Phonak Audeo PFE 112 Earphones - Phonak Audeo PFE 112

By Stuart Andrews



  • Recommended by TR
Phonak Audeo PFE 112 Earphones


Our Score:


Now things get really interesting. Had the Phonaks launched eighteen months ago when they did in the States, I think they’d have been pretty much untouchable at this price point. However, the IEM market has now reached a point where aggressively priced dual armature models are hitting the streets for similar money. Jay’s Q-Jays can widely be found for around or under £100, while the Ultimate Ears 700s can be had for only £10 more than the PFE 112s.

Just to be clear, a dual armature IEM won’t necessarily beat a single armature IEM every time, but the Ultimate Ears 700s are a pretty tough earphone to beat at this price point. Having recently borrowed a pair, I can only agree with Hugo’s Recommended verdict. However, comparing the UEs directly with the Phonaks the outcome is less clear cut than you might imagine. Sure, the UEs have the edge when it comes to their gorgeous, crystalline top-end and their rich, friendly bass, but the PFE 112s win out in other areas. Listen to Eden from Talk Talk’s always stunning Spirit of Eden, and as the track ramps up, layering instrument on instrument on instrument, the Phonaks manage to maintain a clarity and separation that the UEs can’t quite match. Switch to something a bit more fun, in this case Royskopp’s Happy Up Here, and the Phonaks less up-front, smoother, more balanced presentation is actually a little easier on the ears.

I’ve spent hours over the last two days switching between the two IEMs and trying to work out which I prefer, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really just a case of character. In the same way that I find myself switching between Grado and Audio-Technica full-sized cans depending on what I’m listening to and what mood I’m in, I could see myself flip-flopping between the Phonaks and the UEs. Given that one is a slightly cheaper, single-armature IEM, that’s something for Phonak to be proud of.

However, in the real world most of us – me included – can only afford to make one choice. All I can say is that the UEs remain the top dog at this price point if you want optimum clarity at the top-end and a good, fun, bass-rich sound, and that, if they only had five minutes to try each pair, it’s the UEs that most listeners would walk away with. The Phonaks take longer to reveal their strengths, but they do have a really lovable, warm and balanced output that doesn’t allow any one frequency to dominate the sound. For me, that’s enough to earn an equal, and no less valid recommendation.


The Phonak PFE 112s offer good comfort and excellent sound quality for a single armature IEM. While the affordable dual-driver competition makes your buying decision very difficult, these little beauties should be near the top of any mid-range IEM shortlist.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 9
  • Sound Quality 9


February 4, 2010, 2:40 pm

Really smashing set of 'phones, been using them for about a year now with custom tips and grey filters.

Can't recommend them highly enough, especially at such a low price.


February 4, 2010, 4:44 pm

A request for future earphones/IEM reviews: please include at least one picture of them fitted in somebody's ears!


February 4, 2010, 9:54 pm

@ChaosDefinesOrder: I'll second that and also ask for a photo of the entire cable from ear phone to jack plug so that we can see how the left and right tips are joined together. Can we also have the length of the cable included.


February 5, 2010, 2:49 am

@ChaosDefinesOrder: I couldn't agree with you more. I love my Sennheisers, but I dislike the asymmetrical (thin) cable immensely. Along with the sound and fit of the headphones, the cable is right up there in importance. I'm looking to up grade my headphones and these are now near the top of my shopping list.

@Orinj: I found the information your after. @ChaosDefinesOrder there's an in ear picture too. It's interesting to compare both reviews with regard to volume levels and comfort.



February 5, 2010, 3:22 am

I'm giving up on these in-ear headphones. They start to give me ear-aches after listening for extended periods of time (Volume is kept sensible). Plus when walking, you hear the "thud" as your feet connect with the pavement. Now I realise why so many people in the street wear headphones instead...


February 5, 2010, 3:47 am

@darkspark88: re the "thud" I presume your experience is not the same as Stuarts with regard to noise isolation? This is essential for myself who travels via train. Is the ear ache due to the shape of the headphones, or the fact that there the over the ear type? Does anyone know where you can try before you buy ie have test ones available?


February 5, 2010, 4:40 am

@darkspark88 - Just wondering if you're using foam or silicon tips, if your IEMs came with them? I know with my Shure's if I want a comfortable fit I always use the foam tips. For some reason using silicon tips irritate my ears, and lead to the ear-aches as you've described.

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