Audiolab M-EAR 2D and 4D earphones launching
With a little help from ACS
Two names from the UK audio scene – Audiolab and ACS – have teamed up to deliver a range of British-made, multi-driver in-ear monitors called Audiolab M-EAR.
The M-EAR 2D (£429.95) is a two-way, two-driver design, with one driver handling mid/high frequencies and the other dedicated to bass. The M-EAR 4D (£699.95) is a three-way design, sporting four drivers – one for high frequencies, another for midrange and two for bass.
Both M-EAR models incorporate balanced armature drivers, that use an electronic signal to vibrate a tiny reed suspended between two magnets; this movement is transferred to an aluminium diaphragm, thus generating soundwaves. Balanced armature drivers can improve efficiency and are extremely compact, enabling several drivers to be combined in small, sound-isolating in-ear monitors.
Audiolab is best known for its DACs (digital-to-analogue converters), CD players and amplifiers, so the development of in-ear monitors (IEMs) is something of a departure for the brand. To meet the challenge, Audiolab approached ACS – a leader in the design and manufacture of in-ear monitors. Founded more than 20 years ago by musician Andy Shiach, ACS has built its reputation in the ‘pro’ world that stretches across live music, broadcasting, motorsports and more. The company’s custom-made in-ear comms and hearing protection equipment is used by a host of big names, from Little Mix to U2, The X Factor to Formula 1.
Both M-EAR models feature ACS’s patent-pending IRIS (Intelligent Resonance In Silicone) technology, created to maximise the musical potential of balanced armature drivers. IRIS construction methods allow precise acoustic tuning. Additionally, the M-EAR 4D incorporates a ported balanced armature design for the bass drivers, with a cavity in the silicone that is precisely balanced to the driver – this, says the release, is unique to ACS.
Another ACS feature integrated in both M-EAR models is SSI (Sound Stage Imaging) – a tuning technique derived from ACS’s purpose-designed manifold technology. This is designed to widen the soundstage and create more space around individual instruments and voices.
Both M-EARs are supplied with a detachable cable, 1.45m in length. Left and right conductors are individually sheathed in aramid fibre – exceedingly durable yet lightweight – and twisted together to create a tough, tangle-resistant cable, which attaches to the IEMs via a five-pin connector. A Knowles SiSonic MEMS-based in-line microphone is included for hands-free calls.
To ensure a snug fit and ideal noise isolation, the M-EARs come with six pairs of ear tips in three different sizes. Developed by ACS and made from memory foam, they slowly form to the shape of the ear canal to separate the listener from outside noise.
Speaking about his company’s collaboration with Audiolab, Andy Shiach said: “Our goal at ACS has always been to find the perfect balance between science and emotion. Musicians know what music should sound like, and our deep and broad experience of working across the music industry has enabled us to become the preferred manufacturer of in-ear monitors for many famous names. Having created Audiolab’s first-ever headphones in the form of the M-EAR in-ear monitors, we hope you agree that we have done this great British audio brand justice.”
The M-EAR 2D and M-EAR 4D are hand-made for Audiolab at ACS’s facility in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Both models are available from June and come complete with a zip-up carrying case and accessories.
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