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Z:ero earphones have built-in DAC and amp

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No more bulky DACs

Gadgets are getting smaller all the time. A new pair of headphones has hit Indiegogo claiming to be the smallest ever incorporating its own amp and digital to analogue converter (DAC).

The idea is to get hi-fi quality sound from your standard Android smartphone.

It's called Z:ero, and despite the irritatingly-spelled name has garnered plenty of interest from backers. It's raised more than twice its $20,000 funding goal, and still has 35 days left in the campaign.

The makers claim to have packed all the sonic goodness from a bulky external USB DAC into a tiny printed circuit board that fits into Z:ero's control box. The control box also houses buttons for volume control, and to pause and resume playback.

The headphones don't plug into the headphone port of your phone, but rather the mini-USB port. Which means it won't work with an iPhone.

Inside, neodymium magnets give high sensitivity sound pressure levels in the 110-120dB range. The makers claim this translates to quicker response time and more vibrant-sounding audio.

Read more: Best USB headphone amps

Of course, we can't verify these claims without having reviewed the product. Your tunes will only ever sound as good as the quality of audio files on your devices too, so go for higher resolution ones where possible.

There's no word on how much they'll cost when funded, but they're being offered at a discounted rate of $25 for backers and should ship in April.

Here's a video explaining more.

torjs99

January 19, 2015, 12:33 pm

pennies

Hamish Campbell

January 19, 2015, 1:38 pm

As it's so cheap I've just ordered one. But I'm a bit concerned that, at that price, the headphone quality will be nothing to write home about.

danielfrisbee

January 19, 2015, 4:11 pm

bare in mind that's a discounted rate to encourage investors, probably a good business decision, and doesn't necessarily mean they won't be charging more in the shops. I'd say it's worth a go..

chaosdefinesorder

January 19, 2015, 6:30 pm

Sadly the battery life on my Nexus 5 is so abysmal I need to plug an external battery pack in when listening to music for any length of time meaning I can't really use these!

Jmac

January 20, 2015, 5:28 am

Gimmick. Even if it is an early bird special price, there's no way they can have built either a DAC superior to what's in a mid range handset or a pair of headphones of high enough quality to justify an external DAC, for the bargain bin price these are being offered for.

Jmac

January 20, 2015, 5:29 am

Your concern is inevitably justified. I guess $25 is pocket change enough to make it an interesting novelty purchase.

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