In association with Meters Music
Ashdown Engineering may be best known for its amplifiers, but who better to create earbuds and speakers to make your ears really sing?
Founded in 1997 by former Trace Elliot managing director Mark Gooday, this small British family company initially focused on amplifying bass players until it developed its first guitar amp in 2001. Their amps have been used by members of U2, Foo Fighters and Black Sabbath, but there’s more to the company than stacks, combos and effects pedals. Its Meters Music range of headphones have a strong retro look and a working VU meter on each earcup, as well as excellent sound.
Now, Ashdown has made its first venture into true wireless technology, launching the Meters LINX system on Indiegogo. A combination of wireless earbuds and a desktop speaker system you can take with you on days out, it’s a distinctive-looking set of audio equipment, with a large and fully working illuminated analogue VU meter in the base unit, which also acts as a charging case for the earbuds, and has playback and Bluetooth pairing controls built into its top.
The desktop speakers’ vintage look belies the high technology inside. They’re completely wireless and have built-in rechargeable batteries, so you can place them wherever you like, up to 10m apart, and their custom-tuned 2.5-inch full range drivers ensure the sound is dynamic and clearly defined. They’re splash-resistant too, hitting the IPX4 standard, so you don’t need to worry about being caught in the rain outside. Bluetooth pairing uses voice prompts, so you won’t be scratching your head trying to interpret sequences of flashing lights.
Strong battery life gives three hours of music playback from one hour of charging for the speakers, which can be charged via a USB-C port, while the earbuds will last for six hours, and the charging case can be used to extend this by an additional 24 hours. The buds are also IPX5 rated, for enhanced water resistance that will stand up to more sustained rainy day use.
And as you’d expect, the earbuds are made to rigorous standards. They’re constructed around a dual-driver system, with a custom-designed and balanced armature driver coupled with a 7mm dynamic driver to give the low-frequency response that some in-ear headphones lack. The Linx TWS (True Wireless System) earbuds use the same Qualcomm Adaptive APTX codec as Ashdown’s flagship Meters OV-1-B-C headphones, providing ultra-low latency HD audio, with rich bass, pristine high frequencies and a detailed, well-defined midrange.
Touch controls are situated on both the left and right ear buds, placing full control directly at the user’s fingertips. Features include play/pause, volume up/down, skip track and more besides. An on-board motion sensor detects when you take the earbuds off, putting them into standby and optimising battery charge. And cleverly, if you place the earbuds into their charging case, the speakers can seamlessly take over playback, perfect for when you get home.
The signature light-up VU meter built into all Ashdown’s amps and headphones is completely functional, giving a real-time readout of the music you’re playing. Engineering the analogue VU meter to respond to digital music was a tricky task, but worth it to keep such a memorable vintage aesthetic alive, and as the Meters brand is literally named after the flickering level needle, it had to be there. All the design and engineering for the Meters LINX system is handled in-house by a team of just nine people at Ashdown Engineering in Essex, with a focus on repairability rather than being a disposable product. They’re engineered from the ground up to last.
- The Meters LINX system is exclusively available on Indiegogo, starting at £249 for a single set, with deliveries expected to begin in January 2023.