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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 28, 2012 0 comments

A couple of days ago, we listened to the $129 Pro-Ject Hear It One, the larger of two new headphones from the budget turntable specialists. Now we’ll listen to the Hear It Two, a $79 on-ear model that, frankly, looks more like something you’d buy at Target than something you’d buy at Needle Doctor.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 25, 2012 0 comments

I bet your average dude on the street can’t name a single audio company that’s not in the headphone biz now. For an audiophile, it’s easier. As I look around my listening room, I see lots of them: AudioControl, Canare, Hsu Research, Krell, Rotel, Sunfire, and Sonus Faber, none of which have (yet) entered the personal audio field. But that’s changing. The Pro-Ject RM-1.3 turntable sitting atop my audio rack now shares its brand with two headphones, the $129 Hear It One and the $79 Hear It Two.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 19, 2012 0 comments

I'm skeptical of any audio product with a fancy design. In my experience, the more trendy or attractive a product is, the worse the performance. Maybe this prejudice comes from a place of subconscious competition, given that I'm so trendy and attractive.

So I approached the Parrot Zik with caution, not least because I found out that "Design by Starck" was not a misspelling and had nothing to do with Ned or even Robb (What about Tony? - Ed.).

But turns out, zee Ziks are zuper.

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Michael Berk Posted: Nov 16, 2012 0 comments

Over the past few months, we've looked at a whole lot of gaming headsets, from affordable, entry-level models to the cream of the crop - and we've found worthwhile candidates for you at all price points. Even better, we've got three headsets to give away this week, from Skullcandy and Astro.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 14, 2012 0 comments

When I attend trade shows, I’m always reluctant to ask for a review sample of a new product. ’Cause who knows if I’ll see something cooler around the corner? But when I saw the Custom One Pro at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver, I asked Beyerdynamic’s Pete Carini to send me a sample ASAP. After a quick listen to the Custom One Pro, I knew there was no way I’d find a more interesting headphone that weekend.

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Timothy J. Seppala Posted: Nov 14, 2012 0 comments

So many awesome new video games have come out this fall, and there’s so little time. But perhaps the other members of your household don’t share your passion for stabbing corrupt politicians in the neck at three in the morning, or your neighbors don’t want to hear 140 MPH car crashes all evening long. But since you’ve been keeping up with all the newest titles, your wallet’s probably feeling a little light — so you can’t justify dropping $300 or more.

What’s a gamer to do?

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 12, 2012 0 comments

We’ve learned one thing from our past investigations into the new wave of headphones made by speaker companies: Headphone engineering has little in common with speaker engineering. Because the physics of headphones are so different from the physics of speakers — and because few, if any, speaker companies actually build their own headphones — it’s rare for a company’s headphones to mirror the sonic character of its speakers.

Tougher still for MartinLogan, which built its brand on 5-foot-tall electrostatic speakers.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 07, 2012 0 comments

I'm always surprised at headphone companies' efforts to make super-stylish in-ear monitors. 'Cause who's gonna stare into some stranger's ears on the subway? Personally, I'd never buy an IEM for its looks unless it had an image of Bandit on the side. But I have to admit Phiaton's new Moderna MS 200 looks pretty cool with its carbon fiber sides and red cables and accents.

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Michael Berk Posted: Nov 06, 2012 0 comments

Since Michael Phelps was seen sporting a pair in London this summer, Sol Republic headphones have been everywhere. And there's plenty of curiosity about the company itself, run by industry veterans Scott Hix and Kevin Lee, the son of Noel Lee - the Head Monster of Monster Cable, and the man who pretty much built today's headphone industry as the manufacturing force behind Beats. 

All well and good. But should you buy headphones endorsed by a guy with water in his ears?

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Michael Berk Posted: Oct 31, 2012 0 comments

Scottish headphone manufacturer RHA hasn't had much of a stateside presence, but this week marks their arrival in Apple stores, with the MA450i in-ear ($49.95) and SA950i on-ear ($59.95) set to appeal to budget-minded consumers looking to accessorize their iDevices. And appeal they may.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Oct 29, 2012 0 comments

Like wine, sushi, and plumbers, headphones can get a lot more expensive than most people realize. At Sound+Vision, we focus on under-$500 models. But when Dr. Fang Bian, the visionary entrepreneur behind the HiFiMan headphone company, asked if I’d like to try the company’s top-of-the-line, $1,299 HE-6 headphone and its new $1,599 EF-6 headphone amplifier, I thought it’d be a great chance to give our usual listening panel a sample of what only the most devoted and/or wealthy headphone aficionados usually get to hear.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 26, 2012 0 comments

This summer I learned the hard way that a slightly open Ziploc baggie does not make an effective waterproof case for an iPod nano while cycling for 5 hours in the pouring rain. My beloved 5th generation iPod nano was rendered useless after soaking in water for hours. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I heard the announcement of the 7th generation nano and newly redesigned EarPods earphones. (Get it? Earphones+iPod=EarPod!)

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Michael Berk Posted: Oct 23, 2012 0 comments

In our roundup of $59 headphones, Urban Ears' Plattan won our testers over with its combination of solid performance, comfort, and minimalist style. The company's now introduced the Plattan's grown-up successor, the Urban Ears Zinken ($140), a more feature-packed model that shares styling cues with the older 'phone but is aimed squarely at DJs and the far larger market of folks who want to look like they spend their nights behind the wheels of steel.

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Michael Berk Posted: Oct 17, 2012 0 comments

We're not sure about you, but here at Sound+Vision we've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of V-Moda's M-100 since we first glimpsed it at the 2012 CES. It's been a long and interesting road for the company's latest full-sized, audiophile-friendly 'phone, with many changes stemming from the active input from the community of headphone enthusiasts at Head-Fi. And the Crossfade M-100 is finally here.

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Michael Berk Posted: Oct 11, 2012 0 comments

We've talked a fair amount in this space lately about how much of a difference a headphone amplifier can make in your portable listening. Whether it's correcting for out-of-whack output impedance or simply providing more juice for difficult-to-drive cans (here's looking at you, on-the-go planar magnetic fans), you can get a better experience for surprisingly little money, with a wide range of pocketable amplifiers on the market right now, ready to interface with your iDevices, Androids, and other portable media devices. Here we look at two interesting and affordable newish devices: the latest miniature amp from FiiO, the E02i, or "Rocky," and the latest incarnation of DigiZoid's unique ZO2.


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