Neckband wireless earphones often seem like a dime a dozen. Even high-quality options from the likes of Klipsch and Sennheiser usually tend to fly below most folks’ radar. But today I’m taking a look at a new offering from US earphone manufacturer Ausounds. The new AU-Flex ANC earphones utilize a planar magnetic driver and retail for $199. With ANC and fast USB-C charging, it’s got some creature comforts, too. But is it the right earphone for you?
Ausounds AU-Flex ANC Review: Populist Planar
The Ausounds AU-Flex ANC utilizes a single planar magnetic driver. This feature alone was enough to whet my appetite for a review. And for even the semi-techy individuals out there, this may be the biggest must-have feature on this earphone.
But the AU-Flex ANC also sports noise cancellation and a surprisingly comfortable fit. The light, flexible neckband design is easily forgotten. But this design also performs a practical function, preventing users from losing the earphone when not in use.
Controls on the right wing of the neckband control playback, volume, and accepting or rejecting phone calls. Separate buttons also control powering the device on and off, and the ANC mode.
The AU-Flex ANC utilizes UBS-C charging and offers 15 hours of battery life on a single charge.
Running on Bluetooth 5.0, the earphone supports LDAC, A2DP 1.2, AVRCP 1.4, HSP, and HFP protocols.
Optimized for sports use, this earphone features a sweat- and water-resistance rating of IPX5. Aluminum housings further extend the robust design to withstand daily abuse.
But perhaps the biggest selling point for sports users will be the comfort level. Once placed in my ears, the soft flexible cables wrap over my ears. Just a few minutes into a listening session or a stroll around the block, I forget I’m even wearing earphones.
Connection strength is solid, too, with no dropouts or interruptions during my street tests. Call quality sounds clear and concise, with no issues hearing or being heard.
Ausounds AU-Flex ANC Review – Sound Quality
The planar magnetic driver adds a significant level quality to the low end. In addition to some illuminating detail, there’s just a little bite or snap in the bass. And not enough to render this low end too colored or off-kilter. There’s also some decent control, preventing that bass from bleeding into surrounding notes.
Here the AU-Flex ANC really astounds me. It keeps up on the detail, while remaining clear and clean. Neither too forward nor too reserved, it’s the perfect level of presence to work wonders with those planar-esque lows. Instrumentation sounds tight and accurate, but the vocals really seem otherworldly. Intimate in delivery, but still refined, the vocals in this midrange will shine with any lyric-heavy listening material.
If there’s one downside to this earphone, it may well be the highs. To be fair, these highs show a little bit of sparkle and just a hint of brightness. This works well with instrumentation, and most vocals. However, there remains a touch of sibilance, marring female vocals. That being said, these highs still sound great for classical, electronica, and rock, but may suffer with some pop tracks.
While the AU-Flex ANC doesn’t display a wealth of soundstage, it still delivers more than I was expecting. You can hear plenty of depth in the sound, and there’s even a little bit of space to the sound. Though some instruments can seem fairly close to one another, you can still get a good sense of a three-dimensional sound.
Ausounds AU-Flex ANC Review – Conclusion
Pros and Cons
Pros: Good planar bass and strongly emotive sound elevates this earphone above similar designs. With it’s strong sense of detail, good soundstage, and a comfortable fit, this earphone has some decent chops.
Cons: The sibilance in the highs can be too much for pop, or for some tracks from other genres. If you hate even the smallest amount of sibilance, skip this earphone.
For $199, the Ausounds AU-Flex ANC planar magnetic earphones won’t constitute the cheapest wireless earphones you can get. But for a wireless earphone with great build quality and comfort, these earphones deserve some attention. While more indoctrinated audio geeks may find it hard to forgive the sibilant highs, casual listeners will still love the heavy-hitting sound of this planar earphone.
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