Ashdown Engineering is a British audio company best-known for building pro audio gear, including the bass guitar amps used by artists such as U2 and Foo Fighters. The company moved into personal audio in 2021 with its Meters over-ear headphones in 2021 and is launching a raft of new consumer-oriented products at CES in 2022, including its first in-ear headphones.
The Ashdown Meters Linx ($175) are true wireless headphones that can be paired with a pair of desktop speakers, also called Linx ($116). The headphones and speakers can also be purchased as a set (pictured above) for $289.
The Linx earbuds connect via Bluetooth 5.0 and come with a charging case that features Ashdown’s signature illuminated VU meter that responds in real time to the music. The in-ear headphones feature Lithium-ion batteries and can play 6 hours on a charge with an additional 24 hours of charging power from the case.
The Linx use a custom-designed balanced armature coupled with a 7mm dynamic driver. They use the same Qualcomm aptX Adaptive codec as the Meters OVC-1-B-Connect, Ashdown’s flagship over-ear Bluetooth headphone.
Touch controls on the left and right earbuds allow the user to control play/pause, volume up/down and skip track. An onboard motion sensor detects whether the earbuds are in use, helping to preserve battery life.
The Linx speakers connect automatically when the headphones are placed in their case. The speakers have a range of 10 meters (about 33 feet) and three hours of playback on a charge. Both the Linx in-ear headphones and speakers have an IPX5 waterproof rating.
Ashdown’s Meters Novu-M-Ear wired headphones ($29) employ 10mm drivers rated at 32 Ohms inside their alloy enclosures. The company says they’re designed to emphasize bass without sacrificing clear highs and detailed midrange. They come with a 1.2-meter (about 4 feet) tangle-free that features an adjustable leather clasp to keep it from getting in the user’s way. An in-line microphone with a press-to-talk button is provided for answering and ending calls. There’s also a zippered hard case for storage.
The manufacturer is also showing three sets of over-ear headphones at CES.
Meters OV-1-B-Connect Pro
The Meters OV-1-B-Connect Pro noise-cancelling headphones ($360) promise wireless 24-bit high-definition audio performance, thanks to Qualcomm’s aptX HD Bluetooth technology. Each earcup also features Ashdown’s signature working VU meters that respond to the music signal in real time.
The headphones feature a 50mm dome driver and an impedance of 32 ohms. Sensitivity is rated at 94db/w/m. The Meters Connect smartphone app features five-band parametric equalization so the listener can tune the experience to the style of music and personal preferences.
Battery life is 16 hours for listening and standby of 22 hours. The headphones come with a protective hard case and a 1.5-meter cable with an in-line mic. The Meters OV-1-B-Connect Pro are available now in black or anthracite finishes.
The Meters Novu-1 ($89) is a wired, closed-back headphone that Ashdown says is designed to take a beating in a pro-audio environment. They feature easily replaceable cables and ear pads.
The company touts the headphone’s accurate sound reproduction in a studio environment. They feature 50mm drivers with an audio frequency bandwith of 16-20,000Hz and maximum power input of 200mW.
They come with a 3-meter detachable cable with a 1/8-inch plug plus a 1/4-inch adapter. Images of Ashdown’s signature VU meters are printed on the side of each earcup.
Meters OV-1-B Jamaica Soundsystem Artist Edition
Finally, Ashdown partnered with the record label Trojan Jamaica to create a custom Jamaica Soundsystem edition of its closed-back OV-1-B headphone. Musicians Zak Starkey and Sharna “Sshh” Liguz are partners in the label, founded in 2019 and now home to such classic artists as Toots and the Maytals, Big Youth, Freddie McGregor, and U-Roy.
The Jamaica Soundsystem headphones ($330) are a special edition limited to a production run of just 500 units. They incorporate all the features from the standard Meters OV-1-B headphones. Each earcup has illuminated, working VU meters built in. The Meters Connect smartphone app allows users to control the color and brightness of the meter illumination.
There’s a black-and-gold design for this edition. Jamaica Soundsystem is printed on the left earcup and a Trojan Jamaica logo next to the headband. The right side features a Meters logo.
The headphones include automatic noise cancelling and tap buttons for controlling volume, skipping tracks, and answering calls. They feature 16 hours of battery life. There are 40mm drivers, an impedance of 32 Ohm @ 1Khz and a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz.