Audeze EL-8 Closed-Back Headphone Review


Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $699

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-resolution sound
Planar magnetic drivers
Made in the U.S.
Minus
Lacks mic and phone controls

THE VERDICT
The Audeze EL-8 may be the first planar magnetic headphone sensitive enough to come alive with portable music players.

I’ve reviewed a lot of headphones, but I’ve never encountered anything quite like the Audeze EL-8 before. It’s the first high-end planar magnetic headphone to come alive and sound fully transparent with portable music players. Now, sure, we’ve heard similar claims for other high-performance, full-size headphones; and yes, they play, but too much of the headphone’s potential is forfeited with portable devices. The EL-8 sounds scary good with my humble little iPod classic.

Blu-ray vs. Streaming and Avoiding the Pre-Packaged Media Apocalypse

Join me in the WayBack Machine for a trip to 1995. Somewhere in North America a Stereophile Hi-Fi Show is in progress, and the writing staff is gathered for an Ask the Editor’s session. A question arises about the then fledgling music downloading technology. I recall I answered that, “We’ll be able to do it before we can do it well.”

As it turned out that was correct, though I’m no soothsayer...

Gunfight at the 4K Corral

Tombstone, Arizona Territory. October 26, 1881. It is a Wednesday, around 3:00 p.m. In a vacant lot adjacent to the O.K. Corral, four lawmen including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday square off against five outlaws. Within 30 seconds, 30 shots are fired. When the gun smoke clears, three men lie on the ground, wounded. And three men lie on the ground, dead. Only Wyatt Earp walks away without a scratch. A Wild West legend is born.

Music Mixed in Auro-3D Slated for Release

Auro Technologies and Sono Luminus have announced the upcoming release of three albums recorded in Auro-3D surround sound, which has three vertical layers of sound, including height and overhead.

Logitech Harmony Adds Even More Smart Home Integration

If you’re an AV aficionado, enthusiast, geek, or however you think of yourself, Logitech’s Harmony is most likely the first—and maybe only—name that comes to mind when you hear the term “universal remote control.” Although none of the company’s remote controls are perfect (the perfect universal remote control only exists in that magical fantasy world inhabited by unicorns and hard drives that never crash), Harmony’s remotes have been good enough to pretty much crush the competition in the $30 to $350 range. Despite their king-of-the-hill position, Logitech nearly sold off the Harmony division in 2013. It’s a good thing they didn’t, because since then the company has embraced home automation in many of its universal remote controls—and recently Harmony has turned that embrace into a giant bear hug.

Zvox Cuts Price of its Largest SoundBase

Zvox announced today that it is lowering the price of its SoundBase.770 from $700 to $500.

GoldenEar Announces New SuperSub Series

The SuperSub XXL will be the first model in GoldenEar Technologies’ new SuperSub series when it launches in late September at a projected retail price of $1,999, according to company founder and president Sandy Gross.

Plantronics BackBeat Sense Smart Headphone Review

Everything needs to be enhanced these days to stand out from the crowd—everyone needs a schtick. Potato chips need wacky truffle-oil flavoring, cars need a carbon fiber wrap, and well, most celebrities keep their plastic surgeons on speed-dial. Even headphones need a hook to make a splash in the over-saturated market. While the Plantronics BackBeat Sense wireless headphones look like ordinary headphones, they are packed with enhancements, including knowing when they’re on or off.

Apple Pushes Launch of Streaming TV Service to 2016

Apple is delaying the streaming TV service it had been planning to launch in September until next year, according to a report on Bloomberg.com.

A Eulogy for Columbia House

This week Columbia House announced it was ceasing operations, causing many to exclaim “Wait, Columbia House was still around?”

My second thought (that being my first as well), was “good riddance, those bastards.”

But as the annoyance faded of how our tumultuous relationship ended, I became nostalgic.

Because quite honestly, Columbia House introduced me to music.

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