I'm a lucky guy, I've heard most of the world's very best headphones: Sennheiser's HD 800 and their legendary Orpheus, the Audeze LCD 2 and 3, the Stax SR-007 ($2,600), SR-009 ($5,200), and now I'm spending quality time with Hifiman's flagship HE-6 planar magnetic headphones. I've long admired Hifiman's designs, starting with their very first model, the HE-5 back in 2009. The HE-6 looks nearly identical to Hifiman's current HE-4, HE-400, HE-5LE, and HE-500 headphones, but the HE-6 is heavier (502 grams), and it feels like it's built … Read more
When I want to stick something in my ears, here's what I look for: a noise-isolating seal, in-line controls for playback and taking calls, and a clip to keep the cord from making too much of that rubbing noise.
Oh, also, a price tag below $20.
Ta-daaa: today only, and while supplies last, Daily Steals has the Logitech Ultimate Ears 350vi headset for $16.99 shipped. Price at Amazon: $59.99.
Actually, this is a slightly different package than what you'd get from Amazon. The latter includes a hard-shell carrying case and five sets of ear cushions. Here, … Read more
Great-sounding headphones have never been more affordable. Even the least expensive headphone model on this list, the Panasonic RP HJE 355 in-ear, has oodles of detail and decent bass punch. For me the most important thing when evaluating headphones is sound balance; no frequency range should call attention to itself, so I don't like overly bassy headphones, or ones that overemphasize treble. Headphones should sound clear, not muffled or fuzzy. I prefer spacious stereo imaging over sound that's stuck inside my head. Headphones that allow music's soft-to-loud dynamics to bloom are better than ones that constrict dynamics. … Read more
DENVER--The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, held in Denver, was a must-see event for audiophiles young and old. The biggest change this year was a bonanza of affordable high-end products -- mixed in with the usual crazy expensive gear -- along with a good helping of midpriced goodies.
Music Hall had a rather plain-looking little monitor speaker, the Marimba ($349 a pair), that sounded big and truly powerful. I have never heard that level of bass "slam" coming out of such a diminutive speaker; I can't wait to get it in for review.
Design firm Teague knows a thing or two about making things. After all, the company's design portfolio includes (among many other creations) the Polaroid camera, the Xbox, and even the UPS truck.
John Mabry, a senior industrial designer at Teague, believes we're entering an age where we can print out working consumer electronics instead of buying them from major corporations. Built around the concept that we live a "life in beta," Mabry freely offers plans for a working pair of headphones that anyone can print with a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. … Read more
It's hard to love all the world's cyclists.
It isn't so much that they're sometimes sanctimonious about the environment. It's that too many bathe in the self-righteousness of the Ferrari driver, so much so that stop signs and red lights don't exist in their exalted firmament, especially when they're wearing headphones.
My tears go on sit-down strike, therefore, at the plight of 24-year-old Daniel Greer.
Greer confessed to riding through three red lights in Brooklyn, his headphones firmly in his ears.
He was stopped by police and given four tickets. However, he is … Read more
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
John Seaber started JDS Labs in 2007 with the cMoyBB headphone amp, which is based on an open-source design. Seaber revamped the cMoy's power supply and volume control, added a DC power jack, and a special bass boost switch. The tiny amp sold well and got the company off the ground. The cMoyBB is still being made, in an Altoids tin box, and currently sells for $60. Seaber is 26 and has an electrical engineering degree from Missouri S&T University.
In-ear headphones, also known as IEMs (in-ear monitors), have become very popular in recent years, replacing the old-style earbuds. One of the annoyances with IEMs, however, is microphonics. Microphonics refers to the rustling and thumping noises you hear when you tap the cord or when the cord brushes up against something.
The old earbud style isn't susceptible to microphonics because it rests just inside your ear, whereas IEMs go in the ear canal. To reduce microphonics, some manufacturers have tried braided cords and other custom solutions. If your in-ear headphones didn't come with these modifications, there are a … Read more