buy these?

    Sure, if you like fiddling with EQ or seek a desktop solution and dislike headphones. Otherwise... no. Monoprice Monolith M300's probably have a better sound signature. The other option is wait for the second revision of the iSine 20's if there will be one. This one isn't worth full price.

    Equalizer APO Settings:

    Revision 42 (Last Edited: April 28, 2019)

    Filter: ON HSC 5 dB Fc 30 Hz Gain -7 dB
    Filter: ON PK Fc 600 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1
    Filter: ON PK Fc 900 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.5
    Filter: ON PK Fc 1100 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 1.5
    Filter: ON PK Fc 1380 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 2
    Filter: ON PK Fc 1550 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 2
    Filter: ON HSC 18 dB Fc 2600 Hz Gain 9 dB
    Filter: ON PK Fc 3950 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 7
    Filter: ON HSC 14 dB Fc 6500 Hz Gain -10 dB
    Filter: ON PK Fc 7100 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 8
    Filter: ON PK Fc 10100 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 15
    Filter: ON PK Fc 13000 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 8
    Filter: ON PK Fc 14100 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 10
    Filter: ON PK Fc 15200 Hz Gain -5 dB Q 10
    Filter: ON HSC 18 dB Fc 18000 Hz Gain 4 dB


    Revision 43 (Last Edited: May 22, 2019)

    Filter: ON HSC 5 dB Fc 30 Hz Gain -7 dB
    Filter: ON PK Fc 550 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 1
    Filter: ON PK Fc 750 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 2
    Filter: ON PK Fc 900 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 1.2
    Filter: ON PK Fc 1100 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.5
    Filter: ON PK Fc 1350 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 1
    Filter: ON PK Fc 1600 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 1.5
    Filter: ON HSC 18 dB Fc 2400 Hz Gain 9 dB
    Filter: ON PK Fc 5900 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 10
    Filter: ON PK Fc 3900 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 7
    Filter: ON HSC 15 dB Fc 6500 Hz Gain -10 dB
    Filter: ON PK Fc 7150 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 9
    Filter: ON PK Fc 8000 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 8
    Filter: ON PK Fc 10100 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 15
    Filter: ON PK Fc 13000 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 8
    Filter: ON PK Fc 14100 Hz Gain 2 dB Q 10
    Filter: ON PK Fc 15200 Hz Gain -5 dB Q 10
    Filter: ON HSC 18 dB Fc 18000 Hz Gain 2 dB
      Impell, Leogaluc666 and tarhana like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Impell
      Hi, just wanted to say I've tried many different EQ variations and yours sounded the best! By chance have you fiddled around with your EQ settings after Audeze released those plug ins? If so, could you share your changes? Thanks.
      Impell, Aug 17, 2018
    3. Nec3
      Hi @Impell I think Audeze did a wonderful job in tuning their iSine 20's. IMO the only thing I've done was load up the Audeze Reveal VST plugin to EQ APO, then add a Peaking Filter at 1300hz, reduce gain by -8db, and the Q factor was 1.2.

      The treble adjustment with the Audeze Reveal plugin was a little too harsh for me though, and I didn't go too far in fixing that since it would require a little too much effort.
      Nec3, Aug 19, 2018
      Impell likes this.
    4. Impell
      Thanks for the response!
      Impell, Aug 19, 2018
  4. Trogdor
    Perhaps the best IEM on the planet
    Written by Trogdor
    Published Feb 13, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Incredible sound stage, lovely bass extension, ultra-low THD, coherency
    Cons - Leak, less isolation than your typical IEM, cumbersome to put on

    Introduction

    Over the last few years, Audeze has gotten a lot traction in the prosumer marketplace. It first started with the EL-8 series ($699), an open-back and closed headphone design that featured many of Audeze's planar magnetic technologies all wrapped in a snazzy German designed package. Perhaps even more importantly though, the EL-8 also became the launching pad for the CIPHER, a 24-bit DAC with DSP Lightning cable that provides an end-to-end audiophile class solution for any iDevice. Then of course came the SINE ($449), the world's first on-ear planar magnetic headphone and really the company's first honest attempt at "planar for the masses."

    So in many respects the announcement of their first planar magnetic IEM line, the iSINE 10 ($349) and 20 ($549), shouldn't come to you as a shock. However, unlike the other aforementioned products, what is surprising is its design: From its hexagonal mesh outer shell to the fact that you need an attachment to even wear them, the iSINE is an unconventional product to say the least. Audeze was kind enough to send me a pair of both iSINE models to find out exactly what "unconventional" actually sounds like.

    Trickle Down Economics


    [​IMG]

    Believe it or not, Audeze has been working on the iSINE since 2015! The seeds for a planar magnetic IEM were first planted when Audeze introduced their Fluxor and Uniforce diaphragm technologies in the EL-8.

    If you remember from my LCD-4 review, Fluxor is an array of magnets that are laid out in a certain way that optimizes the magnetic force on the diaphragm. Then their Uniforce diaphragm technology employs variable trace widths in the voice-coil to ensure that force is uniform across its surface. Used in tandem results in better control over the driver which in turns means lower distortion and improved imaging. The 20 has a longer Uniforce voice-coil than the 10 which is why it costs $200 more. But both iSINE models have less than 0.1% of THD overall, even at large volumes (100db!), which is unheard of in the IEM world.

    Although the iSINE did benefit a lot from the technologies developed for its older siblings, everything else had to be designed from scratch including the housing, the materials used, and its assembly. Both the 10 and 20 employ some tricks of their own too due to their challenging form factor - like a specially built waveguide that is not hollow and helps minimize internal reflections and cancellations across the frequency range. And of course Audeze once again hired BMW's DesignWorks in conjunction with Spiderman to come up with its design.

    On-Ear Monitors


    [​IMG]

    When I said that the iSINE is an unconventional IEM, I wasn't just talking about aesthetics. First and foremost, the iSINE attaches to your ears rather than fits in them like a traditional IEM. So both the 10 and 20 come with a myriad array of different attachments to accommodate the wide ranges of ears out there.

    If you have just the right set of ears though, you can try out the included SureFire EarLocks attachments. These little strange retention rings fit in key points on the outside of your ears to securely attach the iSINE in place. Audeze includes both a medium and large set which should cover any normal pair of ears.

    Personally, I found the EarLocks to be very comfortable but not very sustainable. The problem is the iSINE's are a bit heavy compared to your average set of Apple earbuds, so under heavy movement they would start to get loose and eventually fall off. I even watched several YouTube videos to ensure I was using the EarLocks properly too, and I was. My guess is if you do have just the right internal ear layout then the locks might be a viable solution.

    Most of you however are going to use the plastic hooks. Unfortunately, you can't just slip them on like you would a normal set of IEMs. You literally have to stretch the hook out first and then place it in between your head and outer ear. I find that using two hands is the best approach. I use one hand to manipulate the hook while the other to hold the iSINE in place.

    The good news is that though you do have to perform some initial gymnastics to put the iSINE on, once they are on the hooks feel extremely comfortable. I have literally listened to both the 10 and 20 for six plus hours straight with no issues to report.

    In terms of tips, Audeze supplies a small, medium, and large silicone set. Audeze recommends starting with the small set and then moving up in size until you get a proper seal. The iSINE tips don't need to be buried deep in your ear canal so don't force anything. All you are looking to achieve is a proper seal. And if you prefer to use some Comply foam tips instead of the ones provided you can. However, I found the tips that Audeze supplies work just fine.

    Some folks have complained that the iSINE line doesn't isolate as well as your typical IEM and that's certainly true. But I haven't had any problems to really speak of. For example, I had "Rosie", our family Roomba, vacuuming next to me and I couldn't hear her at all once headbanging begun. Again, finding the right sized tips is key to getting a proper seal. So definitely go through the motions of evaluating each tip provided until you find the one you are most comfortable with.

    [​IMG]Finally, the cables Audeze decided on are also both good and bad. They are good because they have zero microphonics to really speak of and seem to be tangle proof. They are also bad because the two-pin connectors are fragile. The manual recommends to not take them on and off repeatedly and I can see why. I think Audeze should consider a screw on type design that my Roxanne's use for its multi-pin connectors. That would prevent the pins from bending if you tug on them too tightly. For now, just be gentle.

    The Socialite

    In many respects, the iSINE's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: They are a semi-open backed design. Put simply, they leak. So if you work in an office environment or in an area where the faint sound of a really killer riff is not acceptable, these aren't the IEMs you are looking for.

    With that said, I've been using my pair at work every day now for several weeks without issue. I work in a standard sized cube in an open office layout. Of course I have very nice colleagues who understand my metal is very important to me (read: they don't want me to go postal). I also listen at fairly low volumes too, so whatever leakage does occur is still very minimal. But the bottom line is that they leak, plain and simple, and there is no getting around that fact. Caveat emptor.

    Honey, I Shrunk The Audezes!


    [​IMG]

    My normal IEM setup is a pair of custom Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne's ($1745) as well as my Etymotic Research HF-5's ($129). Both iSINE models fit squarely in the middle of that price range which should make for an interesting comparison. Most of my listening was done through a Chord Mojo ($529) which is any pair of IEMs best friend. Trust me on this.

    I am not really an iDevice user so though I was shipped a CIPHER cable with the 10, I didn't really use it for any long periods of time. It's basically the same 24-bit DAC with DSP I reviewed with the SINE many moons ago except it replaces the bass boost with a custom EQ profile. If you do decide on adding the CIPHER, it's an extra $50 bucks. Well worth it if an iDevice is going to be your main source or constant travel companion with the iSINE.

    Say what you will, but no band has really replaced Metallica as the greatest heavy metal act of all time. Yet even with that said, the last decade or so hasn't been kind to James, Lars, and Co. Their last record, Death Magnetic, was indeed a return to form but was mired by its horrible DR3 production job. And although St. Anger wasn't as bad as DM, it was still a terrible record in its own right. And then there were the Load years before that which were equally as disappointing. But their latest, Hardwired..to Self-Destruct, is a solid record through and through and contains some of their strongest material since the Black album.​

    Regardless of your current opinion about Metallica though, let me get this off my chest right now: The 20 is the best sounding IEM I have ever heard. Period. It shames the HF-5 and it even shames my Roxanne's in practically every way. The 20 has a wider soundstage, deeper bass, and has a much more refined sound than any of the IEMs in my stable. In fact, the 20 sounds very much like the venerable LCD-2's, with its lush, warm midrange and impactful bass. I also thought transients and micro-detail were on par with my Roxanne's even with its twelve (count'em) balanced armatures and crazy freqphase crossover scheme. James' vocals were particularly outstanding and had that nice Audeze patented warmth to them.​

    The 10 on the other hand didn't reach the same glorious sonic heights as the 20, but it is still no slouch either. The major difference between the two is that the 10 has a much more compressed soundstage (read: IEM like) and overall less bass. I thought they still bested the Etys by a wide margin though and it was a toss up when it came to the Roxanne's. The Roxanne's just have better detail retrieval overall but I thought the 10's had a slightly wider soundstage. Both sounded dark in the treble department but I'd probably give the nod to the Roxanne's in the end. In fact, the 10's sound very much like a closed back version of the EL-8 which I've always felt has a somewhat muddled sound compared to its bigger siblings in the LCD series. But still, they are a fraction of the cost of the Roxanne's and still manage to give them a run for their money. Take that to the bank.​



    2016's Kodama may go down as my favorite Alcest record to date. It not only made my year-end list but it was one of the records I listened to the most last year as well. And at DR9, it also happens to be one of Alcest's best sounding records too.​

    One of the biggest downsides to IEMs is that though they are generally excellent at detail retrieval but they compress everything into a wall of sound due to the small air chamber they work with. Not so with the 20, which due to its semi-closed design and waveguides allows the air to flow more naturally and in turn opens up the sound considerably. A shining testament to that fact is the first single off of the album entitled "Oiseaux de Proie" which starts off with an infectious bass line and takes off from there. The whole track sounds YUGE through the 20's as if I was listening to a pair of full size cans. In fact, the sound is so massive I have now convinced myself that the 20's are more akin to a pair of mini-headphones than a true IEM. They are that good.​

    And again, it was a toss up between the Roxanne's and the 10's. But given the 10's $349 asking price, it's hard to justify the Roxanne's existence at this point.​

    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]
    Downsides? A few. They don't isolate as well as your typical IEM - not a big deal for most but could get annoying if you listen to music in a very noisy environment. They also do leak due to their semi-open backed design. So if you have sensitive cubemates, it could definitely get contentious fairly quickly depending on how loud you blast them. They are also somewhat of a pain to put on though it does get better with a bit of practice. Finally, although I found the handsome soft pouch they come in perfectly reasonable as a means of transport, I do recognize the fact that some folks would prefer a hard case instead (I'm one of them). So I think it would behoove Audeze to think long and hard about providing one in the future, especially with the 20 - sitting on a pair of $500+ IEMs is no laughing matter (well, maybe a little).​

    With all that said, the iSINE 20 is a breakthrough product in every way and may in fact be Audeze's finest achievement to date. It is not only the best sounding IEM I have ever heard but redefines what an IEM can and should sound like. I have owned many expensive IEMs over my illustrious audiophile career including the JH16P, the Triple-Fi's, a few top of the line Shure's, you name it, and none of them hold a candle to the iSINE 20. If you've got $549 bucks to burn and want a superb sounding, mini-full sized headphone you can carry around with where ever you go, look no further, the 20 is your can...uh, I mean IEM.​

    The iSINE 10 on the other hand is definitely a step down but still a wonderful sounding IEM nevertheless. I surmise you would have to spend at least double their asking price to get better sound. In fact, the 10 may very well be the best bang for your buck in the business today and certainly should be on your short list.​

    The iSINE series earns our highest honor with ease. Do yourself a favor and seek these little black and brown beasties out. I guarantee you will walk away impressed. I sure did.​

    This review was originally featured on Metal-Fi.
      reddog and Kevin Lee like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Trogdor
      I have not heard the Z5 unfortunately. My gut though (read: looking at Sony's 3-way hybrid design) is that the 20 is going to have a larger soundstage and better bass (the planar is just bigger and can push more air). Obviously, the Z5 will probably isolate better all things being equal in terms of fit and it would not shock me if its tweeter extends more than the 20 too. But again, this is speculation on my part.
      Trogdor, Feb 14, 2017
    3. AudioJunki3
      Nice to hear another positive review. I've got the iSine 20 myself and previously posted my thoughts. I love them. While I do feel they require a good sit down with a decent source. to completely get the most of them. :)
      AudioJunki3, Feb 16, 2017
    4. Trogdor
      A Chord Mojo is definitely a decent source! :)
      Trogdor, Feb 16, 2017
  5. AudioJunki3
    Absolutely Stunning piece of technology. I love them!
    Written by AudioJunki3
    Published Jan 24, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sound is incredible, that is all.
    Cons - Build quality could be better, but I'm not sure if it's an issue.
    So, this is my first review on Head-Fi.
    My name is Jonny, I'm 23. Masters student studying Future Design, I work part time in my local phone store and I've been in love with audio since I was about 13. I used to design for Cyrus Audio, a large high end Hi-Fi manufacturer here in the UK.
     
    DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions only, I am not affiliated with Audeze, I paid full retail for this product with my hard earned dosh! The aim of this write up is to share my opinion and perhaps inform others of how I feel about the product, if you choose to buy it then that is your own concious choice. ^_^
     
    I ordered my iSine from the local RicherSounds on the 23rd of January. They arrived next day, I ordered the standard version but for some reason was given the lightning model, which includes a 3.5mm cable anyway, might inform the store but for now I'm just trying to enjoy them.
     
    I'm testing them on a Huawei Mate 9 and a Sony ZX100 Walkman. 
     
    The earphones are presented in a lovely magnetic flip top box, the earphones are placed in foam inserts, cables, clips and all the other goodies are to be found in the extremely sturdy case which is also included. The entire package is kept in a solid clear plastic box. Inside the box was the earphones obviously, 3 sizes of rubber ear-tips, the case, and various earhooks. Lastly there is a signed card of authenticity, stating they have been tested and burned in by *insert name here #joeblogs*. A nice touch.
    Overall the packaging is very impressive and things are off to a good start.
     
    The build quality of the earphones are 'ok'. Now I maybe jumping the gun on this. For the price you pay, there may be a reason they chose this material. I don't believe Audeze would skimp on material choice to save money and I genuinely believe there may be more behind their choice of material. Nevertheless, the earphones are made of an extremely lightweight plastic, only time will tell how durable it is, but either way, for me it isn't an issue as I'm quite careful. 
     
    The supplied cables seem quite sturdy and there was no trouble inserting them into the earphones.
     
    I'm going to jump right into the sound quality because this is always the biggest selling point for me when buying earphones. 
    I'll cut to the chase and sum these up before I go into detail. These earphones are absolutely EARGASMIC. I've listened to Audeze products at headphone shows before, and these are no slouch, they easily hold their own against the other products in their lineup and better still, their incredibly efficient drivers mean you won't need additional amping. they sound fantastic even off my phone running spotify. 
     
    Soundstage:
     
    For those looking at these online, you might already know they're open back earphones. I'm no expert but I think that's an industry first? Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Either way the separation on these bad boys is surreal. I was just earlier listening to the Minecraft soundtrack( it's actually quite pleasing) and just about every hair on my head stood upright, I got a huge shiver down my spine and I'm sure my right eyelid twitched for a few seconds. The level of distance between each note, cannot be conveyed with words. In the track 'Door' theres a section where a very deep bass note hits, and honestly I cannot tell where it came from, but it landed right infront of me. There was no warning, nothing that could tell me to expect it, but it came and I was in awe. Every note I feel is perfectly presented with such a smooth texture, I honestly cannot fault them.
     
    Bass:
     
    As most people my age will tell you, bass is the best bit. I personally feel this is where the iSine 20s shine the most. These are not for bassheads, they dont try to appeal to the 'Beats' kids.
    As I mentioned before, the bass hits and you have no idea, you're just left stunned. I'm not sure about the terminology, but theres no 'residue' of the bass once it's been, it comes in, hits hard, slaps you around a bit then leaves when it's overstayed it's welcome. Just the way I like it. I apologise if this review seems a little unortho, I've never experienced anything like this before and I genuinely don't know how to describe how impressed I am with these. So I'm doing my best in my own strange way
     
    Midrange: Again, I can't really fault them. Mid's are well presented, clean, vocals are lovely. Alison Krauss is a good place to start. 
     
    Treble: Treble is something I've always been cinicle on with earphones. I generally hate sparkly earphones, those which are so bright they hurt my ears and cause discomfort. I don't have that problem here, I find them to be a perfect balance and I've not yet winced when something was too high. I'm genuinely surprised at how these guys can handle high and low notes simultanously without any issue. These qualities are especially present in orchestral pieces. The Lord of the Rings soundtrack was my test piece for this section as I feel it has a good mix of everything. Honestly I'm not sure what else to say because I've tried to many expensive earphones and really these top them all. I'm surprised there aren't more reviews on here for this unit. Maybe Audeze need to look into getting some more review units out, seeing as they are so easy to buy now. 
     
     
    To conclude:
     
    These earphones are without doubt the best I've tried to date, having worked in the Hi-Fi industry, I know good sound when I hear it and these are the real deal. The only other thing I heard which made me go 'wow' was the Cyrus system we had at work, which valued at about £30K roughly. The build quality should be questioned and there are some microphonics, but then again, these are open back and obviously arent to be used outside while walking around. Overall, if a friend asked me if he should buy these, I would say a resounding yes. 

    Peace!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. schmonballins
      Glad to see another positive review on the iSine 20. The passion of your review says it all. Looking to pick these up soon! Thanks for the review.
      schmonballins, Jan 24, 2017
    3. AManAnd88Keys
      The iSine series are not the first open back earphones, Stax beat them to it quite some time ago with the SR-00x models, which are at least partially open back electrostatic in-ears.
      AManAnd88Keys, Jan 25, 2017
    4. reddog
      A good, informative review.
      reddog, Mar 11, 2017
  6. gordec
    A Revolutionary IEM with Unparalleled Sound Quality
    Written by gordec
    Published Dec 31, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Class-leading sound stage, imaging, clarity. Light and comfortable.
    Cons - Plastic housing, poor sound isolation. A radical design that may not be for everyone.
    When a buddy of mine who is in the inner circle of Audeze asked me if I wanted to try the new iSINE 20, I was thrilled. Has Audeze, a company known for large and heavy full-size headphones , done the impossible and shrunken the planar magnetic sound into a small IEM package. As a former owner of the LCD-3 and current owner of the LCD-XC, I also want to know how the iSINE compares to its larger siblings. Lets move on!
     
    Specifications:
    Style
    In-ear, universal fit
    Transducer type
    Planar magnetic, semi-open
    Magnetic structure
    Fluxor
    Magnet type
    High-grade neodymium
    Diaphragm type
    Ultra-thin Uniforce
    Transducer size
    30mm
    Maximum power handling
    3W
    Maximum SPL
    >120dB
    Frequency response
    10Hz – 50kHz
    THD
    <0.1% @ 100dB
    Impedance
    24 ohms
    Cable type
    non-microphonic
    Weight
    20g without cable

    Inner Nozzle Diameter                                          6.35mm      
     
    Looks, Comfort and Build Quality
    ____________________________
     
    There is nothing subtle about the design and appearance of the iSINE. If you had to imagine what an offspring would look like, if a bee hive and Star Wars Tie Fighter had a sexual indiscretion, the iSINE wouldn’t be too far off. The large hexagon frame of the iSINE immediately grabs your attention. Through its lateral fenestrations, the gold-tinged grills create a nice contrast with the darker housing. The iSINE is one of the largest IEMs I have seen. It doesn’t sit in your concha bowl like most IEMs. The only way to stabilize it is by wearing it with the over-the-ear ear guides (1 black and 1 clear both same size) or ear locks that sit in the concha bowl (2 sizes both black). That being said, the iSINE is still fairly comfortable because it’s only 20g, and the ear guides really helped keeping it firm and tight on my ears. I didn’t really like the ear locks.
     
    Isinewithfighter.jpg
    The Tie Fighter is a father now or mother?
     
    IsinewithES60.jpg
    iSINE 20 vs Westone ES60
     
    IsinewithIE80.jpg
    iSINE 20 vs IE80
     
    The long, tentacle like sound tube measures ¼ inch in diameter. You get 3 sizes of tips to use. I have very small ear canals, and I cannot fully insert the smallest tip into my ear canal for optimal seal. At this point, I’m not aware of any 3rd party tips that are large enough to be used with the iSINE. Only rubber/silicon based tips are included, so there are no foam options. This may be an issue for some users with narrow ear canals.
     
    Isinewithaccessories.jpg
    Included accessories
     
    If you expect hand carve wood and all metal design, you will be disappointed by the iSINE. Its housing is constructed with almost entirely out of plastic. The cable insert actually started to crack a little when I accidentally inserted it in the wrong orientation. I wish Audeze could use metal for the external housing.
     
    Isinewithnozzle.jpg
    iSINE 20 has a very wide sound tube
     
    WearingIsine.jpg
    iSINE 20 is very comfortable in the ear
     
    Isinewithconnector.jpg
    iSINE 20 cable insert
     
    Isinecable.jpg
    iSINE 20 2-pin cable
     
    You can pay $549 and get the iSINE with standard 1/8” cable or pay another $50 to get both the lightning cable and the standard cable. The iSINE accepts 2-pin. The standard cable I have is flat, flexible and tangle-free with minimal microphonics. When you insert the 2-pin, make sure you line up the right orientation with “L” and “R” on the outside.
     
    Sound Quality
    ____________
     
    Personally, I favor planar, full-sized headphones over dynamic headphones. I feel the technology is superior.  The planar driver technology differs from dynamic headphones in which the charge is spread across the magnets. So instead of focusing the force on a small portion, it’s spread more evenly across the diaphragm. This design results in very low-distortion sound and faster response. This is how planars get those tight bass. Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/dynamic-vs-planar-magnetic-drivers#kGc5k3H4dB8quKaL.99
     
    Similar comparisons can be made between balanced armature vs dynamic IEMs. In a balanced armature (BA) design, the drivers to not displace air in order to generate sound, so typical BA IEMs have better sound isolation. I definitely hear that difference between the IE80 vs ES60. Also multiple drivers allow more flexible sound tuning. This how you get that better treble performance, faster response and more detailed sound. However, it's much more costly to produce similar to planars.
     
    Before you call me a fanboy. I do believe that a well-implemented set of dynamic headphones can sound better than any given set of planars. I really liked the Fostex TH900. I didn't keep it before personal preference in sound signature.
     
    So you ask why not make planar IEMs and have the best of both worlds. Fast and accurate response without the cost of a 10 driver BA. That's because planars requires larger magnets in greater quantities than a dynamic driver headphone. This is why most planars are large and heavy. To squeeze such technology into a small form factor is extremely challenging task. Well, Audeze has done just that. But does it reality sound as good as theory? 
     
    Imaging, Sound Stage, and Instrument separation
    ________________________________________
     
    To my ears, imaging, sound stage and instrument separation are otherworldly. In well recorded tracks, such as Amy Winehouse’s Love is a Losing Game, the iSINE effortlessly portrays the position of individual instruments. Compared to previous IEMs I have had, Sony XBA-Z5, Sennheiser IE80, and Westone ES60, the iSINE’s sound stage is astonishing. You feel like you are in a large concert hall. When I switch back and forth between the ES60 and the iSINE, the ES60 sounds very congested while it still has excellent clarity and imagin. There is a pleasant sense of freedom when you start to listen to iSINE for the first time. I don’t think this can be achieved by any dynamic, balanced armature, or hybrid IEMs. The planar and open design of the iSINE is light years ahead in this department, and this may be the primary reason many consumers chose to buy the iSINE. 
     
    Clarity and Transparency
     
    This is another strength of the iSine. It sounds transparent and clear across the whole spectrum.
     
    Treble
     
    If you want to be judgmental, you can describe the upper range in the iSINE as recessed or subdued. If you want to be political correct, smooth may be a better adjective to use. When compared to my ES60 and Hifiman Edition X, the iSINE doesn’t carry the crispness, sparkle, definition and extension. This may be an issue for some buyers. 
     
    Bass
     
    As with most Audeze products, it has amazing bass. The sub-bass quantity and the mid-bass punch are both excellent. Overall bass is balanced, tight, and controlled. It’s just thick enough to present the details without appear lean but does not overpower rest of the track.
     
    Mids
     
    The mids also stands out for me. There is a very rich tonal balance with no loss of detail. The sound is organic and lush. Both female and male vocals come alive with the iSINE.
     
    Sound signature
     
    The iSINE carries an overall warm sound signature. This follows the general trend of Audeze house sound. You definitely can’t call it “reference quality.” Personally, I feel one of the benefits of the warm sound signature is that it’s less fatiguing and more enjoyable over long listening sessions.
     
    Sound isolation
     
    There is audible sound leak. You can hear it if you turn the volume all the way up or if you are in a quiet environment. You are not going to bother anyone at Starbucks or on a public transportation, but you probably will be turning the volume higher than you want due to poor isolation. I will not be taking the iSINE 20 out on a BART or Muni right. I will be reaching for the ES60 every time. 
     
    Conclusion
    __________
     
    The iSINE is a revolutionary product. Audeze was able to package planar magnetic technology into a small and attractive package thus creating a new product category, planar magnetic IEM (PMIEM or maybe ortho IEM (OIEM)). The iSINE is light and comfortable. If you can accept the radical and dramatic design, you will appreciate the full-sized headphone like soundstage, imaging and clarity. The only complaint is that I wish Audeze used all metal housing. With all the appraise, iSINE also rests in an unusual territory. If you are getting an IEM for daily commute or listen in a crowded environment, the iSINE is not going to isolate sound like a traditional IEM or custom IEM. I would never pick the iSINE over the ES60 if I’m riding the Muni in San Francisco. If I’m at home, I would probably prefer reaching for the full-size Hifiman Edition X or LCD-XC when I’m sleeping next to my wife and kids. So when would I wear the iSINE if I owned one?  You need to think about where the iSINE will position itself in your listening lifestyle. Nevertheless, I believe the iSINE is going to sell well. It has a great price point where it’s relatively affordable for most in today’s standards. It’s a monumental product as the first planar IEM.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Onny Izwan
      Is it possible that any IEM can better the exquisite vocal reproduction of the Sony XBA-Z5? I certainly don't believe so.
      Onny Izwan, Feb 7, 2017
    3. seanwee
      I demoed the iSine 20 and it is one of the worst sounding IEM's I've ever tried.

      Very dark and muddy sounding. There's this horrible veil as if the music was coming from behind thick curtains.

      I have not tried them with the cipher cable but a proper iem should not require such an item to "correct" its sound.
      seanwee, May 4, 2018
    4. incursore61
      I have a question about the cable: I have had a sine for three years and I am satisfied now I would like to buy an i-sine 20, the cyper cable supplied is the same or is it different?
      incursore61, Jul 3, 2019

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