Audeze are making huge waves in production circles. Their LCD X headphones have been adopted by producers and DJs, and are regularly getting props in studio-related interviews as well as photo shoots.
The secret is well and truly out of the bag and the Audeze name is being spoken about openly in producer communities, however all this hi-end pro studio headphone wizardry comes at a price.
Over a thousand great British pounds, in fact! We all know pro spec studio monitors don't come cheap, so these Audeze headphones represent good value for money when you think about it.
But hang on, Audeze have decided they want they phones to be made available to even more people in the production world, so have taken this hi-end technology and ported it into a new design that retails at half the price but doesn't skimp on sound quality.
Yep, the EL8s have been born. A new addition to the Audeze range, they utilise the same planer magnetic technology found in top of the range cans but at a price many will see as more realistic.
At £599, it’s still a healthy investment but, trust us, if you are serious about your production — or even chosen this career/job — then investing in a pair of phones that will improve the final mix/sound of your tracks is a no brainer.
Straight away, what’s noticeable about the EL8 headphones is the quality of the build; wood veneers around super comfortable leather ear-pads, and the size of the ‘phones — in keeping with the other models within this range — they are big, very big, but they need to be in order to pack in the 100mm drivers that deliver that sweet, sweet sound.
Not quite as heavy as others, mind, but still on the weighty side. There is a whole host of other new advancements and features incorporated into the EL8s, like the cable connections that add to the overall performance of the ‘phones.
Using the EL8s in a recent session is a revelation. The sound reproduction that comes through the drivers is phenomenal. It has to be said, it took us some time — a few hours behind the mixing desk to readjust my hearing to the ‘phones — but once DJ Mag got comfortable with them in the mix, we learn to trust them over the near-field monitors.
The placement of sounds within the stereo field is impressive and the depth and clarity of the soundstage is something else. If all this sounds a little technical, what we’re basically saying is that the EL8s sound great and are amazingly accurate.
It's a strange sensation when you lose confidence in your usual monitors and realise that the mixes you thought where pretty fly are actually not quite there. The EL8 headphones really expose your mixes as they really are.
They are not forgiving and that's exactly how they need to be. If your levels are off or the frequencies clash or are not quite right, these phones will show it up. This means you can get your mixes tighter, resulting in better productions.
Outside of the studio environment, the EL8s also make for a great pair of reference phones for listening to music and checking out your mixes. They are as neutral as you’d want them to be, not colouring the sound, which so many headphones are guilty of doing.
They are also not too fatiguing when listening to them over a long period of time. The bass is tight and punchy, not woolly at all. The mid-range reproduction is full but not harsh, while the tops are crisp without being brittle. When turned louder than the recommended healthy listening guidelines, the EL8s deliver it loud without distortion or breaking up (ed’s note — don’t try this at home, kids!).
When listening at ultra low levels (this correspondent’s preferred style of listening) the headphones come into their own; the audio detail and definition at low volumes is mighty fine.
As mentioned, they do not colour the sound when used in the mix. Headphones that don't have a neutral base lend to false perceptions of what you are hearing and what you’re “committing to tape”. All said and done, the Audeze EL8 headphones improve your game. An investments worth looking at!
Build Quality 9
Ease of Use 9
Value for Money 9
Sound Quality 9
Fantastic headphones that really make a difference when it comes to tracking your mixes.
While not as expensive as previous models, they are still a little pricey.
Once again Audeze deliver a spectacular headphone that really does help to improve the sound quality of your mixes by showing up every detail in the sound field.
9/10 DJ Mag Star Product Award
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