Review: Audeze Sine – Spot On

What is even better is that bass segues very smoothly into a wonderful midrange.  Midrange clarity is excellent.  Depth is very good.  I found the midrange to be quite a pleasure to listen to.  If there is a flaw to be had, the upper midrange could pop a bit more.  Voices, while clear, don’t leap off the headphones.

That extends to the lower treble as well.  A little more sparkle here would be nice.  Overall, the treble is pretty inoffensive.

The soundstage is very good for an on-ear.  Width and depth aren’t quite what one would expect from a good over-ear, but are definitely solid enough so that the SINE doesn’t feel at all claustrophobic.  Things like clarity and instrument separation that planars are known for are alive and well here.

See, I think this reads a bit more negative than it actually is.  Whatever little niggles there are with the sound, don’t in any way interfere with appreciating the music flowing out of these here headphones.  While writing this review, I was listening to Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto, specifically, the beautiful second movement.  It took my breath away.  Obviously, Rachmaninov’s brilliant score, and the amazing performance had a lot to do with it, but the SINE was beautifully conveying the heart of the music.  This is simply a really easy headphone to enjoy.  What’s more, were one so inclined, EQ’ing just a couple a decibels into the upper mids and lower treble, pretty much erases what minor issues there are.

SINE 3Q-42516

Pitching the SINE against the HE-400i reveled just how formidable Audeze’s new headphone really is.  It may be an on-ear, and it may be a little bit cheaper, but I found the SINE to boast slightly greater clarity than the 400i.  The Hifiman had better treble, and has a bigger sound, but the SINE more than holds its own.

The Sennheiser HD630 is a technical beast boasting better extension on both ends, detail, sound stage, separation, but due to its tuning and tonality, it can be a really difficult headphone to enjoy. The SINE can be enjoyed with anything, and for someone looking for an easily portable headphone with a touch of hi end, it is the obvious choice.

The real triumph (or failure depending on your perspective) is when I pitted the SINE against Audeze’s own EL-8c.  For the record, although I agree with L’s assessment of the EL-8c, I liked it more than he did.  I would listen to the EL-8, and think, “maybe I do prefer this to the SINE”, but then I would switch back, and it would be like, “no, this is the one.”  Subjectively speaking, they both have advantages.  The EL-8 might have slightly better treble while the SINE has a better midrange, but, objectively speaking, the SINE has a better build, a better cable, looks like an orgasm and costs $250 less.  Even taking price out of it, I think the SINE is a better headphone, and it isn’t just me.  I recently went to a local headphone meet.  It was a great group that showed up, and I had a blast.  I got to try out some great stuff, shoot the breeze with fellow headphone enthusiasts, and got to let people listen to the SINE (thanks to Audeze for letting me keep the SINE an extra week so I could bring it).  One of the other enthusiasts had brought an EL-8O with him (and yes it does sound better than the closed model).  Over the course of the meet, I, and a couple others compared the EL-8O to the SINE, and the verdict was unanimous, the SINE sounded better.  Not better for the price, or a better value, but flat out better sounding.  A Damn fine job Audeze!

The SINE is a very easy headphone to drive.  Although it obvious benefits from a good source, it can be driven well from just about anything.  My Cayin N6 knocks it out of the park.  It even sounds good out of my daughter’s iPad.  However…

If you are planning on using this with an iDevice, might I recommend buying the SINE with the optional cipher cable ($499)?  It replaces the 1/8 inch plug at the end of the cable with a lighting connector for use with Apple devices.  The cipher cable has a DAC/amp built right into the cable.  All you have to do is plug it into your device, and it takes over the sound.  With the iPad, which is the only Apple product I have about, there was a noticeable boost in the bass, with clarity and midrange depth getting improved as well, over using the regular headphone out.

SINE 3Q-42500

Upon plugging the cipher cable in the first time, I will get prompted to download an EQ app.  It is a pretty nifty one in that the cable will remember your EQ settings, so you can go between difference Apple products and it will keep whatever tweaks you made.  Also built into the DAC/amp are volume controls that can also be used to start and stop music tacks on your app of choice, and accept phone calls (there is a built-in mic, too).  Assuming you use an iDevice, that is a lot of extra for a measly $50.

What more can be said, Audeze has delivered an audiophile, on-ear headphone at a price that doesn’t completely break the bank.  Even taking away the on-ear status, this thing is still a very solid performing headphone at the price point.  It can be bought direct from Audeze.com, and they offer a 30 day return policy, so if you don’t like them, you can return them for the cost of shipping.  But I have a feeling that won’t be necessary.

Editor’s note: The Sine seems to be sold out for the moment, back orders are open

IMG_20160410_085911

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

21 Comments

  • Reply May 23, 2016

    Zephyrus

    Earpads on that headphone are horrible. Try to change them from Senn Momentum.

    And sorry for my poor english. :,D

    • Reply May 23, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      it isn’t poor. The only problem I had with the pads is that they touch my ears. That’s only normal for an onear but the Sine cups are pretty big and well bugged me

  • Reply May 23, 2016

    Tronco

    I’m thinking of getting an on-ear headphone. How does it compare to the Sennheiser HD-25-1 or the Beyer T51p?

    • Reply May 23, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      It is FAR better than the HD25 and it sounds warmer and more bodied than the excellent T51P (one of my fav on ear)

      • Reply May 23, 2016

        dalethorn

        The HD25 is one of my favorites, even better than Philips X2. So that’s a pretty good recommendation.

        • Reply May 24, 2016

          Dave Ulrich

          I am really sorry to see the SINE go.

          • Reply May 24, 2016

            dalethorn

            Yeah, you should be able to have it around for a couple of months to round out the comparisons and fill in a few blanks. Something always comes up later, just when you have one or the other (the product or some free time), but not both at the same time.

            • Reply May 24, 2016

              Headfonia_L.

              Audeze is now working with a press agency, so unfortunately that means short loan periods :/

  • Reply May 23, 2016

    TheOneInYellow

    Just to add, this review is pretty awesome; thank you!

    However, I am concerned about the comparisons with the Audeze EL-8 and EL-8 CB.
    In short, I think you are comparing the Sine with the now discontinued 2015 EL-8 series.
    Audeze massively overhauled, re-voiced and updated their entire headphone line, all of which was released after Nov Nov 2015 and now are known (unofficially, and probably due to me…sos…ish) as the 2016 series.
    Only two headphones were not updated, the Sine and EL-8 Titanium, as they are new and had updates as standard.

    Thus, all reviews of Audeze headphones that have a certificate of authenticity dated prior to Nov 2015 are not on the production line any longer.
    With the exception of the 2015 LCD-4 100 Ohm, which gets a free upgrade to 2016 LCD-4 200 Ohm

  • Reply May 24, 2016

    Barun C

    Nice review. I have almost stopped using on-ear portables these days for the convenience of IEMs. I still have the Aedle VK-1s with me, which I use once in a while and to me it is the best sounding on-ear portables. (Not heard the Sine)

    I have used the DT 1350, T51P and Nad Viso 50 in the past. T51P was the most fun sounding headphone of them all, but DT 1350 was unparalleled when it came to isolation, head-stage and linear bass presentation.

    • Reply May 24, 2016

      dalethorn

      If you have the chance, get new T51p earpads and put them on the DT1350. I love ’em.

      • Reply May 25, 2016

        Barun C

        I will definitely try that. Thanks.

  • Reply May 26, 2016

    Andy

    I tried Sine. Overall, planar sound isn’t my cup of tea (LCD-4 was the only acceptable one). The treble is somewhat weird, not natural. I’d pick HD800’s treble over any planar. Nevertheless, the bass was magical & the midrange was good.

  • Reply June 9, 2016

    msd525

    “looks like an orgasm” isn’t really objectively speaking

    • Reply July 13, 2016

      Darío

      No way sine sounds better than EL8 open or HE400i.

      • Reply July 18, 2016

        Dave

        I would easily take it over the EL8, but I might still give the edge to the HE400i

      • Reply January 25, 2017

        GEORGE

        I have el8O and C lcd 2 lcd 3

        400i and 560i

        There are better headphones over there

        But for portable use it use only my audeze sine and hifiman edition X

        Player is ak380 balance cables only

        Noting to beat them in portable use

  • Reply September 8, 2016

    Krit

    I would be really interested in reviews by the same person of both the Sine and the Grado RS2e.

  • Reply October 15, 2017

    RP

    I know these are a different type of headphone but any comparison against the fidelio l2 in terms of technical competency, tonality and presentation.

    Thanks.

    • Reply October 16, 2017

      Dave

      Sorry, I have never heard the L2, so I can’t really help you here.

    • Reply October 18, 2017

      Lieven

      Haven’t listened to the L2 in a very long time but Sine is the one for me

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.