Subject: Nuforce BE6i
Informed opinions suggest that the next iPhone divest itself of the headphone jack - which is a bugger those with loads invested in earphones (though Lear and Westone and Noble Audio, among others, have solutions), and it's a bugger because Bluetooth is a gobbles battery; many wireless earphones manage mere hours of playback. And, poor Bluetooth implementation hisses like the Dickens.
But until the release of a wireless-only market juggernaut, nothing will improve. Demand goes hand in hand with competition, without which innovation is stifled. A jack-less iPhone 7 is the juggernaut that will force innovation. It will change the Bluetooth earphone/headphone/headset market. It will change the Bluetooth speaker and car audio markets. It will change markets further afield. And a bevy of Bluetooth earphones hitting the market carries many benefit to audiophiles.
Lear even have a balanced version of their Bluetooth DAC/amp/earphone cable in the works. If it performs well (hardware measured against wired options), it could democratise the audiophile market. Balanced audio from any Bluetooth source, and from any of your favourite cable-interchangeable earphones - and for a relative pittance.
We will see.
Currently, the Nuforce's BE6i is in my ears. It's the first earphone in a long while that has me looking forward to hypothetical changes to Apple's next phone. No, it's not that good sounding. Nor is pretty. And its price should keep it from flying off the shelves.
But it sounds decent, it's easy to charge, and it disentangles me from yoga angles while trimming the lawn. It's a glimpse of what's to come. It's also a glimpse at the failure of the current wireless market. Its in-line remote, whose buttons are devils to thumb down, is chintzy, and the chunky necks at the base of each earphone are ugly as sin. While the BE6i isn't revolutionary, it's the earphone that woke me up. The DAC that woke me up was MyST's PortaDAC, which makes total sense today, but didn't in 2012.
Just as it did mobile and home phones, networking, and dental braces, wireless audio is destined to supplant wires - at least for the mass market. And, as long as quirks to battery life and signal strength and quality, not to mention ergonomics, are ironed out, wireless portable audiophilia is part of our collective destiny.
Over and out.
ohm image: Noble BTS bluetooth showdown: iPhone 6, iPod nano 7G
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