Update: The Rayz and Rayz Plus are now available to order on OneCall, updated article below to reflect the new information.
Pioneer's newest pair of headphones — the Rayz and Rayz Plus — are seriously intriguing. They look gorgeous and they appear to be packed with features like noise-canceling and even a companion app. Take a look at the promo video to see all the goodies Pioneer has included.
Let's unpack some of the things that are in that video.
The first thing to get straight is there are two different versions of the Pioneer Rayz and the one shown in the video is the Rayz Plus, which has a charging port on the cable itself allowing you to charge your iPhone while you listen.
Second thing, that many of the features — including the noise-canceling— will require the companion app which is a free download with purchase. The app also allows you to program the headsets "smart button", which can be used for one-press access to your music. Plus, the app has a built-in EQ that has a couple of presets and even a custom mode, so you can adjust how the Rayz sound on the go.
Lastly, Pioneer has packed in some features that are truly reminiscent of AirPods, like Auto-Pause, which pauses your audio when you remove one of the earpieces from your ear.
You can order The Rayz or Rayz Plus — $99.95 and $149.95 respectively — on OneCall right now; however, no word on when those orders will be filled.
What do you think?
I want to know what you think about the Rayz and Rayz Plus. Leave a comment down below!
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
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I know a few manufacturers jumping on board this train, but personally I never saw the need for noise canceling for in-ear monitors when you can just have custom fit tips made to replace the stock tips. Some tech sites like The Verge and UnboxTherapy have their reviewers try custom made in-ear monitors and they go "whoa, it's like stacking noise canceling over more noise canceling" like it's some second coming, but stage performers have been enjoying this kind of isolation for years. You can have custom tips made for any universal in-ear, and, provided the in-ear isn't a vented design, get almost the same isolation as a full custom shelled in-ear, without any of the fidelity degrading noise canceling buzz or pressure buildup associated with even the best Sony or Bose tech. Just my 2 cents.
Just got my BeatsX and love them but would definitely like to try these as well.
They're in stock at onecall now btw.
It appears they are on order, so not technically in stock yet, but you can place a order for them so I have linked to OneCall in the article above. Thanks for the tip!
These have the kinds of features Apple should have implemented in to the wired Lightning EarPods. Specifically the ability to charge and listen at the same time as well as perhaps the pause when removed feature they did include with the AirPods. I know they'd rather we all be wireless (and TBH I mostly am), but if you're going to pack in a wired Lightning set, it should do the job properly.
BTW: I'll add that I think there is no way a person should drop $149 for a set of these when the AirPods and the Beats X can be had for around the same price.
That depends. Bluetooth still exhibits considerable latency, so a wired connection is still preferable for fast paced games or music making apps. The AirPods are also heavily vented and are more earbud then in-ear, and let almost all sound in as a result. The Beats X and this Pioneer are sealed - I assume that small hole on the Pioneers houses the mic for the noise canceling - and should offer greater isolation, with the Pioneer having noise canceling (how well it works remains to be seen though) on top of that. Then there's the question of fidelity; AirPods sound the same as the old EarPods, which can be good enough for some people and downright lacking for others. The new Beats is supposed to sound more linear and less bloated/muddy compared to past Beats offerings. Remains to be seen how good the Pioneer sounds. If it's better than the Beats, there's another advantage it has for those that want it. So yeah, there are a few reasons why someone would get this over the other two you mentioned.
I hear you on reasons to preferred wired, but there are some fantastic wired options available, with Active noise canceling if that's important, for far less. The highly rated Audio-Technica ATH-ANC33iS, for example, are $67. Why pay a premium for a wired set of buds when you can get excellent wired cheaper, or wireless like the Beats X for the same price?
Most of them aren't terminated in Lightning though. I'm not saying having it terminated in Lightning automatically justifies the price (that would depend on the sound quality, first and foremost), but it is what it is. Personally, I think Lightning headphones are way too niche to succeed - you can't use them with Macs or if you switch from iPhone to Android, for instance - but that's probably the very reason some manufacturers are taking that route. You can get away with high prices when you're serving a niche market, after all.
That is a solid point. Given that Apple's own Lightning EarPods will not allowe you to listen and charge at the same time, there is a niche here to be served. And you are correct, when serving a small niche, you have much more freedom on pricing. Thank you for the thoughtful exchange of ideas, so rarely found on Internet comments. You convinced me to reconsider my opinion.
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