Lift Audio Icon Series 6mm Premium Earphones

Author
Logan King
Editor
Aron Schatz
Posted
January 26, 2011
Manufacturer
Lift-Audio
Product Page
Icon Series
Views
38579
Lift Audio Icon Series 6mm Premium Earphones
The Lift-Audio Icon Series earbuds have great build quality and crystal clear audio. The MSRP may seem high for casual usage, but if sound quality is anywhere near a main concern the financial cost is easily outweighed.

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Page 1
Introduction

Audio quality is something that many people aren't concerned with. In the days of digital music distribution and low fidelity mp3 audio, convenience reigns supreme over all else. This is the cause behind the rise in popularity of those nasty $4 earbuds that you frequently see in brick-and-mortar stores. But what about those who hold audio quality to a similar importance to convenience? Lift-Audio recently released the Icon Series premium earbuds to satisfy that market, and today ASE Labs has them up to see how well they perform.

About Lift-Audio

Quote

Lift Audio products are inaugurated with a passion for precision engineering, premium materials, and leading edge innovation. Every product incorporates the most progressive sound technology on the market and are individually crafted by the highest quality yet environmentally friendly materials available.

When looking for a headphone, one of the most important factors is comfort and security. Comfort is the basis of our soft silicone fittings and the lightweight design of each headphone model so that you can enjoy your music while living an active lifestyle.

A socially conscious approach is taken to the development and manufacturing of every Lift Audio product. Environmentally friendly materials, sustainable goods, and recyclable packaging are used to assure our impact on the environment is as minimal as possible. The only “footprint” we want to leave is one that is taking a step forward towards a cleaner and better world to live in.

http://www.lift-audio.com/sound.html


Packaging

The Icon Series arrived packaged in a plain brown box sealed with a strip roughly analogous to a shipping label, with the Lift-Audio logo placed front and center. The box specifically mentions how easy it is to open, and a closer examination of the label reveals a perforated crease etched in right where the corner of the box is.

Packaging


The inside of the box is pretty straightforward. There is the carrying case for the earbuds, and a cardboard insert to keep the case in place.

Internals


Some rather bland packaging, but then again flashier packaging isn't really necessary for online-only goods. We also commend the effort made to make opening the box as easy as possible.
Page 2
Specifications

  • Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 16 ohm
  • Sensitivity: 90 dB/mW
  • Speaker Driver: 6mm
  • Amazon Link


This is all pretty standard stuff, but a 16 ohm impedance out of a set of earbuds is pretty impressive. We would like to see more specifications, though, like the THD levels.

Marketing Summary

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Small Size, Big Sound

Lift Audio introduces the new Icon Series premium in-earphones featuring the smallest, highest performing headphone on the market!

Mini-Sized Premium Metal Design

A lightweight precious metal composition presents a luxurious appearance, and encases a small yet extremely powerful 6mm magnesium enriched dynamic driver that sets a new standard in driver technology and audio performance. Featuring the most efficient driver technology available, the all metal craftsmanship is precision molded to accentuate the unparalleled sound quality generated from the mini-driver, which also utilizes a powerful strontium rare earth magnet to deliver deep yet precise bass levels.

Meticulously Crafted Organic Sound Signature

Lift Audio’s distinctive sound emphasizes crisp highs, a smooth mid-range, and rich bass across a full spectrum. A balanced sound curve perfectly blends exceptional clarity with detailed mids and amazing lows, while the unique natural sound signature presents a 3-D soundstage that showcases an organic audio performance similar to experiencing live music. This is in comparison to the isolated and mechanical sound of high priced in-ear monitors that impose an obtrusively uncomfortable fit.

Supreme Comfort & Silence

An aluminum alloy structure provides a durable yet lightweight frame that offers ultimate mobility and is optimal for an active lifestyle. Advanced soft silicone fittings expertly formulated from the finest materials and diligent research guarantee complete comfort and a secure fit that blocks ambient noise. The new elongated cone-shaped design allows for a deeper and tight seal, while various sizes ensure a personalized feel and first-class noise-isolation. The passive noise-isolating technology is perfect for travel and strenuous activities due to the fact it requires no batteries and does not introduce any artificial sounds into your music. A sport carrying case is included along with 3 sizes (S,M,L) of fittings and a hassle-free one-year manufacturer's warranty, which all come in Amazon’s eco-friendly Frustration Free Packaging.


Package Contents

Removing the contents of the box reveals the carrying case for the Icon Series, the earbuds themselves and the 3 silicone size caps.

Package Contents


To cut down on packaging waste, all of the contents are stored away inside the carrying case when you first open the box.
Page 3
Lift-Audio Icon Series

The first thing that catches your attention is the carrying case for the Icon Series. It has a similar construction to many kinds of earbud cases (a hardback-nylon weave with a clamshell design, held closed by a zipper), but there are a few differences. There is a wide tag at the rear of the case which displays the Lift-Audio logo, and to the left is a small cloth loop which holds a carabiner that you can use to attach the case to a belt loop or keychain. The handle on the zipper slider also uses a shape that nicely contours to your hand rather than a more generic design.

Package Contents Unbagged


The interior of the case is also a little different, using a cargo net on each side for storing the earbuds and the wires rather than a center spindle. The inside of the case is lined with a felt-like substance.

Moving on the the earbuds themselves, what quickly grabs you is the wires used in the construction. They are all high quality braided wires, with a thick-but-durable feel to them. We at ASE Labs love braided wires for electronics. They look better than typical wire insulation, they are stronger than typical wire insulation, and they also don't get kinked as easily as typical wires do.
The TRS connector is a gold-plated straight jack with a glossy finish, and the splitter for the left and right bud is made of a similar glossy plastic. Particularly notable about the splitter is that it is fashioned out of one piece of plastic and looks quite strong, which is a major plus because a poor splitter is generally the cause for earbuds to break.

TRS Jack and Splitter


The design of the cones is pretty straightforward for premium earbuds. They have an aluminum construction with a plastic shroud covering some of the exterior. One cool thing about the design is that the R and L are etched into the surface opposite of the speaker cone rather than simply painted on. All in all, the design of the Icon Series is pretty straightforward, but there are still some nice touches sprinkled throughout.
Page 4
Testing Protocol

Remember that testing sound devices is a very subjective thing. Make sure you read reviews from many different sites to really gauge how something that deals with sound actually is. A sample size of one site is not enough to make an intelligent decision on which product to buy since there is no 'standard' way of testing something like audio equipment.

Ergonomics

As ergonomics are such an important factor when choosing earbuds, having ones that don't quite fit can be a deal breaker regardless of anything else. In that regard, the Icon Series slots well in line with most premium earbuds on the market by including three sets of silicone caps for differing ear sizes. One thing we were rather disappointed with was that there isn't really any way to determine which earbud goes in which ear without actually looking. This is obviously not a problem exclusive to the Icon Series, but for whatever reason it seemed to stick out more with the Icon Series than with other models that we have tested in the past.

One thing we are happy to report is that the Icon Series did not have a problem with ear comfort after extended use, though this is something that may vary from person to person.

Sound

So, we were pleased with the design of the earbuds in regards to both style and ergonomics, but how do they measure up in regards to sound? Quite good, actually. "Hard to tell they are earbuds" may sound like a cliche, but for our purposes the staement was spot on. We tested the Icon Series in a variety of different situations, and in each one we were surprised at how well they performed. Using the Icon Series we were able to pick up sounds that we usually weren't able to catch unless we were listening through a dedicated audio receiver. Everything we fed into them came out rich, crisp and clear.

One particularly notable example of the testing that we did involved a specific track from the game Final Fight CD. What our testing usually finds is that anything short of dedicated equipment tends to have trouble discerning the opening bass line, particularly as the song goes on and the bass line is supplemented by other instruments. With the Icon Series though, we were pleasantly surprised to find that throughout the track we were able to easily identify individual instruments whenever we stopped to specifically listen for them. Another nice surprise we discovered was that not only did the Icon Series have a pretty acceptable amount of bass, but the bass never really became overpowering (not even for few songs where we thought that it would).

All told, after our testing was complete we really couldn't find much of anything we didn't like about how the Icon Series performed. Everything is rich and crisp (highs, mediums, lows, everything), and they also have what is basically the perfect amount of bass. They even do a pretty good job at keeping outside noises from bleeding in.

Conclusion

The Lift-Audio Icon Series are a very impressive package. They have fantastic audio quality and a strong, durable design. The $80 MSRP may seem a bit high for the typical music listener, but the quality that you get for your money easily offsets the price. Furthermore, as we go to press they are currently available for only $35 (Amazon Link). A price that low is practically theft for something this good. We at ASE Labs can easily recommend the Lift-Audio Icon Series Premium Earphones. The quality is great and the performance they bring to the table is outstanding.

ASE Publishing would like to thank Lift-Audio for making this review possible.

Comments

images/siteimages/upload/2011/01/24/4424lmk.jpg TRS Jack and Splitter images/siteimages/upload/2011/01/07/4425lh0.png Preview Pic images/siteimages/upload/2011/01/24/4428ltp.jpg Internals images/siteimages/upload/2011/01/24/4427ldu.jpg Packaging images/siteimages/upload/2011/01/24/4429lck.jpg Package Contents images/siteimages/upload/2011/01/24/4430ldk.jpg Package Contents Unbagged

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