Headphone Reviews

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Geoffrey Morrison  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 14, 2013  |  0 comments

"So this is a tuner headphone," our frequent West Coast listening panelist Will Huff commented when I showed him the Mad Dog Alpha. "Like tuner cars?" he suggested when he saw my quizzical look. "Like in Fast and Furious?" he asked when I gave him a shrug. Ah, finally I got it.

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  |  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.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  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?

Michael Berk  |  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.
Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 12, 2013  |  0 comments

I'm not much of a businessman. (If I were, would I be writing audio reviews for a living?) Still, after years of experience in marketing and advertising, I can't help but admire a good business strategy. That's partly why I like the Harman Kardon NC.

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  |  Jul 29, 2012  |  0 comments

Even if you’re not an audiophile, you’ve seen the huge headphones many audiophiles wear. Most are open-back models, which allow the sound from the back of the speaker driver inside to escape, and which thus avoid the “boxy” sound that driver enclosures can create.

Michael Berk  |  Nov 06, 2012  |  0 comments

Since Michael Phelps was seen sporting a pair in London this summer, Sol Republic headphones have been everywhere. And there's plenty of curiosity about the company itself, run by industry veterans Scott Hix and Kevin Lee, the son of Noel Lee - the Head Monster of Monster Cable, and the man who pretty much built today's headphone industry as the manufacturing force behind Beats. 

All well and good. But should you buy headphones endorsed by a guy with water in his ears?

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 28, 2013  |  0 comments

Even though I campaigned against California's Proposition 8, I have to confess that I can't quite get the whole product positioning and marketing of the Fanny Wang brand. The WangBud increases my confusion, although it intrigues me at the same time.

For its first in-ear headphone, Fanny Wang didn't just get some generic IEM and slap its logo on. It created a product unlike any other I've encountered: a headphone using dual dynamic drivers, with earpieces the size of the old iPod earbuds and oblong silicon tips like those supplied with most Bluetooth headsets.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 03, 2013  |  0 comments

When I’m asked to pick my favorite headphones for S&V’s Editor’s Choice awards, it’s always easy. I just make a list of the ones I kept using after the review was done—the ones I listened to even when I didn’t have to. After our test of affordable audiophile headphones last year, the headphone I kept on using afterward was the AudioTechnica ATH-AD900. It’s a big, comfortable, spacious-sounding, tonally neutral open-back headphone. Just the thing for streaming Internet radio for hours while I’m writing, or to use for an all-night-long Netflix binge.

That’s why I was so happy to find a successor to the ATH-AD900 at the January CES show. The ATH-AD900X has the same list price, pretty much the same specs, and similar looks.

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