Headphone Reviews

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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.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 07, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

A first look at this new headphone from Meze...what a difference a pad makes.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 05, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Wow, these headphones are bee-you-tee-full! Not at all in a flashy way at all—they're understated; elegant; shapely. It's as if someone drew the perfect idealized headphone, and then Sony brought it to life.

Sam Tellig, John Atkinson  |  Apr 04, 2017  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2014  |  2 comments
Before he left Stereophile for AudioQuest at the end of March 2014, Stephen Meijas asked Thinksound to send me the On1 closed-back heaphones. He thought I might like them.

Cool beans, Stephen. I do. These are among the nicest 'phones I've come across lately. List price is $299.99, but the street price—sometimes directly from Thinksound—is usually $249.99. You save an imaginary $50. That's $50 of your savings that you can share with me in Bitcoins.

Herb Reichert  |  Mar 30, 2017  |  36 comments
Some of our readers seem to believe that the essence of high-quality audio is disclosed primarily by science, and not by dreamy, bodice-ripping adventures that take place on plush carpets behind closed doors. Perhaps they're right. Unfortunately, I have had no personal experiences that confirm that hypothesis.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 13, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Oh my! What an extraordinary headphone. The N90Q represents the first real effort to deliver seriously good sound quality using DSP corrections. It's my feeling that in the long run this type of headphone may eventually be able to deliver a superior subjective listening experience compared with passive headphones of the same price. On the other hand, I also have a little saying, "The first one is usually the worst one." Seems to me the proper perspective here is that the N90Q will be a good indicator of where we're starting on the road to DSP headphones, and how far they're likely to take us in the future. Let's get to it!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 05, 2017  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Quite a few years ago now I reviewed the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 ($289) quite positively. This headphone is sold into Beyer's pro audio distribution channel, primarily to DJs. Subsequently, Beyer produced a T 50 p to sell into their consumer channel that looked quite similar, but didn't have the split headband. It didn't sound nearly as good, either...I was bummed. Then, a couple of years ago, Beyer updated the model to produce the T 51 i, which I heard at a show and thought sounded quite a bit better than the T 50 p. After years of hounding them at every show they finally sent one my way.

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

I've got to admit I'm not a big fan of the Audio Technica line of headphones with the 3D Wing Support System headband. My previous experience is that they tend to be far too bright and lacking bass response for me, and the headband just never fits right; I've found it very difficult to get a seal. I've also had horrendous problems getting them to seal properly on my measurement head. Well, something must have changed because the A2000Z fit's my head, and my measurement head, quite well...and this headphone is one of the best sounding AT 3D Wing headphones I've heard to date.

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

Sean Olive and his crew of researchers have been at it for a while now, and I reckon some their work should have trickled down into JBL products by now. One likely candidate is their recently released JBL Everest Elite 700, a wireless, noise canceling, over-ear headphone, which contain Harman's whiz-bang TruNote technology that is claimed to calibrate the headphone to the wearers ears. Let's check it out.

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

Oh boy, I love it when a headphone ticks all the boxes and doesn't have a fatal flaw shiv strapped to its ankle ready to strike at an inopportune moment. Yep, the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless is a dandy daily driver for all your mobile headphone needs.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 31, 2017  |  10 comments
Some 100 engineers and scientists from around the globe assembled for the Audio Engineering Society's 2016 International Conference on Headphone Technology, in Aalborg, Denmark.

I figured it was coming, but it wasn't until just after I'd returned from the Audio Engineering Society's 2016 International Conference on Headphone Technology—held last August in Aalborg, Denmark—and was writing up my report and summary on the event for InnerFidelity.com (footnote 1) that I knew for sure: Headphones are about to change . . . a lot.

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

Yesssssss!

I've kvetched quite a bit about the need for some killer headphones in the $500-$1000 price range. Seems like headphone makers just jumped by that price category in an ever more intense race to the top...of your willingness to break your wallet. Looks like we're going to get some relief from MrSpeakers.

Herb Reichert  |  Dec 29, 2016  |  5 comments
When I applied for this fabulist audio-preacher gig, John Atkinson protested, "But Herb, aren't you a triode-horn guy?"

"No, that was decades ago! Today I'm still a bit of a Brit-fi guy, but my mind remains wide open."

However: As a professional reviewer, I am biased toward affordable, lovingly engineered audio creations made by family businesses with traditional artisanal values. I enjoy solid-state as much as tubes—often more!

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