August 28, 2014

Audiofly AF56 headphones review

audiofly_a56_feature

This year at CE Week, we had the good fortune of meeting the faces behind the brand at Audiofly. Audiofly, for those who don’t know, is an Australian-based company specializing in premium audio equipment. Operated by a collective of musicians and audio enthusiasts, Audiofly’s passion for their field is apparent with one look at their product line. The folks at CE Week were warm, engaging, humble, and extremely enthused about their equipment. A couple of weeks removed from the event, a package showed up in my mailbox.

The AF56 is the next to highest product in a 4-tier line-up.  Boasting a custom voiced 13mm dynamic driver, noise isolation and braided Kevlar cable, these in-ear headphones are built to compete. Priced at $109.95 and $99.95 (with or without microphone – respectively), I’d say it is safe to declare these in the “premium” range of audio accessories.

The first thing I noticed was how incredible these things look. They come with a nice little storage tin that appears to be lined with velvet. The braided cable, branded AudioFlex, has a really great feel to it and resists tangling. The headphones themselves are designed well, and have a really vintage-meets-modern aesthetic, to me at least. They came, as is customary, with several sizing options for ear-bud tips. I found the default tips to be an amazing fit, but your mileage will vary.

As far as sound goes, the model that we were sent did NOT have the optional microphone so we can’t vouch for call clarity/quality. The bass and low frequency response on these things blew my factory Samsung Galaxy S3 headphones out of the water. Another point to note is that the noise-isolation on these is pretty remarkable. Once they ‘plug’ into your ear canal, I’d say roughly 50% of ambient noise is drowned out. Once you’re actually playing something through them, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone able to be distracted by normal environmental noise.

Too much gushing? If I had to find a flaw with these things, and I struggled to, I’d say that the mid/high end definition slightly lacked some of the “wow” that I would have expected from this price point. With that said, I am by no means an audiophile.  I use these modest $8 Sony’s to run with but I could not (in good faith) tell you that the Audiofly headphones do laps around the Sony’s with respect to mid/high range neutrality. On the whole, however, the Audiofly’s definitely eclipse every budget/mid-level set of headphones in my household.

Before you purchase your next set of headphones, do yourself a favor and find a way to listen to these. They’ve got rich low-end, great noise-isolation, gorgeous design, and it’s always nice to spend money with a company who’s culture seems genuine. I think the folks at Audiofly are genuinely interested in what they do, and it shows in their products. Head on over to Audiofly.com to learn more and hopefully pick up a pair of your own.

Shop : Audiofly AF56 on Amazon

Shop : Sony MDR-J10 on Amazon