TDK BA-100 in-ear headphones: Intimate listening

By Shem Pennant,

Way back at IFA we took at look at TDK’s new “Life on Record” series of headphones and boomboxes and couldn’t wait to get a pair of BA-100s in our ears (that’s literally not true as we’ve waited up until last week). But was it worth the wait?

BA 1002

From the packaging onwards, you can tell TDK put a lot of thought into making this a premium pair of headphones. Flat cables seem to be all the rage these days and the BA-100s are likewise equipped. The design of the BA-100 has a hooked feel – similar to Klipsh S5i and can be worn conventionally, or looped over your ears if you are so inclined. As you’d expect with headphones in this price range, there are a range of silicon tips so you can pop the in just right. This is obviously key as once you get the seal just right these headphones have the power to really bang. I’m probably the world’s worst person when it comes to cable snag, so the detachable design of the BA-100, where you can vary cable length, was greatly appreciated.

The headline feature of the BA-100s is the balanced armature micro drivers, fresh out of TDK’s Audio Research Lab. TDK claims they are aiming to elevate the personal listening experience and I experimented with some podcasts (Comedy Bang Bang if you’re interested) and some albums (Relax by Das Racist and The Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox if you wanted to know just how cool I am) and in both cases found it to be a truly immersive experience. The basslines on things like “Iron Galaxy” or “Punjabi Song” really kicked, whilst listening to the high audio quality of some of the improv bits on Comedy Bang Bang really drew you into the world of the scene that the hip, alt-LA comedians had created.

The only downside was the lack of inline remote control for iOS devices and the like. Whilst this isn’t a big deal, and certainly not a deal breaker, I’ve become addicted to Siri of late so it was a little bit annoying switching back to using my hands for my phone (oh how quickly we grow complacent!).

TDK

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Plug type:
Driver type:
Driver Diameter:
Frequency response:
Sensitivity at 1kHz:
Input impedance:
Cord length:
3.5mm gold-plated
Balanced armature
8.5mm
20 – 20,000 Hz
118dBSP@1V
16 ohms ±10%
1.2 m