No sooner had I reported this spring on the Flares Pro 2s – the latest in-ear headphones from Worthing’s inspirational audio cottage industry, Flare Audio – than I was summoned to the Olympic Studios cinema in Barnes for the announcement of earphones even further up the food chain, its Pro 2HDs. Can these phones really be better than the Pro 2s? I wish I could say the difference is infinitesimal, but it’s not.
They are, for me, the best in-ears on the market – as the original Pros were a couple of years ago and the Pro 2s in spring. But unless you’re listening to a fabulous recording, you won’t notice the effect of such microscopic refinements as coating the “acoustic lens” with rhodium. But with the right tracks… wow. The level of detail and depth is ear-boggling, the sound still completely natural and unenhanced by electronic jiggery-pokery. To see what I mean, sign up to Tidal’s £19.99-a-month master-quality streaming and try Dido’s new album, Still On My Mind, and Flare’s recommendation, Knights of Cydonia by Muse – a horrendous ball of noise that the Pro 2HDs somehow separate into its components.