The big annual IFA 2013 technology trade show is ending in Berlin, and with it we got a handful of new headphones from some of the well-known manufacturers. The trends continue as before, more Bluetooth, more fashionable headphones, more noise-cancellation, and more mics and in-line buttons!
New Bluetooth Headphones at IFA 2013
Sony is back with a new trio of headphones that shadow the previous MDR-R1 line from a step below. This trio too includes a Bluetooth, a Classic and a Noise-Canceller, all with 40mm drivers. The Bluetooth is the MDR-R10-BT with a $250 starting price. Promises a 17 hour battery life but it can also play music with standard 3.5mm sources even when it is out of battery. For people frustrated with Bluetooth pairing chaos, these come with NFC. They support the apt-X and AAC codecs, so while Bluetooth can’t beat straight up “classic” headphones, apt-X is better than not apt-X 🙂
Philips is back with a new pair, continuing their revival, with the Fidelio M1BT with Bluetooth 4.0 with apt-X and AAC support. NFC is not mentioned in the press release. These have 40mm drivers and a European price of 250 euro. No mention of a USA price.
AKG does not want to be left out of the Bluetooth party, and they are not! Their new K845 BT are described as reference headphones with 50mm drivers and NFC which could perhaps do away with some of the Bluetooth pairing woes (especially if you mix and match multiple sources and headsets). They also have a standard 3.5mm input so you can use them as normal headphones even if the built-in battery is out of juice. These are expected to come out in November 2013. The European price is 300 euro and the US price is $350 (per Engadget).
New Bluetooth AND Noise-Cancelling headphones at IFA 2013
Creative did not want to pick a side. Their two new Creative Aurvana Platinum and Gold have both Bluetooth 3.0 and Active Noise Cancelling. The Platinum has 50mm drivers, while the Gold has 40mm drivers. Both come with NFC for easier connections. The Platinum promises up to 90% off on noise, while the Gold up to 85%. Both support apt-X and come with a travel pouch and support Creative’s ShareMe feature that allows two headsets to share the same audio source.
New Noise Cancelling Headphones at IFA 2013
Sony’s triumvirate MDR-R10 includes the noise-canceller, the MDR-R10-NC, with a starting price of $270. The specs promise that it reduces up to 99.4% of ambient noise and lasts up to 20 hours. They have a button-activated feature that picks the best noise cancelling mode (out of three options). When the battery is out, they can be used as normal headphones.
Velodyne is in the active noise cancelling (ANC) game too. They showed their new Velodyne V-Quiet ANC headphones at IFA with a starting price of $300. Does Bose have any ANC headphones for $300 or something? 🙂
New Classic Headphones at IFA 2013
Hey, they didn’t forget the non-Bluetooth non-Noise-Cancelling headphones. And they didn’t forget that fashionable headphones are in either.
Philips perhaps has the most classic looking of classic headphones, the new Fidelio L2 is a follow-up on the Fidelio L1. Philips promises a lighter headphone with a redesigned headband and sound improvements. They have 40mm drivers and continue the semi-open-back philosophy of the L1s. They fold flat and come with a soft travel pouch. Their European price is 280 euro. A USA price is not mentioned.
Sony revealed the Over-Ear MDR-R10 with a starting price of $200, with 40mm drivers, 5-40 frequency range (Hz/kHz), and available in black or white. It only gets one short paragraph in the press release.
AKG is straddling both worlds with the new K485 Over-Ear Closed-Back headphones with 50mm drivers. They will be available in four colors and have flexible smartphone support. AKG will include two detachable cables, one for Apple devices and one for general purpose smartphones and tablets. They are foldable. The specs mentioned “enhanced bass response” as well. They are expected to come out in October 2013 with a US price of $250 (per Engadget) and European price of 250 euro.
Klipsch revealed another fashionable pair, the Klipsch Style, with a $250 starting price. Klipsch doesn’t even pretend it’s not about Style. They go from “Image” to “Style”. There are five pictures of the headphones at the Engadget slideshow which also has the press release and notes that these are made of Grilamid (more lightweight material).
Don’t call them B&W P3 because they are not! Regardless of how they look. We are talking about the new Harman Kardon Soho, a $200 square-pad on-ear headphones with 30mm drivers and separate Apple and non-Apple smartphone/tablet cables. They are foldable. Pictures at Engadget and CNet.
Creative is back with the second generation Creative Aurvana Live 2 pair of noise-cancellers. The press release describes them as lightweight Over-Ears. No Bluetooth and no active noise-cancellation. The first generation Creative Aurvana Live has been well-received.
New Earbuds at IFA 2013
AKG did not forget the earbuds either. Their new AKG K323 XS (see bottom of that page) are designed as small-ish consumer earbuds that don’t scream. They have 5.8mm drivers, and will come with four ear tip sizes. AKG will make three variations, straight cable, universal mic/remote and Apple mic/remote. Each one 10 euro more than the previous. Apple tax!
Urban Ears is back with a new pair of earbuds. These have an angled design that promises not to fall from your ears as easily. Details at Test Freaks.
No new headphones from Sennheiser at IFA 2013 but one of the actual Sennheisers got interviewed by Engadget in six minute video.