AT A GLANCE
Driver designed by George Cardas
Accommodates balanced cables
Extraordinary sound quality
Lacks mic or smartphone controls
The Cardas A8 is big on transparency and soundstage and delivers remarkably deep yet tuneful bass.
Cardas Audio is best known as a manufacturer of audiophile cables, but the Bandon, Oregon–based company jumped into headphones a few years ago with its EM 5813 Ear Speakers. Their sound was big and bold, but comfort issues limited my listening times to short bursts because the earpieces were heavy and the cables unwieldy. Now Cardas is back with new in-ears, the A8 Ear Speakers. I’ve known George Cardas for decades, and he’s normally a soft-spoken dude, but he’s really jazzed about what’s going on with headphones.