Most earbuds are boring, the Zeitgeist are anything but

These high-end headphones are made from unusual and interesting materials

Zeitgeist Germany Artisan Collection
(Image credit: Zeitgeist Germany)
Quick Summary

Zeitgeist Germany's new IEMs are made from whisky barrels and from the same wood previously used to make Fabergé eggs. Even more unusual materials are coming soon.

When Samsung launched the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro earlier this week, many observers had the same thought: they look awfully like Apple's AirPods Pro 2. And they're not the only ones. Earbud designs have become rather homogenous lately, with everything starting to resemble everything else. So it's a real breath of fresh air to see some earbuds that look like nothing else you'll see in anyone's ears.

The new buds are from Zeitgeist Germany in partnership with InEar, who make musicians' on-stage monitors. And in addition to promising superb sound they're good news for anyone who's ever wanted to stick a tree or a whisky barrel in their ears. There are two collections, The Artisan Collection and The Whisky Collection, and they look amazing.

Why you'll want to stick a whisky barrel in your ears

These earbuds are high-spec IEMs with a frequency response of 15Hz to 35kHz, a 2-way balanced armature system and premium 3.5mm and 4.4mm cables to connect to your hi-res sound source. But it's the design that really makes these stand out.

Let's talk about those whisky barrels first. The Whisky Collection is made from freshly emptied Islay malt whisky barrels and promise "a listening experience as rich and robust as the drink that inspired it". The barrels were made from American oak and have simply been shaped and oiled before adding the earphone components. More versions are promised including flamed oak and earbuds hewn from barrels previously used by a very well known Tennessee whiskey. They'll be launched in August 2024.

The other collection is the Artisan Collection, with five coloured versions. They're made with Karelian birch, a wood previously used in the creation of Fabergé eggs. The wood here is encased in resin and the resulting solid block is then machined for the components to be added. 

Both collections are available now with a recommended price of £699 / $799 for the Whisky Collection and £799 / $899 for the Artisan Collection. And there are more interesting models to come: Zeitgeist promise that earphones made from genuine asteroid rock plus "an exclusive slice of history" will launch later this year.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).