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Audiofly AF120 Hybrid Dual-Driver In-Ear Monitors Review

With great sound quality and a reinforced design, the Audiofly AF120 monitors are ideal for musicians and audio buffs who want only the best — but that comes at a steep, $249 price.

Our Verdict

With great sound quality and a reinforced design, the Audiofly AF120 monitors are ideal for musicians and audio buffs who want only the best — but that comes at a steep, $249 price.

For

  • Great sound quality
  • Gets loud
  • Cord doesn't tangle often
  • Many ear-insert options

Against

  • Uncomfortable over-ear wire design

If you live and breathe music, Audiofly's AF120 Hybrid Dual-Driver In-Ear Monitors are for you. Featuring a dynamic 9mm driver as well as a balanced armature driver, these buds pump out serious sound for serious listeners and musicians. The monitors also have a fabric-enforced wire design that adds protection while minimizing tangles. These $249 buds offer premium performance for a pretty penny, but are they the best you can get for the money?

Design

The Audiofly AF120 earbuds look surprisingly demure for their high price tag. They appear similar to the $199 Shure SE315s, featuring a curved bud back and a wire that is meant to lay on top of the backs of your ears. However, these buds are opaque black, and don't have the SE315's remarkable skeletal design, in which you can see all the colorful wires threaded throughout the buds.

The AF120's cord is reinforced with gray and black fabric, and the wires that directly connect to each bud are made with twisted Cordura fabric so they can withstand more wear and tear.

The earbuds' structured, fabric-covered wire makes them highly portable, and I experienced few instances of tangling. The buds also come with a bespoke-looking carrying case, as well as an airline adapter, cleaning tool and signal splitter that lets you send your music to an additional pair of headphones.

I would have loved for the AF120 to have an in-line remote for convenient music control, but the Shure earbuds don't have one either, so I can't knock the AF120 too much.

Comfort and Fit

The Audiofly AF120 comes with three different ear inserts: one pair of regular silicone ones; a pair of tiered, domed silicone inserts; and a pair of Comply foam inserts. I went with the regular silicone ones, and while they were comfortable, I had to readjust them a lot to get the best seal.

These earbuds have an over-ear wire design, meaning you must hook the cord over the backs of your ears to get a snug fit. This part of the design is uncomfortable for me, and makes the buds harder to put on.

I prefer the Shure SE315's over-ear wire design, as the top part of the cord has a plastic coating that makes it easier to pinch the earbuds into place behind your ears. The AF120 earbuds have something similar, but they don't stay put as well as the Shure earbuds do.

Audio Quality

The AF120 plays tracks with balanced sound and precision. Keith Urban's "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" was punctuated with bouncy drums and crisp acoustic guitars, and the rest of the instruments were defined throughout the whole track.

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These buds don't overpower you with bass, but the low end certainly isn't lost. The bass line in Michael Jackson's "A Place with No Name" vibrated underneath the strings and vocals, which were sinewy and breathy, respectively.

Like the Shure SE315, the AF120 played Train's "Bulletproof Picasso" with strong, harmonious pianos. I appreciated that the background vocals complemented Pat Monahan's sonorous lead vocals. Other than the AF120 being slightly louder than the SE315, I found the two sets of earbuds to have similarly stellar audio quality.

Bottom Line

Audiofly's $249 AF120 in-ear monitors are truly top-of-the-line buds. They offer stellar audio quality in a design that's both lightweight and durable. The buds are unassumingly luxurious, and they're made for people who demand high quality in their sound, including musicians, producers and audiophiles. However, if you're just in the market for a pair of great buds, you can get the equally great Shure SE315 Sound Isolating Earphones for $50 less, which have a more comfortable over-ear wire design and more secure ear inserts.

Follow Valentina Palladino at @valentinalucia. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide and on Facebook.