“My Disdainful Encounter with $2,000 Earbuds at CES”

I really wanted to hate the $2,000 earbuds I tried at CES Instead, I need to hide my credit card away so Breggz won't bankrupt meLook, anyone who is saying they’re going to start selling a pair of $2,000 studio monitor-quality in-ear headphones had better show up with the receipts. I spoke with Breggz Audio‘s CFO, Jeroen van Els, to figure out what it was about these in-ear headphones that was so special. From there, the company fell into a rabbit hole of creating the best possible in-ear headphones. After the (admittedly brief) demo, van Els showed me the “transparency” mode, which meant he was able to talk to me while I was still wearing the earphones. For professional artists needing lower latency, we’re working on solutions to be introduced later,” van Els shares.

At CES, I had the chance to try out a pair of earbuds that cost a whopping $2,000. Naturally, I was skeptical. I mean, come on, for that price, I could buy Apple’s top-of-the-line AirPod Max headphones and still have enough cash left over for a MacBook Pro. But, I decided to give it a chance and speak with Breggz Audio’s CFO, Jeroen van Els, to see what all the hype was about.

“One of our founders is a performing artist in the Netherlands…why no consumer product was reaching these levels of audio quality,” van Els explained in our interview at CES 2024.

And so, began my journey to discover the truth about these expensive earbuds. I was amazed by the company’s dedication and determination to create the best quality in-ear headphones possible. However, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of cynicism wash over me as they revealed the price tag. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. I was given a demo set to try out and see for myself if they were worth the steep investment.

My skepticism quickly dissipated as I opened up the magnetic charging case. It unfolded like a Transformer, turning on a light at the top and booting up the circuits in the headphones. As I put them in my ears and “screwed them in” to secure them, I was immediately transported to a quiet oasis, blocking out the chaos of the busy show floor.

“One of the best audio experiences I’ve ever had,” I thought, as I was immersed in incredible bass and beautiful clarity at a surprisingly low volume.

But, of course, the price was still holding me back. And then, Breggz Audio showed me the “transparency” mode, which allowed me to hear outside noises while still wearing the earphones. They even sheepishly admitted that the active noise cancelling mode wasn’t fully functional yet.

“The peace I experienced was courtesy of noise isolation…without active noise cancellation turned on,” van Els admitted.

The company’s goal was to create wireless in-ear monitors that rivaled the quality of their wired counterparts. And, by incorporating a speaker, processor, and software for voice controls and instant translation, they succeeded. The earphones even use a modular “cartridge” approach for ease of repair and upgrades.

While the earphones still rely on Bluetooth technology, the company boasts the lowest latency on the market for everyday users. And for professional artists needing even lower latency, they have plans to introduce solutions in the future.

After my demo, I put in my trusty AirPod Pros, the usual companions on my daily adventures. But, in comparison, they sounded like utter garbage, even with active noise cancelling turned on.

Sometimes at CES, you come across a brand new technology that completely resets your expectations. And, for me, Breggz Audio’s $2,000 earbuds were that stand-out moment of awe and wonder.

So, the question remains: Are these earbuds worth the hefty price tag? Only time will tell. But for now, they have set a new baseline for what I expect from audio technology.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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