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HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 25, 2012 0 comments

I bet your average dude on the street can’t name a single audio company that’s not in the headphone biz now. For an audiophile, it’s easier. As I look around my listening room, I see lots of them: AudioControl, Canare, Hsu Research, Krell, Rotel, Sunfire, and Sonus Faber, none of which have (yet) entered the personal audio field. But that’s changing. The Pro-Ject RM-1.3 turntable sitting atop my audio rack now shares its brand with two headphones, the $129 Hear It One and the $79 Hear It Two.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 28, 2012 0 comments

A couple of days ago, we listened to the $129 Pro-Ject Hear It One, the larger of two new headphones from the budget turntable specialists. Now we’ll listen to the Hear It Two, a $79 on-ear model that, frankly, looks more like something you’d buy at Target than something you’d buy at Needle Doctor.

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

When PSB’s Paul Barton recently called me to chat about headphone measurement, it soon became apparent that he’d read every scientific paper ever written about headphones. The first headphone to which Barton brings his ultra-scientific approach is the M4U 2, a noise-canceling model poised to go up against the likes of the Bose QC15.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 22, 2012 0 comments

“So when are you guys gonna do headphones?” I jokingly asked the staff of RBH Sound when I visited them at January’s CES show. A boutique speaker company, RBH focuses on the sort of relatively high-end products that independent dealers like to sell.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 24, 2013 0 comments

If you're wondering what kind of common thread we've found between two such obviously different headphones, stop wondering. They have nothing in common. Except three things:

1) They're both headphones
2) They both employ unusual engineering.
3) They've both been sitting around my office way too long.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments

There must be hundreds of brands and thousands of models of in-ear monitors (IEMs) now, and probably 95 percent of them are as generic as 2x4s. But it's obvious that a lot of thought went into the Rock-It R-30.

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 14, 2013 0 comments

Sennheiser has long been a fixture in the professional audio and high-end audiophile market. I’ve used my Sennheiser HD 595 and HD 600 Open Dynamic headphones for many applications - in the studio for reference monitoring, for sound quality consulting, and for audio forensics. When Sennheiser announced the Momentum series, I was instantly curious about these affordable, fashionable, and (somewhat) portable headphones. Would they live up to the brand’s reputation?

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: May 08, 2013 0 comments

I've heard Skullcandy 'phones ranging from the well-balanced RocNation Aviator to the heavy-handed Hesh to the hard-driving Titan, an inconsistency that led me to guess that the company wasn't making a serious effort to voice its headphones.

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 17, 2013 0 comments

Two years ago, not a soul had heard of SOL Republic. Last summer, that all changed as everyone watching the Summer Olympics frantically googled to see what brand of headphones were seemingly permanently attached to swimmer Michael Phelps' head whenever he was out of the water. Overnight, SOL Republic went from "what's that?" to "must have." Can their latest design keep up with the hype?

Filed under
Michael Berk Posted: Nov 06, 2012 0 comments

Since Michael Phelps was seen sporting a pair in London this summer, Sol Republic headphones have been everywhere. And there's plenty of curiosity about the company itself, run by industry veterans Scott Hix and Kevin Lee, the son of Noel Lee - the Head Monster of Monster Cable, and the man who pretty much built today's headphone industry as the manufacturing force behind Beats. 

All well and good. But should you buy headphones endorsed by a guy with water in his ears?

Filed under
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 17, 2012 1 comments

Noise cancelling and celebrity-endorsed headphones are two of the biggest categories in big headphones. You can thank Beats for that, I suppose. In one hand, I've got the MDR-1RNC which apparently are not endorsed by the Republican National Committee. At least, I don't think. They've got digital noise cancelling (the headphones, not the Republicans) and some great design and build quality.

In my other hand I've got the shiny MDR-X10's which are "unique and powerful headphones designed by Sony and Simon Cowell." Yeah, they're unique all right.

Six ears give a listen to create one verdict (Well, OK, technically two verdicts).

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Dec 09, 2011 0 comments

When we heard about the Sync by 50 headphones from SMS Audio, our hearts soared. We hoped that company founder and hip-hop star 50 Cent — or Fiddy, or Fif, or Cent, or Curtis, or whatever the hip-hop cognoscenti are calling him this week — would tap his fabled entrepreneurial skills and no-nonsense business attitude to create the world’s first hip-hop headphones that don’t at least kinda suck.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Feb 20, 2012 0 comments

Companies that sell in-ear monitors seldom talk much about the technologies inside their products. But they should, because there are big differences between the ~$20 Philips and Skullcandy IEMs you buy at Target and the ~$200 models you get from Etymotic or Shure.

Filed under
Michael Berk Posted: Jul 05, 2012 0 comments

Tivoli's staked out a secure place for itself on the bedside tables and desks of stylish folks worldwide, and now they've decided to bring their tasteful finishes and wooden accents to the category everybody's getting into these days - headphones.

Filed under
Michael Berk Posted: Dec 11, 2012 0 comments

Over the past several months I've repeatedly had goo poured into my ear canalsFor you, gentle readers - all in the interest of finding out whether custom in-ear monitors make as much sense for serious listeners as they do for musicians and sound engineers.

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