David Arnold Composer
For me......the best I've heard
Stephen Fry Actor, Author, Broadcaster
Simply incredible. I think it’s the clarity that so stuns me, clarity without any hint of the coldness and loss of warmth that is the usual trade-off in achieving that level of precision… clarity + depth = joy.
Chris Kimsey Producer | Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Yes
I cannot take these off! I am hypnotised by the sound coming from the E-Prototype. They have such a wide stereo image, much deeper bass and more depth of sound than I’ve heard before. They are light as a feather and sit perfectly - they float in my ears!
Dr Sadia Sadia MSc FRSA Installation artist
Having had a little time to experiment with Flare Audio’s new E-Prototype earphones I can only say that this is the closest I’ve come to hearing the pure transmission of the artists’s intention without any distortion or additional colouring, qualities or characteristics. The earphones are based on a ground-breaking design developed through original conceptualization and research and I predict that USQ will set a new standard in sound across the audio production chain.
Tony Visconti Producer | David Bowie, T-Rex, Sparks, Iggy Pop
I've been looking for earbuds like this ever since they were invented.Flare has always made great audio drivers, but the new system of delivery to your eardrums is a big game changer. Fidelity and imaging are the best I've ever heard.
Phill Brown Sound Engineer | Talk Talk, Bob Marley, Faithless
I have been a big fan of ‘Calmer’ and the ‘Noise-reduction Pods’ over the past two years, but for 50 years rarely used Headphones or Pods. I just never got on with them that well and never found any that were really comfortable or accurate. The Flare Audio E-Protype Pods have changed all that. The fit is perfect, the sound excellent (so real, with a beautiful Bass-end) and the stereo imaging is astounding. For me it’s like hearing the music as it was in the studio. Beautiful.
Mark Radcliffe Broadcaster, Musician, Author
These buds are unbelievable. So light and comfortable you kind of forget you’re wearing them except for the wonderfully full sound in your ears. Thanks Flare. A triumph.
First impressions - I have tested these so far with a Chord Hugo 2 and a number of FLAC files of different genres (vocal/acoustic, rock, electronic/dance, hip hop
I'm also going to make an effort to write this without reading the other reviews
- The clarity of the sound really stands out - they're not ultra-detailed but they are very spacious and clear. The instruments feel distinct and natural and it's easy to locate them in 3d space
- The fact that they are not overly detailed makes the sound quite relaxing, I don't think you'd find them exhausting over long periods
- They are 'entertaining' to listen to (as opposed to clinical)
- Coming from other in-ears the bass initially appear strong but these are not bass-heavy headphones: there's nothing there that's not in the recording and incredibly you even get a bit of slam where it's present.
- The fit initially feels a bit unusual but once they're in they're secure and comfortable, especially with the 'audiophile' (foam) tips. I can shake my head and they are not going anywhere
- The cables are nice and don't snag and contribute very little noise when moving around
- The sound is ducted through a completely unrestricted wide open hole, so nothing to stop things getting in but by the same token, should be easy to clean
- Although the 'unboxing experience' is nothing special, all materials feel of good quality and well put together - I'd rather my £ went towards this honestly than a flash box. The carry case is completely adequate and has space for some spare tips/accessories.
Lovely presentation of the e-prototypes! Proudly made in Sussex, England. The black case is smart, compact and zipped, with the Flare branding debossed on both sides. The three supplied sets of silicone tips make for an easy fit. However, the 3D printing process left a tiny flash bump on one earphone's lip, making getting the silicone tip over it incredibly challenging as I did not wish to tear the delicate silicone collar. Once on, both tips stayed put and never fell off!
I appreciated that the earphones were lightweight, with their almost green bio-polymer-resin credentials. They were very comfortable for hours at a time, as if not even there! If shortened by a mere 1-2mm they would be a perfect fit for my ear shape. The sound was incredibly clear and precise to my ears, a distinct step-up in audio quality vs all my other single dynamic driver earphones. They coped admirably with a diverse array of music and gaming tracks. I’m no audiophile, but the sound felt very natural and comfortable to my ears, with superbly deep lows and punchy mid frequency reproduction. As expected for this price bracket, the highs were not quite on par with multi-BA nor electrostatic drivers, but no harsh sibilance was a win for me. The e-prototypes have a distinct soundstage, not too expansive thankfully, and instruments felt pleasingly separated. Due to the high clarity sound, I’m sure I could hear elements in familiar tracks that I had never heard before on lesser earphones! You need to listen to the timbre yourself for it to be believed. IMO these earphones are amazingly well tuned by the Flare engineers that designed these gems. I read all the professional reviews on this website and it is obvious why the e-prototypes are so highly praised.
The cable is lightweight and of a minimal diameter. However, it is highly springy and unfortunately has memory. After 90 days use I still cannot get it to hang straight. Furthermore, it is coated with a textured, almost tacky, rubber or plastic that grips to everything and also collects lint and hair. I presume the idea was to minimise cable microphonics against your clothing. Hopefully the Flare e-prototype MkII will be upgraded with a much better cable attached to the superb earphones, or at least allow for detachable cables. The in-line mic is wasted upon me as I listen to music and games rather than take calls, and it affects the hang. I would still prefer an over-ear hooked cable style as with many IEMs, even accepting that these earphones must hang correctly downwards for their USQ. A balanced cable output will be its pinnacle I expect. Option of a 2.5mm balanced jack would be useful to me. I’m looking forward to the MkII already!
I have several pairs of good headphones. But only using the E-PROTOTYPE, it feels like the music is born right in your head! The entire palette of sound, regardless of music style, is transmitted in great detail. And the sub-bass... I never thought that I am such a bass-head! The best earphones for both average music lovers and advanced audiophiles.
It took a little time for my ears to adjust to the E-Prototype earphones as I had previously been using Apple's EarPods Pros and B&W PI7s which have a different sound. What was noticeable immediately was the clarity and musicality of the E-Prototypes. Switching back to the EarPod Pros was a shock as they sounded dull and lifeless in comparison. The one advantage of the BlueTooth earphones is the lack of wires. I'm now thinking of a BT module to drive the E-Prototypes.
I have listened to a wide range of music including Britten, Shostakovich, Piano sonatas and string quartets of Bartok and Beethoven, Queen, Muse, Clapton, Radiohead and more. The E-Prototypes handle everything.
I am slightly allergic to skin contact with silicone so asked about memory foam alternatives and tried the suggestion of the audiophile earfoems which work well. I also tried Comply T200 and Sonicfoam small eartips from Amazon which worked well; a larger size would probably have given better sound isolation but the small size was more comfortable.
On my normal Spotify source (highest quality) I was immediately struck by the incredible sound. I immediately signed up to Tidal to get their MQA content. Incredible detail, soundstage, clarity and bass. Yesterday I was mesmerised by a jazz drummer doing circles on his kit. Astonishingly good.
Das Preis/Leistungsverhältnis ist in dieser Preisliga nicht zu toppen. Diese Kopfhörer kann ich jedem ans Herzen legen.