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HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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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.

Filed under
Michael Berk Posted: Jul 31, 2012 0 comments

When we last looked at Altec Lansing's headphone offerings, we checked out their affordable universal-fit balanced-armature IEM, the Muzx Ultra. But that's not all there is to the longstanding brand's headphone offerings. Late last year, the company went all-in with a premium headphone line, and we've had a chance to spend some time with them over the last few months.

Filed under
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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Timothy J. Seppala Posted: Aug 30, 2012 0 comments

When I reviewed the Astro A40 MLG edition headset and wireless mixamp late last year, my complaints were minor. Since then, they've become my go-to cans; I even use them for transcribing interviews. It's overkill, I know. I've used them exclusively for the past eight months because I haven't heard another gaming headset that sounds anywhere near as good. That is until I spent quality time with Astro's new model, the A50.

Filed under
Michael Berk Posted: Feb 05, 2013 0 comments

One of the most interesting success stories of the new wave of headphone audiophila is Audeze. The company, which specializes in planar magnetic headphones with wooden ear cups, luxurious appointments, and you're-got-to-hear-it-to-believe-it sonics. We got a chance recently to spend some time with their flagship, the LCD-3 ($1,945), a headphone that's become the top choice for many of today's personal audio enthusiasts. Obviously, we needed to hear why.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 14, 2012 0 comments

In the unlikely event I ever again decide to pick a fight, it’ll be with someone who looks weaker than me. Obviously, Audio-Technica has a lot more guts than I do.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 23, 2012 0 comments

Audiofly is a cool new brand with a retro look. Its website is filled with pix of recent-vintage tattooed hipsters, but its IEMs have molded-plastic perf grilles reminiscent of the 1960s portable radios I grew up with.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: May 03, 2013 0 comments

When I’m asked to pick my favorite headphones for S&V’s Editor’s Choice awards, it’s always easy. I just make a list of the ones I kept using after the review was done—the ones I listened to even when I didn’t have to. After our test of affordable audiophile headphones last year, the headphone I kept on using afterward was the AudioTechnica ATH-AD900. It’s a big, comfortable, spacious-sounding, tonally neutral open-back headphone. Just the thing for streaming Internet radio for hours while I’m writing, or to use for an all-night-long Netflix binge.

That’s why I was so happy to find a successor to the ATH-AD900 at the January CES show. The ATH-AD900X has the same list price, pretty much the same specs, and similar looks.

Filed under
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.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 04, 2013 0 comments

Has there ever been a headphone brand so controversial as Beats? It's undeniably popular; just walk around any downtown or airport in any industrialized country and you're almost sure to see a set. Yet audio enthusiasts-including the ones at Sound & Vision-often deride Beats' sound quality.

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jun 28, 2012 0 comments

When Bell'O announced that they were getting into the audio business, I fully expected them to come out with a line of speakers that matched some of their home theater furniture.

Filed under
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.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Dec 25, 2012 0 comments

To reviewers, accusations of bias are just part of the gig. Commenting readers have insisted we're biased against certain brands, biased against in-ear monitors, biased against headphones with lots of bass, biased against headphones with flat bass, even biased against headphones from non-California companies.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 14, 2014 0 comments
As someone whose life seems to revolve around the outdoors, I’m all ears whenever I hear about a new “active” piece of electronics gear. The new BlueAnt PUMP HD wireless waterproof sportbud promised to deliver audiophile-grade performance in a rugged, IP67-waterproof rated Bluetooth-compatible package.As soon as it arrived, I charged it up and hit my favorite bike trail.

Filed under
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 18, 2012 1 comments

This is an article I never thought I’d write. I sold hi-fi (well, Circuit City’s version of “hi-fi”) within sight of The Mountain. I developed early an audiophile’s distain for the four-letter marketing juggernaut. When I began reviewing audio, I couldn’t imagine a situation where I’d review a Bose product. Certainly not something like the market-leading QuietComfort 15 noise-canceling headphone,  Not without heavy doses of irony, snark, and derision.

And yet, it is my fiduciary duty to give credit where credit is due.

So behold — not only my first review of a Bose product, but a positive one at that.

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