Portables

KEF Mu3 Earphones Marries Looks and an Active Lifestyle


Today KEF introduced their new Mu3 earphones. These wireless bluetooth headphones were designed by Ross Lovegrove, the designer behind the MUON loudspeaker. When we read something like that, we are tempted to assume that form would be more important than function. We also expect a high price tag.

We were wrong on both counts.

Mu3 Earphone Specs and Performance

The Mu3 are small, in-ear earphones that are completely wireless. Utilizing the Bluetooth 5.0 spec, it promises low latency and long battery life. Even with the Active Noise Canceling engaged, KEF promises all day listening. We don’t know if that means 24 hours or a more reasonable number of hours someone would actually listen in a day.

The Mu3 come with a case that doubles as a charger with a USB 3.0 connection. They come with “four subtly different sized” ear tips that you can mix and match to fit your ears. To assist in comfort, the earphones are balanced by “smart weighting” to keep them from falling out.

The Mu3 have 8.2mm drivers in each earphone. One thing we were really interested to hear was that they sport “simultaneous transmission.” KEF describes this as:

“…both earphones receive a signal at the same time, rather than the more common approach where audio is sent to one earpiece and relayed to the other and therefore running the risk of latency.”

This means that each earphone has its own Bluetooth antenna. While two antennas means twice the chance of Bluetooth connection problems, it also means that if one connection fails, the other could stay connected? When making phone calls, that would be helpful. We won’t know if this is how it works until we get a unit to test.

Mu3 Earphone Features

The Mu3 earphones aren’t just about looks. They have a couple of notable features that suggest that these could be used during more active situations. The Mu3 are splash-proof (suggesting IPx4 rating at the least) meaning you should be able to exercise with these. Their special weighting and multiple tips should help as well.

One thing we were really interested in was “Ambient Mode.” This mode is for when you want to hear what is going on around you. The way Active Noise Canceling works is that there are microphones on the exterior of the earphones that pick up the outside noises. The earphones then create a backwave that cancels out those sounds.

Ambient Mode not only disengages Active Noise Canceling, but it takes what the external mics pick up and plays it through the earphones. This is a neat feature that allows you to hear clearly what is around you with the touch of a button. Usually, you either need to remove the earphone, or disengage the Active Noise Canceling, or (usually) both.

The Mu3 Earphones come in any color as long as you want silver and retail for $229.99.

For more information, please visit kef.com.


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