HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jan 30, 2012 0 comments

EVERYWHERE YOU GO, it’s so easy to listen to music, thanks to smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players. But it’s kind of a bummer that millions of people now hear most of their music through earbuds with drivers smaller than a dime.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 04, 2013 0 comments

As an Android fan, it's been frustrating to me to see how many audio accessories have been made for the iPhone, but almost none for my phone of choice. As a Samsung Galaxy S III owner, it's been even more frustrating, because the GS3 has sold more than 40 million units to date, with the GS4 coming in a couple of weeks to keep the trend going. Finally, though, someone's come up with an audio accessory for the GS3. Not some tacky little plastic dock, either. It's actually the coolest portable headphone amp I've ever seen: the V-Moda Vamp Verza.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

Subwoofer specialist company Velodyne surprised everyone when it entered the headphone business last year. But while you might expect Velodyne’s headphones to incorporate ginormous drivers, passive radiators, high-powered digital amps, and the like, the vPulse is pretty ordinary-looking.

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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.

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Michael Berk Posted: May 01, 2012 0 comments

Everybody wants better sound out of their headphones, but (and here's a shocker, I know) not everyone wants to own a lot of hardware to make that happen, especially if you want to take your show on the road every now and then. Whether budget-tightening precludes your investing in a portable listening rig to supplement your home setup or you're just a minimalist, you might just be in luck. Low-cost audio gear leaders FiiO and Alpha Design Labs (the personal audio wing of high-end connector kings Furutech) have each introduced some impressive do-it-all devices that just might cover all of your digital listening needs.

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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.

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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.

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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: Jun 25, 2012 0 comments

Paradigm tunes its IEMs to match the sound of its different speaker lines. The E3m is the top-of-the-line model, thus it is said to match the company’s top-of-the-line Signature Series speakers. The midpriced E2m matches Paradigm’s Studio Series speakers, and the low-priced E1 matches the Monitor Series 7 speakers.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 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.

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