Sleek Audio 6 Earphones
Link: Sleek Audio Website - $249.99
The Sleek Audio website says the following;
"Let the headphone revolution begin. Introducing the revolutionary in-ear monitor that allows you to customize your sound. With easy changes to our VQ System you now control the listening experience."
If you are anything like me, I know what you are probably thinking, as I was initially thinking the same thing as well... Sleek Audio has a clever marketing team that is capable of writing catchy sentences to hype up their product. Been there, done that. Being the skeptic I am, especially in such a competitive market flooded with so many different options, I can sincerely say I was made a believer within just minutes of actually using their product. Needless to say, if you find any pleasure at all in listening to your music, then despite the somewhat hefty price tag, these earphones are undoubtedly worth the price of admission to enter the world of true audio bliss.
I think it is fair of me to note that while I am not an audiophile, I do know and appreciate good sound. Prior to these headphones, I owned a high-end set of headphones from B&O, short for Bang & Olufsen, who make audio systems most of us cannot even dream about owning, I just I happen to know someone who worked for them a few years back and took the plunge financially as I felt if I had gigabytes worth of music to listen to, I might as well do so properly.
The people behind Sleek Audio actually have 30 years experience designing and manufacturing high-end hearing aids. This allows them to apply their knowledge of the human ear and provide an auditory experience that was literally never before possible. As they put it, their headphones allow the user to "find their audio fingerprint," aptly pointing out "that we all hear differently; its part of what makes us unique."
The Variable Equalization (VQ) System is truly a remarkable approach to headphone audio. Quite frankly once hearing it in action, I am blown away by the fact it has not been implemented until now. It is described as a multi-stage system that allows you to completely customize the sound of your music. Basically what this means is you can set the headphones up to have more bass and less treble, or vice versa, it really all depends on your musical tastes to begin with. It all sounds good on paper, but trust me it sounds even better actually implemented into the headphones themselves. It is something that needs to be experienced first hand to truly appreciate.
The headphones themselves are made up of three main pieces that can be taken apart very easily, but stay together extremely well, so much so that I have never once felt that the headphones themselves would "fall apart." The three pieces are The Flanged Tips, The Treble Tips, and the Bass Ports.
The Flanged Tips are interchangeable and come in three sizes to fit all types of ear canals. You know you have a perfect fit if you feel the tip seal when it is inserted in your ear. I have to admit, it is a very strange feeling at first, as these fit your ear so well when they are in place you literally hear yourself breathing. If you have ever used ear plugs when swimming, it is very much the same theory. They truly eliminate most outside noise, and I can only imagine this is part of the reason for the amazing sound the headphones produce. I stayed with the medium tip that was the default size.
Next up are the Treble Tips and the Bass Ports. Both come in three options, Minus, Neutral, and Positive. They are as they sound. Use the minus Treble Tip, you will reduce the treble frequency, use the positive Bass Port, and you will increase the frequency, so on and so forth. There is truly a vast difference in sound from the minus to the neutral to the positive. It is absolutely amazing. In regards to the Bass sound alone, the result is a dramatic 10db difference at 20 hertz between the three different filters. You can get anything from large booming bass to incredibly tight bass. The manual actually says the bass "is an industry first," and I absolutely believe them.
Swapping out the treble tips is as easy as twisting and slightly pulling that piece. The bass ports literally just snap in and out of place on the back of the earphone. It is truly amazing to me that different pieces of plastic somehow produce such a wide range of sound. They are also color coded inside of the tips. Considering you are reading this online, check out the features section of their website, it has a flash animation showing how all of the pieces easily work together.
Since I listen to a variety of different music, I tried literally every combination possible until I found one that suited my needs. At the end of it all, I went with deeper bass, and I left the treble at neutral. The amazing thing is, just the experience is indeed going to be a different one for everyone that uses them, and that is what makes this product so unique, you do tailor it for your specific needs. Although I do listen to a bit of everything, I mainly listen to Hip Hop. When I say I feel like I have a subwoofer in my ear now, I am not kidding. The bass is so deep and brilliant, it actually took a minute or two for my ear to adjust to the fact I had such deep bass being produced in my ear. The thing is it never hurt my ear once, not at all. It felt completely normal, it was however a completely new experience to hear bass this clearly in my ear itself.
There are only two minor gripes I have with the headphones themselves. The first issue I have is treble tips and bass ports are very tiny, and if you do not feel like keeping the original retail box (which is not very large at all) finding a safe place to keep them may be a challenge due to their small size. Even in the box, the packaging is very loose, so they can easily be lost. Naturally you can purchase replacements on their website, but at this price point, I believe an extra little plastic case for storing all of the tips would have been a nice touch.
The second issue I have, if you can even call it that, is these earphones truly do encompass your ear with sound. That is great, that is their purpose after all, but if you need to hear the outside world, you definitely have to keep them at a very low volume, and even then, it may still be hard to hear anything at all going on around you. If you do not mind hearing nothing at all except your music, then these are for you. Honestly I am not even sure that is a downside whatsoever, but it needs to be pointed out.
Finally, I will end this review just as I started it, with a quote from their website, as I truly do believe they accurately suggest why you should heavily consider purchasing these headphones.
"Think about it:
You just spent $300.00 on the latest MP3 player, $100.00 for the custom case and docking station, $100.00 in downloaded music and 3 days downloading your music collection. And you listen to it all through a $5.00 pair of earbuds?