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Photos: Radius radHeadphone Live earphones

The Radius radHeadphone Live earphones are sleek, durable, and work well for hip hop and pop, but those with a more eclectic taste in music should steer clear due to the sometimes overpowering low-end.

Jasmine France
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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 $80 radHeadphone Live earphones, another good-looking pair that houses a set of titanium drivers in its earpieces.

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Even the packaging features Japanese styling. Our test sample came in a graffiti-covered box that advertised the headphones' compatibility with everything from thrash to sludge core to trance to "mixture." However, testing revealed the earbuds perform best with hip hop, dance, and pop.

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The Live earphones feature a Y-cable that descends from the earbuds and terminates in a silver-accented straight plug after 22-inches. Combine this with the hardware-bedecked extender cable and the set-up is straight-up heavy, which can pull the 'buds out of the ears during movement.

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Along with the extender cable, Radius includes a soft pouch for storing and transporting the earbuds when not in use. However, it doesn't provide the same level of protection that a hard-sided case would. Luckily, the earpieces seem sturdy, encased as they are in metal, and the cord is fairly thick.

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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. Our ears did become sore after about an hour or so of wear.

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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.

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