Headphone Reviews

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John Atkinson  |  Jun 14, 2010  |  0 comments
I have built up a large collection of CDs since the medium's launch more than a quarter century ago, along with a modest number of SACDs and a small number of DVD-As. But I find these days that, unless I'm getting down to some serious listening and can give the music my uninterrupted attention, I use iTunes to feed computer files to my high-end rig (footnote 1). I've mostly been using the superb-sounding combination of dCS Puccini U-Clock and Puccini player/DAC that I reviewed last December to take a USB feed from a Mac mini, but I've also been using the Bel Canto USB Link 24/96 and Stello U2 USB-S/PDIF converters, particularly for headphone listening, when I use one of those two format converters with a Benchmark DAC1 D/A headphone amplifier.
Wes Phillips  |  Oct 23, 2005  |  0 comments
Back in March, I wrote a reviewlet of Channel Islands Audio's VHP•1 headphone amplifier for the Stereophile eNewsletter. (What—you aren't receiving that free download yet? Well, log on to www.stereophile.com and opt in.) The VHP•1 has continued to enchant me—reason enough to examine it in greater detail, I reckoned. But the real reason I returned to the VHP•1 ($349) is that CIA's Dusty Vawter recently sent me his new VAC•1 ($159), a replacement power supply for the VHP•1's stock wall-wart supply. Could a new power supply really offer a substantial improvement in performance?
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 31, 2012  |  2 comments
With the release of their first Binaural+ high-resolution downloads, Chesky Records and HDtracks intend to take music lovers one step closer to the real musical event. Made possible by work that composer David Chesky, founder of Chesky Records and cofounder of HDtracks, has been doing at Princeton University with Dr. Edgar Choueiri, Chesky's Binaural+ downloads make possible the playback of binaural recordings on both headphones and a pair of loudspeakers.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 27, 2016  |  29 comments
Like all men, I learned at an early age to resist the allure of a pretty face.

Okay—I learned that I should try to resist the allure of a pretty face.

Okay, I confess: I have never been able to resist the allure of a pretty face. Which is why, when I first clapped eyes on the Mojo D/A headphone amplifier from English company Chord Electronics, at an event hosted by Manhattan retailer Stereo Exchange, I had to borrow a sample for review.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Sep 25, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

It's not often one get's to set-up $37,000+ worth of the world's best headphone gear on the dining room table. I should do a little comparative listening test and report my findings, methinks.

Wasn't easy to write with all the good music going on in my head, though.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 12, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

I've seen numerous comments about tip selection affecting the frequency response of in-ear monitors. I've seen lavish words of praise for Comply tips ... and rants about how they muffled the sound.

I figured we should get to the bottom of this, eh?

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 06, 2015  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Mr. Speakers first fully in-house designed and manufactured headphone seems to deliver quite nicely in the top-of-the-line category.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Aug 08, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Enthusiasts recently mourned the death of the Denon AH-D1001 --- a really good sounding sealed headphone at just above $100. Lament no more. This Foster OEM design (model 443741) has found rebirth as the Creative Aurvana Live!

The very good news: it's even better than before.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 07, 2012  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Having printed out the measurements for all 41 Do-It-Yourself modified headphones sent to me over the past year, I spread them out over my kitchen table and set to work picking the best and worst measuring of the bunch. I also picked what I thought were the coolest looking headphones. And I scrounged around my lab looking for all the headphones I might give away as prizes.

Let's see who got what ...

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

Kabeer - "I am located in UK, and I have some orthos. Im not sure if its very viable for me to get anything measured?"

Tyll - "I really can't spend too much money on this, so I've limited DIY Ortho testing to the U.S. to keep the shipping costs down. Sorry."

Kabeer - "Id really like to send my Aiwa to you to get measured. I think its pretty great :). Wualta wants to see their measurements too and has kindly offered to pay you the postage back to UK for them."

Tyll - "Okie Dokie. If Wualta wants to see the measurements, it must be good."

You see, while Wualta might be a crusty old curmudgeon, he's also one of the patron saints of Orthodynamic DIYers, and if he thinks something is worthwhile ... well, you just have to have a listen.

By golly, he's right on the mark again!

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 20, 2016  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

One of the things that, it seems to me, separates headphone enthusiasts from traditional audiophiles is an interest in good inexpensive stuff, or devices with unusual utility. Think Koss Porta Pros or the Riva Turbo X. The Porta Pro has been delivering excellent sound quality for its very low $49 price for decades and for decades headphone enthusiasts have been praising their worth. And when the Riva Turbo X Bluetooth speaker showed up at CanJam a year or so ago, headphone hobbyists embraced it immediately as a great sounding portable speaker. These are cool little gadgets, and it seems to me headphone enthusiasts are more than willing to have a good hard look at them....no matter the cost.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 28, 2016  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

THIS is what a $1000 headphone should be. Unapologetically masculine styling...and sexy; confidently strutting exquisite materials and build-quality; and delivering sound of a quality I've not heard before on any headphone. It walked in my office, swept all the headphones off my desk in one grand gesture, and said, "Here I am. Deal with it."

Wes Phillips  |  Jul 30, 1995  |  0 comments
The cab's outside, the plane leaves in 50 minutes. Let's see...HeadRoom Supreme, HeadRoom Bag, portable CD player, CDs, Etymotic ER-4S Canal Phones....Oh, yeah—mustn't forget luggage or plane tickets. Guess I'm set to go.
Wes Phillips  |  Aug 15, 2010  |  First Published: Aug 16, 2010  |  1 comments
Ah, how the times change. When I reviewed Etymotic Research's ER-4S in-ear headphones in the July 1995 Stereophile, they seemed expensive to me at $330, but well worth that seemingly high price: at the time, they were the best headphones I'd heard. Nowadays, with reference headphones costing well north of a kilobuck, the price of the ER-4S seems relatively reasonable.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 21, 2011  |  0 comments
This story originally appeared at InnerFidelity.com

Promises Kept
My first post was an exercise in getting all the bits-and-pieces together to create content. In many ways this is my first real post here ... and I want to keep a promise. For years I've said I would measure the effects of the various headphone pads on Grado headphones; well, I am very glad to say finally: here it is.

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