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Lots of companies make speakers and headphones, but with most, it’s hard to see the connection between the two. That’s certainly not the case with the KEF Mu3 true wireless earphones, which are styled by Ross Lovegrove, the same guy who did KEF’s iconic, polished-metal Muon loudspeaker. The Mu3s have nothing in common with the Muon technically, but the products share a sleek, silvery style.

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I’m glad that the 64 Audio Nio earphones ($1699 USD) incorporating a whopping nine drivers per ear isn’t the most interesting thing about them. Because if it were, then I’d have to get all whooped up about nine drivers when I know that earphones with just one driver can achieve extraordinary sound. But I think the other technologies packed into the Nios are more worthy of attention.

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One thing I love about earphones is that you can get state-of-the-art sound in lots of different ways. You can pack an earphone with multiple drivers and a crossover. You can explore exotic driver designs. Or you can tune a basic dynamic driver to near perfection. With the IE 300s ($299, all prices USD), Sennheiser takes the third—and, I think, riskiest—path.

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Sonically, true wireless earphones are in the same place that passive earphones were ten years ago: all over the map. One reason passive earphones improved is that manufacturers embraced multidriver, hybrid designs, which let them combine the powerful bass of dynamic drivers with the detailed, natural-sounding mids and treble associated with balanced armatures. We’re starting to see the same thing now in true wireless designs. The first hybrid true wireless earphones I reviewed were the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pros, which combine an 11mm dynamic driver with a single balanced armature, although to rather mixed results. Now we have the Status Audio Between Pro earphones, which use a 10mm dynamic driver with two balanced armatures. The Between Pros are available through an Indiegogo offering at an “early bird price” of $99 and a list price of $169, with a projected ship date in April.

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Reviewers' ChoiceYou gotta admit that Audeze sticks to its guns. To the best of my memory, it’s the only major headphone manufacturer that uses planar-magnetic drivers exclusively. That wouldn’t be so impressive if the company only made headphones, but it makes planar-magnetic earphones, too. I gushed over the sound of the iSine 10 earphones, but to me they’re really kind of a shrunken version of Audeze’s open-back headphones. The new Euclid earphones ($1299 USD) are more dazzling, at least in concept—they’re closed-back earphones with an 18mm (roughly 11/16″) planar-magnetic driver. Yet they don’t look any larger—or any different, really—from typical high-end earphones. So these are something radically new for Audeze.

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We tend to think of Grado as a maker of high-end headphones (and phono cartridges), but for decades, the company has offered great-sounding, inexpensive models such as the $99 (all prices USD) SR80e open-back headphones, which often win comparison tests in mainstream publications. So I wasn’t too surprised to see Grado launch a true wireless model, the GT220 earphones. But while the GT220s ($259) are clearly aimed at a broader demographic than most of Grado’s products, they’re designed with the intent of delivering the same distinctive listening experience that Grado fans love—and that some headphone enthusiasts don’t love.

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