Earphones Reviews

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John Grandberg  |  Jul 12, 2018  |  12 comments
64 Audio has a special place in my heart.Perhaps that's an odd way of introducing a review, as it makes me sound totally biased, but allow me to explain.
John Grandberg  |  May 08, 2018  |  12 comments
It's been nearly 5 years since ToTL Madness—our attempt to survey the growing custom IEM landscape and identify the best of the best. It's still a good read if you want to learn more about the history of the industry, the major players, and the strengths/weaknesses of these colorful little ear gems.

Since then, we've seen the market continue to expand. New players have entered the field, and several firms have undergone "rebranding" of sorts; 1964 Ears became 64 Audio, while Heir Audio gave way to Noble. Some of the smaller brands are no longer with us for one reason or another (Frog Beats, Aurisonics). But for the most part the same companies from our shootout remain just as relevant if not more so.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jul 19, 2017  |  22 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  |  5 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  |  9 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.

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