I’ve spent the better part of today playing with the new Alpine Headphones, a $299 pair of cans that promise to make you feel your music with the company’s “Full Frequency Immersion” technology.
An Alpine spokesperson told me that the product is “targeted to millennials,” which I assume means that they’re designed to give the “oh my god my entire body is shaking” feeling you get at music festivals and EDM shows. Using the headphones’ default settings, you do get some approximation of this. With that said, it’s not as if you’ll feel the bass in your chest — basically, it feels like some of the sound is intentionally diverted away from the ear pieces themselves up to the band that goes over your head.
If you download Alpine’s app, you can fiddle with the headphones’ settings and automatically create playlists based on “intensity” (read: beats per minute), but the app only works with songs in your iTunes library. That left me with some odd playlists, as I migrated from iTunes to Google Play (and subsequently Beats Music) a while back. Still, for the songs I do have in my library, I could adjust settings to reach my preferred sound profile:
All of the settings that you can modify on the headphones (and the whole shaking thing) require that you have them powered on. That means that in addition to your phone, you also need to charge your headphones over USB. People who already charge their Bluetooth headphones every day might be fine with that, but they probably wouldn’t like doing it for a gadget that has to be plugged into their phone to function. It’s bizarre, but despite having Bluetooth LE to send settings from the app to the headphones, you still need an audio cord to play jams on Alpine’s Headphones.
As with Beats headphones, Alpine’s headphones feel like they’re made for people who care about giving off a certain image with their tech accessories and don’t care about the technical details that audiophiles dig through when making a new purchase. If you’re all about the bass and think they look pretty cool, it’s easy to see and try them in person: Alpine says they’re in Apple Stores everywhere as of Tuesday.