Over-Ear Open Headphones Reviews

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Tyll Hertsens  |  Mar 23, 2013  |  41 comments

It's warm and fuzzy, with a big bottom and a lively top.

No, it's not my girlfriend silly, it's the new Philips Fidelio X1. And while it may not be a mate for life, it's sure fun to have for a little fling.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 12, 2011  |  31 comments
Back before the Sennheiser HD 800 broke the $1000 high-end headphone barrier and started a flurry of ground-breaking new reference cans, there were three staples for enthusiast searching for great sound: the Sennheiser HD 650 ($649.95 MSRP); the AKG K701 (now reincarnated as the Quincy Jones Q701; $399 MSRP); and the Beyerdynamic DT 880 ($313.95 MSRP). All three, in my mind, remain good value when properly chosen for your listening tastes. (HD 650 – warm and smooth, though somewhat lacking in detail; AKG K701 – articulate, but slightly hard; DT 880 – detailed with depth and air, but somewhat lacking weight through the mids.)

A rather cool and unusual feature of the Beyer DT 880 is that it is available in three different impedance values in order to give you better options in suiting them to your needs. I thought it would be fun to have a look at the three different versions, and evaluate their suitability to home, portable, and general use.

Read on for the techno-geekly details, but go ahead and skip to the summary if you just want the recommendations….

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 18, 2015  |  31 comments

The room was crazy loud at CES last year, but even through the cacophony the new dual-driver (dynamic/electret) Enigmacoustics Dharma had something special.

The question is how special?

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 04, 2017  |  12 comments
And BOOM! Acoustic Research, a brand long recognised amongst audio enthusiasts, shows up with their new planar magnetic AR-H1 at CanJam at RMAF 2017. Color me surprised!
Wes Phillips  |  Aug 19, 2006  |  3 comments
Oh mama, was I ever excited when I heard rumors of the existence of AKG's K 701! If you're among the audiophiles who sneer at those of us who like headphones, you're probably rolling your eyes and thinking I must lack a rich inner life.

But hold on there, Skippy—some of us use those cans in our prosumer studios, in recording sessions, and even in barn-burning late-night critical listening sessions where we employ ancillary equipment that would beggar your jaded high-end sensibilities. We're not talking about the three-buck, upchuck disposable 'phones your friendly flight attendant flogs before your in-flight main feature. We're talking about serious tools that can reveal a flea fart in a cathedral.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 13, 2011  |  32 comments

According to a February 2011 NPD Group study, celebrity endorsements are extremely/very important to nearly 30 percent of consumers when deciding what headphones to buy. Moreover, there was a 75% increase in sales of headphones over $100 from 2009 to 2010 ... in a bad economy, no less. Headphones are a hopping commodity.

So sure, why not nab a big name like Quincy Jones and extend the life into an aging, but still very good headphone.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Sep 25, 2011  |  68 comments

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  |  Nov 06, 2015  |  27 comments

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 16, 2011  |  4 comments

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  |  Jul 28, 2016  |  50 comments

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."

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 22, 2011  |  25 comments

Just a year and a half ago I walked into the CanJam area of RMAF, and right smack-dab in the middle was Fang Bian, head of Head Direct and the HiFiMAN brand of headphone gadgetry. Fang always has something new going on; I wondered what it would be this time. He smiled, stood, and cheerfully greeted me, then pointed towards center-stage on one of his tables.

"Would you like to hear my new planar magnetic headphones?"

You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 03, 2016  |  28 comments
Ooooooooo baby! If you don't have a Sennheiser HD 600 or HD 650, you need to read this!
Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 18, 2013  |  26 comments

If Mary Shelley had written a birthday scene in "The Bride of Frankenstein", the Abyss AB-1266 would certainly have been the perfect gift for old Frankie. Yeah, these are some weird looking cans, and the price tag sure makes you look at them real hard.

Fortunately, it's what they sound like that counts.

Bob Katz  |  Feb 02, 2016  |  25 comments
I'm not a shy guy. If I don't like a headphone, I'll pull it off my ears within five minutes! So far, I've had the Astell & Kearn AK T1p on for over 40 minutes and I keep wanting to check them out—so there must be something about them that's keeping me listening.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 03, 1992  |  2 comments
Love 'em or hate 'em, headphones serve a purpose. My first headphones were Kosses, and they were perfect for use in a college dorm. While I've always owned a pair or more over the years, somehow they never became my primary mode of listening, except in situations where using loudspeakers at satisfying levels risked eviction, bodily harm, or both.

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