Beyerdynamic was nice enough to send us a pair of iDX 160 iE earphones to test out and share with you. These are their premium earphones they just released last month, and are a replacement for their “DX 160 iE” model.
This is our sneak peak review. You will find our main review will be available in the upcoming edition of ProAudio magazine with comparisons later in the month.
The iDX 160 iE proves to be a well built pair of earphones featuring a flat design cable and many accessories. The earphones themselves are metal in design with 10mm drivers and have a solid feel to them without sacrificing with added weight.
The in-line controls for media devices and phones are plastic and have a bit of a flimsy feel to them (kind of a generic feel), but they don’t seem like they are going to fall apart. They function without any problems (no missed presses) and work well with the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5 we tested them on.
We tested the earphones against a selection of both MP3 and HiFi tracks as well as movies to see how well they perform. While they delivery nicely with their sharp highs and tight mid ranges, they don’t play so well in the lower frequencies. Music that features a lot of keys and brass sounds spectacular, while anything with bass such as wood instruments and digital drops didn’t pop out as much. They do have some bass to them, but they do leave you wanting more. The bass they do put out however, is accurate and sharp.
These earphones perform best listening to music more than anything else. Kickdrums sound tight and accurate, brass instruments like trumpets and saxophones light up your ears with a nice range of frequencies, and vocals are crisp and clear.
Using them to enjoy a nice movie or TV episode however, seems to highlight the lack of lower frequencies. By default, your ears have an expectation for these frequencies to properly deliver the mobile theater experience one would normally enjoy.
If your media explorations are interrupted with a phone call, these earphones are great for voice. Both parties can hear each other clean and clearly.
Inside the packaging you find a selection of earbud tips for every given ear size and preference, including memory foam isolation tips by “Comply” for eliminating outside noise. Most of these tips are quite comfortable and completely user preference. The Comply tips work great for noise isolation outside of the fact that they are noticeably tight in the ear which can cause discomfort after long-term use. They are similar to the tips you would find on a pair of Surefire earplugs.
Along with the tips, inside you will also find two extensions, a y-cable and an adapter for sharing your source of media with someone else as long as they have a pair of earphones as well. There is also a semi-hard-shell for storage of the earphones as well as your instruction booklet and warranty.
Beyerdynamic is clearly trying to target the entry level audiophile market of earbuds with this model. Although they sound pretty good, you lose a some of your lower frequencies, which partially limits the types of music and media you can enjoy with them. For the price range they fall into, we would like to see a better bass response to complement the higher frequencies with. They come packed with accessories and feature a nice shell to carry them in. They also feel pretty nice in the ears with their normal tips. We wouldn’t refer to them as audiophile level, but they do sound very good for what they are. It is really hard to manufacture an amazing pair of in-ear earphones. We decided to give them a 7 out of 10.
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.