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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 11, 2014 59 comments

Sure, I think InnerFidelity's "Wall of Fame" is an excellent resource for finding good headphones. I wouldn't work on it if I didn't. But, it's not the only resource around that I consider good.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 10, 2014 12 comments

As regular readers will know, I'm of the belief that we're going to see headphones getting smarter and smarter. (See here, here, and here.) Smart headphones will offer some astonishing benefits: blind people will be able to walk around with voice cues seemingly coming from outside their head identifying their surroundings; you'll be able to walk around in foreign countries and be able to have signs written in foreign languages read to you; and you'll be able to watch movies on your iPad with convincing out-of-head localization of surround encoded material, amongst many other things.

It's also very likely that we'll have various biometric sensors (pulse, temperature, perspiration, and even brainwaves) in smart headphones that help us monitor exercise and our physical health.

But there will also be an ever-increasing ability to use these sensors to track behaviors. Eye-tracking and image recognition technologies can, for example, tell how often you stare at attractive women...and what part of their bodies you're looking at. Imagine your wife having access to data from that app!

Well, researchers at the University of Montreal have begun to use virtual reality techniques to monitor sex offender impulses to gain a better understanding of patient psychology and treatment progress. (Read full article here.) In the past patients were able to game the system too easily and make identifying desease attributes and tracking progress very difficult. This new technique gives clinicians a much clearer picture symptoms and treatment progress. Projecting into the future somewhat, I can imagine a time when sex offenders have to wear something like a Google Glass to track and report behaviors real-time.

So, it occurs to me that in the not too distant future our headphones and smartphones are going to know more about us than we do. They'll know what excites us, when we feel depressed, when we need to eat...and how much. I'm not sure becoming reliant upon technology in order to be aware of my physical and mental needs is such a good idea. Shouldn't we be developing those skills internally? And, donning my tin-foil hat for a moment, will the NSA be farming this sort of data for an entirely new dimension of monitoring we, the people?

What do you think?

Is Virtual Reality to Monitor Psychological Health a Good Idea?
ljokerl Posted: Nov 07, 2014 23 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.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 06, 2014 6 comments

It's been five years since the last stand-alone, Head-Fi.org CanJam...and I miss them.

The L.A. crew have been working hard the last few years, and their regional meet has become an amazingly strong event. So strong in fact, that Jude has come to see L.A. this spring as the perfect re-entry point of CanJam to its roots as a Head-Fi.org stand-alone community event.

Woot!

Skylab Posted: Nov 03, 2014 18 comments
My previous review here on InnerFidelity was a large black box with a forest of vacuum tubes rising up from its surface, and nary a digital function to be found. Almost diametrically opposed to that, the Oppo HA-1 ($1199) took up residence immediately thereafter in my review cue—gleaming silver, LCD display, remote control, and as modern an integrated DAC/Headphone amp as one could imagine. And yet at the risk of spoiling the surprise, or lack thereof, I will tell you that the Oppo is also outstanding, and represents somewhat of a bargain.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 31, 2014 15 comments

It's been scary in the laboratory the last couple of months!

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 28, 2014 47 comments
Woot! Tidal opens today, let's bog its server down!

Just signed up and got my mitts on lossless streaming; checked out a few tracks I'm familiar with; damn...it's just like the CD!

John Grandberg Posted: 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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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 24, 2014 12 comments

All I can say is "Wow". CanJam this year was impressive. The main CanJam room was pack to the gills and about eight exhibitors overflowed out into the atrium area. The aisleways between booths seemed smaller to me this year, but the truth is more likely that it just felt that way because they were crowded with attendees much more often than in the past. Booths were so well attended that getting face-time for a report was not very easy in some cases. Yes sir, the level of interest in CanJam seemed stronger than ever.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Oct 23, 2014 12 comments

I knew going in that Sony's booth would be an RMAF highlight for me. Their new MDR-Z7 headphone with optional cables by Kimber Kables (here, here, and here) driven by the PHA-3 portable balanced headphone amp/DAC were a must hear. I heard, and I was very, very impressed. Samples for review consideration are winging their way towards Montana as I type.

But, as good as that was, there was something else in the Sony booth that absolutely blew me away!

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