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High-end headphones' origin in rock legend

M-Audio's 10 Pro headphones cost a pretty penny but have a heritage and a half

Not many of the gadgets we feature have their origins in a big-haired rock dinosaur like Van Halen. But that's the unlikely provenance of the newest professional headphones from M-Audio in Japan.

The 10 Pro in-ear 'phones are the latest addition to the Ultimate Ear range of pro audio gear developed by former rock monitor engineer Jerry Harvey. His company, M-Audio, and all its products grew out of a request he received when touring with Van Halen to create custom earpieces to replace the eardrum-threatening wedge monitors drummer Alex Van Halen was unhappy with.

Pricey but worth it

With a pedigree like that, it's hardly surprising that the 10 Pro models cost a hefty ¥50,000 (£214), but the specs suggest it'll be money well spent whether or not you're a professional. Frequencies in a range from 10Hz to 17KHz can be reproduced faithfully through three speakers in each earpiece.

Best of all is the semi-rigid cable that can be moulded to hug the contours of the ear and neck to avoid unsightly loops of wire that might spoil the '80s effect of those rocking poodle hairstyles.