If modular headphones are the future, Torque Audio is leading the pack with their innovative t096z earbuds and t402v headphones. This isn’t Torque Audio’s first go-round in this area — the inventor of the TorqueValve debuted his vision of the future of headphones almost two years ago with the Torque t103z in-ear headphones. So this is an innovation that goes beyond design or wireless capability.
Like its predecessor, the new t096z in-ear headphones feature six interchangeable TorqueValves that audiophiles and music aficionados can swap out according to their sound preference. No matter what your taste, there is a valve that is bound to satisfy: reference, clear, deep, balanced, smooth or bliss are all included. Each one highlights a specific tone or sonic. So if for example, you’re in the mood for a deeper sound, grab the yellow TorqueValve and experience the full bodied sensation that particular valve exhibits.
Along with a large collection of valves, Torque Audio also includes five noise-reducing silicone ear tips. There is even a silicone StabilizerRing included for those with smaller ears that always suffer from ear tips that slip out while walking or running. Lastly, one of the more impressive features on both the t096z earbuds and t402v headphones has to be the wire. While other companies may overlook this somewhat boring feature, I can’t help but be impressed by the look, feel, and durability.
“I wanted to get the cable just right, and we went through many in order to get where we are today. I didn’t want to send something out I couldn’t stand behind.”
Torque Audio co-founder, Yasu Yamamoto
Torque Audio is truly setting the stage for the future of headphones, delivering a delicious package of sound and design. Nothing exemplifies that more than the introduction of the t402v headphones, expertly crafted to challenge high-end consumer audio brands like Bowers & Wilkins and even B&O.
The t402v is a one-of-a-kind headphone that includes both interchangeable on-ear and over-ear pads. The pads easily snap on and off the headset. If you’re in the mood for some higher frequencies, just rotate the ear pad to the desired bass level and you will instantly hear a difference. Rotate it again, and you’ll experience something entirely different. The ear pads are comfy and fit snugly on your ears, whether it is the on-ear or over-ear version. We will admit that the spring steel reinforced headband on the t402v is a bit top heavy, but even so, they look so impressive that heaviness is easily forgiven. The headphones are also not foldable but because the ear cups articulate, they will lay flat.
The t096z earbuds and t402v headphones sound absolutely amazing and it truly comes down to the quality audio you plan on listening to. If you are just going to stream low bit rate audio files, then save your money because these headphones are reserved for fine audio connoisseurs. The t096z outputs a crisp, clean sound and its flexibility allows audio junkies to swap ear pads for any particular mood. One day you can be balanced, another day – a headbanger.
The t402v headphones have a great sound that really brings to life anything you listen to, but especially classic rock. I thought that Mick Jagger was sitting in the room with me at times! If you are more of a fan of over-ear type of headphones, just snap those ear pads on and the soundstage instantly becomes wider versus the narrow soundstage of the on-ear pads.
Whatever your musical taste is, Torque’s collection of headphones is going to satisfy even the pickiest sound snobs. It’s as if you are getting multiple pairs of headphones for the price of one. The design, sound, and innovative concept is beyond anything we have seen to date and truly one of a kind when it comes to rethinking headphone engineering. Torque Audio has seriously hit it out of the park with these two offerings. If you want to grab a pair for yourself the t096z earbuds are retailing for $329.95 and the t402v headphones are available for $399.95.
The Good: Torque has upped the ante and is delivering not one but two modular headphones. Great design quality. No matter what your taste, there is a sound for everyone. These are headphones any audiophile or casual audio fan will want in their collection.
The Bad: The t402V is top heavy when wearing for long periods of time. The t096z’s cable is a bit long and can get caught on things.