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Audio-Technica ATH-IEX1 review: Bliss, but with wires

The Audio-Technica ATH-IEX1 packs a punch when it comes to the sound quality, but are you ready to pay an astronomical amount for these earphones?

audio technica ath IEX
The moment you hold the ATH-IEX1 in-ear headphones in your hand you know these are different.

The flute is divine. The ghatam offers the right bass along with the mridangam. All finding their place and blending into a superb medley as flautist JA Jayant’s rendition of Entharo Mahanubavulu hits a crescendo. Getting this right for purists is something not all earphones can do and that’s why many will turn to trusted brands like Audio-Technica when it comes to more serious music. The ATH-IEX1 is meant just for discerning audiophiles.

The moment you hold the ATH-IEX1 in-ear headphones in your hand you know these are different. They are way heavier than earphones this size usually are. There is also a lot more metal here. From the chassis of the earphones to the audio connectors, this is one solid piece of work.

The design is not out of the box. The earphones come around your ears with a loop and stay in place. But the wires keep reminding you of the convenience we are so used to with TWS in recent times. I suppose that is a cost to pay for the pleasure of lossless music.

Even as the wires hold you back from taking the ATH-IEX1 everywhere, you realise how balanced these earphones are. There is no need to look for an equaliser. Everything is where it should be, no heavy bass, no extra sharp swings in the middle of a song. It achieves this natural sound signature thanks to its dual phase drivers — the 9.8 mm is a full-range driver while the 8.8 mm is more of a passive radiator for boosting the lower frequencies. These two working in tandem offer a balanced sound profile.

At Rs 1,83,195, the ATH-IEX1 are not earphones that you will pick up at the airport, or order online. These will be a thought-through investment for those passionate about their music. And gradually, song after song, they will realise it has been worth it.

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