HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

Some audiophiles consider Focal’s $180,000-per-pair Grande Utopia EM to be the world’s finest speaker. The Spirit One, Focal’s first headphone, weighs about 99.9% less and costs about 99.8% less. Yet its brushed aluminum metal parts, matte black soft-touch finishes, and detachable cord with a woven cover convey some of the Utopias’ high-end vibe.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 11, 2013 0 comments

Star Wars headphones! Star Wars headphones! Star. Wars. Headphones. STARWARSHEADPHONES. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "OMG WTF this is the most amazing thing ever!"

Wait, it gets better. They're only $22!

And you're not going to believe this, but sound actually comes out of them. I KNOW. And wouldn't it really be something if these greatestheadphonesofalltime actually sounded good too?

Well, yes, that would have been something.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Dec 05, 2012 0 comments

In the context of headphones from women’s fashion brands and toy companies, the launch of a new headphone li

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 12, 2013 0 comments

I'm not much of a businessman. (If I were, would I be writing audio reviews for a living?) Still, after years of experience in marketing and advertising, I can't help but admire a good business strategy. That's partly why I like the Harman Kardon NC.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 08, 2012 1 comments

Ask any group of audiophiles what kind of speakers they have, and I guarantee you at least one and probably several will answer “Magnepan.” Why do audiophiles so love this relatively obscure brand? No, not (just) because it’s obscure. They love Magnepans because of the incredible detail, soundstaging, and natural timbre of their planar magnetic drivers. For the same reason, headphone enthusiasts are embracing planar magnetic headphones.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Oct 29, 2012 0 comments

Like wine, sushi, and plumbers, headphones can get a lot more expensive than most people realize. At Sound+Vision, we focus on under-$500 models. But when Dr. Fang Bian, the visionary entrepreneur behind the HiFiMan headphone company, asked if I’d like to try the company’s top-of-the-line, $1,299 HE-6 headphone and its new $1,599 EF-6 headphone amplifier, I thought it’d be a great chance to give our usual listening panel a sample of what only the most devoted and/or wealthy headphone aficionados usually get to hear.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 01, 2012 0 comments

When I first encountered the Exodus from House of Marley, during our test last fall of celebrity-branded headphones, I didn’t expect much. I assumed the company had put all its effort into the Exodus’ stunning styling, and little into sound quality.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 23, 2012 0 comments

To most people, the only apparent differences among in-ear monitors (IEMs) are the logos on the sides. But there are two very different technologies used in IEMs.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Apr 24, 2014 0 comments
If you’re like me, you can’t get any kind of workout done without music. A driving beat helps to regulate breathing, encourages you to keep up the pace, and energizes you when you’re ready to call it quits. But sometimes the toughest part of working out isn’t my burning muscles, it’s getting the right pair of headphones that sound good, stay put, and deliver my tunes. There’s a lot out of offerings there these days, and Jabra is entering the fray with their first Bluetooth sport headphone, the Rox. But do they have the fortitude to go the distance?
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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 08, 2013 0 comments

Bluetooth's been a boon for headphones, 'cause lots of people love headphones but nobody loves cables. It hasn't taken off in the in-ear monitor market, though, 'cause almost all Bluetooth IEMs have a clunky module that holds the Bluetooth electronics and the amplifier-and nobody loves clunky modules.

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Michael Berk Posted: Oct 09, 2012 0 comments

Kicker - there's a name that probably doesn't come to mind when you think headphones, but this being 2012, wouldn't you know that they'd be in the personal audio biz now too.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: May 09, 2013 0 comments

It's not so easy to convert a headphone to Bluetooth. You've got to find space for the amplifier, processing circuitry, radio transceiver, and battery-and all that stuff taking up space inside the earpieces can change the sound a lot. Plus you kinda have to have a cabled mode, because you can't use Bluetooth on airplanes.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 05, 2013 0 comments

To most people, a high-end in-ear monitor costing hundreds of dollars doesn’t look much different from the $10 IEMs you buy at Walgreens. But usually, the difference is huge. Perfect example: the $199 Klipsch Image X7i.

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Michael Berk Posted: Feb 12, 2013 0 comments
When Logitech acquired the Ultimate Ears headphone brand in 2008, longtime fans had their doubts about what the consumer electronics megacompany would do with the high-end in-ear specialists.
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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 12, 2012 0 comments

We’ve learned one thing from our past investigations into the new wave of headphones made by speaker companies: Headphone engineering has little in common with speaker engineering. Because the physics of headphones are so different from the physics of speakers — and because few, if any, speaker companies actually build their own headphones — it’s rare for a company’s headphones to mirror the sonic character of its speakers.

Tougher still for MartinLogan, which built its brand on 5-foot-tall electrostatic speakers.

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