Budget headphones are a category of product where the bar for quality has been been dragged through the garden and left on the compost heap to rot. It seems impossible to find a cheap pair of earphones that sound great with a build quality to match.
So it’s refreshing to see the Infinity One [No Longer Available], a pair of $25 earphones that don’t suck, and far more interesting to hear that they are the work of two young teenage brothers.
We have five pairs of Infinity Ones to give away, so read through this review, then join the giveaway.
I realised how unimportant perceived sound quality really could be when I first saw the mirrors next to the headphones in a local electronics store. It’s not like sporting overpriced bits of plastic around your neck is anything new, but it is a trend that highlights the power of fashion over common sense or financial sensibility.
Step in Infinity One, a pair of entry level in-ear headphones from Melbourne-based Sacred Sound Audio. At AU$25, they’re cheaper than Apple’s own EarPods (included with every iPhone), and come with three sizes of earbuds together with a light man-made carrying case.
These aren’t any old earphones, but the work of a small and young two-man team who wanted earphones that sounded good regardless of genre of music being played. Simply put, these are the answer to cheap and nasty earphones built entirely with electronic music in mind. Classical? Check. Jazz? Why not. Ambient weirdness? Don’t mind if I do.
Design and Quality
The earphones themselves are silver and of all-metal construction, with rigid plastic to protect cable connections. These connect to the flat TPE-coated anti-tangle cabling, itself bordering on “Beats red” with a white microphone and single button found in the usual spot. All in all, the earphones look great and feel solid; it’s not often you find an all-metal outer driver construction in the sub-$30 earphone world.
The earphones sport custom 8 millimeter drivers which were engineered to provide a high quality of sound, regardless of genre, musician or song. This has traditionally not been the case, particularly among some of the more popular fashion brands (Beats, I’m looking at you). When audio products are designed to enhance bass above all else, clarity and detail is lost, particularly in non-electronic genres. The Infinity One earphones were designed so that would not be the case.
The results are astonishing. Considering the price tag, the sound quality is really something to behold. It’s not going to change the world, but “better than average” doesn’t quite do it justice. They sound noticeably better than the asking price would suggest. Bass and treble are punchy without being overwhelming, thuds and rumbles trail off without getting muddy and losing detail.
As a result, the earphones don’t sound quite as artificially enhanced when it comes to modern electronic music, particularly compared to models designed with the genre in mind. This is great news if you have a diverse taste in music, where a bass-heavy response destroys the finer aspects of an orchestra or brass band.
There’s a definite raw-ness to the sound, but the Infinity One manages to surprise by unearthing endless detail. They don’t sound as warm or giving as my go-to Klipsch S4i (which cost many times their price), and they’re not as comfortable either, but they still manage to find a similar level of subtle background intricacies. I’ve been picking the Infinity One up when I leave the house for about two weeks now, and I’m never disappointed.
My only real complaint is that the silicon used for the earbuds is very soft and occasionally causes them to move or slip out, though the larger buds were just that little bit too big for my ears. On the plus side, this silicon makes the Infinity One far more comfortable than plastic found on other similarly priced models, and they were very comfortable over prolonged periods of use.
Living with the Infinity One
Considering the price, an all-metal outer-driver construction is very much appreciated, as is the TVP-coating on the flat cable – it doesn’t tangle easily. Each driver has a hard-yet-flexible plastic end to guard against tearing at it directly. The jack is protected from repeated tugging by a hard plastic pinched end, and this itself does look like it should be treated with care.
The worst part of the construction is probably the microphone, and while there’s nothing wrong with the call quality, you won’t want to be recording any podcasts with it. It’s very difficult to fault Sacred Sound Audio for $25, but you always have to question how long one expects a pair of sub-$30 earphones will last.
They do come with a light carry case, which offers limited protection, but you might want to find something a little tougher.
Designed by Teenagers
Sacred Sound Audio is really just the name for two Melbourne, Victoria-based teenagers with a vision. Rupert (15) and Tristan (13) Buesst are two classical musicians tired of the same old listening experience regardless of the amount they spend.
“We gradually got pretty tired of buying audio products that were designed only to sound good for one or two genres, or products in which the sound quality hadn’t even been thought about,” Rupert told me.
“We decided to create something that would sound great for all genres, and would also look fantastic.”
The pair put a lot of time and research into the project: “It took longer to get the sound of the drivers right, and we both spent many hours listening to our various driver designs and trying to find the sweet spot.”
The sweet spot was a driver that performed well over as many genres as possible, and the team are pleased with what fans are saying: “We’ve had heaps of great feedback so far. We get messages saying – ‘these sound better than a pair that cost five times the price’.”
As if this tale of sonic ability, build quality and adolescent entrepreneurship wasn’t enough, there’s a philanthropic angle too: 20 per cent of Sacred Sound’s profits go to the Yatra Foundation, an Indian charity established to provide education to poor children. Oh, and did I mention they sound great?
Quality Budget Earphones
Cheap headphones aren’t everyone’s thing, but if you’re looking for inexpensive headphones that are well-built and respecting if the music you choose to listen to, they’re an excellent choice. As for Rupert and Tristan?
How do I win the Sacred Sound Infinite One?
You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, April 4. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email. View the list of winners here.
Congratulations, Sharon Haas, Abigail Ong, Safwan Khatri, Raymond Lagria, Stephen Ollis! You would have received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Please respond before May 22 to claim your prize. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.
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