Well, I would be lying if I said the newest entry from Audeze wasn’t the talk of the town at CES, at least within the confines of the headphone crowd. The EL-8 (derived from the word elated) will arrive in both closed back and open flavors for the same price, this time around for $699.
Along with the new ‘phones, the up and coming company also included a brand spanking new headphone amplifier at the same price point called the Deckard. The new piece features class A amplification with a 3-way gain switch to help with headphone matching. Audeze also threw in a DAC for good measure, utilizing a TI 5102A chipset with resolutions up to 24/196 via USB.
The new EL-8 features magnets on only a single side of the driver’s diaphragm, instead of two sides like the LCD line. This helps reduce the overall weight of the headphone, among other benefits. Audeze partnered with BMW DesignWorks (the same firm who helps develop the cars) to help shape the look of the unit. Notable differences from the traditional LCD line include a more oval shaped ear cup, less wood components and a proprietary cable connector.
Gone is the mini XLR connection from the previous generation, replaced now with a more custom solution for swapping out cables. The new sockets will still support both balanced and SE connections.
The first EL-8 headphones should ship around the end of February, with the Deckard amp/DAC following in March.
All three products are available for pre order here: http://www.audeze.com/