Earphones Reviews

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Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 19, 2017  |  16 comments
When first I saw the Audeze iSine models I wondered to myself, "What the heck are these for?" and, "Who will want these?" I'd never heard of an open acoustic in-ear before...heck, I'd not even thought of the possibility. Why in the world was Audeze even going down this road? I spent some time on the phone with Sankar Thiagasamudram, founder and CEO of Audeze, to gain some understanding.
ljokerl  |  May 12, 2017  |  16 comments
There are tons of in-ear earphones on the market, and it’s become difficult for any particular design to stand out. Dozens of sets can match the MS100BA in comfort and noise isolation, offer the same accessories, and maybe can even outlast it in daily use. What they don’t offer is the sound of Phiaton’s balanced armature driver.
Tyll Hertsens  |  May 08, 2017  |  7 comments
Dag nab it! I got so busy last week with the Focal Utopia measurements that I neglected to get the new Massdrop Noble X measured and listened to for a quick report before the drop. Sorry about that.
John Grandberg  |  Apr 26, 2017  |  10 comments
It's kind of a long story, but here we are.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 23, 2016  |  15 comments
"Dude, I just got off an airplane with this guy who had these cool insert headphones. He's a location sound recordist for movies and uses them for their isolation and good sound. I gave them a try...I need a pair badly! Do you know where I can get some Etymotic ER4 earphones?"
ljokerl  |  Oct 24, 2016  |  5 comments
Great sound quality is timeless, however, and the best earphones from that era often still sound very good today.

Enter the Audio-Technica ATH-IM02, a modern re-imagining of a dual-BA earphone, complete with a contemporary ergonomic form factor and an aggressive, value-focused price.

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 20, 2016  |  12 comments
One of the things that, it seems to me, separates headphone enthusiasts from traditional audiophiles is an interest in good inexpensive stuff, or devices with unusual utility. Think Koss Porta Pros or the Riva Turbo X. The Porta Pro has been delivering excellent sound quality for its very low $49 price for decades and for decades headphone enthusiasts have been praising their worth. And when the Riva Turbo X Bluetooth speaker showed up at CanJam a year or so ago, headphone hobbyists embraced it immediately as a great sounding portable speaker. These are cool little gadgets, and it seems to me headphone enthusiasts are more than willing to have a good hard look at them....no matter the cost.
ljokerl  |  Mar 18, 2016  |  5 comments
Aurisonics Rockets raise the bar pretty much across the board. In addition to superb sound quality and comfort, they provide tank-like build quality with water resistance and 5-year warranty, plus bonkers noise isolation.
ljokerl  |  Jun 26, 2015  |  10 comments

...At the same show two years later, I came across Audiofly again. The company had a new range of in-ear monitors with ergonomic designs, interchangeable cables, and a variety of performance options with prices ranging from $150 to $550. The range-topping, quad-balanced armature AF180 model has taken quite a while to come to the USA, but it's finally here, and it is good.

John Grandberg  |  May 27, 2015  |  6 comments
A "new" custom IEM company that's been around for 30 years? Yeah, there's a story in there somewhere.
n_maher  |  Apr 08, 2015  |  7 comments
A short time after posting my budget CIEM article I was contacted by another manufacturer, Alclair, and asked if I was interested in trying their Reference CIEM which they thought would be a good fit for an addition to the article. As it just so happened, I had a spare set of ear impressions so I sent them on their way and a little while later received a brand new pair of CIEMs in return.
ljokerl  |  Nov 07, 2014  |  24 comments

The bread and butter of the Beats brand have always been the on-ear and over-ear models—the Solo and Studio. They were also the ones most criticisms focused on, but for me the biggest disappointment was actually the original Beats Tour in-ear, which was too harsh for a basshead earphone, yet too boomy for fans of brighter sound. It was never quite sure what it wanted to be, which made the $150 price tag difficult to swallow.

This is not the case with the new Beats Tour 2.0—while it did not impress me quite as much as the new Solo2 impressed Tyll earlier this year, it is a much more focused and purposeful earphone than the original model. The focus just happens to be on bass.

John Grandberg  |  Oct 27, 2014  |  10 comments

Noble Audio has been shaking things up in the world of custom in-ear monitors. I take two models for a spin and see if they really deserve all the attention they've been getting.

ljokerl  |  Aug 12, 2014  |  35 comments

Priced at $15 in China and about $25 once it gets stateside, the Piston is notable for several reasons. First, it features a 3-button inline remote designed for use with Android devices, whereas most headsets on the US market use 3-button Apple iOS remotes that have limited functionality with other operating systems.

Second, the Piston does not look or feel like a $25 product. The design is extremely well thought-out. The compact acrylic box, for example, can double as a storage case while its paper sleeve unfolds into a user manual.

And then, seemingly to underline how much Xiaomi have thought about the first impression their product leaves on its user, the tray and earphones have a faint chocolate aroma, ticking off four of the five senses in total.

n_maher  |  Aug 01, 2014  |  42 comments
This story starts way back in 2004 when I first started getting into listening to music with headphones. At the time there was no such thing as a custom IEM and really, there were precious few choices in the IEM market period. Today there's a new IEM manufacturer around every corner but the custom market has exploded, with manufacturers both large and small providing options to suit just about every taste and budget.

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