Headphone Reviews

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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.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jul 23, 2012  |  0 comments

To most people, the only apparent differences among in-ear monitors (IEMs) are the logos on the sides. But there are two very different technologies used in IEMs.

Michael Berk  |  Oct 31, 2012  |  0 comments

Scottish headphone manufacturer RHA hasn't had much of a stateside presence, but this week marks their arrival in Apple stores, with the MA450i in-ear ($49.95) and SA950i on-ear ($59.95) set to appeal to budget-minded consumers looking to accessorize their iDevices. And appeal they may.

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

BEING THE ONLY CLOSED-BACK headphone pair in this bunch gave the Sony MDR-Z1000 a potential advantage and disadvantage. The advantage, we assumed, would be that the MDR-Z1000 would have more robust bass than the open-back models. The disadvantage, we assumed, would be that it wouldn’t sound as, well, open — i.e., spacious — as the open-back models.

Brent Butterworth  |  May 09, 2013  |  0 comments

It's not so easy to convert a headphone to Bluetooth. You've got to find space for the amplifier, processing circuitry, radio transceiver, and battery-and all that stuff taking up space inside the earpieces can change the sound a lot. Plus you kinda have to have a cabled mode, because you can't use Bluetooth on airplanes.

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  |  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  |  Oct 23, 2012  |  0 comments

In our roundup of $59 headphones, Urban Ears' Plattan won our testers over with its combination of solid performance, comfort, and minimalist style. The company's now introduced the Plattan's grown-up successor, the Urban Ears Zinken ($140), a more feature-packed model that shares styling cues with the older 'phone but is aimed squarely at DJs and the far larger market of folks who want to look like they spend their nights behind the wheels of steel.

Brent Butterworth  |  Dec 19, 2012  |  0 comments

From mixing boards to Blu-ray players to soundbars to saxophones, Yamaha makes just about everything audio. Which is why it’s surprising that in the one field that practically every audio company has piled into—headphones—Yamaha hasn’t done much in the last few years. The Pro 500 represents a re-entry of sorts, a flashy blue bombshell designed to attract both audiophiles and fashion-oriented “listeners.”

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 27, 2012  |  0 comments

ANY AUDIOPHILE CAN RECOGNIZE a pair of Grado headphones from 50 feet away. The distinctive, old-school leather band and earpieces mounted on sliding rods give them a World War II vibe. But audiophiles love them for their sound, not their looks.

Michael Berk  |  May 16, 2012  |  0 comments

A couple of weeks back we took a listen to a couple of DAC/headphone amplifier combo units from ADL and FiiO that did it all - covering your digital audio and headphone amplification needs at home and on the go - but you don't always need to do it all, do you? There are plenty of us who really just need better audio on the desktop. Luckily, you'll find that the market's rich these days with small, do-it-all USB devices meant to do just that - at surprisingly little cost.

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?

Michael Berk  |  Oct 09, 2012  |  0 comments

Kicker - there's a name that probably doesn't come to mind when you think headphones, but this being 2012, wouldn't you know that they'd be in the personal audio biz now too.

Brent Butterworth  |  Dec 05, 2012  |  0 comments

In the context of headphones from women’s fashion brands and toy companies, the launch of a new headphone li

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