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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 26, 2012 36 comments

Woot! Good progress this month on the headphone amplifier measurement program. Lots of amps in, and the first glimpse of what the data will look like on paper. Not so many headphone measurements this time, but one maker's new headphones were quite disappointing.

And a secret revealed!

Skylab Posted: Aug 23, 2012 27 comments

Editor's Note: Again I am so very pleased to welcome another new contributor to InnerFidelity's growing cadre of writers. Skylab is a long time member of Head-Fi (profile here) and has contributed numerous laudable gear reviews there. He'll be focussing his efforts here at InnerFidelity primarily on headphone amp reviews. I can't tell you how pleasing it is to find myself feeling more and more surrounded by a talented team of qualified reviewers. I'm stoked ... and humbled. I feel like I'm going to have to step up my game to keep up with these guys. Okay, I'll shut up now and let you get on with Skylab's review. Welcome aboard, mate!

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 20, 2012 50 comments

Square waves are a cool signal. They contain lots of frequency response info, but, unlike the frequency response plot, also contain some visible information on the phase and time response of the headphones. I highly recommend them...

...but not for listening. Yeeeesh!

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Aug 16, 2012 5 comments

Editors Note: Especially at this time when The Beatles music is beginning to be heard in public again, I find Steve Guttenberg's article on an important moment in John Lennon's personal audio experience touching and evocative. My ears will be listening to The Beatles music more richly as a result.

Let's hear about John's portable rig ...

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 10, 2012 24 comments

Out of the blue I get an email from an operations and logistics manager at an electronics distribution company I've never heard of about a headphone made by a company I've never heard of claiming these $100 Chinese Beats Solo look-alike headphones will likely make it to my Wall of Fame. Yeah, right.

Then I heard them.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 07, 2012 22 comments
HeadRoom recently opened a retail storefront area in their Bozeman, Montana headquarters. It's not really an optimal city for drumming up a booming business selling headphones. I think they did it mostly because they want to figure exactly how to do a good job of selling headphones in a brick and mortar shop. You know, the physical layout, how to make displays people can easily use to demo headphones, what headphones sell well in that way, what sales people may need to know that's different from the phone and web sales they already know how to do quite well. I'm excited to see them exploring this direction ... but I've also heard of a couple of U.S. brick and mortar headphone stores that didn't work out.

Another Montana company (Vanns) recently opened a brick and mortar electronics store called "The ON Store", which is roughly modeled on Apple stores and sells headphones and personal audio stuff, as well as various other computers and electronics. Their idea is to go into the mid-size markets where Apple doesn't have a brick and mortar presence. Their first store is in the Missoula mall, and by the look of it, it seems like it might work. We all know Apple stores are doing fine, but they're another thing all together.

I'm pretty sure the InMotion personal gadget store in airports are doing quite well. I talked to the sales people at a few of these on my recent trip to New York and they all claimed to sell $300 headphones (Beats Studio) quite regularly. But an airport is a captive audience, and the imperative to buy a pair of headphones after sitting next to a screaming baby on the last flight may be higher than normal.

The question, it seems to me, is do people think they have a problem buying headphones on-line that can be solved by going to a store at which they can hear the headphones? Will people easily understand why they want and need a headphone store? If a headphone store is to be successful, people have to "get it" easily.

There are other questions as well: Will they listen in the store, and then go shop on-line for the cheapest price? Is the category "Headphone Store" too narrow? Besides headphones and headphone amps, what other products should be carried in such a store? I'm curious about your thoughts on these thing as well as the poll results, feel free to vote and comment!

Will brick and mortar headphone stores work in the U.S.?
John Grandberg Posted: Aug 06, 2012 12 comments

The Cube from NuForce: a diminutive metallic device measuring less than 2.5 inches in each dimension, packed full of features including a speaker, a DAC, and a headphone amplifier.

There's no way this thing actually sounds decent ... is there?

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 03, 2012 11 comments

August is here. This is when it usually starts to get hot in Montana, but this year we've been running 80s and 90s for more than a month now. Got some hot headphones in this last month as well.

And a few cold ones.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 01, 2012 36 comments

So, a couple of guys get together, have a close look at planar magnetic headphone drivers, and come to the conclusion that they could build something much better than the vintage drivers available. It turns out good ... so good they reckon they should move forward to build world class headphones. Yeah ... right.

Yeah right, is right!

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jul 28, 2012 13 comments
I've begun to think that the forward speed of technology is dramatically hindered by the battles over and the dancing around intellectual property rights. Samsung sneaked through the loophole by "not being cool enough", not that Samsung did it on purpose, but it kinda sucks that a design goal would have to be "be uncool" in order to not infringe on IP rights.

Microsoft is currently trying to beat up Motorola over use of the FAT file system in some current Droids, and just won a case in Germany forcing Motorola to remove product from shelves.

InnerFidelity runs on the Drupal open source content management system, which is configured to run on MySQL database management, Apache web server, and Linux OS, all free open source software solutions. Rockbox is a great little open source portable media player software. NwAvGuy's very competent O2 headphone amp design is offered under a Creative Commons open source-like license.

It's not that I have any anarchist or socialist motives here (though I do lean a little to the left), it just seems to me that big corporate developments may end up so hogtied with IP problems that open source projects may have a chance of catching up and exceeding the performance and adoption of corporate offerings. The price sure is right.

In addition to RockBox, I've used VortexBox as a home media server, it's not open source, per se, but it runs on Linux, which is part of the VortexBox distribution. My daughter's desktop is an Ubuntu Linux distribution, and she runs the Open Office software for her school work. Total software cost for her machine: $0.

So...will an open source model ever pass by the corporate model in number of installations? I'd love to hear about any open source audio stuff you use and your thoughts on the concept in general in the comments.

Will the open source model eventually beat the corporate model in some product categories?

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