Today, we certainly can’t complain about the excellent quality of headphones. Yet, despite Apple’s AirPods Max or Sony’s WH series, for example, there is still a lot to be gained when it comes to the audio quality of a headset. Sonos had grand plans for this, but is a big unknown to take credit for a wireless lossless Wi-Fi headset.
Audio giant Sonos, known for excellent speakers among other things, has been clamoring for some time that they are coming out with a lossless wifi headset. But when the company’s CEO reported that they wanted to focus only on existing product groups, things went quiet around this new project.
HED picks up the baton from Sonos
We were already hoping for a WiFi headset with lossless audio and promptly assumed that Sonos, in particular, would grant that wish this year. However, the relatively unknown company HED picked up the baton and is coming out with the HED Unity this year. HED is a start-up from Switzerland and is trying to release a device that has that unique feature.
This is because the AirPods Max or the Sony WH-1000XM5 (considered excellent headphones in their price range) cannot do one thing: wireless lossless audio. That’s why enthusiasm was high when it was rumored that Sonos was working on such headphones. So HED beat the company to the punch, claiming that the Unity is capable of pushing “full fidelity” at 24bit/96kHz, something existing headphones thus cannot do.
What is lossless audio?
Lossless audio is a digital audio format that retains the original quality of recorded audio without any compression or data loss. For example, MP3 omits some of the original data to create smaller file sizes. Lossless formats such as FLAC, ALAC or WAV give you all the original data, resulting in a more accurate and higher-fidelity reproduction of the original recording. Lossless audio is often preferred by audiophiles and music professionals who demand the best possible sound quality.
Time to party? Not quite yet. For example, the highest quality of Apple Music is “only” 24bit at 192kHz. And if you want to enjoy that quality, wired headphones are a must (for now). A DAC player is also damn handy. This does mean that Unity is prepared for the future.
Now, as a consumer, you still have the option of waiting for the AirPods Max 2. But a release date for the successor is still unknown. Even in terms of rumors, it remains anxiously silent. Waiting for Sonos headphones is also an option, but it is far from certain that they will ever arrive.
Top quality at a top price
In terms of specs, you certainly can’t complain if you buy a Unity. The HED headphones have a frequency response range of 20Hz-22kHz (and that highest is actually already inaudible). In addition, then, you get lossless audio thanks to WiFi streaming.
If that’s not enough: if you don’t have a wifi connection, you can of course use Bluetooth 5.3. There are also 12 microphones that help with noise reduction, among other things.
So the HED Unity’s sound (theoretically) like a dream, but you also have to cough up quite a few bucks for that. They cost “only” 2,000 euros, a price a Sonos headset probably would have as well. So now we’re curious to see how good they sound compared to other high-end headphones.