The Rise of Wireless Audiophilia

Assuming Apple do the Apple thing and rid the next iPhone of its headphone jack, the bluetooth headsets and earphone market is going to explode. To be sure, hitherto products have been unsatisfying for audiophiles. Just over the horizon is Lear’s BTC-01, basically a Bluetooth amp/DAC into which you plug an earphone of your choice. Forget Astrapi. Your phone will be a wireless music server. Damn.

Of course, the BTC needs to be good. It needs to keep noise down, and output the right current into earphone loads. It needs to connect great signal from its DAC to its amp section. If it does all those things right, it has the potential to equalize the playing field among devices. Imagine, wireless stereo or balanced audio from your favourite earphones and favourite phone, tablet, or player. Leave your Mojo-Kai at home.

I’m certainly not a cable guy, but I’m excited. Decisions from big players like Apple challenge the market, open innovative cash streams, and invigorate apathetic market segments.

In preparation, I’ve been listening to Nuforce’s BE6i. It is nicely sized, but has a ribbon cable (which I dislike). It fits well, and if your source has decent Bluetooth, it stays connected pretty well. I can mow the lawn, sweep the house, or mash potatoes without dislodging it. I don’t have to string it through my shirt. No tangling. Not inadvertent ripping. I can make calls with it even if my phone is in another room. There’s little there for my daughter to yank. BE6i is bright with bass pressure just north of neutral. It’s not a typical audiophile earphone, but it sounds good and is easy to use. I’ll be reviewing it later.

Wireless earphones are the future for the mass market. I think our world (if you will allow me to call myself an audiophile) can also benefit from it.