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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Sep 11, 2012 169 comments

It's a funny thing how people organize themselves. Put a big bunch of us together, and we'll splinter off into smaller groups of like-minded people...who sometimes war against each other. While Head-Fi has remained the central square, it, too, contains sub-groups, and numerous factions have wholly split off into other forums.

And now, it seems, we have pirates in our midst.

ljokerl Posted: Sep 10, 2012 14 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.

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Dinny FitzPatrick Posted: Sep 06, 2012 16 comments

Editors Note: I love living in Montana, but there are a few drawbacks. One big one for me at the moment is that all the PR junkets introducing new products usually happen thousands of miles away in New York. Bummer. Fortunately, a good friend and and long time headphone hobbyist Dinny FitzPatrick (known as "The Monkey" on Head-Fi) lives there, and has volunteered to lend a hand scouting out the new gear that shows up in the Big Apple. Last month he attended the release of a bunch of new gear from Logitech/UE. His report follows...and just like a monkey, it's quite entertaining.

But, again, like a Monkey, he's likely to be rather difficult to restrain, so I've given him a long leash, and we're likely to see a variety of writings from him. Welcome aboard Dinny! The banana budget is approved, write to your heart's content.

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John Grandberg Posted: Aug 27, 2012 12 comments

Focusrite, a pro-audio firm, calls this a "high-quality headphone interface with a difference"--the difference being their Virtual Reference Monitoring feature. They say it "emulates the experience of mixing in real rooms, with real speakers, using headphones." That's a big claim for a small device.

Let's see if it actually delivers.

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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.?


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