By Andrew Liszewski
If you’re looking to upgrade the less than amazing white earbuds that came with your iPhone or iPod with something that costs in the neighborhood of 10X the price of your device, a Japanese company called Final Audio Design will happily take your money. In exchange for ~$2,700 (on the high end) you’ll have your pick of one of the four different earbud types in their Piano Forte X-VII series. Besides a massive 16mm driver which is going to produce an impressive amount of sound, the Piano Forte earbuds are actually made from milled metals, designed to mimic the performance and sound of a horn shaped loudspeaker.
You have your choice of copper with gold or ion plating (the X-G & X-CC models) stainless steel with a polished finish (the IX) or brass with gold plating (the VIII) with each producing slightly different sound characteristics based on your personal acoustical tastes. While I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to stick metal buds in my ears on a cold Winter’s day, according to the Final Audio Design website it’s a better alternative to soft silicon pads which can “introduce tiny vibrations that distort sound.” I have no doubt these earbuds sound great, but I’m finding it hard to believe they could ever sound amazing enough to justify their asking price.