HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 27, 2013 0 comments

The 808 headphones prove I'm way hipper than any of our West Coast headphone testing panel, who range from 10 to almost 20 years younger than me. "You can tell from the name it's targeted to hip-hop fans," I told them.

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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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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 09, 2012 0 comments

I love the form factor of on-ear, or "supra-aural" headphones — the kind where the ear pads press against your ears’ pinnae instead of surrounding them —  because they usually fit easily into my laptop computer case. But I’ve had a problem finding a model comfortable enough to wear for more than an hour. What’s more, I’ve found no on-ears whose performance compares to that of a good over-ear (or circumaural) headphone — until now.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 23, 2012 0 comments

The $1,299 K3003 seems as if it were designed to be the official IEM of the one-percenters. One look at the stainless-steel earpieces tells you it’s something exclusive and different. It’s different inside, too, with two balanced armatures instead of just one. As one might expect from a $1,299 IEM, it comes with a snazzy and unique leather case, although the case is relatively bulky.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 29, 2012 0 comments

Even if you’re not an audiophile, you’ve seen the huge headphones many audiophiles wear. Most are open-back models, which allow the sound from the back of the speaker driver inside to escape, and which thus avoid the “boxy” sound that driver enclosures can create.

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Michael Berk Posted: May 14, 2013 0 comments

When Furutech launched their consumer-oriented Alpha Design Labs line in 2011 with the GT40 USB DAC/phono stage, it was clear that the company - which has long had a solid reputation among old-school audiophiles as a manufacturer of interconnects, power supply components, and connectors - was making a serious commitment t

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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