Before encountering Altec Lansing’s women-specific Bliss Platinum earphones ($70), I had never considered the idea that my ears might be too feminine and precious to handle having a larger earpiece forcibly shoved into their delicate canals. Now I know that, like many things, most earpieces are made for men and we poor, sweet ladies must go about life making do with too-big things. Altec Lansing hopes to solve that issue by giving ultra-precious lady ears a much-needed rest from all the bigness with the Bliss Platinum.
“If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a phrase Etymotic must have taken extremely seriously, judging by a look at their now-mythic, $99 ER-6i. The set has been around since their release in 2004, after which they quickly became the standard against which all other sub-$100 IEMs were tested. But seven years is an eon for a product to have remained essentially unchanged in the gadget world. Are they still as good now as they were then?
During the pre-review back-and-forth with Jerry Harvey’s vaunted audiophile-focused lab — the flagship creation of which are the JH Audio JH16 Pro in-ear monitors being reviewed here — I asked them offhandedly how a set of IEMs with eight drivers in each ear (that’s right, almost unbelievably, eight tiny armatures and a crossover are cocooned within each earpiece) would compare with something akin to the single-driver-per-ear Etymotic hf2’s we liked so much. The answer came back: Don’t be daft.
Remember the WALDok? It sounded like the unholy cybernetic offspring of WALL-E and Iron Man’s creepy hypercephalic floating robot head nemesis, MODOK, but the WALDok was actually a Kickstarter project for a gorgeously compact speaker dock for the iPod nano capable of outputting some truly impressive sound while simultaneously juicing you up.
The only problems with the WALDok? First, it was iPod nano only… a design decision which seemed to unnecessarily specify the WALDok into obscurity. Second, as a Kickstarter project, it hadn’t yet made enough money in $59 pledges to guarantee that it would ever be made.
Luckily, over the weekend, both problems resolved themselves. Designer Hern Kim not only redesigned the WALDok to accommodate other iPod models, but also surpassed the $30,000 pledge total thanks to some publicity from Gizmodo and Wired, meaning that the WALDok will soon be a very real product. $59 pledged at this point is as good as a pre-order. Hooray!