Headphone Reviews

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Ken Micallef  |  Mar 29, 2019  |  36 comments
I first met Pro-Ject Audio Systems' founder and president, Heinz Lichtenegger, in 2016, at the US launch of the Austrian company's The Classic turntable. His passion for all things hi-fi was so intense I thought his head might explode. Gleeful in his mission to bring high-end audio to the people at less than typical high-end prices, Lichtenegger and Pro-Ject can fairly claim bragging rights for their entry-level Debut Carbon (DC) ($460 and up), one of the world's best-selling turntables.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 05, 2019  |  2 comments
It used to be on my commute that I'd see my fellow subway riders listening to music on their iPods with headphones from Beats, Bose, Sennheiser, Sony—and even, occasionally, from Grado. These days, however, iPhones and Android smartphones are ubiquitous, and while I still sometimes see a pair of Beats, many travelers now wear Bluetooth-connected Apple AirPods. I haven't bought a pair of AirPods, so I don't know how they sound, but at $159, I suspect they don't compete with "legitimate" headphones. Even so, I wondered if convenience trumps sound quality when it comes to listening on the move.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 26, 2019  |  4 comments
In November 2016, I reviewed Shure's KSE1500 electrostatic in-ear headphone system, which featured a D/A amplifier with both analog and USB inputs that drove in-ear headphones with unique electrostatic diaphragms. At $2999, the KSE1500 was and is pricey, and recently Shure introduced a less-expensive electrostatic headphone system, the KSE1200SYS ($1999), with the same amplifier and earpieces but just an analog input.
John Grandberg  |  Jul 12, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

64 Audio has a special place in my heart.Perhaps that's an odd way of introducing a review, as it makes me sound totally biased, but allow me to explain.

Herb Reichert  |  May 31, 2018  |  9 comments
Brooklyn, 1979: Fridays were fierce. After a week of doing construction, I would gobble Wild Turkey at the Spring Lounge, then fall asleep on the F train with a fold of cash and a Sony Walkman stuffed in a chest pocket of my paint-spattered Belstaff Trialmaster jacket. Usually I missed my York Street stop by only a few stations, but occasionally I'd wake up at sunrise on Saturday at the last stop: Coney Island. I didn't mind. It was restorative to shuffle the deserted boardwalk, listening to the Ramones' Road to Ruin or Television's Marquee Moon.
John Grandberg  |  May 08, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

It's been nearly 5 years since ToTL Madness—our attempt to survey the growing custom IEM landscape and identify the best of the best. It's still a good read if you want to learn more about the history of the industry, the major players, and the strengths/weaknesses of these colorful little ear gems.

Bob Katz  |  Apr 05, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Nelson Pass's Lab has produced an impeccable headphone amplifier with more than enough power, that's quiet, solid, and very clean. Several other reviewers have reflected on this excellent amplifier, but I want to weigh in with my unique sonic perspective and also measurements of its performance.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Show impressions are always suspect, but I did like what I heard when I visited the 1More booth at CES early this year. They're well known for their in-ear monitors and last year introduced their first over-ear headphone, the MK801, which I found a bit too thick sounding for my taste.

Generally 1More has been offering headphone in the affordable end of the spectrum. With this new headphone they're making a move into the meaty midsection of the headphone world. And an interesting move it is!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 11, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

For those of you who just stumbled across this InnerFidelity review as you were looking for information about the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless, welcome! InnerFidelity is a website for hard core headphone enthusiasts and it's likely you've never read headphone reviews like the ones here. I'll be going on in some detail about the technicalities of this headphone and that will probably bore you. So, I'll save you some time. I don't think the Crusher is a good sounding headphone, even for bass-heads. Let me recommend you take a look at the InnerFidelity reviews of the comparably priced Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT ($149) and the more expensive but better sounding Beats Solo3 Wireless ($299).

For the rest of you headphone geeks, I'm sure you've not been chomping at the bit for a Crusher audition, but given the haptic (vibration) transducer intended to produce the feeling of low bass response, I think it's a headphone worthy of a little satisfied curiosity. Let's have a look.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 04, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Like pretty much all headphone makers, I've found HiFiMAN planar magnetic headphones a little hit and miss. Some have been a too bright and sizzly, some have not had the build quality I'd like to see at the price. On the other hand there have been some really nice surprises. The HE1000 had an uncannily pleasant, floating in the clouds, sonic character, and the HE-400S was dandy at a very affordable price. One thing has been very consistant though, the folks at HiFiMAN keep trying...and that's turning out to be a very good thing.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Feb 23, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

It was a real treat being able to talk with Paul Barton about the PSB M4U 8 and NAD HP70 at RMAF last year. Paul has lead acoustic design for PSB, NAD, and Bluesound for a long, long time now; he's got a strong understanding of audio and when he designs a product it speaks of this knowledge. In listening to this headphone, I find myself listening to both the headphone and what Paul may be trying to tell us with them. It's been an interesting dialog.

John Atkinson  |  Feb 20, 2018  |  6 comments
I got an e-mail last summer from my colleague Tyll Hertsens, editor of our InnerFidelity website. "Recently reviewed and really liked the new MrSpeakers Æon," he wrote. "They're a little rough-sounding as sealed headphones tend to be, but the tonal balance is superb. I got three in for review to make sure they're consistent. After measurements I asked [MrSpeakers'] Dan Clark if I could forward them to you because I like them so much and thought you should hear them. . . . I really think you may enjoy them."
Tyll Hertsens  |  Feb 11, 2018  |  2 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

It's deja vu all over again. Maybe Audeze decided to reverse the trend for ever more expensive headphones. Maybe they were just aware of so many people longing for the LCD2 of old. But whatever the reson, I do like seeing them breath new life into the more affordable end of the LCD line-up with their newly released LCD2 Classic.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Feb 03, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

One of a nice handfull of $500ish planar magnetic headphones at the show, I was impressed with the Advanced Alpha at CanJam@RMAF last October. In my report I said:

Maybe it was just the show conditions, or maybe I was just in the right mood, but holy smoke these sounded really good to me on first listen. I've been wrong at shows before so don't take this as gospel, but I sure liked these Advanced planar magnetic cans.

Well, time to find out if we can trust my ears at shows.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 27, 2018  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Doing audio production on a budget? Want something that sounds good? Feeling a little overwhelmed worrying about finding that one good sounding and durable needle in the haystack of crappy sounding cheap headphones that's going to break the first time it gets thrown in you backpack? Read on!

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