In a very crowded, celebrity-saturated area of the music accessory market, Torque Audio is carving out a place in the grounds of in-ear audio innovation.
Their Zoom Series t103z earbuds come equipped with the usual high-end standards—a remote control, 4 sizes of ergonomic silicone ear-tips, weight-balanced metal housing, 10mm 16ohms high velocity, full bandwidth dynamic driver—but they've also introduced an amplifying technology that is all their own.
Torque's Passive Acoustic Valve Technology allows for complete audio customization. Via three interchangeable Torque valves—metal channels for sound, found directly beneath the ear-tip—listeners can tweak their experience. The red "reference" valve is your standard sound experience, for the most true-to-life sound reproduction. The yellow "deep" valve enhances bass in a hearty, resounding manner. The black "clear" valve yields crisp highs through a boost in treble. Users can swap out one set of valves for another easily, either by hand or with the accompanying TorqueValet—a piece that stores the valves that aren't in use and also contains a built-in wrench.
Yasu Yamamoto, an ex-Monster Cable engineer, founded Torque with the understanding that "one headphone might sound fantastic to one user but lousy to another." He believes there are two types of consumers for the product, stating that "some users will find their setting and stick to it, while others will customize their headphones based on mood, genre and environment." His background in the mechanics of sound lead to this, and he further explains that this advancement is one of physics and the product of experimentation. Yamamoto plans on releasing more valve options in 2014.
Torque's Zoom Series t103z is available at select retailers including InMotion Entertainment, Headphone Hub, Turntable Labs and Echo Audio for $180.
Photos by Greg Stefano