HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

If you’re sick of trying to choose among dozens of lookalike IEMs in the racks at electronics stores, you’ll find the C5 to be welcome relief. This IEM resembles nothing else on the market. The back of each titanium earpiece holds B&W’s Micro Porous Filter, a layer of hundreds of tiny steel balls that the company says works as a sonic diffuser.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

I’m happy to see Polk getting into one of the headphone world’s neglected nether realms: noise-canceling IEMs. The UltraFocus 6000 gives you the easy transportability of an IEM with the noise-canceling technology that’s popular on larger over-ear and on-ear models.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

When PSB’s Paul Barton recently called me to chat about headphone measurement, it soon became apparent that he’d read every scientific paper ever written about headphones. The first headphone to which Barton brings his ultra-scientific approach is the M4U 2, a noise-canceling model poised to go up against the likes of the Bose QC15.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

Subwoofer specialist company Velodyne surprised everyone when it entered the headphone business last year. But while you might expect Velodyne’s headphones to incorporate ginormous drivers, passive radiators, high-powered digital amps, and the like, the vPulse is pretty ordinary-looking.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

With so many companies slapping their brand on generic IEMS, what’s an easy way to tell who’s serious about sound? Look to the guys selling IEMs with balanced armatures. Most IEMs use dynamic drivers, tiny versions of the drivers in box speakers, but a balanced armature is more like a little motorized teeter-totter that drives a diaphragm.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jun 14, 2012 0 comments

Anyone who's ever been out on a bike path or trail knows the hazard of approaching another runner who's wearing earphones. You know you should announce that you're passing them, but you know they can't hear you. As a cyclist, I always shout out "passing on your left" or even just a friendly "hello" to let someone know I'm behind them.

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Michael Berk Posted: Jun 12, 2012 0 comments

The look of V-Moda gear may be a little Versace for some mild-mannered audiophiles, but make no mistake: Val Kolton knows a thing or two about good sound, and beneath the flashy exteriors of his gear you'll find thoughtful engineering, well-conceived ergonomics, and impressive sound quality.

So when Kolton told us he had a portable source device in the works, were we excited? You bet.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments

There must be hundreds of brands and thousands of models of in-ear monitors (IEMs) now, and probably 95 percent of them are as generic as 2x4s. But it's obvious that a lot of thought went into the Rock-It R-30.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 28, 2012 0 comments

There are speaker companies better-known than B&W, but I doubt any has a more enviable reputation. B&Ws have been a fave of audiophiles and recording engineers for decades. But the best indicator of B&W’s rep would probably be a walk through an audio show in China, where you’ll see no other speaker brand so brazenly copied.

Nowadays, though, B&W seems focused on compact and portable products, such as its Zeppelin Air and P5 and C5 headphones. Can’t blame B&W for wanting to surf the market trends, but headphones, especially, are so different from speakers that a company’s expertise in one is little indicator of skill in the other.

All three of the products I just mentioned have received rave reviews, though. That praise gives us great hope for the P3, a smaller, more portable, $100-less-expensive version of the P5.

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Michael Berk Posted: May 24, 2012 0 comments

When we got our hands on the latest iteration of Denon's flagship headphone, the AH-D7000, we had no idea it would be the end of the line for these spectacular wooden-cupped cans (and for the entire Dx000 series, at least as we know it today). Suffice it to say that however curious we are to learn what the Denon headphone design team has up its collective sleeve, we will be sad to see 'em go.

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Michael Berk Posted: May 16, 2012 0 comments

A couple of weeks back we took a listen to a couple of DAC/headphone amplifier combo units from ADL and FiiO that did it all - covering your digital audio and headphone amplification needs at home and on the go - but you don't always need to do it all, do you? There are plenty of us who really just need better audio on the desktop. Luckily, you'll find that the market's rich these days with small, do-it-all USB devices meant to do just that - at surprisingly little cost.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 14, 2012 0 comments

Thanks to Bose’s overwhelming success in the category, most of us now think of noise-cancelling headphones as products that cost about $300. I’m sure every other headphone company would like to thank Bose for that, even if none of them ever will. But there’s really no reason that a noise-cancelling headphone has to cost so much.

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Michael Berk Posted: May 01, 2012 0 comments

Everybody wants better sound out of their headphones, but (and here's a shocker, I know) not everyone wants to own a lot of hardware to make that happen, especially if you want to take your show on the road every now and then. Whether budget-tightening precludes your investing in a portable listening rig to supplement your home setup or you're just a minimalist, you might just be in luck. Low-cost audio gear leaders FiiO and Alpha Design Labs (the personal audio wing of high-end connector kings Furutech) have each introduced some impressive do-it-all devices that just might cover all of your digital listening needs.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 30, 2012 0 comments

Philips has been making headphones for decades, but the company hasn't been a prominent presence in the market for a long time. Now that headphones have gotten hot, the brand's re-emerging with all-new models.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 31, 2012 0 comments

NOTHING in consumer electronics is more popular right now than headphones. Pick a price and you’ll find no fewer than a billion different offerings (source: Wikipedia). Recent surveys indicate that many consumers look for celebrity endorsements to decide what to buy. Because celebrities and corporations have one thing in common — desire for money — all the A-, B-, and C-list celebs have already paired up with major ’phone manufacturers.

These trends have not escaped the keen eyes of Dr. Loof Lirpa. After making trillions from the incredible Liberty Freedom 1776 A-FY tower speakers covered last year and proudly not paying taxes on any of it, Lirpa has turned his gaze on a whole new market.

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