Audéo PFE 012 Perfect Bass review
As a company that produces hearing aids, Phonak ought to know a thing or two about sound quality. This bass-enhanced version of its Perfect Fit earphones has also been designed to block out background noise, so you can play music at a lower volume and protect your hearing.
The Perfect Bass phones are fairly generic in appearance, except for an L-shaped arm on the earpiece – they’re designed to be worn inverted, with the cable tucked over the top of the ear and hanging down behind. We found it slightly easier to keep them in the ear when worn the ‘conventional’ way up, though the sound quality is appreciably better when you wear them the way that Phonak intended, and the earpiece can get further into the ear canal. The sturdy cable feels like it’ll stand up to a fair amount of use, though there’s no remote. Phonak also provides three sizes of swappable earpiece.
We were generally impressed by the sound quality of these earphones. As the name suggests, bass is their greatest strength (and the area where other midrange in-ear headphones often fall down).
Our sample of bass-heavy disco showcased a decent percussive kick at the bottom end, although it couldn’t match the more expensive Shure or Altec Lansings for sheer power. Pushing the volume to get more out of the bass tended to make top-end effects and the female vocal uncomfortably shrill.
On less bassy acoustic tracks, the Phonaks were generally warm and pleasant to listen to, although they struggled to replicate the richness of classical piano, rendering it as somewhat manufactured-sounding. Rock music with a female singer sounded excellent.