Headphones Roundup: Polk Nue Voe, Phiaton MS 100 BA, and TunePhonik iZX5

I conducted an extensive review of three headphones. This review includes aesthetics, features, and sound. Like many areas of modern electronics, hundreds of headphones exist in a seemingly infinite variety of shapes and sizes. The most important element though, is good fit and good sound. Beyond that, nothing else really matters.

I used the headphone and earphone check suite from http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php to determine sound characteristics of the products.

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1. Polk Nue Voe ($129.95)

4 out of 5 stars

Polk is a well-established name in headphones and their Nue Voe provides an excellent in-ear listening experience via the balanced-armature design. The gold-plated angled connector fits easily on most iPhone and iPad cases. Unique in-ear loop helps seat the headphones.

Pros: Great sound and sophisticated looks. Best carrying bag and bag closure, and widest range of ear tips in silicon and memory foam. Three-button controller.

Cons: Performed very well on sound tests, but not as well as the Phiaton (see chart below).


Phiaton MS 100 BA ($99)

4 out of 5 stars

In this test, the Phiaton MS 100 BA offered superior sound enclosed in a very highly engineered product design. The black metal body with a sleek red cable looks awesome. The oval cable cuts down on snares and the proprietary technology reduces cable touch noise. The earphones also use balanced-armature drivers.

Pros: Great sound. The best sound isolation in this test at a very reasonable price.

Cons: Less intuitive audio controls than the Polk. Carrying pouch could use more secure closure.


TunePhonik iZX5 On-Ear Headphones ($49.99)

2 out of 5 stars

These on-ear headphones fold into an included pouch to provide a reduced travel footprint. That’s not a good way to start a review. While the audio tests were mostly in-line with the competitors in this roundup, these headphones' on-ear feel really brought down the score. The ear cushions feel cheap compared to sleek exterior and solid engineering on the folding headband. At only $49.99 list, something has to give though.

Pros: Good sound for the price. Nice looking, sleek modern exterior design with folding option. No-tangle flat cable removes from headset. 

Cons: Ear cushions don’t offer good fit and they certainly aren’t “noise-cancelling” as stated on the product description. The website also suggests they work well for workouts, but in my experience, I felt they weren’t secure even when sitting down. Embossed left and right labels behind ear cushions are difficult to find, even harder to read.


Audio Test Results

Product Low Frequency Treble Extension Dynamic Range Wiring Binaural Test
Polk Nue Voe 20 Hz 16 kHz 72db Clear L/R Good
Phiaton MS 100 BA 10 Hz 16 kHz 84db Clear L/R Best
TunePhonik iZX5 On-Ear Headphones  10 Hz 15 kHz 84db Pop in right channel during left channel test Background noise & distortion

Tests conducted via http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php

Note: Frequency tests can be affected by the hearing range of the tester. 



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Author Details

Daniel Rasmus's picture

Author Details

Daniel Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus is the Founder and Principal Analyst at Serious Insights. He is the author of Listening to the Future, Management by Design and Sketches of Spain and Other Poems. Rasmus teaches at Bellevue College where he teaches Social Media and Personal Branding.