Review: Sleek Island SA6 In-Ear Earphones
I'm somewhat of an audiophile and have owned several pairs of high-end headphones. Trouble is, the thing that always breaks first on these headphones is the cord. I always get the cord caught in something or it gets broken somehow. Do you know of any solution to this?
This is a contributed review from my friend and colleague Jonathan Kraft, who fielded this question by reviewing a slick new headphone that alleviates the problem entirely.
Well, you can always repair them, but repairing a wire for an expensive set of headphones is a bit like putting low-end gasoline in a high performance sports car... it'll run, but it won't be right. I ran across an alternative recently from a company called Sleek Audio that I thought was pretty cool and got a chance to try them out.
They are the SA6 In-Ear Earphones. These are high-end canalphones. They have lots of neat features. I won't go into any of the technical details, because you can read that on their site, so I'll just tell you what my experience with them has been. Some of the coolest features though are the previously mentioned detachable and replaceable cords, interchangeable treble tips and bass ports, and different sized ear-bud tips for comfort. The treble tips and bass ports actually let you customize the sound of the earphones to your preference and musical tastes.
So, what's the catch? Well... they cost $250.
You just had one of two reactions... the first is $250?!!! That's what my whole MP3 player cost.
The second is...$250? Seems reasonable to me for such a high-end product.
I actually fell into the first category, I generally have used $5-$50 headphones (or free ones that came with whatever I was using) in the past. There's two things that make me think the $250 might well be worth it. The first is that the very first song I listened to when I put them in my ears was "Jimmy Eat World - Get It Faster"...and I heard things in the beginning of that song that I had never heard before. Second is that they could well be the last set of earphones you buy (unless you lose them, which would be silly), because you can replace the cords. Sleek has even promised to make them wireless compatible when that technology matures so that you only have to buy the wireless adapter and not the whole set.
I've been using them for over a month... mostly at the gym. At first, I wasn't too sure about them. They sounded great, but I wasn't used to having my ears completely closed off and they felt a bit stiff in my ears. Over the last month though, they have really become pretty comfortable. I work out at a noisy 24-Hour Fitness and when I have them in, if I closed my eyes, I could easily pretend I was working out at home. I cannot hear anything else. This is not because I have them turned up very loud either. In fact, more than half the time, I'm listening to audio books which have pauses in them and I still don't hear anything. They block out so much sound, I think they do better than most earplugs. The great thing about this is that I don't have to turn them up loud (and damage my ears) just to enjoy the music.
The set comes with 3 sizes of tips for different sized ears, 3 different styles of treble tips and bass ports, the cords, the audio drivers itself, and a carrying case. The tips and ports allow you to modify the sound to your liking. Two things that I wish it came with: clips for the cords so I could clip the cords to my shirt to keep them from bouncing when I'm working out and perforated ear-buds for quiet environments when I would like my ears to be able to breathe. Hopefully they will at least include the clips in future products.
If you're the kind of person who typically spends this kind of money on earphones, these are a great set. The sound is awesome and they have great features. Plus, next time you cut the cords on accident, you can buy another set of cords for $25 or so.
Learn more at Sleek-Audio.com and if you decide to purchase, just use coupon code askdave from their website to save 10%.
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