Headphone Review: AudioFly AF78

[IMG]
Audiofly | In-Ear Monitor | $ 199.99

Audiofly is a new company that really just started off this year announcing a new line of products during CES in January. Although they are still working on launching, I was able to get a model of their hybrid, dual-drivered AF78. Hybrids are becoming more and more popular, but are still a rare bunch having both a dynamic and balanced armature in their designs.  

Specifications

  • Driver Type: 9mm Dynamic (bass driver) + Balanced Armature (Mids/Highs)
  • Frequency Response: 18 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB

In the Box

  • Audiofly AF78
  • Carrying Pouch
  • Tin Case
  • Silicone Tips (S/M/L)
  • Comply Foam Tips
  • Cleaning Tool
  • Airplane Adapter
  • Splitter

Design

Audiofly is really keen on designing every single aspect of a pair of headphones. With the AF78, there is not one area of the IEM’s housing that hasn’t received an artistic touch. A beautiful, pill-shaped, gold boarder fences in each of the housings that reflects light brilliantly. While on the inside of the housing holds the Audiofly logo beveled in a shining silver and below it a subtle, dimpled black surface. Audiofly really made sure every single aspect of the housings were designed. The tips even have the Audiofly name on them. Overall, the attempt at design is successful as these are one of the most stunning IEMs I’ve seen to date.

[IMG]
Audiofly did a stellar job designing the AF78, it really just looks great.

Design: ★★★★★

Audio

What really intrigued me the most about these IEMs was the hybrid-driver setup, using one dynamic, which is naturally better for lows, and a BA which is better for clarity, detailing, and highs. Both of these come together to create a nice balanced signature that is quick, punchy in the low end. The mids hold a more powerful vocal-focused presentation. The highs reside just below the mids as a whole.

Bass

The AF78s have a single driver dedicated to the low end of the spectrum. This can be scary as many companies have overdone bass when doing this. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Audiofl did an absolutely beautiful job with the low end. It’s not too strong, but holds just enough impact to create a good presence of the mid-bass. The bass is quick, and punchy with speed that I wouldn’t imagine with a dynamic. The bass is able to dig deep enough to provide a great texture with ample presence. It does need to dig just a little deeper though. The AF78 walks the line of perfect bass, but misses it by a smidge.

Bass: ★★★★½

Mids

The midrange is vocal-focused on the AF78, however, the instrumentals are not forgotten about. They are a little brighter, focusing on the upper-end of the mids. This causes a slight loss of the lower-detailing and lushness in the vocals. Despite this, the upper-range is really strong, and detailed. Vocals do pop with good energy and power behind them while the clarity is just staggaring overall. Separation and layering is really great despite the small soundstage.

Mids: ★★★★½

Highs

The highs are a little recessed in comparison to both the lows and mids, but not enough to cause many major problems. The detailing isn’t as strong as I’d like in the higher-highs since they don’t extend as far as I’d like them to. This can also cause a bit of smearing at rare times. Sparkle is pretty good overall though and holds a bit of energy allowing high hats to really show through. Snare snaps smack with good authority and power as well to also add energy into the system. The highs are more reserved, but still great overall quality-wise.

Highs: ★★★★½

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

The build quality on the AF78 is good overall, with a few caveats though. To start off, Audiofly does offer users a nice pouch to go with their IEMs. The pouch is a little on the small side however, I’d rather have a pouch a little bigger so the IEMs fit a little less snug. However, you do have room for the headphones, but not much more.

[IMG]
The pouch is a little small for these IEMs, but are still able to fit them in snugly.

The housings are built out of plastic, but still feel nice and strong. With this bit of strength also includes a nice sturdiness they have. The material and craftsmanship on the housings is really high, and the nice large strain reliefs coming out of them makes it even better.

[IMG]
The housings are made of plastic, but is still strong despite that.

The cable is fabricated, and tangles a bit much for my liking. It is thick, and sturdy though, and also reinforced with Kevlar which makes feel strong. I did run into a weird thing though, while putting on my IEMs, I pull on the cable a bit while twisting the IEM into my ear. This activates the remote and mic when it shouldn’t. Hopefully mine is a lemon. There is a twisted cable design underneath the fabric which can help durability a bit as well.

The headphone jack is made of metal, and like the build of the rest of the headphones, really strong overall. The strain relief coming out of it does seem strong, but it is a little small. I would also have rather have an angled jack as those are stronger than straight ones.

[IMG]
The headphone jack is built strong.

Build: ★★★★

Comfort

The AF78 offers an asymmetrical design that doesn’t allow them to be worn up. This can become problematic as I am one to wear them up to avoid microphonics (more on this in a bit). Well, you can wear them up, but you have to swap the left and right earbuds. I normally don’t like doing this, but had to this time. Fit-wise, I had absolutely no problems with fit. Although only 3 tips were included, I was able to get a good seal with a comfortable fit.  The seal did feel a little weird, but didn’t hinder quality.  Foam tips are also included as well.

[IMG]
Three sets of silicone tips are included to ensure a good fit.

Comfort: ★★★★½

Value

The AF78 is Audiofly’s flagship model costing around 200 dollars. It’s not a cheap price, but with the audio quality you’re getting, it is actually priced competitively. The design, audio quality, even the build are all worth it at this price. What will drive you away though is really going to be the microphonics. When I said I had to wear these IEMs up, I meant it in this sense. Even when wearing them over the ear, I had problems with microphonics. A clip did help, but didn’t prove to be the solution. To further add, Audiofly didn’t include a clip either. If there is reason to not use this IEM, it is the microphonic nature of this IEM.

Another thing is that a remote and mic is included as well. This is a definite plus for smartphone users. However, I found the single button remote to be a little too sensitive. I’d touch the button, not even realizing I’d pressed it. Double clicks are a little touch, triple clicks are about as hard as I’ve had with a remote and mic.

[IMG]
Whenever I put these IEMs into my ear, the remote and mic seems to activate.

Value: ★★★★

Final Thoughts

Audiofly did a great job showing that they do know audio, and know how to tune it as well with the AF78. The dual, hybrid-driver design is strong, and used to their advantage offering strong, fast, punchy lows but clear and powerful mids and highs. Microphonics is something that kills these IEMs though. If you can get around that, these are definitely worth taking a look into.

I’d like to thank Carol for the review sample.

Overall Score

[IMG]

Audiofly AF78

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Carol for the product sample.
Post a response / What do you think?