Consider this custom-fit in-ear monitor if: you would like what is without a doubt one of the quietest headphones on the planet (regardless of type). As is the case with great loudspeakers whose sonic excellence derives in part from superior enclosures, the Sensaphonics 2MAX in-ear monitor offers superior earpieces that block out more noise than most competing monitors can, in turn letting you hear more musical details and nuances for a breathtakingly intimate and focused listening experience. As you might expect, the 2MAX can be used successfully in noisy environments where other monitors would be far less enjoyable (because they would allow too much background noise to seep through).
Look further if: you require absolutely dead-neutral tonal balance. The 2MAX does show very slightly elevated response both in the mid-bass and upper-midrange/lower-treble regions, adding a subtle touch of dramatic emphasis that complements most types of music. But frankly, the 2MAX sounds so much clearer, more focused, and—here’s that word again—intimate than competing monitors that you might willingly overlook its minor deviations from strict tonal neutrality.
* Tonal Balance: 9
* Clarity: 9.5
* Dynamics: 10
* Comfort/Fit: 10 (But note: the insertion process for the Sensaphonics soft-gel silicone earpieces is somewhat more complicated and finicky than for equivalent acrylic earpieces; there is definitely a “learning curve” to master.).
* Sensitivity: 9 (But note: because the 2MAX provides backgrounds that are on the order of -10dB quieter than most, the monitors seems more sensitive than their printed specifications might lead you to expect).
* Value: 9.5
• Custom-fit, soft-gel silicone earpieces provide superb noise isolation (up to -37 dB), which makes the 2MAX the quietest headphone Playback has ever tested—regardless of type. Note that the 2MAX provides backgrounds said to be as much as -10dB quieter that those afforded by competing monitors, which is—trust us on this one—a very significant difference.
• High-quality, field replaceable signal cable is fitted with a gold-plated mini-jack and offered in either 52-inch, or optional 60-inch lengths.
• Passive two-way crossover.
• Uses two high-quality miniature balanced-armature type drivers.
• Comes packed in a clear hard shell Pelican road case that is custom labeled with the owner’s name. The case interior provides well-padded chambers both for the monitors and for accessories.
• Accessories include a cleaning tool (for removing ear wax from the monitor’s bore tubes), a 1/8-inch – 1/4-inch adapter, a shirt clip (mounted on the signal cable), and a fabric carrying pouch
Much like the JH Audio JH16 Pro in-ear monitors review in Playback 35, the Sensaphonics 2MAX monitors offer a quite substantial jump upward in performance relative to even the finest universal-fit in-ear monitors we have tested thus far.
First, there is the matter of noise isolation, where the 2MAX is quite simply the best performing headphone (of any type) that we’ve yet tested. Let me give you two analogies to help explain what wearing the 2MAX monitors is really like. First, to picture how dramatic the effects of the 2MAX earpieces really are, imagine you are visiting a recreational swimming pool where there is lots of outdoor activity and background noise, and that you have suddenly thrust your head beneath the surface of the water. Immediately, a huge portion of the background noise is blocked out, and what residual noise does remain becomes far less penetrating and distracting. Second, let me observe again that putting on the 2MAX monitors is a bit like paying a visit to an anechoic chamber in an acoustics lab. Background noises, which are much more present with us than we typically realize (even in seemingly “quiet” rooms), suddenly vanish so that we’re left only with very low-levels of residual noise. When the music comes on through the 2MAX, it appears against a deep, dark, comfortably silent background so that its intricacies and contours stand out in crisp, sharp relief. More than most in-ear headphones, the 2MAX’s help you grasp the fact that reduced noise and increased sonic resolution and detail are in reality two sides of the same coin; in truth, the two qualities travel together.