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Phonak Audeo PFE 012 review




  • Recommended by TR

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Phonak Audeo PFE 012
  • Phonak Audeo PFE 012
  • Phonak Audeo PFE 012
  • Phonak Audeo PFE 012
  • Phonak Audeo PFE 012


Our Score:


As we noted in our review of its PFE 112 earphones, Phonak isn't exactly a household name in the UK, but it's certainly making a name for itself. Having made an impression with the aforementioned PFE 112s, the company now has a revised model called the PFE 012s, offering not only a revised sound signature but, perhaps more importantly, a lower price.

In fact, the PFE 012 earphones aren't just a bit cheaper that the PFE 112s, at a touch under £80 they're a massive £40 cheaper. Taking the PFE 012s out of their packaging it takes more than a moment to notice where those savings have been made but PFE 112 owners might notice the accessory-filled zip-pouch which accompanied those earphones isn't supplied with these. However, as nice as it is to have a carrying case, and as much as we like Comply's foam tips, it's hard to complain about their lack on inclusion considering the price difference between the PFE 012 and PFE 112 earphones.

The PFE 012s, like the PFE 112s, have an adjustable filter, letting you alter the sound signature of the earphones to your tastes. Unlike the PFE 112s, however, which came with a choice of black or grey filter, the PFE 012s come only with a green filter. This is the contributor to the PFE 012's "Perfect Bass" slogan, as Phonak says this new filter is the bassiest the company has yet provided - although this enhanced bass shouldn't come at the cost of other frequencies.

Other than this new filter, and the lack of an accessory set, the PFE 012s are identical to the PFE112s. That is, we hasten to add, a good thing, because the PFE112's were constructed very nicely. We especially like the cabling of the PFE 012s, which is neither too thick nor too thin, and has a rubberised coating that gives it a quality feel.

We also like the over-the-ear design as it reduces cable noise. We do wish the PFE 012's came with foam tips, however, as although the three choices of silicone tip supplied do make getting a comfortable, secure fit easy, they aren't as pleasant to wear and don't offer such good noise isolation. The earpieces themselves are also nicely designed, fitting snugly into the ear such that you can even lie on the side of your head without interfering with them.


December 9, 2010, 3:02 pm

I bought a pair of these recently and have found them to be excellent.

I'm amazed at how clear vocals are i.e. I can now hear the words to songs(!), and I'm impressed by the amount of detail that can be heard when listening to classical music.

If you find the volume too low then invest in the FiiO E7 headphone amp. Buy one anyway; you won't regret it.

One word of warning; be sensible. Don't be tempted to push them too far down your ear canals (never a good idea) as the you may find that the tips remain in your ears after removing the heaphones!


December 9, 2010, 3:56 pm

I've been an owner of the pfe 112's since launch and had many, many happy hours listening pleasure from them. Once word of warning though the filters are highly susceptible to the oil from your skin and will need to be replaced.

I have gone through countless filters, sometimes only going a day before it needs to be replaced again.

At the moment I have to use them without filters, an unhappy compromise imho, the sound is raw and has a grainy quality to it but I can't afford to keep purchasing filters.

Would I recommend them? Yes I think so but only if you don't have oily skin or can stock up on the filters.


December 9, 2010, 6:18 pm

As it happens I used an E7 to drive these; will echo the recommendation 100 per cent. Properly awesome DAC/amp combo (as my review said: http://www.trustedreviews.c....


December 9, 2010, 8:59 pm

Great review - I like the fact that TR's earphone reviews always emphasise the type or genre of music to which the phones are best suited, without resorting to the kind of technical language only understood by serious audiophiles. At least one of my Christmas present choosing dilemmas is now solved - thanks TR.


December 9, 2010, 11:59 pm

Hmm, is it fate or coincidence that the left bud of my trusty Sony MDR-EX71 died today... very tempting upgrade...


December 10, 2010, 2:23 am


Would you please be able to review the Hifiman RE-0 or the RE-Zero's (two different models). I'd really like to know what you think of them.


December 10, 2010, 5:16 am

I shall see what I can do.


December 11, 2010, 5:25 am

had these and paired them with the comply foam tips that come with the 112's.

been very durable so far and loving the sound!


December 21, 2010, 11:33 pm

Hi, I have had my pair of shure E4C's for 6 years, I have used them every single day even at gym!! They have done me proud for £99. The sound was'nt amazing but good!! and the noise cancelling quality was fantastic!!

Now I want to get these earphones but are they better? I wanted to find out if the filters need regular replacing? How they compare to the higher quality phones....can the sound be reproduced much better with other phones, such as sennheisers, ultimate ears, shure?? Thanks


March 1, 2012, 2:32 am

Great........if you dont mind replacing the filters after every 3-4 hours of use.

At ~ £25 for 5 pairs, that works out at a cost of about £1.50 per hour to listen to sounds with these headphones at an acceptable quality level.

You have been warned. If you are still stupid enough to buy into all the review hype then go right ahead.

P.S. It is not 'oil' that these filters are vulnerable to, but the build up of pressure. Wear these whilst sitting at a PC and the filters will last a good amount of time. Wear these whilst being on the move and they filters will go to pot in no time.

Worst headphoens I ever bought. Stay well clear off!

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