It has been over 4 years because the rumor mill began churning concerning Sonos’ first-ever headphones, however after Sonos’ CEO confirmed that the corporate was specializing in its present product classes in February final 12 months, these rumors promptly, er… stopped.
Regardless of continued hypothesis that Sonos’ first-ever headphones would come bearing Wi-Fi, we might all however given up hope of a set of lossless, high-end Wi-Fi enabled over-ear headphones in 2023.
However right here they’re! And so they include a premium price ticket befitting solely Sonos too! Factor is, they don’t seem to be made by Sonos.
They’re referred to as HED Unity and they’re really made by a virtually-unknown Swiss audio startup referred to as HED Applied sciences. On the time of writing, the corporate’s Instagram account (opens in new tab) for the launch boasts simply 207 followers. And the craziest half? These cans do one thing even the perfect over-ear headphones in the marketplace can’t do – not even the Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Apple Airpods Max.
HED Applied sciences calls it ‘Full-Constancy’ wi-fi audio, and primarily it means bypassing the lossy and bandwidth-blighted constraints of Bluetooth and leveraging your native Wi-Fi community to ship high-resolution audio streaming of as much as 24bit/96kHz. And these are the primary ever headphones able to doing that.
Earlier than we get too excited, that is not fairly the total hi-res ticket, you perceive. Apple Music’s Hello-Res Lossless providing goes as much as a most decision of 24-bit/192 kHz – and for that, you continue to want wired headphones and the most effective transportable DACs (neither of which Apple makes, which is simply bizarre).
However HED Unity will deal with Apple’s common Lossless audio streams which run at 24-bit/48 kHz – and till now, Apple recommends wired earphones to get at these.
Opinion: actually lossless wi-fi headphones have landed – and Sonos and Apple ought to actually be taking notes
You’d even be forgiven for pondering you have been wanting on the hotly-anticipated AirPods Max 2, however once more, that is one other product that appears woefully removed from launch. HED Applied sciences has trounced all of them with this explicit world-first.
For me, the sculpted earcups, milled from a single block of architectural-grade aluminum round 40mm titanium-coated drivers, with Wi-Fi squirreled beneath the hood, are merely begging for some Sonos branding, no? However you will not discover any.
HED Applied sciences’ HED Unity cans have a frequency response vary of 20Hz-22kHz (ie. past what the human ear is able to listening to on the prime finish), and keep in mind, that lossless audio is delivered due to Wi-Fi streaming.
Curiously, when not hooked as much as a Wi-Fi community, the cans tote Bluetooth 5.3 however solely SBC and AAC codec assist is listed – no aptX or aptX Adaptive. Battery life is a claimed 8 hours, whichever manner you are streaming.
To get onboard along with your Wi-Fi, the headphones boast their very own dual-core processor, storage, and reminiscence, in addition to a gyroscope and different trackers to ship head-tracking movement detection for actually immersive three-dimensional encompass sound.
Oh, and there is lively noise cancelation, helped alongside by 12 microphones. (Simply the 12, then; 4 to assist lively noise-canceling and eight for beamforming and background noise nixing).
And as you would possibly count on, they do not come low cost. The value is an eye-watering $2,199 (opens in new tab), (which works out at round £1,759 or AU$3,249). Suffice to say, we might completely love to listen to what they will do.