Headphone Reviews

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Tyll Hertsens  |  Aug 12, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

I'll often unbox a headphone and take a good hard look and listen and then make a guess at the price before looking it up on-line. I'm usually 25% - 33% low...and disappointed at how much things cost. Not so with the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT, I guessed $50 high at $199. It's $149...sweet.

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

Having not too long ago reviewed the $1499 AKG N90Q and finding it an astonishingly cool and effective noise canceler, I thought it would be interesting to look at what AKG was doing way down the food chain at a more affordable price. Thing is $300 is still $300, and in my book a pretty serious purchase. A $300 headphone needs to be good and competitive. Let's see if AKG managed to pull it off.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Aug 02, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Oh boy. The folks at Massdrop have gone and done it again. Just got their new Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE4XX in for measurements and a quick listen before the drop.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 29, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Sennheiser has been "remastering" their line-up for the past little while and I've been itching to get a little ear time on some of the more affordable models. In a marvelous turn of events, they sent me a couple of boxes filled with headphones for me to measure, evaluate, and cherry pick for for good values. Here's the first one...

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 19, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

When first I saw the Audeze iSine models I wondered to myself, "What the heck are these for?" and, "Who will want these?" I'd never heard of an open acoustic in-ear before...heck, I'd not even thought of the possibility. Why in the world was Audeze even going down this road? I spent some time on the phone with Sankar Thiagasamudram, founder and CEO of Audeze, to gain some understanding.

Herb Reichert  |  Jul 18, 2017  |  16 comments
Recently, a friend played me a masterpiece: Ike & Tina Turner's River Deep—Mountain High, arranged by Jack Nitzsche and produced by Phil Spector (LP, A&M SP 4178). It sounded terrible: murky, distant, with badly booming bass. Even before the first track was over, we both laughed and called it a night.

Nevertheless, I went home obsessed with Tina's inspired singing and Spector's infamous Wall of Sound production.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 30, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Oh baby...don't read this if you've got $800 bucks in your wallet and a yen for some good sealed headphones.

John Atkinson  |  Jun 20, 2017  |  14 comments
For digital playback, in recent months I've been breathing some rarefied air, pricewise. In December 2016, I reviewed dCS's Rossini Player and Clock, followed in May 2017 by Meridian's Ultra DAC, and in June by Chord's DAVE DAC. The Rossini Player costs $28,499 without the Clock, the Meridian $23,000, and though the DAVE is less expensive than either at $10,588, that's still a fair chunk of change. Even PS Audio's PerfectWave DirectStream DAC, which I bought following Art Dudley's review in September 2014, costs $6899 with the Network Bridge II, which hardly counts as "affordable."
Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 05, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Twenty five years ago when I started HeadRoom and built the first commercially available portable headphone amplifier I said to myself, "The day Sony decides to enter the fray with a portable headphone amp my mission will be complete." That happened a few years ago and I've found it quite entertaining to watch this humungous consumer electronics company try to snuggle into our tiny headphone enthusiast niche.

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 26, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

About a year and a half ago, SCOTTeVEST sent me a jacket to be included in the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. I liked what I saw and included it. But for a product like this, the proof is in the wearing...the long-time wearing. I figured I'd use it for a while before giving it a real thumbs-up.

Herb Reichert  |  May 23, 2017  |  8 comments
As much as I delight in pagan dreams of sweetly perfumed garden nymphs, I'm embarrassed to admit that my mind also drifts in pleasant reveries whenever I hear the words research and development in the same sentence. I am by nature a greasy gearhead. The idea of taking well-considered steps of engineering to analyze and possibly improve the operation of any electrical or mechanical system never fails to get my imaginative juices flowing. This is why I've spent decades fascinated by perfectionist audio: I like watching and participating in its edgy, eccentric evolution.
Tyll Hertsens  |  May 23, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

One hell of a story here. Interesting roots in a buncha places. I'm going to power through it with pics and links if you're interested in a deeper dive. Here we go!

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

Dag nab it! I got so busy last week with the Focal Utopia measurements that I neglected to get the new Massdrop Noble X measured and listened to for a quick report before the drop. Sorry about that.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 21, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

To my eyes, the Atticus is one half of a two part experiment by Zach Mehrbach, Founder and CEO of ZMF Headphones. His past has been dominated by the venerable, but in my opinion underperforming, Fostex T50RP planar magnetic driver. I guess Zach sees his future with a more modern—though more common—dynamic driver. It seems to me he's designed these latest two headphones as an experiment to find out just how good a headphone he can build using two different types of dynamic driver: the Atticus with a TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) diaphragm driver; and the Eikon with its bio-cellulose cone and rubber surround.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

On the one hand you have Sony, Sennheiser, AKG, and the like mounting big bucks R&D efforts to grab at the various brass rings in the headphone world; and on the other hand you have a guy like Zach Mehrbach, Founder, CEO, and Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer at ZMF Headphones, who's artisanal approach is less mental and measurement, and more heart and art...lots more.

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