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HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Timothy J. Seppala Posted: Nov 14, 2012 0 comments

So many awesome new video games have come out this fall, and there’s so little time. But perhaps the other members of your household don’t share your passion for stabbing corrupt politicians in the neck at three in the morning, or your neighbors don’t want to hear 140 MPH car crashes all evening long. But since you’ve been keeping up with all the newest titles, your wallet’s probably feeling a little light — so you can’t justify dropping $300 or more.

What’s a gamer to do?

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Dec 14, 2011 0 comments

After hearing the enthusiastic sales pitch from SOL Republic, one of the latest of many new entrants into the headphone biz, I was disappointed when I heard the company's first model, the Tracks $99 on-ear. While the Tracks is beautifully made and incredibly comfortable for an on-ear model, its extremely bass-heavy balance made me feel like I was locked in the trunk of a Honda Civic with two 12-inch woofers and the complete works of Deadmau5 cranked way up.

When I received the company's first in-ear monitor (IEM), the $99 Amps HD, I wondered if the company would be able to achieve the blend of design and sound quality it originally promised - or if it'd be another well-crafted but sonically intolerable product.

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: Jan 27, 2012 0 comments

IT MAY BE ONLY 4 YEARS OLD, but the HiFiMan brand has had a major impact on the growing world of portable audiophilia. The new HE-300, which uses conventional dynamic drivers, is the company’s most affordable over-ear headphone yet. With its solid, mostly metal construction and audiophile-grade detachable cables, it sure doesn’t look like it costs $249. You even get an elegant hardshell case in the deal.

Filed under
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.

Filed under
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.

Filed under
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: 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!)

Filed under
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 27, 2012 0 comments

After seeing our initial  review of the Bell'O BDH650, Bell'O sent us a replacement, feeling that our review sample must have been a prototype. Yes, we've heard this kind of thing before, but the argument, in this case, did make sense (the 650 doesn't seem to have made it into Bell'O's final headphone lineup anyway). So we took another listen.

Filed under
Brent Butterworth Posted: Jan 27, 2012 0 comments

YOU’LL NEVER BE TEMPTED to take this headphone on the bus. The earpieces of Audio-Technica’s ATH-AD900 are huge, measuring about 4.5 inches in diameter and concealing a big 53mm driver. Unlike almost all other headphones, the ATH-AD900 does not have an adjustable band. Instead, it features a pair of spring-loaded, padded “wings” that support it on your head. The soft padding and big earcups made the ATH-AD900 super-comfortable for Howard, Joe, and me. But it felt droopy to Will, and Geoff found the feel of the wings on his bald pate intolerable after a few minutes.

Filed under
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: 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
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
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.

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?

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