AudioFly splash image

Always on the hunt for the perfect pair of headphones, I spent a lot of time at CES digging around with audio companies that made iPhone compatible options. I noticed Audiofly received a CES 2013 Design and Engineering honor and made it a point to stop by the booth. That visit may have been my best choice of the whole show.

Before going any further, I will put my disclaimer in the introduction. These are probably the best earbuds I have ever had the pleasure of using, or reviewing. To prevent everyone from thinking I am getting paid by Audiofly for this review, these are my honest and open opinions, as always. I receive no compensation from the company for my posts, merely the media sample. If you are further concerned, I suggest you read our official review disclaimer.

Moving along, these are extremely impressive earbuds. I am shocked at their balance, tone, clarity and high profile design. Take a step inside for a gushing review of the AF78’s by Audiofly. Most importantly, I present to you one of the best giveaways on iDB. To help one of you experience the incredible sound, I worked with the company to provide a giveaway model of the AF78’s. Headphone connoisseurs rejoice…

Design

Actually a 2012 release, the AF78’s are the flagship earbuds of the entire Audiofly consumer market line. Before getting the earbuds in my hand, even the packaging impressed. A well built, canvas covered, magnet closure box holds the buds in a custom cut foam encasement. Each bud is carefully placed in a small chamber, along with a customized carrying tin with a felt lined interior. Below the top tray, custom cut compartments hold the five alternate earbud tips, airplane adapter, 3.5mm splitter, and a cleaning brush. A complete package, that I would expect at the price point.

AudioFly AF78 schematic

The earbuds are well crafted, extremely lightweight, and very comfortable. (1) Machined and anodized alloy housings utilize laser cut vented grills to optimize airflow and acoustics. (2) Custom voiced 9mm dynamic driver works in harmony with (3) a balanced armature driver to provide detailed highs, crisp mids, and rich lows, which I can confirm from several months of testing. (4) The cable strain relief prevents the cord from snapping or bending at the connection point. (5) An acoustically engineered sound port directs audio directly into the ear canal. (6) The buds come with high grade silicon tips, six sizes included, and Comply Foam compression tips, two sizes included, which help create a seal in the ear with a customized fit.

Granting a larger range of audio waves, the frequency response is 18-22KHz, giving greater separation. Impedence of 16Ohms is very low, specifically for low powered devices, still granting excellent volume levels. The Audioflex braided cable uses kevlar conductors for strength and a CORDURA nylon exterior knitting for durability. Tipped with a 3.5mm gold plated studio quality jack, an in-line microphone and single button control are included.

Comply Foam T 500

All of these characteristics combine for great comfort and excellent sound. I am particularly pleased with the Comply Foam tips, included with the purchase. A patented technology, these tips are designed with viscoelastic polyurethane foam that uses a heat-sensitive technology, readily conforming to the ear canal for precision noise-isolation. The tapered shape continues the sound port (from above, #5) direction straight into the ear. To ensure the proper listening experience, Audiofly teamed with Comply, assumedly because their buds are researched and excellent quality. I loved them so much, I ordered three more additional sizes in red.

Audio

A headphone can be well built, but the sound is obviously essential to the experience. Sure, it can look great, feel amazing, and include a nice in-line mic, but at the bottom line, the listening experience is paramount to looks. As I mentioned above, these are the best headphones I own, or have listened to in my current memory.

After the first few seconds with the AF78’s, I was hooked. Now, I am walking around the house with headphones in my ears. They have really taught me a new appreciation for my music. I listened to a variety of genres for this review and the breakdown is below.

AF78-MarqueBlack

Classic Rock – Overall, I found this genre to be the most responsive. Settling in with albums by Chicago, Eagles, and Pink Floyd, the crisp, clear, and detailed sound of the guitar was a new experience. Truly, the quality is unmatched by many other high-end headphones from other reviews. It is as if I could hear the individual vibrations from the guitar and even pick up the movement of fingers across the strings. The quality is nothing less than superb. To further describe the experience would only dilute my opinion.

Pop – Next in line is modern pop music, where the buds were quick to keep up with the catchy beats within the song’s hook. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Maroon 5 sounded extremely well with the steady bass lines getting as much attention as the mid to high range vocals. Again, “clarity” and “detail” are excellent adjectives for the listening experience.

Hip/Hop and R&B – I must say, TLC has come back from 1994 in a big way for me. The smooth rhythm and vocals bode well when produced by the AF78’s. Along with Wiz Khalifa, Macklemore, and Ludacris, the bass line is strong and solid. Again, I would argue “balanced” defines this genre. After a while, I started to question if other previously used headphones were too intentionally bass heavy. It seemed, the balance on the bass hits, in contrast to the vocals and other instrumentation, simply sounded better with this unit. Often, other headphones lean on the lower end of the spectrum and forget about diversifying the listening experience. Thankfully, the AF78’s are not “other” headphones.

Dubstep – This category is the weakest of the bunch. With extremely heavy bass and little or no mids to highs, the AF78’s did lack slightly in this category. If you prefer an extremely bass heavy experience, these are not your preferred headphones. With balance and detail being the shining experience, Audiofly is not particularly concerned with a bass only genre. Now, will they do the trick? Certainly, but jaw shattering low-end music is not the goal of this model.

Classic – Specifically, Attaboy, a single by Stuart Duncan, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, and Yo-Yo Ma, sounded excellent. A 100% string performance is amazing through the AF78’s. The whine of the violin and the pull on the cello is clearly definitive. Copland’s Appalachian Spring is equally impressive with a full symphonic production.

Personal reaction

Making no attempt to leash my preference for these headphones, I’m certain to receive several accusations in the comment section below about alleged payment for my lustful review of the AF78’s. Let me take another moment to ensure you, this is not an ad. The finesse, clarity, and definition in the sound produced by these earbuds is astonishing and, after listening to them for about two months, I have not changed my mind.

There is something intimate and raw, yet refined, about the sound quality and clarity. I rarely walk around the house listening to headphones because of my home theater sound system. However, since receiving the AF78’s I have spent more time listening through my headphones than the sound system. Additionally, I have taken to playing my iOS games with these headphones. Particularly, BADLAND, which is currently free in celebration of the App Store 5th anniversary. The detailed soundtrack and SFX in Badland are crisp through the buds.

Really, these headphones border on the edge of ear monitors and regular headphones, blurring the line between studio grade and consumer models. As such, I would have loved a longer cable option. It should be easy to accommodate, just give the option of an extra long cable as a checkout item on the website. I feel like many users would value the extra length. An amplifier 3.5mm converter jack would be awesome too.

If you are in the market for a high-end, premium pair of headphones, this should be your first stop. Any earbud that makes me want to listen to music will always receive high praise in my book. I am not the first person who is going to sit around and listen to music, but the AF78’s make me think twice about walking around the house without these buds in place. And, they are just so comfortable, it is hard to resist.

AudioFly AF78 cable

Conclusion

The only thing I was shocked to determine is the lack of MFI certification. The in-line microphone is a one button only system. Consequently, there is no option to control the volume during playback. Any premium product should include this option for Apple users. To leave the feature out is borderline negligent at this point in the Apple product line.

The AF78’s version with in-line microphone retails for $209.95, but are currently on sale through Amazon for the amazingly low price of $142. The AF78’s without a microphone can be nabbed at $127. At those prices, it is an immediate purchase for me. Considering the competition at that price range, the AF78’s are an absolute must-have.

Giveaway

What do you have to do to win?

We are excited to team up with AudioFly to give away a pair of earbuds! Yes, international readers rejoice, as this opportunity is for everyone. Follow the next steps to enter for your chance to win. It is a big giveaway so you will have a work a little harder:

Thanks again to Audiofly for sending over the review unit and we look forward to selecting a winner by week’s end. You will be contacted via Twitter DM if you have won!

Winner announced!

Thanks again to everyone that entered our contest and extra thanks to Audiofly for participating. Congratulations to @RossSimpson, who will be getting a pair of AF78’s! Check back often for more giveaways, as there are always some in the pipeline.

[iDownloadBlog review disclaimer statement]

  • justjake926

    Twitter: @justjake926
    I’ve been searching for the perfect set of headphones. I think these may be it. I’d listen to these everywhere!

  • Michael Hames

    The thing that first struck me about these headphone is how awesome they look- amazing!!!!! @michaelhames

  • luk

    I’m @lukfunk and I’d love them for walking/biking. Hopefully the cable is as robust as it looks.

  • AK7579

    Twitter: @AK7579:disqus

    I love the design. Simple yet elegant with their black and chrome styling and the braided black and white cord. These would be great for the office and the gym.

  • Joseph Bonondona

    Twitter: @joebones265 The earplugs are the best feature fits like a glove would be using when going to the gym

  • David Giles

    Twitter: @dg1423

    I tried posting earlier but I guess disqus ate my comment?

    Anyways I love the dual driver design and totally look forward to hearing the difference that having separated lows and highs sound through an earbud.

    I would use them everywhere! But I would probably find them most useful for mixing tracks and editing audio clips if they really are as even sounding as you say.

  • Radek

    Twitter: @radek_ko

    I love the look of the Audioflex cable. These will be great to use in the office to blockout the open plan noise and let me concentrate on my work

  • prismperfect

    Twitter: prismperfect

    Tweet: https://twitter.com/prismperfect/status/357502067889283072

    I love the design, I would definitely use these at work, I practically live in earbuds, all day listening to podcasts at work, and working out in the evenings!

  • Shiv

    @hivestrung

    My favourite feature of the AF78’s is the acoustically engineered sound port that directs audio directly into the ear canal, not to mention the Comply foam tips that come with it. I love this, because Comply’s tips are amazing at noise isolation the directing of the audio directly into the ear canal would minimize muffling of the sound and result in a cleaner, clearer, and better sound quality overall (and as reviewed, it delivers on this and has greater “clarity” and “detail”). I especially love the fact that these are good with classical and pop music as I listen to them more than other genres.

    I would use these earbuds in the train, bus, at home while studying, and pretty much anywhere (:

  • Leo Aquino

    Twitter: @LeO96Aq

    I like its design and how the cord is connected because they tend to break, also im sure they sound great with any music genre 🙂

  • Hohenheimsenberg

    @Hohenheimsenberg:disqus

    My favorite feature would be the cord, it looks like it will last a long time since I always break my earphones. I use them while I’m programing.

  • Josh

    Twitter: @jeesh101

    I love the fact that they cater to all music types, I could be listening to dubstep in one moment and rock in the next so I’d really love a set of headphones that create excellent sound quality for a broad range of genres.

  • Baydin Inc

    This review made me feel really dumb for still using the default Apple headphones that came with my phone. I’ve been missing out on so much! Time to upgrade.

  • Nicholas Huynh

    I like that the AF78s can produce superb quality sound comparable to top tier over the ear headphones despite being earbuds. I have a big head so headphones get uncomfortable, so I prefer earbuds (but yet to find one that produces quality sound). -@confuscion

  • Ninetyeagle

    Twitter: @ninetyeagle

    i loves all high quality earpods which is like this, and love the design as well, The name is good also Audio Fly. Cheers!

  • Diego Morales Servìn

    @DMSDAG
    My favourite feature would be the compression tips since I love in-ear headphones but most of them don’t fit my weird ear well, and I probably would use them everywhere to test the quality mentioned in the article

  • steve weber

    Twitter: @groogruxking40

    I love the design, and how its backed up by amazing performance.

  • Reda A Al-Baqshi

    I like the great sound it delivers, and the great quality it has. I would use them mostly at the gym. twitter: @Reda_Baqshi

  • Aaron

    Twitter: @StryderWilk

    I would use these quite a bit. I really like the nylon knit cord! They are a real step up from the rubberized cords that come on most headphones.

  • David Castaneda

    @ truthincasta
    My favorite feature would have to be the engineering design for the headphones. The build quality looks superb and they are gorgeous.

    I would use these all the time, train, gym… Etc. My music helps me escape and with the right kind of headphones I can further appreciate my surroundings. What’s life without music?

  • John Carlson

    Twitter: @juanpantalones

    I like the design and the balance of sound they produce

  • Mouhdia

    @mouhdia26

    I love the design and the quality i’d use these at the gym

  • Tahir Ahmetovic

    Twitter: @FaZeTahirrr

    I like the dubstep sound and i would use these everywhere i allways have headphones in my ears thanks iDB team and thanks audiofly

  • BenTen

    Twitter: @BenTenATL

    These look pretty amazing!

  • Asaf Fishkin

    @asafishkin
    I’m always looking for a better sounding earbuds… I’ve had so many. Maybe the search is over. Looks like it.
    I’ll use it mainly for commuting and listening to music while walking the dog. Also, they might work well with my band at live shows.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  • André Lima

    @Andrebattata
    The cord material looks pretty durable. I would use it most to play guitar on my ipad.

  • Ricky (cl1ck4207)

    I love the style of these very slick 🙂 nice rugged cord as well less likely to tangle , I would use these everywhere, mainly at work to brag about my sweet headphones lol. @cl1ck4207

  • Jesse Chiarolla

    @batshoes
    I love the look of them. I would listen to them everywhere.

  • Ricky

    Congrats rosesimpson! Btw i havent received the earskinz its quite some day since i emailed my addres

  • rosssimpson

    Woo I won 🙂

    • JimGresham

      Congrats!

  • Athanasios Pap

    The Design is awesome!
    @athanasiospap