Design: where are the accessories?We're used to seeing Phonak headphones supplied with a whole load of handy accessories. Here, though, there's not much in the bundle, with just a soft case and three sets of different sized silicone earbuds. That's not very much for a set of high-flying headphones.
We've not got much to say about the design, other than the fact that the PFE 012 headphones have to be worn with the cable over the top of your ears. The 012 have the same shape and general design as other PFE series headphones, which means that they're generally quite comfortable, although some users will find them painful after long periods of time—it all depends on the shape of your ears!
Audio Quality: boosted low-mediumsAlthough the name 'Perfect Bass' may lead you to believe that these headphones will pack a punch in the bass department, that's not quite the case. It's actually the low-medium frequencies that have been slightly boosted, as well as the higher bass frequencies to a certain extent. The sound isn't a far cry from the kind of output we've already heard in some models of Sennheiser headphones. The output is warm, sometimes perhaps a little too much so, but at least the bass isn't too overpowering (or completely absent), as is often the case with in-ear headphones.
Otherwise, higher frequencies are clean and clear and are reproduced with no real problem. The output is incredibly accurate and individual instruments can be easily positioned in the sound scene. Very high frequencies could be a bit more spacious and airy though, but this is no doubt a consequence of the new filters (see sidebar).
All in all, the Phonak PFE 012 are to the PFE 111/112 what the D-Jays are to the Q-Jays—a scaled-down and warmer-sounding version of a decent pair of headphones. It's just a shame that Phonak didn't include a few more accessories, as we're a bit disappointed with this barren bundle.