The German audio expert Sennheiser began shipping its new flagship in-ear headphones, commonly known as earbuds, in late April. Priced at $1,000, the Sennheiser IE 800s feature a number of innovations that are new to this category of headphones. The first and most noticeable design element is the dual chambers of each earbud, which isolate lower frequencies from higher ones to avoid the sonic masking effect that occurs when loud low-end responses overpower higher tones. Each of these chambers is equipped with an outward-facing vent that helps minimize the wobble—and thus the harmonic distortion—inherent in the design of the magnetic drivers used in earbuds.
At the heart of the IE 800s is Sennheiser’s new extrawide-bandwidth driver, which can reproduce frequencies from 5 Hz to 46.5 kHz, according to the company. The earbuds do in fact deliver impressive low and tight bass responses, as well as high-frequency details more in the style of a pair of top-quality over-ear headphones than most earbuds. A lightweight and comfortable design, with a tangle-resistant cable and a variety of options for ear pads, round out the IE 800s and help place them among the best earbuds currently on the market. (860.434.9190, en-us.sennheiser.com)