New trio of Blue headphones feature built-in amps for audiophile sound on the go

Blue might be a company best known for its microphones, but in the past few years it has launched some ambitious headphones as well, many of which featured built-in amplifiers for higher-quality sound, no matter the source. The company is keeping that tradition going with the announcement of its two newest wired headphones — the Ella and Sadie — and the new Satellite, which offers both a built-in amplifier and noise canceling.

If you’ve seen the company’s previous headphones, both the Ella and Sadie headphones will look fairly familiar, thanks in part to the race car-inspired, multijointed headband used by both. That said, what’s inside these new headphones is a departure, especially in the case of the Ella.

The Ella

“Ella is a planar magnetic headphone with a twist — it delivers both superior detail and musical impact,” Blue Microphones CEO John Maier said in a statement. “Typical planar magnetic headphones sacrifice impact to achieve higher levels of detail, leaving a sound that’s more clinical than emotional. And traditional dynamic headphones are great at delivering the power and punch that most of us are used to but can’t transmit the detail planar does. Ella is the first headphone that combines the best of both worlds to offer both punch and precision.”

The Ella features a built-in 250-megawatt “audiophile amp,” and is the first planar magnetic headphone to do so, according to Blue. The amp powers the 50mm x 50mm drivers, which are self-tensioned for fast response and accurate sound. To ensure that the headphones sound the best they can, they are hand-assembled in small batches.

The Sadie

The Sadie headphones swap out planar magnetic drivers for 50mm dynamic drivers, bringing down the price, but that doesn’t mean these are low-end. Like the Ella, these headphones feature a built-in amplifier that Blue says takes the burden of powering the headphones off of the source, allowing any laptop or mobile device to easily power them.

“Sadie is the exciting evolution of Blue’s commitment to creating premium headphones,” Maier said. “We broke the mold with Mo-Fi, and Sadie advances that concept even further with refined custom-tuned drivers and a further streamlined unique design. It’s like wearing a premium hi-fi system on your head.”

The Satellite

While the above two models are wired, the Satellite drop the wires — opting instead for Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX — but keep the built-in amplifier. This pair also makes another addition: adaptive noise cancellation. This may be nothing new in headphones, but Blue has taken a unique approach in how its noise cancellation works.

“Satellite bridges the gap between high-fidelity sound and portable listening, making it possible to enjoy a true audiophile experience anywhere,” Maier explains. “Traditional noise-canceling headphones use one pair of drivers for both audio and ANC, which compromises your sound quality. Satellite uses separate, dedicated ANC drivers so that our dedicated audio drivers and audiophile amp can deliver high-fidelity sound for no-compromise wireless listening.”

While the Blue Mo-Fi — the first headphones to use this design — were on the heavy side, Blue has redesigned the headband to make its newer models lighter. All  three new headphones offer three operating modes: Off bypasses the amplifier, while On turns it on, and On+ is meant to boost the low-end of older music.

Both the Ella and Sadie will be available this month. The Ella headphones retail for $700 and will be available from Amazon, Best Buy, and Fry’s, while the Sadie will sell for $400 and be available from Best Buy, Fry’s, and other authorized retailers. The Satellite headphones have no official release date, but will head to retailers later in 2017. All of these headphones will be on display at CES 2017 at the Blue booth in South Hall 1.

Home Theater

Leave the charger behind: Wireless headphones will get epic battery life in 2019

From wireless in-ears to noise-canceling over-ears, virtually every headphone manufacturer has seriously improved wireless headphone battery capacity, making fears about charging up for long listening sessions a thing of the past.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Home Theater

These loaded cans bundle a wireless stand that even charges your phone

We thought we'd seen just about every kind of wireless headphone feature under the sun, but HiVi's new AW-85 active noise-canceling headphones come with a cool new trick: A wireless charging stand for the headphones and your phone.
Home Theater

Beyerdynamic’s Lagoon ANC cans combine customization, noise cancellation

No two people hear sound the same way. This may explain why a growing trend at CES is sound-customization software. Beyerdynamic introduced it in 2017 and now it's back with a noise-cancelling version in its slick new Lagoon headphones.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is the epic sound revolution you didn’t know you needed

After Sony’s utterly bizarre press conference, I almost missed what was perhaps the most impactful sonic experience at the show. Luckily, I went back to Sony’s booth on the last day of the show, only to have my mind blown.
Computing

Beam up the videos: AirPlay support is coming to VLC player

At CES 2019, the developers of VLC player announced they are adding support for Apple's Airplay feature, allowing consumers to beam video and other content from their iPhone and Android devices to an Apple TV. 
Home Theater

Not chill: Netflix is hiking prices across all its tiers

Netflix has to get the billions of dollars it's spending on new content from somewhere. The streaming giant announced price hikes across the board, raising its monthly rates between $1 and $2 per tier in the next few months.
Home Theater

Here’s why you’re not getting Netflix in HD or 4K, and how to fix it

Are you having trouble watching your favorite movies or TV shows on Netflix in HD or 4K? We explain why loading takes so long, why the picture quality fluctuates, and what you can do about it.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk's Command Bar is a home theater soundbar with Alexa built in. But with a new update, it can also be grouped with Amazon's Echo products and other third-party speakers for a multi-room experience.
Home Theater

Sling TV offers free shows, a la carte subscription channels to Roku users

If you are among a select group of Roku users, Sling TV has added free TV shows and the option to subscribe to individual channels without having to subscribe to the company's base level of channels.
Home Theater

QLED and OLED may have similar names, but they're totally different technologies

The names may look almost identical, but OLED and QLED are two entirely different beasts. In our QLED vs. OLED battle, we dissect the differences between these dueling TV technologies, and help determine which might be best for you.