Ashdown Engineering is a British audio company best known for making professional audio equipment, including bass amps used by artists like U2 and Foo Fighters. The company moved to personal audio in 2021 with its Meters on-ear headphones in 2021 and is launching a number of new consumer-facing 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 together (pictured above) for $ 289.
Linx headphones 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 music. The in-ear headphones are powered by lithium-ion batteries and can run for 6 hours on one charge with an additional 24 hours of case charging.
The Linx uses a custom designed balanced armature along with a 7mm dynamic driver. They use the same Qualcomm aptX adaptive codec as the OVC-1-B-Connect Meters, Ashdown’s flagship over-ear Bluetooth headset.
Touch controls on the left and right earbuds allow the user to control play / pause, volume up / down, and skip tracks. A built-in motion sensor detects whether the headphones are in use, helping to preserve battery life.
Linx speakers connect automatically when headphones are placed in their case. The speakers have a range of 10 meters (approximately 33 feet) and three hours of playtime on one charge. Both Linx in-ear headphones and speakers have an IPX5 water resistance rating.
Ashdown’s Meters Novu-M-Ear Wired Headphones ($ 29) employ 10mm drivers rated at 32 ohms within their alloy housings. The company says they are designed to emphasize bass without sacrificing clear highs and detailed mids. They come with a 1.2 meter (approximately 4 feet) tangle-free device that features an adjustable leather clasp to prevent it from getting in the way of the user. An in-line microphone with a push-to-talk button is provided to answer and end calls. There is also a hard zippered case for storage.
The manufacturer will also present three sets of on-ear headphones at CES.
OV-1-B-Connect Pro meters
The Meters OV-1-B-Connect Pro Noise Canceling Headphones ($ 360) promise 24-bit high-definition wireless audio performance, thanks to Qualcomm’s Bluetooth aptX HD technology. Each earbud 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 EQ so the listener can tune the experience to personal preferences and music style.
The battery life is 16 hours of listening and 22 hours of standby. The headphones come with a hard protective case and a 1.5 meter cable with an in-line microphone. The OV-1-B-Connect Pro meters are now available in black or anthracite finishes.
The Meters Novu-1 ($ 89) are a wired closed-back headphones that Ashdown says are designed to take a beating in a professional audio environment. They feature easily replaceable cables and ear pads.
The company promotes the accurate reproduction of sound from headphones in a studio environment. They feature 50mm drivers with an audio frequency bandwidth of 16-20,000 Hz and a maximum power input of 200mW.
They come with a detachable 3 meter cord with a 1/8-inch plug plus a 1/4-inch adapter. Ashdown signature VU meter images are printed on the side of each earbud.
Meters OV-1-B Jamaica Soundsystem Artist Edition
Ultimately, Ashdown partnered with record label Trojan Jamaica to create a custom Jamaica Soundsystem edition of their OV-1-B closed-back headphones. Musicians Zak Starkey and Sharna “Sshh” Liguz are partners on the label, founded in 2019 and now home to classic artists such 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 of just 500 units. They incorporate all the functions of the standard Meters OV-1-B headphones. Each earphone has illuminated VU meters that work. The Meters Connect smartphone app allows users to control the color and brightness of the meter illumination.
There is a black and gold design for this edition. The Jamaica sound system is printed on the left ear cup and the Trojan Jamaica logo next to the headband. The right side has the Meters logo.
The headphones include automatic noise cancellation and one-touch buttons for controlling volume, skipping tracks, and answering calls. They have 16 hours of battery life. There are 40mm drivers, an impedance of 32 ohms at 1 kHz, and a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.