IFA 2015: Headphones, the novelties


Sony, Parrot, Beyerdynamic, Philips… So many big names from well-known brands who took advantage of IFA 2015 to present their latest models of headphones. On the program of Hi-Res Audio à tout va, a good dose of colors and of course new technologies that will titillate both our esgourdes and our curiosity!

Usually it’s customary to start with the little sweets and save the big chunk for the end, but it’s September and you’ve probably noticed the weather has changed! So we’re having fun starting with the surprise of the day: the brand new Parrot Zik 3 which loses its .0 here ! A surprise because it was not so long ago that we were still talking about Zik 2.0 and it was hard to believe that a new version would be presented less than a year later. However, if Parrot starts again, it’s because the French manufacturer’s engineers still had things to prove…

The Zik 3 repels nomadism!

At first glance little change in the frame, the Zik 3 takes up the features of its predecessors but nevertheless offers new colors and a imitation coating in turtle shell mode (or crocodile skin depending on animal affinities) found on the shells and the headband. And since we come to the arch, it has been revised to offer 13 millimeters extra length so that it can adapt to the most voluminous skulls. A great initiative from the French manufacturer who wanted to respond to users unhappy with the limited ergonomics offered by the arch of previous versions.

But it is in terms of functionality that Parrot wanted to take the lead over the competition by allowing the Zik 3 to adapt to the latest technologies of the moment! Always equipped with Bluetooth with NFC, it will now be possible to control the Zik 3 from Android and Apple smartwatches in addition to smartphone applications! In addition, if the touch controls remain the same, the noise reduction has been greatly improved integrating the automatic mode that its predecessors lacked. It will thus be able to adapt according to the sound environment around you, with a very effective average reduction of 30 decibels.

Finally, and this time I respect the custom by saving the biggest for the end, Parrot allows the Zik 3 to be recharged wirelessly via a supplied QI charging base ! The manufacturer has already certified that it would only take 2 hours of charging to fully recharge this headset which however retains its wired connection just in case. Never short of resources, it is possible to recharge the Zik 3 via its USB port while enjoying the Built-in USB-DAC to listen to HD audio files. Nomadism pushed to the extreme for this helmet whose release date is scheduled for the end of the year! (attack of impatience)

The new h.ear range from Sony

We continue with Sony which unveiled its two new MDR-100AAP and MDR6EX750NA headphones to accompany the new audio player NW-A25HN (don’t ask me where they got the names) from the new Hi-Res Audio certified h.ear range ! The Japanese manufacturer has played the color card for its various helmets, all available in 5 different plain colors ranging from pink burgundy to lemon yellow through charcoal black, viride blue, cinnabar red (Don’t ask me where they found these colors…)

the MDR-100AAP, also called “h.ear on” for convenience, is a over-ear headphones taking up the design of the latest models of Sony headphones. The plastic structure focuses on efficiency by remaining simple and light, while comfort is ensured by memory foam pads at the earpieces. But it is especially at the level of the sound quality that the h.ear on impressed. Sony certifies that its 40mm diaphragms are able to cover a very impressive frequency response ranging from 5 Hz to 60 kHz ! Outstanding acoustic performance for a helmet with a quality/price ratio to make you cry since it will be marketed for 180 euros.

the MDR6EX750NA or “h.ear in NC” is a pair of in-ear headphones equipped with an active noise reduction system powered by an integrated battery. Like the h.ear on, these intras have a sober but effective design focusing essentially on the sound quality developed by its 9mm dynamic transducers. For h.ear in NC, Sony is advancing a frequency response ranging from 5 Hz to 40 kHz ! Leading performance for headphones that we can’t wait to have deep in our ears to check the content. They are delivered with an airplane adapter, silicone tips, a clip and its carrying case for 180 euro.

Philips expands its Fidelio range

Hidden behind but never far away, Philips is expanding its Fidelio range with a Wireless Headset with active noise reduction, the aptly named SHB9850NC, and ultra colorful Bluetooth intras titled SHB5900.

the SHB9850NC is a over-ear Bluetooth headphones with NFC featuring a closed-back design incorporating 40mm drivers. Simple and intuitive, it has Hull-level touch controls and especially the SoundShield Pro technology, an active noise reduction system said to reduce up to 99% of external noise according to Philips. Behind we find a beautiful 16 hour battery life with the possibility of connecting the wired helmet in case. Not enough to break down the walls to get to the other side, but still great capabilities for this helmet offered at the very affordable price of 169 euros.

Headphones SHB5900 are the little touch of color in this world plagued by the darkness of everyday life. Available in 6 different colors, those Bluetooth intras are equipped with a NFC chip and a tangle-free cable in order to offer optimal comfort of use. They mostly have the MusicChain technology allowing you to share your music with a friend who has a MusicChain compatible headset. All you have to do is press a button and the headset becomes a transmitter and streams your music directly from the paired headphones. These headphones will be available from September at a price of 99 euros.

Beyerdynamic’s high-end intras

We end with the very high end through the AK T8iE headphones designed by Beyerdynamic in association with the Koreans of Astell & Kern. This helmet is equipped with the famous Tesla technology present at the level of its transducers which ensures a precise and homogeneous retransmission on a extended frequency response ranging from 8 Hz to 48 kHz. He is supplied with standard 3.5mm cable compatible with most players and a second with 2.5 mm balanced 4-point connector to accompany the audiophile walkmans Astell & Kern AK100 II, AK120 II, AK240 or even AK380. It will be offered at a price of around 999 euros.

Surprises of emotion, this IFA 2015 offers its liter of saliva around the chops. We are impatiently waiting to have these helmets between the ears to tell you more about the promises of the manufacturers. It’s the anti-stress ball in the shape of a cat that will take…


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