Headphone Reviews

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Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 05, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $309

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Rich, detailed sound
Solid bass
Elegant fit and finish
Light and comfortable
Minus
A little pricey

THE VERDICT
The 99 Classics check all the right boxes: They’re light and comfortable, beautifully built, and sound great.

Endless fascination. That’s the best way to describe my recent obsession with the 50-year-old Beatles classic Abbey Road. I’ve listened to the album hundreds of times over the years on a variety of formats, starting with the original vinyl pressing, yet listening to Giles Martin’s tasteful and, ultimately, reverential remix is like hearing this magnificent collection of songs for the first time.

Of course, a good bit of the credit goes to Meze Audio’s stylish 99 Classics...

Bob Ankosko  |  Oct 22, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $180

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Smooth, detailed sound
Solid construction
Light weight
Comfortable
Minus
Sound can be somewhat muted

THE VERDICT
Charging becomes a secondary concern with Cleer’s Enduro 100 wireless headphones thanks to an insanely long battery life.

I’ve been listening on and off for six days and the tiny battery in Cleer’s Enduro 100 wireless headphones is still going strong. Impressive. No question, headphones that need frequent recharging are…well, annoying and intrude on the freedom that comes with wireless listening.

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 23, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $80 ($70 on amazon.com)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Satisfying sound
Effective noise canceling
Light weight and not overly bulky
Minus
Sound could be fuller
Some discomfort after an hour or so of listening

THE VERDICT
If you’re looking for wireless, noise-canceling headphones that won’t break the bank, the E9s provide satisfying sound with effective active noise canceling for 80 bucks (or less).

If you’ve never heard of Mixcder, you’re not alone. The company with the awkwardly spelled name — pronounced “mix-see-der” — has only been around for a few years. It’s based in California and specializes in super low-priced headphones sourced in China with a current lineup comprising 10 models, all wireless and ranging in price from $19 to $90 for a set of full-size wireless headphones with active noise canceling (ANC).

Stewart Wolpin  |  Sep 03, 2019  |  0 comments
We put eight noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones to the test to find out which are the best.
Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 19, 2019  |  1 comments
Most headphones strive for a clean sound without any coloration or alteration of the source. The new AV50 noise-cancelling headphones from ZVOX feature AccuVoice technology that intentionally brightens up vocals and dialogue, adding clarity to movies and TV shows, while also reducing ambient noise. Headphones for an older or mildly hearing-impaired crowd? Why not?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 05, 2019  |  0 comments
They say you get what you pay for. With budget audio products, that’s rarely a good thing. Finding a pair of true wireless earphones for under $50 is a rare thing, and finding ones with acceptable sound quality is even rarer. I had a chance to check out the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 earphones that retail for $45. Let’s see what just under fifty bucks gets you these days.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jul 01, 2019  |  0 comments
When you’re going truly wireless, your only option is to use Bluetooth, so it has to be the best quality that Bluetooth affords. The new Cleer Ally earphones use Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX, so for the moment, they're pretty much as good as it gets.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 17, 2019  |  0 comments
While researching noise-cancelling headphones, I kept reading comparison after comparison with the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones. Needless to say, I had to try out the Sony headphones on a trip and see for myself. Were they as good as other reviewers made them out to be? Will they become my new favorites? Here’s a hint: the hype is real.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 20, 2019  |  0 comments
I’ve got an insanely long airplane trip coming up and, no surprise, my very first thought was, which noise-canceling headphones should I bring for the flight? Great news for me; Jabra just released the Elite 85h. Besides having a sound that competes with the best ANC headphones out there, they’re the only ones with enough battery life to last for my entire journey. Let’s see if they sound good enough to stay on my packing list.

Stewart Wolpin  |  Apr 10, 2019  |  2 comments
You may be excused if you thought that Apple's AirPods are the first and only so-called "true wireless" earphones—completely cordless in-ear "buds" that connect both with each other and to your smartphone via Bluetooth—since their distinctive white sticks seem to be protruding from hipster ears everywhere.

Fortunately, if you're not an iPhone owner, or a fan of the AirPods' distinctive look or not-necessarily one-size-fits-all fit, there is a growing number of other "true wireless" earbud choices. And in contrast with Apple's one-for-all approach, most AirPod alternatives address specific use cases, style preferences, and budgets.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 10, 2018  |  0 comments
Go big or stay home is my version of that common saying. If you’re going to go for a hike, make it epic. If it’s a run, make it a marathon. Bike ride? Better be a century. Ultra is in and you need gear that’s up for the challenge. If your legs can take a 14-hour run, why can’t your headphones?

Steve Guttenberg  |  Nov 27, 2018  |  2 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $149

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Lightweight yet rugged design
Smooth overall sound balance
Two-year warranty
Minus
Isolation from external noise could be better

THE VERDICT
Audiophiles on a budget need look no further than Sennheiser’s HD 569 headphones.

My long-running fascination with Sennheiser headphones dates back to the first ones that I bought in 1972: the HD 414 with canary yellow ear pads. I can’t remember how or why they vanished from my collection decades back, so I recently bought an ancient pair of HD 414s on eBay, and the sound was even better than I remembered. I still have the company’s HD 580, which I bought in 1994—another model I keep coming back to. Listening to the company’s relatively new HD 569, I have the feeling they’ll still be cherished by their owners decades from now. They’re that good.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Oct 23, 2018  |  1 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stunning design with consummate build quality
Pleasurable sound balance
Plush ear pads
Minus
Sound balance may be too rich for some tastes

THE VERDICT
Campfire Audio’s Cascade is a class act, with distinctive good looks and a sweet, easy sound.

Even before I start listening to headphones, their look and feel on my head can have an influence on my first impressions of the sound. On that score, Campfire Audio’s Cascade headphones really had my hopes up. The satin black machined aluminum earcups felt like they could survive a close encounter with a city bus and escape unscathed. The plush, real lambskin-covered earpads promised good times ahead. Yesiree, the Cascade makes a mighty fine first impression. What about the sound, you ask?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 20, 2018  |  0 comments
Next time you’re at a concert, look around. Want to know how to spot the audiophiles? They’re the ones with cotton balls and Kleenex sticking out of their ears. Anyone concerned with protecting their hearing knows how dangerous loud concerts and even movie theaters can be. Usually, the only options were earplugs that blocked frequencies unevenly, making it hard to understand lyrics and dialogue. Want to be a cool audiophile? Check out Decibullz Professional Filters, Earplugs, and Earphones.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Aug 06, 2018  |  0 comments
While everyone and their sister is coming out with wireless earphones (thank you, Apple), clearly there’s a need for companies to give themselves an edge in a very crowded marketplace. The new Edge Pulse earphone from Cleer clearly has an edge over the competition.

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