HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 12, 2012 0 comments

Gadget freaks can drive themselves crazy waiting for the perfect product. Whether it's a smartphone, an A/V receiver, or a laptop, it seems there's always at least one missing feature that you really, really need.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jan 04, 2012 0 comments

Mention noise-cancelling headphones and most people think of large, over-ear models like the Bose QC15. Comfy as those big cans can be, they’re waaaay too big to slip into a pocket or purse. But not all noise-cancelling headphones come in cases sized like jumbo donuts at the State Fair. In fact, a few manufacturers have added noise-cancelling technology to their in-ear monitors (IEMs), using a little “lump in the line” to house the needed electronics.

One might fairly ask, though: Do IEMs really need noise cancelling? After all, when used with tips that fit your ears properly, IEMs completely seal off your ear canals. However, IEMs do most of their noise-blocking at frequencies above 1 kHz. Below that, they’re not so effective at keeping the noise out.

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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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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 31, 2012 0 comments

NOTHING in consumer electronics is more popular right now than headphones. Pick a price and you’ll find no fewer than a billion different offerings (source: Wikipedia). Recent surveys indicate that many consumers look for celebrity endorsements to decide what to buy. Because celebrities and corporations have one thing in common — desire for money — all the A-, B-, and C-list celebs have already paired up with major ’phone manufacturers.

These trends have not escaped the keen eyes of Dr. Loof Lirpa. After making trillions from the incredible Liberty Freedom 1776 A-FY tower speakers covered last year and proudly not paying taxes on any of it, Lirpa has turned his gaze on a whole new market.

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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: Aug 08, 2012 0 comments

Pioneer’s gotta be a little PO’ed. The storied Japanese company has been making headphones for more than 50 years, yet it’s been overshadowed by upstart brands like Beats, HiFiMan, V-Moda, Phiaton, and others. But Pioneer’s fighting back with a freshly designed new line, in which the SE-MJ591 on-ear headphone is one of the top models.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 18, 2013 0 comments

I’ve been searching a long time for a good noise-cancelling headphone priced around $100—something that might approach the performance of the $299 Bose QC-15 but at one-third the price.

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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: Sep 07, 2011 0 comments

When I got the press release for the new InTune in-ear headphones from Fuse, it made me think: How is any particular genre of music supposed to sound? And does it already sound that way, or do you have to do something to it to make it sound like it’s supposed to?

The InTune headphones inspired this question because they’re available in four varieties, each tuned for a certain type of music: red for rap and hip-hop, orange for rock, blues and country; blue for jazz and classical; and green for pop and easy listening.

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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).

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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: 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: 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: 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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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.

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