Headphone Reviews

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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!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 24, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Headphone manufacturers pay attention: If you want to build a high-end headphone, this is the way to do it.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 16, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

For now it's sufficient to state that the Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650 are probably the most highly regarded enthusiast headphone in the world, and I highly recommend both. The HD 650 is a bit too warm sounding for me (just a bit), and the HD 600 is my favorite of the two. Let's see if the HD 660 S can continue the legend!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 08, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Not long ago I wrote enthusiastically about the Bose SoundWear Companion neck-worn speaker. It was my first experience with such a device and it was, and continues to be, a very pleasant one. Way better than I expected. So, I figured I should look into some of the other options for this new type of device.

JBL was kind enough to send me their Soundgear—a $100 less expensive alternative to the Bose. Having experience only one other device of this type, it's probably best just to compare and contrast the JBL directly with the Bose for this review.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 04, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

And BOOM! Acoustic Research, a brand long recognised amongst audio enthusiasts, shows up with their new planar magnetic AR-H1 at CanJam at RMAF 2017. Color me surprised!

Herb Reichert  |  Nov 28, 2017  |  8 comments
I spend my days comparing cartridges and speaker stands, arguing about imaging and microphone placement, speculating about DAC filters, and lately, sometimes, very secretly listening to headphones connected not to commercially available headphone amplifiers but directly to the outputs of basic tubed and solid-state power amplifiers. No person in his right mind would or should try this—it's too easy to destroy a pair of delicate, expensive headphones. But for me, it's been worth the risk.
John Atkinson  |  Nov 20, 2017  |  18 comments
Headphone listening has always been an important part of my audiophile life. In recent years I've been using at home Audeze's large, open-back, circumaural LCD-X headphones, which I bought after reviewing them for the March 2014 issue; and a pair of small Ultimate Ears 18 Pro in-ear monitors, which provide much better isolation on my subway commute to Stereophile's offices in Manhattan. I was intrigued by Audeze's iSine in-ear models, which were introduced in November 2016 and are unique in using planar-magnetic drive-units mounted outside the ear. I thought about reviewing a pair of the affordable iSines, but before I could get around to it, I heard that Audeze was to launch a cost-no-object version, the LCDi4, priced at a substantial $2495/pair. Aspiration got the better of frugality, and I asked for a pair to review.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 17, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

I'll admit feeling the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed look a bit alien to my eyes when first I saw it. Now that it's been on my desk for a few months I find it quite appealing. Not so much for it's looks—don't get me wrong, I quite like the look—but more because I've come to appreciate the comfort of them. No surprises when the Aeon Flow Open showed up...they were right at home on my head. Good thing too, they'll be spending a lot of time there.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 10, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

About this time last year I reviewed the then new Sennheiser PXC 550 BTNC over-ear, noise canceling headphones in hopes that someone would manage to unseat the Bose Quiet Comfort 35. Didn't happen. The Sennheiser had some great features, but in the end it was just too bright for me.

Recently I got a few more Sennheiser wireless noise cancelers and I found they too seemed overly bright. Now I consider Sennheiser the world's best headphone manufacturer. They've got a lot of experience under their belt, so when I hear a batch of Sennheisers, from differing product lines, that all seem too bright and have a quite similar measured response, I've got to question myself. Maybe they know something that I don't.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 06, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

To say I looked at the Bose SoundWear Companion Speaker with a great deal of skepticism when I first saw one in the Bose kiosk at Denver International Airpot after RMAF is a serious understatement. Boy was I in for a surprise!

Jim Austin  |  Oct 26, 2017  |  86 comments
Much has been written about the divide in high-end audio between subjectivists, who trust their ears, and objectivists, who believe that anything not scientifically proven is fake news. I respect both sides and am skeptical of both extremes, and I like to think that's how most audiophiles feel. High-end audio is about experiencing music—that's the whole point—but scientific and technological rigor lie behind every real advance, past and future. I regret the cynical snake-oil salesmanship, bad thinking, and clumsy engineering that pervade certain parts of our hobby.
Herb Reichert  |  Oct 26, 2017  |  5 comments
Every day in my bunker, I use one of a few high-quality headphone amplifiers to double as a line-level preamplifier-controller and operate as the quality-assurance reference for my ongoing audio experiments. I must choose this component carefully, because it determines the upper limit of my system's ability to reveal any subtle differences among components under review.

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