Replaceable cables make the brand new Carbon mannequin an excellent higher worth proposition
Amazing element and readability for the cash
Wired listening delivers best-quality audio
Periodic Audio’s Carbon in-ear headphone delivers hypnotizing element and a compellingly immersive listening expertise.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today
Periodic Audio made its identify with in-ear displays (aka headphones) designed by a workforce relentless in its pursuit of most sonic excellence at every mannequin’s worth level. The vary has no flashy brand, no bespoke industrial design, simply unbelievable hi-fi efficiency for the worth.
The $499 Carbon in-ear headphone is the corporate’s flagship product, and Periodic Audio’s latest redesign is a group of small modifications that add as much as an enormous improve. This headphone calls for that you simply concentrate on its assigned process. If you’re a multitasker hooked on scrolling by way of social media and watching sports activities on TV whilst you’re enjoying music, the Carbon will inevitably hijack your consideration and the opposite stuff will simply fade away. They’re so good at sucking a listener into their orbit that I’d hesitate to make use of them whereas utilizing public transport or strolling round city.
I’ve owned the earlier era of Carbon, and I’ve constantly used it after I’m listening to mixes or any time I wish to concentrate on the small print of a brand new track. It was an impressive in-ear monitor, however the brand new model is a welcome enchancment.
James Barber / IDG
What’s new with the PE Carbon
Periodic Audio has made some main enhancements within the cables and the earpiece housings. Most importantly, they’ve changed the cable with a detachable and replaceable 3mm TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) to a detachable twin 2.5mm TS model. If you ever want a brand new one, Periodic will promote you the Ag cable for $79.
I at all times felt like the unique cable was a bit skinny and fragile, though the corporate says the cable break charge on the previous model was solely 0.3 to 0.4 p.c. I’ve no purpose to doubt these numbers, however that doesn’t imply a variety of customers weren’t nervous about sturdiness. Periodic was clearly paying consideration, and this new choice is incredible, even when in follow the brand new cables solely make us really feel higher concerning the repairability of a considerable funding, versus fixing an precise breakage downside. That doesn’t make this new cable any much less superb.
To hold the earbuds as small as doable whereas offering the removable cable, Periodic Audio developed its personal 2.5mm jack, dubbed the IDEEL (IEM Direct Electrical Engagement Link) connector. The firm says it’s the world’s smallest 2.5mm jack, measuring simply 3.6mm throughout with a mounting depth of 9.5mm.
The different massive information is that the earbud housings at the moment are comprised of Eastman’s Tritan copolyester thermoplastic, the identical substance used to make the nearly indestructible plastic containers for Vitamix blenders. Periodic Audio says the fabric can also be higher for audio functions than both polycarbonate or ABS, and that the redesigned Carbon is the primary headphone to make use of the fabric.
Same nice sound
The second-gen Carbon’s transducers are the identical ones discovered within the unique product and make the most of a lab-grown diamond layer (8 microns thick) on a proprietary high-temperature polymer substrate. The transducer diaphragm is manufactured from carbon in a diamond lattice, its transducer is a proprietary polymer, the body is 315 stainless-steel, and the magnet is N48H-grade neodymium.
In the field
In addition to the earbuds and the cable, you get 9 pairs of ear ideas: Three sorts (single-flange silicone, dual-flange silicone, and reminiscence foam) in three sizes (small, medium, and huge). Periodic additionally features a gold-plated 1/4-inch TRS adapter, a gold-plated dual-mono airplane adapter, and a pair of hooks you need to use to string the cable round your ears. In lieu of a flimsy carry again, you get a steel screw-top journey case. This final accent resembles a smokeless tobacco tin, and it slides simply as simply into the again pocket of a pair of denims.
I examined the Carbon with newest model of Periodic Audio’s Nickel transportable headphone amp ($299). The modifications to the latter are excess of beauty; Periodic has considerably improved an already excellent piece of substances. The second-generation Nickel is manufactured from the identical almost indestructible Tritan materials as the brand new Carbon. The enter arrow is now debossed and the output arrow embossed, so you possibly can simply work out which port to make use of simply by contact.
Periodic Audio additionally redesigned the amp’s internals, transferring the facility provide and battery charger away from the audio parts. This change has lowered the noise flooring on the Nickel, that means the sign, noise, and distortion (SINAD) is larger, whereas the entire harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) is decrease.
James Barber / IDG
The Nickel’s battery has grown from 260mAh to 400mAh, yielding a run time of 14 to 16 hours on a full cost that solely takes half-hour. This headphone amp is totally tiny and, whereas it’s designed to work with Periodic Audio’s personal gear, the Nickel will enhance the element from any headphone you wish to use with a cell system.
Listening to a lossless stream of Brian Eno’s 1974 album Here Come the Warm Jets actually reveals off the Carbon’s strengths. There’s simply the correct amount of area between the pulsing bass and relentless hi-hat in “Baby’s on Fire.” There’s a definitive interaction between the devices right here as a substitute of the standard brick wall of beat that you simply’ll expertise listening to those songs on much less detailed audio system.
“Sacrifice” from the Weeknd’s newest album Dawn FM goals to replace the bass-forward vibe of traditional tracks like Chic’s “Good Times” or Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” with one thing equally slinky however much more earthshaking on the low finish. The Carbon is greater than able to reproducing that further rumble with out distortion.
The Carbon is particularly good for hip-hop listening. Earl Sweatshirt’s latest single “2010” shines, with a Black Noi$e manufacturing that includes skittering keyboards racing forwards and backwards by way of the stereo subject and a chill-but-brutal beat that feels prefer it’s randomly whacking you upside the top.
Carbon vs. Beryllium
What’s the distinction between Periodic Audio’s prime two in-ear headphones? The $499 price ticket on the Carbon is $100 greater than the $399 Beryllium. They’re each excellent headphones and which pair works greatest for you is dependent upon your private preferences.
The Carbon gives extra element and determination, to the purpose the place it’s doable to establish particular person tracks and their respective quantity rides throughout mixdown. The Beryllium has only a shade much less element, which might make a track’s combine sound extra like a coherent complete.
I’ll take the spectacular element of the Carbon each time, however the Beryllium gives an equally compelling expertise that few headphones on this worth vary can match.
In the top, Periodic Audio is promoting you a superior audio expertise. There’s no way of life branding that may entice strangers to ask what you’re carrying. The Carbon is so feature-free that you simply might need a tough time explaining to somebody why it price a lot when, at first look, they appear like the earbuds airways promote you for $2 on the aircraft.
Music devotees gained’t care, as a result of this headphone sounds pretty much as good as rivals that price twice as a lot—it’s a kind of fantastic belongings you purchase for your self as a result of you already know what you want and you’ll afford it.
Periodic Audio makes the Carbon (and the Beryllium and the Nickel) within the U.S.. This is a small firm with a definitive imaginative and prescient about how headphones ought to sound, and it builds gear that delivers superb efficiency for the worth.