They look similar to custom-molded in-ear monitors from Ultimate Ears and Westone, but the StageDivers are universal-fit models that come with silicone ear tips. The large earpieces rest on the folds of your outer ear, so the fit feels more secure than in-ears that stick out from your ears. Both InEar models have user replaceable cables, … Read more
It's easy to understand why there's so much confusion surrounding the differences between earbud and in-ear headphones. The two designs are sometimes referred to interchangeably, but they are two very different types of headphones. Earbuds rest on the outer concha ridge of the ear, located in the center of your outer ear. In-ear or ear-canal headphones are placed inside the ear canal, sealing the listener off from environmental noise.
We're living in the golden age of headphone design. Never before has there been such a vast assortment of exceptional headphones available in every price class. I was totally knocked out by the terrific Koss KTX Pro 1, on sale for just $10 right now, and at the other end of the scale we have the best headphones I've heard, the $5,495 Abyss AB-1266. Slotted between those two I found lots of jewels, including Shure's radically innovative SE846 in-ear headphone. The NAD HP50 over-the-ear headphone beat out Sennheiser's and Bowers & Wilkins' similarly priced models.
The Abyss AB-1266 is a full-size (and more) design; it's huge and heavy, but I find it super-comfortable to wear for hours at a time. The secret? The AB 1266's ear pad barely touch my ears, and the sound is a giant leap better than anything I've had home. With good recordings, you feel like you're in the room with the band; no other headphone can come close to producing that level of realism. The AB 1266 is The Audiophiliac's Full-Size Headphone of the Year. Abyss' Joe Skubinski and his son Eric developed the AB-1266's planar magnetic drivers from the ground up over a period of nearly five years. … Read more
When I first reviewed the 1964 Ears V6 custom in-ear headphones earlier this year I not only loved the sound, I got the distinct feeling the company tries harder to please its customers than other custom in-ear makers. For example, 1964 Ears V6-Stage headphones are sold with a longer warranty (two years) and lower prices than the flagship models from more established high-end headphone competitors. 1964 Ears doesn't make universal-fit in-ear headphones, all of their designs are custom-molded to your ears for the best possible fit and maximum isolation from external noise. The headphones are hand-crafted by 1964 Ears … Read more
This blog is all about finding great-sounding audio products, in every price range. In June I reported on the best-sounding headphone I've ever heard, the Abyss AB-1266, but not long after that I was knocked out by Sony's MDR-V6, and now I'm auditioning these surprisingly decent $15 Audio Technica ATH-CLR100 in-ear headphones.
Introduced earlier this year, this all-plastic design is incredibly light, just 3.4 grams. It has 8.5mm drivers, sports small, medium, and large silicone eartips, and the headphone comes with a round plastic case. Amazon sells it for around $12, and even with that … Read more
Cardas Audio has been making audiophile cables since 1987, so I was taken aback when I heard George Cardas was working on a headphone model. That was four years ago, when Cardas was approached by a major in-ear headphone manufacturer to make cables for them, but when George started listening to their headphones he was less than thrilled with the sound. One thing led to another, he thought he could do better, and decided to make his own headphones.
Prototypes were built, he listened, he measured, tweaked the design, made more prototypes, listened and measured. Most dynamic in-ear headphones use … Read more
I remember the very first Bang & Olufsen product I ever saw, a Beogram 4000 turntable. It was lightyears ahead of the competition's look and feel in the early 1970s. The design hasn't dated one bit -- no wonder it's on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
It's been ages since I checked out a B&O, so I decided to start small with their brand new BeoPlay H3 in-ear headphone ($249). It's a handsome enough design, but nowhere as striking as B&O's ultrasleek speaker … Read more
1964 Ears makes custom-molded, in-ear headphones, just like Ultimate Ears, JH Audio, and Westone, but 1964 Ears is a relative newcomer. It has to try harder than the more established brands, so 1964 Ears offers a wider array of customizable features and service options than the others. Prices start a little lower, at $350 for the 1964-D, and $650 for the top-of-the-line model I'm reviewing here today, the 1964-V6. That's significantly less expensive than the established brands' flagships.
I've been listening to Jerry Harvey's custom-molded in-ear headphones for years. The very first one, the UE10, was a game changer; in 2006 it was the best sounding in-ear headphone I'd heard. Now with his new Freqphase JH13 and JH16 in-ears, Harvey's done it again. The performance gains in clarity, detail, resolution, and stereo imaging are huge -- the adrenaline-pumping sound of the music you love over a set of Harvey's headphones can't be matched by any other in-ear 'phones.
Years before he made headphones, Harvey mixed stage monitor sound for Kiss, Van Halen, … Read more
With most speakers or headphones, you're stuck with the designer's sound, but with the Logitech UE Personal Reference Monitors (PRM) you get to play headphone designer and dial in exactly the sound you want.
Each pair is totally unique; they're built with the individually designed equalization curves you selected. My PRMs sound absolutely amazing, but I'm a little biased, I designed them to please my ears! Every PRM buyer will do the same, and if they totally screw up and hate the result, Ultimate Ears will give them another try. Each PRM set is handmade in UE's facilities in California.
The price for this level of customization doesn't come cheap, though; the Personal Reference Monitors sell for $1,999. That's extreme, but so are $285,000 luxury cars. I cover the full gamut of audio, from affordable to the craziest expensive gear. … Read more