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Sony’s PlayStation wireless earbuds promise audiophile quality for $200

Sony Pulse Explore wireless earbuds for PlayStation.

Sony’s very best wireless audio tech is usually reserved for its flagship headphones and earbuds, currently the WH-1000XM5 and WF-1000XM5. However, it looks like the company is going break with that tradition — partially, at least — for its latest PlayStation gaming accessory, a set of wireless earbuds called the Pulse Explore.

The Pulse Explore are unmistakably PlayStation-themed, with a white, winged design that mimics the lines of the PlayStation 5 console, as well as its controller. But lurking beneath that gaming-inspired exterior is some very high-end audio tech. The Pulse Explore use planar magnetic drivers, which have traditionally been reserved for expensive, audiophile-grade headphones and wired earbuds due to their cost.

And while the Pulse Explore will certainly be expensive by gaming headset standards — Sony says they’ll cost $200 when they eventually hit retail — that’s a remarkably low price for such an exotic driver technology. Coincidentally, Canadian audio company PSB plans to release its own set of planar magnetic wireless earbuds for exactly the same price.

Sony Pulse Explore wireless earbuds for PlayStation.

The Pulse Explore also has another feature that will be of interest to those seeking wireless audio perfection: a lossless wireless connection made possible by PlayStation Link, which requires a proprietary USB dongle. The dongle can be used with the PlayStation 5 — naturally — but it also works with PCs and Macs. Gamers will likely be more focused on PlayStation Link’s promise of a low-latency connection, but most dedicated wireless gaming headsets with USB transceivers already offer very low latency. Lossless wireless audio, on the other hand, is much harder to come by.

At the moment, only mobile phones and wireless earbuds/headphones that support Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless Bluetooth codec (or this very expensive set of Wi-Fi headphones) can offer wireless lossless audio.

Sony says that you’ll be able to maintain a simultaneous connection to PlayStation Link and the Bluetooth connection for your phone, but there’s no word yet on whether the Pulse Explore will support two Bluetooth connections via Multipoint.

There are still a ton of questions about the Pulse Explore left unanswered by Sony’s announcement. Does the lossless connection support hi-res audio, or just CD-quality sound? What’s the battery life like? Do they offer ANC/transparency modes? Do they support wireless charging? Is there head-tracking for spatial audio? And, when will people actually be able to buy them?

We’ve reached out to Sony with these questions and more, and we’ll update this post when we hear back.

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Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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