Headphone Reviews

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Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 28, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

I've been listening to a lot of mid-priced, sealed headphones lately, and these just keep jumping out at me. They say DJ on the side and have a mono switch, but I'm not buying it ... these are just plain good headphones.

Pioneer, eh? Who'da thunk it.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 21, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

When the stewardess asks me if I'd like to buy a pair of headphones for two dollars, I usually say no thanks and smile. She has no idea how good a pair of custom in-ear monitors sound.

And then I thought, "Well, I really have no idea how good her headphones sound either." So, I bought a pair, and brought them home to test.

Oh my!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 20, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Simply put, I'm stunned.

It's hard to make a good sounding sealed headphone, and much more so a small, supra-aural (on-ear) type. They all seem to falter sonically somewhere. In-ear headphones were the only way to get really good portable sound ...

... until now.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 16, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

I was rummaging around amongst HeadRoom's demo cans the other day, and stumbled upon a Beyerdynamic DJX-1.

"Hmm..." I sez to myself, "I don't remember ever seeing these before. I wonder what they sound like."

Once home, I pulled them out of the box and had a listen ... wow, these aren't bad at all. I wonder why I've never heard them before?

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 13, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

According to a February 2011 NPD Group study, celebrity endorsements are extremely/very important to nearly 30 percent of consumers when deciding what headphones to buy. Moreover, there was a 75% increase in sales of headphones over $100 from 2009 to 2010 ... in a bad economy, no less. Headphones are a hopping commodity.

So sure, why not nab a big name like Quincy Jones and extend the life into an aging, but still very good headphone.

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 24, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

I’ve heard so many conflicting opinions on the Ultrasone Edition 10 that I just had to get my hands on a pair. At $2,749, you’d reckon the praise ought to be a little more consistent. So I gave my buddy Todd (the Vinyl Junkie) a call to see if he had a pair I could play with, and sure enough, he had a slightly used pair for me to audition.

Wow! What an experience!

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 22, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Just a year and a half ago I walked into the CanJam area of RMAF, and right smack-dab in the middle was Fang Bian, head of Head Direct and the HiFiMAN brand of headphone gadgetry. Fang always has something new going on; I wondered what it would be this time. He smiled, stood, and cheerfully greeted me, then pointed towards center-stage on one of his tables.

"Would you like to hear my new planar magnetic headphones?"

You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought.

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 14, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

From the “Beats by Dre” website:

“Attention sound engineers, DJs, musicians, and hard core music lovers: Beats Pro is the reference headphone designed by audio professionals for audio professionals.”

Well, one and a half out of four ain’t bad.

You’ll know if you’ve seen my Beat Solo headphone youtube video that I would be perfectly happy to dis these cans. Well, I guess you can’t be happy all the time, because there were quite a few things these headphones did surprisingly well. But I’m not perfectly unhappy, the Beats Pro didn’t fail to disappoint in some ways too.

Life in balance I guess … Dre has his place.

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 04, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Evolution is not like a car wash; it's not some process with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It's messy; it makes mistakes; sometimes it moves in a particular direction; sometimes it just goes in circles refining things. Evolution doesn't really know where it's going until it gets there.

Since 1997 Shure has been evolving its line of in-ear headphones. It seems to me they've both run in circles on the ergonomics, and made a bee-line for good sound. Let me explain.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Yes, historic. The Beyerdynamic DT 48 model has been in continuous production in a variety of forms since 1937. That's pretty historic ... I can't even remotely think of another headphone like that.

Let's take a look ...

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 21, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Whenever I can, I spend time on the back of this beast: a 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300 super sport touring bike. This baby eats continents. I once left Bozeman, Montana in the morning and slept in a cornfield in Iowa that night. I really dig long-distance travel --- the gradual and ever-changing scenery, weather, and geology punctuated with little towns and churches is mesmerizing. Nonetheless, I need my tunes to complete the experience, and it took me a good long while to find just the right headphones to accompany me on my journeys.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 18, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Great guitar amplifiers are great because they produce a lot of distortion. I wonder what a great guitar amp maker thinks a headphone should sound like?

Well, here’s our chance … I guess. The Marshall Major ($99) is a mid-size, earpad, sealed headphone, but is actually made by Zound Industries of Sweden. Yes, this is another lifestyle headphone from the makers of Urbanears. I have no idea how much input Marshall had in the design and approval, but let’s give the Major a chance. Throw the drum-kit in the back of the Econoline and we’ll go for a ride to Rock ‘n Roll with the Marshall Majors.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 12, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Back before the Sennheiser HD 800 broke the $1000 high-end headphone barrier and started a flurry of ground-breaking new reference cans, there were three staples for enthusiast searching for great sound: the Sennheiser HD 650 ($649.95 MSRP); the AKG K701 (now reincarnated as the Quincy Jones Q701; $399 MSRP); and the Beyerdynamic DT 880 ($313.95 MSRP). All three, in my mind, remain good value when properly chosen for your listening tastes. (HD 650 – warm and smooth, though somewhat lacking in detail; AKG K701 – articulate, but slightly hard; DT 880 – detailed with depth and air, but somewhat lacking weight through the mids.)

A rather cool and unusual feature of the Beyer DT 880 is that it is available in three different impedance values in order to give you better options in suiting them to your needs. I thought it would be fun to have a look at the three different versions, and evaluate their suitability to home, portable, and general use.

Read on for the techno-geekly details, but go ahead and skip to the summary if you just want the recommendations….

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 04, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

I didn’t really want to like these headphones. They didn’t sound as I had hoped, and they’re really not made for a guy like me. I wear sweat pants and t-shirts mostly; I wrench on old dirt bikes sometimes; I think camping and not taking a shower for three days rocks. The B&W P5 would feel far more at home tucked into a pig-skin valise on the front seat of a Ferarri than on the picnic table next to the BBQ on my back porch.

Yet there it was … day after day … week after week.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Q: Why is a university librarian like a fourteen year old skateboarder?
A: Both would love a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 235 headphones!

The Beyerdynamic DT 235 ($57.65, available in black and white) is about as attractive as a brick. But it's also as durable and useful, not nearly so heavy, and sounds way better. This plain-Jane headphone is perfect for library listening rooms, museums, dentist chairs, and all manner of utility applications ... including the one where you give it to a kid who can break a bowling ball in a padded room.

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