Headphones come in many shapes and sizes, and offer a variety of features from active noise cancellation to built-in Google Assistant support, but there aren’t many that offer a customised audio output based on your hearing like the Audeara A-01 headphones.
After running a quick hearing test on the Audeara app for iOS and Android, music will sound clearer and crisper than ever before – in theory, anyway. How do the Audeara A-01 headphones perform in reality? Read our review to find out.
Pricing and availability
The Audeara A-01 headphones are a little pricey at £299/$399, but when you consider the features on offer, it’s actually a steal. How many other headphones offer active noise cancellation and a customised audio output for under £300? Exactly.
Audeara A-01: Design and build
The Audeara A-01 headphones are understated to say the least; while other companies like Beats have designed sleek, fashionable headphones that catch the eye, Audeara has decided to focus on the most important area – audio.
That’s not to say that the Audeara A-01 headphones are ugly though; they sport a soft-touch plastic frame with material padding across the headband to alleviate some of the pressure during longer listening sessions. This focus on comfort extends to the earcups, which are made from a soft leather-esque material that as well as being comfortable helps improve noise isolation.
But while the earcups are comfortable to wear, we must admit that the leather-esque material used isn’t very breathable. We’ve noticed that our ears can get fairly hot after long periods of listening, and while it’s not as bad as some headphones, it’s certainly worth taking into consideration.
You’ll find Audeara branding not only on the headband but detailing and an embossed Audeara logo on the cups themselves, and while it does add to the overall look, the headphones are certainly understated.
Though you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone cable in the box, the Audeara A-01 headphones are designed to be used wirelessly. That means unlike other headphones that feature in-line media controls, all controls for the A-01 are on the cups themselves.
That means you’ll find three buttons and two switches (one for power and one for the noise cancellation) on the cups, and while this may seem a little crowded compared to simpler headphones on the market, we like the ability to control advanced features without the need to use an app.
Audeara A-01: Features and audio quality
While the Audeara A-01 headphones look simple in the design department, there’s a range of tech on offer that makes these headphones stand out from the crowd.
Let’s start with noise cancellation; the A-01s feature active noise cancellation that works very well, even on the incredibly loud London Underground. The downside of active noise cancellation is that it has an effect on the overall quality of audio (not unique to these headphones) but while most competitors keep it on 24/7, the A-01s feature a small ANC switch on the earcup to give you a choice between impressive noise cancellation and amazing audio quality.
While that’s a handy feature to have, that’s not the most impressive feature of the Audeara A-01s. The headphones feature a built-in hearing test operated via the Audeara app for iOS and Android that calibrates the sound output for your personal hearing range. There are three tests available in the app that aim to analyse your hearing and adjust the output so that sounds are clearer and crisper.
The tests vary in length, from a standard 8-beep test that takes around 3 minutes per ear up to an in-depth 32-beep test that’ll take around 10 minutes per ear, though in our experience it took a little longer. It’s well worth the time and effort, but we do think that the in-app experience could be a little more streamlined.
Once the test has been completed and you’ve uploaded your sound profile to the headphones, you can use them with any Bluetooth-enabled media device and hear customised audio. You can also have different profiles for different users, allowing you to share the headphones with friends and family without losing your hearing profile.
Everybody has a different range of hearing – even the difference between your left and right ear can be drastic – so personalising the music is a smart move. The difference between standard audio and personalised audio really is day-and-night – and that’s impressive, considering the standard audio output could take on most similarly-priced headphones and win.
More specifically, the standard audio output is crisp and clear, if not a little overpowering in the bass department, though that extra bass goes out the window once the active noise cancellation is turned on. It’s a completely different experience post-hearing test though – audio is nothing short of superb, providing a tailored listening experience with clear, crisp, bright audio that allows us to notice entirely new sounds in our favourite songs. Backed up by warm vocals, powerful bass, the A-01 headphones tick all boxes.
Audeara A-01: Verdict
Though they might not look like much, the Audeara A-01 headphones are incredible in the sound department. The hearing test and personalised output makes all the difference, allowing you to pick up new tones and sounds in songs you’ve been listening to for years and allowing you to enjoy them for the first time all over again. The listening test can be a little tiresome, but it’s well worth taking the time to do.
You’ve also got Active Noise Cancellation which helps to block out external sound, but for those that dislike the slight downgrade in audio quality, you can toggle it off via the built-in switch. Combine that with an impressive 35-hour battery life (or 65 with ANC disabled), and you’ve got the ideal set of high-end cans.