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HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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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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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.

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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.

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.

Filed under
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: 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.

Filed under
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.

Filed under
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.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 11, 2012 0 comments

Checking out the latest acquisitions during a recent visit to Vancouver, BC vintage audio dealer Innovative Audio, I noticed a lot of headphones that I hadn’t seen since the days when I wore Qiana shirts and had hair down past my shoulders.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jan 28, 2013 0 comments

Even though I campaigned against California's Proposition 8, I have to confess that I can't quite get the whole product positioning and marketing of the Fanny Wang brand. The WangBud increases my confusion, although it intrigues me at the same time.

For its first in-ear headphone, Fanny Wang didn't just get some generic IEM and slap its logo on. It created a product unlike any other I've encountered: a headphone using dual dynamic drivers, with earpieces the size of the old iPod earbuds and oblong silicon tips like those supplied with most Bluetooth headsets.

Filed under
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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