I'm definitely in the figurative 1 percent audiophile group, but I'm not wealthy. I know it might seem old-fashioned, but there was a time not so long ago when all sorts of people listened to music at home over a hi-fi. They weren't necessarily audiophiles, but they had a turntable or CD player, an amplifier or stereo receiver, and a pair of speakers. They also listened in cars, but the home hi-fi was where the bulk of their music collection was. Nowadays audiophiles might be the only people listening -- really listening -- to music at home; … Read more
I know it doesn't make sense, but it's true: most musicians don't have good hi-fis.
To be fair, most musicians don't have hi-fis at all, because like most people musicians listen in their cars, on computers, or with cheap headphones. Musicians don't have turntables, CD players, stereo amplifiers, and speakers. Granted, most musicians aren't rich, so they're more likely to invest whatever available cash they have in buying instruments. That's understandable, but since they so rarely hear music over a decent system they're pretty clueless about the sound of their recordings.… Read more
All of the best sounding in-ear headphones I've tested over the years have been custom-molded to my ears models. Prices vary, but the $399 UE-4 was the least expensive, and most of the top-of-the-line models are more than $1,000. Those prices don't include the fee the audiologist charges to make molds of your ear canals, and the fees add $100 to the price of the headphones. Customs ensure a perfect fit, and the best isolation from external noise. Plus they can't fall out of your ears,
It's impossible to keep up with all of the new headphones crowding the market, but great-sounding headphones are still pretty rare. The Noontec Zoro is the rarest of the rare, an audiophile-oriented design that's affordably priced.
The headband and earcups' high gloss finish conform to the fashion of our times, and the headphone's build quality is good for the money. The hinged steel headband allows the headphone to fold up and fit inside the included soft carry case, and the user-replaceable headphone cable is tangle-free and plugs into the left earcup. Both ends of the 48-inch long, … Read more
Today's episode of The 404 is a valuable resource for anyone obsessed with headphones -- classic audiophiles, young audiophiliacs, musicians, producers, and casual listeners will all benefit from Steve Guttenberg's knowledge, and he brought a friend! Tyll Hertsens is largely credited for creating the first portable headphone amp and currently the editor-in-chief of InnerFidelity.
With Tyll's help, we'll run through the differences between on-ear and in-ear headphones, give credit to two companies responsible for introducing high-quality headphones to the next generation of audiophiles, and we'll even spend a little time dissecting the criteria for what makes a headphone "sound good."… Read more
Remember when expensive headphones, let's say anything over $100, were never big sellers, and only audiophiles bought them?
That's no longer true--judging by the number of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones I see on the streets and subways in New York--pricey headphones have reached the mainstream. That's radical. Bose did pretty well with its QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones long before Dre jumped into the headphone business, but the Beats stand out in a crowd.
The reasons for Dre's success aren't purely based on sound quality, it's more that the other manufacturers' headphones sorely lacked any sense of street style. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--With so many headphone makers at CES emphasizing brain-vibrating bass, it's great to see the folks at Moshi bragging about precision acoustics in the company's new Clarus flagship earbuds for discerning audiophiles.
A 15mm woofer and a 7mm tweeter in each earbud power the Clarus headphones (Moshu calls this "DynaDuo") for accurate reproduction that shines in warmer genres like jazz, classical, and acoustic music. And Moshi claims the dedicated high-frequency driver with passive crossover lets you hear the recordings the way the artist and producer intended.… Read more
Anyone can listen to music on $10 computer speakers, free earbuds, or a crappy car audio system. The only thing a good-quality hi-fi brings to the party is sound quality, which is something fewer and fewer people really care about. For audiophiles, sound is a big turn-on, and I figured that out when I was 13 or 14 years old. I was always saving up to buy better-sounding gear, and would spend my nights reveling in the sounds of Led Zeppelin and Doors albums. The sound was so fresh, and the layers of textures and spatial effects were endlessly fascinating. … Read more
I wish I could say otherwise, but I don't know many young audiophiles. I know they're out there and my "Poll: Are there any young audiophiles?" blog in February produced a surprisingly healthy response. That said, I'm curious about where the next generation of 'philes will come from. If you are an older audiophile, have you ever turned on a younger relative or friend's kid to great sound?
A few months ago I had the pleasure of reviewing GoldenEar Technology's least expensive home theater system. The SuperCinema 3 ($1,750) comes with five small satellite speakers and a smallish subwoofer, but the sound was big and beautiful. More than that, the sound was distinctly high-end in its flavor. It was easy to tell it was designed primarily for home theater, but for those buyers who also have a hankering for audiophile-quality sound.