Photos: Ears-on with the wireless Sleek Audio SA6 earphones

Sleek Audio's high-end SA6 earphones are now available with Kleer wireless technology, and it's a whole load better than Bluetooth. Here's why

Nate Lanxon Special to CNET News
3 min read

Sleek Audio's SA6 earphones were previously just available as wired earphones, but can now be snagged in a pack that incorporates the wireless Kleer technology. This is ace, because Kleer is a truly lossless transmission method that transmits audio bit for bit, unlike Bluetooth, which uses lossy compression methods.

It works like this. A small adaptor plugs into any audio source, including iPods, iPhones, Sony Walkmans or even music phones with 3.5mm headphone sockets. Audio is sent wirelessly -- up to 18m away -- to the earphones, which couple together with a small loop and lightweight receiver around the back of the neck.

The Kleer technology means that if you rip your music in a lossless audio format, it's the same lossless audio you get coming from the earphones. This is in stark contrast to, say, the Etymotic ety8 'phones, which while offering gorgeous audio, still only deliver compressed sound quality over the damned Bluetooth.

All this is as useless as entering a beaver into a competition for sexy dogs, if the earphones themselves are useless. At £240, you may be pleased to hear that at least so far in our listening, they're not.

They're extremely comfortable sound-isolating earphones, with a notable strength with mid-range audio frequencies, delivering a warm, believable sound for vocals in particular. Bass isn't explosive, but it's tight and extremely well balanced.

This is a highly detailed earphone, brutally capable of bringing out the tiniest inconsistency or failing of a poor recording, on par with Etymotic's ER-6is.

They utilise a single armature in each earphone, and we're told it's the same armature used by Klipsch in one of its high-end earphone products. They respond to frequencies between 20Hz-20kHz, with an impedance of 50 Ohms and a sensitivity of 110dB/mW, and use a data rate of 2.4Mbps for transmitting the wireless audio.

Our criticism is that we can hear a very faint radio-like buzzing in the background. It's only really noticeable during silence or extremely quiet parts of songs, but it's definitely there. Considering the other strengths of this wireless earphone, it's not something we'd get hung up on for a second, but it's something to listen out for before purchasing.

We'll be giving these a full, detailed review very soon, but you can pick up a pair already from hifiheadphones.co.uk right now, in exchange for £240. At least as far as our very early listening tests have shown, these are almost certainly one one of the finest wireless audio products on the market today, but we'll be even more excited to hear the model that follows it up in future. Photos over the next few pages.

The wireless adaptor that transmits your audio.

It's not quite a seamless fit with some players, but it's no worse than any others we've seen.

The earphones and wireless transmitter charge over USB in about 3 hours, giving roughly 10 hours of continuous listening time.

The cables disconnect easily from the earphones, and a traditional wire is included in the box for use when wireless isn't appropriate, or if the batteries expire mid-album.