HEADPHONE REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth  |  Jul 11, 2012  |  0 comments

Checking out the latest acquisitions during a recent visit to Vancouver, BC vintage audio dealer Innovative Audio, I noticed a lot of headphones that I hadn’t seen since the days when I wore Qiana shirts and had hair down past my shoulders.

Michael Berk  |  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.

Leslie Shapiro  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jun 25, 2012  |  0 comments

These days, the headphone biz is hot. The speaker biz? Not as hot. So it’s no surprise that every major speaker company is either launching a headphone line or thinking about it. And why not? They’re experts in developing, manufacturing, and marketing audio products. How hard could it be for them to launch a line of headphones?

Brent Butterworth  |  Jun 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Some audiophiles consider Focal’s $180,000-per-pair Grande Utopia EM to be the world’s finest speaker. The Spirit One, Focal’s first headphone, weighs about 99.9% less and costs about 99.8% less. Yet its brushed aluminum metal parts, matte black soft-touch finishes, and detachable cord with a woven cover convey some of the Utopias’ high-end vibe.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jun 25, 2012  |  0 comments

If you’re sick of trying to choose among dozens of lookalike IEMs in the racks at electronics stores, you’ll find the C5 to be welcome relief. This IEM resembles nothing else on the market. The back of each titanium earpiece holds B&W’s Micro Porous Filter, a layer of hundreds of tiny steel balls that the company says works as a sonic diffuser.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jun 25, 2012  |  0 comments

I’m happy to see Polk getting into one of the headphone world’s neglected nether realms: noise-canceling IEMs. The UltraFocus 6000 gives you the easy transportability of an IEM with the noise-canceling technology that’s popular on larger over-ear and on-ear models.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 14, 2012  |  0 comments

Anyone who's ever been out on a bike path or trail knows the hazard of approaching another runner who's wearing earphones. You know you should announce that you're passing them, but you know they can't hear you. As a cyclist, I always shout out "passing on your left" or even just a friendly "hello" to let someone know I'm behind them.

Michael Berk  |  Jun 12, 2012  |  0 comments

The look of V-Moda gear may be a little Versace for some mild-mannered audiophiles, but make no mistake: Val Kolton knows a thing or two about good sound, and beneath the flashy exteriors of his gear you'll find thoughtful engineering, well-conceived ergonomics, and impressive sound quality.

So when Kolton told us he had a portable source device in the works, were we excited? You bet.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 28, 2012  |  0 comments

There are speaker companies better-known than B&W, but I doubt any has a more enviable reputation. B&Ws have been a fave of audiophiles and recording engineers for decades. But the best indicator of B&W’s rep would probably be a walk through an audio show in China, where you’ll see no other speaker brand so brazenly copied.

Nowadays, though, B&W seems focused on compact and portable products, such as its Zeppelin Air and P5 and C5 headphones. Can’t blame B&W for wanting to surf the market trends, but headphones, especially, are so different from speakers that a company’s expertise in one is little indicator of skill in the other.

All three of the products I just mentioned have received rave reviews, though. That praise gives us great hope for the P3, a smaller, more portable, $100-less-expensive version of the P5.

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