I’ve been wanting to try this for the longest time. Now that it’s finally here, it didn’t disappoint.
It’s an in-ear that doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing an in-ear. Of course you’ll feel the passive noice cancelling which is expected from any in-ear. However soon you start listening to something, the sound stage is wide as if you’re listening from an open-back headphone. I’ve confirmed this with 2 of my open-back headphone (Grado and Bayerdynamic) that I have so I can really attest to this.
As for the clarity, it is much better than ie800 in my opinion. There’s no warm or cold tone to the tuning. It has natural sound just like the way my ear normally perceived with a ton more details that I couldn’t hear with my bare ears. I love this very much.
1 drawback for me is I still have a love-hate relationship with Flare stock ear tip since the Jet. It’s a small bore ear tip which squeeze all the sounds into my ear. Some people might like it because the detail is highly enhanced but it could cause fatigue real quick. My recommendation is to pair this in-ear with Pentaconn Brass Coreir ear tip. With a wider bore and a brass insert to help clearing the sound wave, you get to experience “true to the natural hearing” performance from this earphone, the way it’s supposed to sound.
This is by far my favorite in-ear earphone period. I’d not trade it for anything else.
OK, so if you sit completely still, these are really next-level audio quality. They have a phantom-centre like high-end studio monitors, and an extremely balanced sound-stage. They make you realise you've probably never heard good in-ear phones before.
They're light, comfortable and look pretty cool, too.
...but if you move, the sound transference/vibration through the cable is also next-level (to the point of distraction) because the cables are rubber (or similar) so grip on everything - face, shoulders, front of jacket etc. As a commuter, this is really problematic. Even nodding your head to the sound that is being so beautifully delivered, creates unwanted noise.
5 star audio quality. 1 star for day-to-day use. 3 stars overall, which is unfortunate.
Simply the best I have heard ever.
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.