Earphones Reviews

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 26, 2013 23 comments

Damn! I almost fell over the first time I switched them on...the quiet was physically stunning. I spent my last two flights with the Bose Quiet Comfort 20 in my ears...the sense of having my own space and refuge was extraordinary. Go ahead and yell it at the top of your lungs, I'm sure I'll barely hear...

SANCTUARY!!!

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Oct 28, 2013 37 comments

Once in a while, however, a solid entry-level product makes me think of how precariously balanced the whole Hi-Fi segment is.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Aug 31, 2013 44 comments

The RE-400 debuted in early 2013, offering the same type of accurate dynamic-driver sound that has become synonymous with HiFiMan earphones. The RE-600, released just recently, is billed as an all-around upgrade but carries a hefty price tag of $399—four times what the RE-400 costs. Let's see what each of them has to offer.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Jul 06, 2013 9 comments
It would be very surprising if China, the world's largest exporter of headphones and earphones, did not cultivate several audio brands of its own. Indeed, there are quite a few, some specializing in assembling ready-made components into generic $5 earbuds and others offering remarkably faithful Beats by Dre knockoffs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, are companies producing some of the best-value audio products on the market.

VSonic is one such outfit.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Jun 05, 2013 12 comments

It's not every year that a company as revered as Sennheiser releases a new flagship product, especially one that nudges four figures with its price tag, but last year saw the release of the $999.95 Sennheiser IE 800, along with AKG's K3003 and Ultrasone's IQ. The K3003 and IQ both utilize hybrid driver systems, combining balanced armature and dynamic drivers, along with appropriate crossovers, in their housings. The IE 800, however, utilizes a single dynamic driver, like all of Sennheiser's other earphones. This in itself is likely to elicit groans from some IEM enthusiasts but Axel Grell, the creator of the earphone and Sennheiser's Senior Acoustic Engineer, obviously felt no need to go beyond the dynamic driver for marketing or performance reasons.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 16, 2013 13 comments

You know what's funny about this job? You travel half way around the world and then talk to people you know well. Fang is one of those people. I'm thinking I should go to China one of these days and talk to him again.

Anyway, HiFiMAN had a couple of cool dynamic IEMs that were a good listen. Check it out.

Ed. Note: I've posted my show impressions for Stereophile, you can read them here.

Posted: May 04, 2013 52 comments

It's extremely hard to compare custom IEMs. Few users have more than one pair, so direct personal comparisons are rare. They can't be measured by InnerFidelity because they don't fit in the measurement head's ears. What to do?

Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! In this review 5 InnerFidelity writers, blessed with the generosity of manufacturers willing to put their ToTL CIEMs through the ringer do a massive comparative review of 24 of the worlds best custom in-ear monitors.

Epic!

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Apr 10, 2013 45 comments

In a recent reddit AMA Tyll mentioned that Philips offerings have surprised him the most in recent years. Listening to the new Fidelio earphones, I have to agree---Philips did a spectacularly good job with these two earphones.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Mar 01, 2013 29 comments

A few months ago we tested Logitech UE's new in-ear flagship, the UE 900---a top-tier, quad-driver earphone with very impressive sound quality. Continuing the budget theme of my recent reviews, I thought the company's cheapest armature-based model was worth taking a look at as well.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Dec 30, 2012 18 comments

With 20-some years of experience in audio and the venerable ZEN mp3 player line under their belt, the folks at Creative are well-qualified to inject some serious fidelity into an earphone.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Nov 19, 2012 23 comments

At the heart of the Ultimate Ears 900 are four balanced armature drivers with a three-way passive crossover. The design utilizes dual bass transducers and single drivers for the midrange and treble--a setup similar to that of the Westone 4 and many custom-fit earphones. Impressive as that may be, the UE 900 will need to provide a very compelling case for its performance in order to justify the $400 price tag.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Oct 08, 2012 36 comments

MEElectronics and Fischer Audio are two relatively young audio brands from opposite corners of the globe. Headquartered in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Fischer Audio has been in the headphone business since 2006 but wasn't known to audio enthusiasts in the US until this 2009 Head-Fi review. MEElectronics caught the community's attention a bit earlier with their value-priced but surprisingly decent-sounding earphones and headsets. Chances are neither brand is familiar to the average consumer but SoCal-based MEElectronics differs from Fischer on one key point---availability.

Filed under
Steve Guttenberg Posted: Sep 25, 2012 6 comments

The Logitech Ultimate Ears Personal Reference Monitors are truly bespoke audio, hand crafted just for you. They'll fit your ears only, the sound is your sound, with a tonal balance tweaked by you, for you. Accuracy isn't part of the PRMs raison d'etre, not in the slightest, it's pure audio self-indulgence. That level of customization doesn't come cheap, the PRM is $1,999!

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Sep 10, 2012 15 comments

Phonak PFE 232 ($599)
Swiss hearing aid manufacturer, Phonak, entered the earphone game in 2008 with the single driver Perfect Fit Earphone (PFE). The PFE became a hit with the enthusiast crowd for its balanced and accurate sound as well as its lightweight, ergonomic form factor. The single balanced armature driver was well-tuned and the PFE remains competitive today. Phonak even raised the price in 2010 to slot in a cheaper, more consumer-friendly model, dubbed the "Perfect Bass." It comes as no surprise, then, that although Phonak's new PFE 232 model is a "mere" dual BA, it is aimed square at the top of the universal IEM market with an ambitious $599 price tag.

Filed under
ljokerl Posted: Jul 26, 2012 23 comments

If there is any one product to be credited with catalyzing my love of in-ear earphones, the HiFiMan RE0 is it. Over the years Dr. Fang Bian & co expanded the lineup to much more than just earphones, but the latest-gen RE-262 and RE-272 in-ears, like their progenitor, are audiophile fantasy through and through.

Pages