LATEST ADDITIONS

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 12, 2018  |  189 comments
Well, it's happened quicker than even I thought it would: I'm retiring. This will be my last post.
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.

Bob Katz  |  May 03, 2018  |  57 comments
I believe that second harmonic distortion is sonic gold for audiophiles: It's very seductive, especially if you want a warm sound quality, three-dimensionality, and beautiful reproduction of ambience and depth. Based on the listening tests, there does not seem to be a sonic negative side if the proportions are done right. Yes, too much second harmonic and detail will be lost or the sound can become flubby, like some inferior tube preamp designs. That's why this listening test was so useful, as we can discover how much harmonic distortion is "just enough".
Tyll Hertsens  |  May 01, 2018  |  0 comments

I mentioned being quite impressed with two electrostatic headphones in my CanJam SoCal HiFiMAN Shangri-La Jr. post. The second headphone is the new MrSpeakers Voce ($2999). I've heard some of the previous prototypes at shows and they didn't quite cut it for me. But Dan Clark, CEO and Founder of MrSpeakers, persisted, and invited me to have another listen and tour his facility just after CanJam SoCal. Le sigh. Alrighty, Dan, I'll give it another shot...boy, am I glad I did.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 27, 2018  |  7 comments
I heard quite a few gadgets over the years intended to virtualize sound on headphone to get it out of your head. None of them were truly convincing. The Ossic X was probably the closest, but it had the support of 3D virtual reality visuals to go along with it. The new Audeze Mobius was pretty good, but frontal localization—the big buggaboo—remained illusive. The problem with all these systems is that they try to fool you with synthesized head related transfer functions (HRTFs), which are never exactly the same as the cues from your original equipment. It's not easy to fool Mother Nature...at all.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 25, 2018  |  5 comments
I need to admit I've had problems really liking what I've heard from electrostatic headphones. I typically hear the treble as being hazy or overly airy. Well, I heard two e-stats while in Southern California that seemed to be changing that. One of them was HiFiMAN's Shangri-La Jr.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 23, 2018  |  5 comments
It's about time.

Seriously, time is a heck of a thing. I've known Ken Ball, Founder and CEO of Campfire Audio and ALO Audio, for well over a decade. He's one of those rare few guys who've taken his enthusiastic headphone hobby and turned it into a company that's one of the staples in this arena. His first business was ALO Audio, a company that started out as a cable maker, then a headphone amplifier manufacturer, and even had a headphone store in the Portland area for a while. He created the new Campfire Audio brand when he made the jump into IEM manufacture. And now, it appears, he's ready for the next leap into full sized headphones.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 19, 2018  |  3 comments
Ear pads make a difference to the sound of headphones...a big difference! If I ever had any doubt, I was convinced by the time I swapped swapped Fostex TH610 pads onto the TH900 Mk2 and the sound went from needles jabbing my ear drums into something quite listenable. And, headphone pads certainly wear out over time—the Sennheiser HD 600/650 pads are famous for slowly but surely loosing their loft. Point is, a new pair of pads can breath life into a poor or worn pair of headphones.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 16, 2018  |  2 comments
Having thoroughly enjoyed my time with the original Meze 99 Classic I was quite excited to hear of Meze's latest endeavor to make a flagship planar magnetic headphone. After a good hard look...I'm more excited than ever.
Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 12, 2018  |  6 comments
This is a pretty cool headphone. Certainly seems like a forward thinking push towards smart headphones to me. I sure as heck didn't want my experience with them to be on a noisy trade show floor. Fortunately, Audeze is in Orange County not too far from CanJam in downtown L.A., so I arranged a visit to their factory before the show for a one-on-one audition of these new cans.

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