Radius popped onto the scene this year with a collection of stylish, generally good-sounding earphones that were priced to sell and featured Japanese design characteristics indicative of their mother country. The company is now expanding its U.S.-based line to include the radHeadphone Live earphones, another good-looking pair that houses a set of titanium drivers in its earpieces. Like the well-received Atomic Bass earbuds, the Live earphones are heavy on the bass--too heavy at times--but these have a higher-quality build and a price tag to match ($79.99). While we appreciate the sleek and sturdy metal construction and warm audio response, the extra-heavy low-end can cause problems for certain songs.
The Radius Live earphones are nothing if not easy on the eyes. Each earpiece, available in Howling Silver or Savage Red varieties, is encased in brushed aluminum, which gives them a slick look and heavy-duty feel. A tiny pass-through speaker decks out the end of each piece and is likely designed to offer more open sound, though we didn't really notice this in listening tests. A Y-cable descends from the earbuds and terminates in a silver-accented straight plug after 22 inches. (The Y also features a slider to help prevent tangles.) That's not enough length to reach a pants pocket or bag, so Radius thoughtfully includes a 32-inch extender, which also features heavy silver accenting. Unfortunately, it's quite literally heavy, which can pull the 'buds out of the ears during movement.
Because of this issue, the Radius Live earphones don't offer the most secure fit while in motion, though they stay in place fine when we sit still. As such, they're not the best choice for active pursuits. Comfort is about average; we actually had to use a larger eartip than usual, due to the angled arms on each earpiece (the package includes S, M, and L silicone sleeves). Our ears did become sore after about an hour or so of wear. When you're not using the earphones, you can store them in the included soft travel pouch.
Sound quality through the Radius Live earphones is a bit of a mixed bag, though the titanium drivers do seem to produce nice, warm audio with a good amount of detail in the highs. However, bass response can be a bit of a problem. Hip-hop, pop, and dance sound quite good in general, benefiting from the extra-heavy low-end. With alt rock and some more minimalist electronica tracks, the low-end can be mushy and overpowering, lending a muffled quality to the music. For a few tracks, we even noticed some low-end distortion. In the end, the Live earphones are a better choice for those who don't have a wide variety of genres in their libraries (hip-hop and pop fans should be happy with them, though).