The New Blue Headphones, Ella and Sadie – CES 2017

Tech company Blue has been around for a few good years. Their presence at CES has always been felt with a stunner of a display and live DJs pumping vinyl music directly into headphones for attendees to demo live. The company is known for both its computer-driven podcast-friendly microphones, but today at Pepcom’s Digital Experience! at CES the talk was about new cans.

Two new models to be exact, with a with a third wireless version waiting in the wings for later this year. One of Blue’s claim to fame comes in the form of a custom A/B class amplifier that is built right into the headphone, which the company claims adds plenty of extra shove and negates the need for a separate amp.

The two new models include the dynamic driver Sadie and a surprise planar magnetic entry called the Ella (ella, ella). Both incorporate the internal amplifier via three way switch located where the headphone cable meets the base of the cup. Aside from on and off positions, both models include a “plus” position intended to boost quality from sources like vinyl and the like. A motion-activated LED lights up near the outside logo when the headphone is extended. When closed the headphone automatically shuts off the amplifier to help save battery life.

We got a chance to demo the new planar Ella and it was interesting to hear the headphones with and without the amplifier turned on. After our quick listen in a noisy hall setting, it appeared as though the bass was quite substantial, but still quite refined – a very fun sound overall. Please take those observations with a grain of salt, as the conditions at the show were not nearly quiet enough for a critical evaluation. Both the Sadie and the Ella are launching this weekend with expected delivery to stores within two weeks. Retail pricing will be $399 and $699 respectively.

The new wireless bluetooth-enabled Satellite really pulls out the stops. In addition to wireless connectivity (BT 4.1 & aptX), the upcoming release also includes noise canceling capabilities and a wired option. The wired connection bypasses all things DSP, so purists can have their cake and eat it too.

Perhaps the biggest innovation to the Bose contender lies in its dual driver approach to noise canceling. In the Satellite music is made from the top driver you see in the image above, while the bottom driver handles all of the inverse wave magic for keeping ambient annoyances at bay. Both drivers are specifically designed to the function they serve, thus producing quality (at least in theory) better than a single driver could achieve. Very interesting. Look for the Satellite to hit the streets some time this year, pricing is still TBD.


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