Skip to main content

Meet IRIS Headphones: the latest in immersive wireless technology?

(Image credit: IRIS)

Gone are the days when wireless headphones just had to successfully do away with the wire connecting your cans to your music source to impress. These days, audio brands are including tech such as active noise cancelling, Dolby Atmos, aptX HD Bluetooth and aptX Adaptive within even the smallest driver housings, all in a bid for a bigger bite of the wireless headphones cherry. 

Enter then, 2018 startup IRIS, an audio company that boldly announces, "We are approaching audio like no one else. Where others add layers of artificial processing, IRIS takes you back to nothing but real, live sound." 

IRIS is not only the company's name, it's also the name of the tech – and the firm's new IRIS Headphones. IRIS, according to the firm, is "a revolutionary new audio experience that dramatically increases sound quality by introducing the space that is normally missing from recorded audio, unlocking the ‘live’ dimension that’s often lost."

How is this done? Apparently, through "a proprietary algorithm which splits out and increases the phase information sent to the brain. The listener’s brain then reassembles this vast increase in information and becomes far more active in the listening process."

Helpfully, you can test whether listening to IRIS makes sound feel live (and you more alive) with the IRIS listen tab, on the company's website. Simply connect your headphones, listen to one of five hit tracks and toggle between IRIS on, and IRIS off to hear the difference. If you like what you hear, there's also an IRIS Listen Well app for iOS and Android. 

If you want IRIS's Active Listening audio experience tech built in to your cans, however, you'll need the new IRIS Headphones, (above). 

As well as being the only headphones with IRIS built-in, you'll get 40mm beryllium drivers, a 37-hour battery life charged via USB-C, aptX low latency and aptX HD/AAC codecs, Bluetooth 5.1, dual and Qualcomm cVc tech for optimised call-handling, an aluminium chassis, precision-engineered acoustic chambers, sound-isolating padded earcups with synthetic leather covers, a carrying case and even USB-C to USB-A and 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapters in the box. 

The IRIS Headphones are currently being launched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The 35 per cent discount perk is sold out, but you can still select the 27 per cent off perk, meaning your pair of IRIS Heapdhones will cost £232  (approx. $301 / AU$420) rather than £319 (around $414 / AU$577). 

The project has already exceeded its £50,000 funding goal with 30 days of the campaign left to run – at the time of writing, the project has received just over £65,000 in backing. IRIS says its Headphones will ship worldwide, beginning in October 2020. We can't vouch for the build quality or sound claims (yet), but they certainly look interesting...


Dolby Atmos is everywhere, and that's not necessarily a good thing

Best audiophile headphones 2020: the ultimate headphones

Best wireless headphones for TV 2020: budget and premium

Becky is the newest staff writer on What Hi-Fi? and can most-often be found writing, reviewing and drinking coffee in the listening facility, or at her desk next to a stack of mags. (She is probably wearing in-ears, so don't be put off if she's unresponsive.) She supports Chelsea even when it hurts, and her other half is a football writer whose skill both amazes and irritates her.