Traditionally, music lovers had to make a choice between convenience and sound quality when it comes to their headphones or headphones, but the Zorloo Zophia aims to give those folks the best of both worlds in one product. The Zophia is a set of true wireless headphones that can be connected to a wired digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and amplifier for lossless high-resolution audio from any computer or smartphone. Zorloo launches the Zophia as Kickstarter Campaign January 28.
If the Zophia delivers on Zorloo’s promises – and with that caveat, remember our general advice when it comes to any crowdfunding venture – these hybrid wireless headphones could provide a solution to a problem plaguing the world of wireless audio for years: Bluetooth headphones and earphones – even those that support Sony’s LDAC or Qualcomm’s aptX HD codecs – aren’t compatible with truly lossless audio, even at the lower end of lossless spectrum CD quality. As a wireless technology, Bluetooth simply does not have enough bandwidth to support lossless audio, which makes it incompatible with the large number of lossless audio tracks now available on Apple Music, Amazon Music , Tidal, Qobuz and other music streaming services.
This will eventually change for some phones and wireless earbuds/headphones as Qualcomm rolls out its aptX Lossless codec, but support for this new codec might be scarce for a while, and it’ll probably never come to devices. from Apple.
Zophia headphones come with a cable that incorporates a high-resolution DAC/amp. It’s the same technology you’ll find in the tiny Ztella DAC/amp dongle. Connecting this cable to headphones and a phone or computer simultaneously disables the Bluetooth radio and replaces the headphones’ ICs, turning them into a set of wired headphones. With a claimed frequency response of up to 40kHz, they should be able to reproduce the full range of Hi-Res audio tracks in wired mode.
It’s not the first time a company has given wireless earbuds the option of being wired – Motorola’s Tech3 uses a similar design – but the Zophias are the first to combine wired use with a high-resolution wireless connection. loss.
There are two versions of the USB-C DAC cable, one that supports PCM audio at sample rates up to 384 kHz and DSD audio up to 5.6 MHz, and a more expensive version which adds full MQA rendering (with a compatible app) along with PCM up to 768 kHz and DSD up to 22.5 MHz, which covers just about every lossless audio format you could ask for. Whichever cable you choose, there’s a USB-A adapter for use with a computer. There’s also a Lightning adapter for Apple’s iOS devices, but that’s an optional upgrade.
Zorloo cleverly designed the Zophia’s cable connection ports to be backwards compatible with standard 0.78mm 2-pin audio cables, so even if the included DAC cable is damaged, or you just want a way to use the headphones as direct analogs. in-ear monitors, you have another connection option.
When using the Zophia as wireless headphones, the feature set is a bit less impressive. There’s no active noise cancellation or transparency mode, and no wireless charging. Battery life seems adequate, at five hours per charge and a total battery life of 25 hours when you include the charging case.
The headphones are IPX4 rated for water resistance, so even a sweaty or rainy workout shouldn’t compromise their integrity. Zorloo supported Zophia SBC, AAC and aptX codecs and the earphones work on Bluetooth 5.2, so connectivity should be very stable. You’ll also be able to use each earbud independently for calls and music.
We’ll update this post when we find out what kind of pricing Zorloo has worked out for its campaign backers, as well as when we can expect the Zophia to hit regular retail sites like Amazon.