Headphone Reviews

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John Grandberg, Tyll Hertsens, ljokerl, Steve Guttenberg, Dinny FitzPatrick  |  May 04, 2013  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

It's extremely hard to compare custom IEMs. Few users have more than one pair, so direct personal comparisons are rare. They can't be measured by InnerFidelity because they don't fit in the measurement head's ears. What to do?

Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! In this review 5 InnerFidelity writers, blessed with the generosity of manufacturers willing to put their ToTL CIEMs through the ringer do a massive comparative review of 24 of the worlds best custom in-ear monitors.

Epic!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 17, 2013  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Sony gave these cans the model number 1. I've got to believe this was a "pull out all the stops" effort to make a flagship headphone for the brand. Or at least, one that would enter the fray and kick Beats butt.

Well, we'll see....

Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 23, 2013  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

It's warm and fuzzy, with a big bottom and a lively top.

No, it's not my girlfriend silly, it's the new Philips Fidelio X1. And while it may not be a mate for life, it's sure fun to have for a little fling.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 13, 2013  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Arguably the most important audiophile headphones of the last two decades, the Sennheiser HD 580/600/650 family of headphones have a history of being both revered and maligned by headphone enthusiasts. I must admit to falling in and out of love with them numerous times.

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Stephen Mejias  |  Feb 06, 2013  |  18 comments
I couldn't have known it at the time, but Swans' "Lunacy" (see last month's column) would be the very last song I'd ever enjoy in my cozy listening room. Last times—whether with things, people, places, or, I suppose, especially with ideas—can be difficult to accept, tending to overshadow all other times, their lingering memories leading to remorse and games of "what if."
Tyll Hertsens  |  Feb 02, 2013  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

The bad news is that there's been a bit of a manufacturing glitch with Focal's introduction of their first headphone: The Spirit One. The good news is they've stepped up to the plate and fixed it, and the cans perform quite nicely.

Wanna hear the whole story?

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 25, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

With just a few phone calls and emails, I've managed to get my hands on the amazing Stax SR-009 headphones, and some of the world's best electrostatic headphone amps and the gear to make use of them, and set them up my demo room for a week of comparative listening.

Quite the ear opening experience!

Gary A. Galo, John Atkinson  |  Dec 13, 2012  |  First Published: May 01, 1991  |  2 comments
The name Joseph Grado is certainly not new to the transducer field, but the HP 1 is his first entry into the headphone market. The HP 1s are billed as "Professional Recording Monitor Headphones," and Grado is clearly targeting professional recording engineers and equipment designers in need of an accurate monitoring tool. Joe's designs, whether they be phono cartridges or tonearms, have never been ho-hum also-rans when compared to their competition. His products have invariably shown unique design ingenuity, often radically departing from accepted practice. His Signature Tonearm (the last such product he made, now discontinued), which I still use as a reference, is a case in point. The HP 1 headphones are no exception, being rather unusual in design, physical appearance, and construction.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 01, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

The surge of rapper and celebrity headphones over the past five years or so has been annoying in the extreme to me. All the glam and glitter has been an enormous distraction from what the actual purpose of a headphone should be: to sound good. We're not going to be able to go backwards though, the fashionistas have raised the bar and a big, black, plastic blob on your head isn't going to cut it anymore. I just wish some company out there would be mature enough to make a headphone with tastefully balanced sound and sophisticated good looks.

With its new Momentum headphone, Sennheiser, it seems to me, is the adult in the room.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 13, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Steve Guttenberg and I have gone back and forth on whether measurements are useful to consumers, but we both agree that the measurements don't tell you whether it's a good headphone or a great one. The V-Moda M-100 doesn't measure great, but that sure as heck doesn't mean they don't sound great.

I'll untangle all those double negatives in the article.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Oct 31, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

The inside of a great designer's head must be a very unusual place. On the one hand, the world is filled with clumsy, ugly, ill-formed objects. On the other, it's rife with opportunity for utility and beauty. The cacophony of internal dialog must be almost unbearable. Renowned designer Philippe Starck has turned his attention to untangling the mess that is Bluetooth headsets, and in collaboration with Parrot (a French company with significant experience in automotive Bluetooth devices) has developed the most unique wireless headset I've ever seen.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Sep 29, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Logitech has recently stepped up it's game in the world of personal audio with an entirely new line of Logitech UE branded products. There's plenty of muscle there to do the job well, the question is: Can a mouse company apply it with the finesse needed to really produce well balanced audio products?

Fortunately, Ultimate Ears is in the mix, and it seems to me the mouse has some pretty good ears now.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Aug 10, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Out of the blue I get an email from an operations and logistics manager at an electronics distribution company I've never heard of about a headphone made by a company I've never heard of claiming these $100 Chinese Beats Solo look-alike headphones will likely make it to my Wall of Fame. Yeah, right.

Then I heard them.

Stephen Mejias  |  Aug 09, 2012  |  4 comments
It was another flawlessly beautiful spring morning, and I was in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to help John Atkinson pack up the Lansche Audio 5.1 loudspeakers ($41,000/pair). John had only just completed his listening and bench tests (see his review in the July issue), and was not ready to let go of the lovely Lansches—but the speakers would be picked up by a trucking company that afternoon and sent to our cover photographer, Eric Swanson, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Each Lansche measures 40.9" tall by 10.1" W by 19.3" D and weighs 167.5 lbs—packing them and securing them to a shipping pallet is definitely a two-man job. In our case, that job required a lot of wheezing, a little bleeding, and just the right amount of cursing. And because it was only 11am when we met, we were obliged to accomplish the task without the aid of beer—a crying shame, if you ask me—but we handled it in our usual, manly fashion.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Aug 01, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

So, a couple of guys get together, have a close look at planar magnetic headphone drivers, and come to the conclusion that they could build something much better than the vintage drivers available. It turns out good ... so good they reckon they should move forward to build world class headphones. Yeah ... right.

Yeah right, is right!

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