Price (RRP): $499
You’ve got to love Australian innovation. The Audeara A-01 Bluetooth headphones are the second Aussie model to cross my desk in the last few days.
The Audeara A-01 headphones have a couple of rather unusual features. One is a very long battery life. Very, very long. Another is that they’re “designed by doctors and engineers to deliver you perfect sound, always.” Say, what? Doctors? What do they have to do with anything?
Well, the Audeara A-01 headphones have a calibration feature. That is, the Audeara app can calibrate them for your individual hearing. The app is available for iPhone and Android of course.
I’ll return to that in considerable detail. But I’d say that the hearing test part is where the doctors come in.
Other more common, but still welcome features are active noise reduction, wired connection as an alternative to Bluetooth, and play/pause and volume buttons on an earcup, along with a switch to turn noise cancellation on or off. There’s a nice sturdy case. The cups swivel to a flat position, so the case is only 51mm thick, which makes it good for travelling.
A little cloth sack holds the bits and pieces, such as the charge cable and a small carabiner. (I guess that’s so you can hang the case up using its cloth loop. The headphones charge via Micro-B USB.
There are some nice touches: of course, you get a cable for wired mode. Niceness 1: it uses standard 3.5mm stereo sockets on both ends. It’s fairly short, but you can replace it with any of a million others if you need a longer cable. Niceness 2: it comes with a two prong adapter for airplanes. Sure, they only cost a few bucks, but it’s still a thoughtful inclusion. Niceness 3: it comes with a 3.5mm to 6.5mm adaptor so you can use it with a full-blown stereo system. Again, just a few bucks. Again, thoughtful.
The noise cancellation works in both Bluetooth and wired mode. And so does the calibrated sound. If you have the headphones wired to a source, you can switch them off to hear the native sound of the headphones, or switch them on to hear the calibrated sound.
So what about Bluetooth? For ages, I used an iPod Nano as my Bluetooth source. Some months ago I switched to an iPhone 8 and was rewarded with improved Bluetooth range. But the iPhone had to return to its maker, so I decided to combine my listening with the Android phone I carried with me all the time. That was the Google Pixel 2 XL. Apart from anything else, I like it because it supports aptX HD, and therefore regular aptX.
The Bluetooth connection page on the phone confirms that the headphones do use the aptX codec if it’s available on the phone. (Does it also support AAC for better quality with iOS? I’ve asked, but have no answer yet.)
Now, following the switch from iPhone to Pixel 2 XL, the next few sets of Bluetooth headphones I used seemed to be quite fussy about where the phone was for a reliable connection. Most didn’t like me having it in my front left jeans pocket. Most seemed happy having it in a front pocket of my jacket. So that’s what I settled on. So it took me a couple of days to realise that something was very different with the Audeara A-01 headphones. Very different indeed.
That is, these headphones didn’t care where I put the phone. The connection was utterly solid, regardless of pocket. When I realised this, I started stretching the relationship. If I put the phone in the middle of my house, would the connection remain intact to its furthest reaches? Why, yes it would.