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  |  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  |  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.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 12, 2016  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

In my mind, Mr. Speakers had become a world-class enthusiast headphone maker.

And it was with that mind-set, biasing that it might be, that I eagerly awaited the coming Ether C Flow. My feelings are mixed.

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.

Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 29, 2010  |  2 comments
I remember my first experience with headphones. In 1960, I bought a set of Trimm dual 'phones (less than $5) and rewired them for stereo. The experience was remarkable for several reasons. First, it brought the sounds into my head—I was thrilled with the impact. Second, stereo effects, especially with Enoch Light's ping-pong LPs (eg, Provocative Percussion, Command RS800SD), were striking. Third, I could play them really loud without bothering others. Of course, they had no bass, brittle treble, distorted at high levels, and their wire headband and Bakelite earpieces were uncomfortable. My fascination with this gimmick quickly faded.
Herb Reichert  |  Aug 15, 2017  |  33 comments
In equipment reports, I use the phrase forward momentum to refer to something a little deeper and more encompassing than what's meant by that well-worn Brit-fi expression pace, rhythm, and timing (PRaT). Pace refers to the speed at which a piece of music is being played, and the accurate reproduction of that speed requires audio sources with good dynamic pitch stability. (Digital folk always lord it over LP clingers for digital's superior pitch stability.)
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  |  Aug 19, 2014  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Lots of chatter abut the Oppo ear-pads on Head-Fi.org. I figured I better do some measurements to get another view.

Did some listening too, and found a favorite pad.

John Atkinson  |  Jun 16, 2016  |  3 comments
When Pass Labs is mentioned, it's natural to think of its founder, iconic engineer Nelson Pass. But Nelson heads a team of engineers at the California company: Their XP-30 preamplifier, which I enthusiastically reviewed in April 2013, was designed by Wayne Colburn; and the subject of this review, the HPA-1 headphone amplifier, is the first Pass Labs product designed by Jam Somasundram, former director of engineering for Cary Audio. Somasundram joined Pass Labs in July 2013; he spent a year working on the HPA-1, which was shown at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, but not formally launched until the 2016 CES, at a hefty $3500.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 14, 2009  |  0 comments
I once spoke to a blacksmith (named Smith, actually) about the wonderfully patterned bowie knives he made of Damascus steel. Struck by the contrast between the massive brutality of the knives themselves and the delicate beauty of the steel from which they were wrought, I asked Smith why he worked in Damascus, expecting him to extol its legendary temper or its aggressive cutting edge. After all, he was a pretty macho guy with a physique like, well, the village blacksmith's (Google it, young 'uns). He thought for a minute before responding, quietly, "Beauty is its own reward."
John Atkinson  |  Sep 21, 2009  |  0 comments
Phiaton is the brand name used by the South Korean Cresyn Company. Wes Phillips reviewed Phiaton's conventional closed-back Moderna MS 400 headphones in January 2009 and was as impressed by the sound quality as he was by their appearance. The PS 200 ($249), the only in-ear headphone sold by Phiaton, also has a striking appearance: the black rear face, which is all someone sitting next to you in the subway will see, resembles the turbine blades of a fan-jet engine. There are two balanced-armature drive-units, with a passive crossover network.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Feb 13, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Generally speaking, my teenage daughter couldn't care less about headphones. But when I brought home a pair of purple Philips Citiscape Downtown headphones, she was almost breathless as she said, "Oh dad! Purple is my favorite color. Those are so cool!" Later, I peeked into her room; she was laying on her bed, knees up with legs crossed, one foot happily tapping the air.

It was with both pleasure and dismay that I realized I had just more fully enabled her connection to Justin Bieber.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 08, 2015  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

The first Lightning cable headphone...but not the last, no doubt.

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

The rash of in-ear headphones over the past few years has produced an enormous amount of style over substance. All too often the bling on the outside is accompanied by horrifically bloated or screechy sound on the inside. Likewise, some makers are able to deliver great sound, but fall down in the looks and comfort department. Rare indeed is the in-ear headphone that is stylish, comfortable, and good sounding.

The Audéo PFE seems to have beaten the odds.

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