Earphones Reviews

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Wes Phillips  |  Aug 16, 2010  |  1 comments
Ah, how the times change. When I reviewed Etymotic Research's ER-4S in-ear headphones in the July 1995 Stereophile, they seemed expensive to me at $330, but well worth that seemingly high price: at the time, they were the best headphones I'd heard. Nowadays, with reference headphones costing well north of a kilobuck, the price of the ER-4S seems relatively reasonable.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Sep 25, 2012  |  6 comments

The Logitech Ultimate Ears Personal Reference Monitors are truly bespoke audio, hand crafted just for you. They'll fit your ears only, the sound is your sound, with a tonal balance tweaked by you, for you. Accuracy isn't part of the PRMs raison d'etre, not in the slightest, it's pure audio self-indulgence. That level of customization doesn't come cheap, the PRM is $1,999!

ljokerl  |  May 29, 2014  |  17 comments

Philips' latest budget in-ear releases, the TX1 and TX2, do not bear the Fidelio badge but still indicate a trickling down of know-how from the higher-end Fidelio products.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 21, 2011  |  7 comments

Whenever I can, I spend time on the back of this beast: a 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300 super sport touring bike. This baby eats continents. I once left Bozeman, Montana in the morning and slept in a cornfield in Iowa that night. I really dig long-distance travel --- the gradual and ever-changing scenery, weather, and geology punctuated with little towns and churches is mesmerizing. Nonetheless, I need my tunes to complete the experience, and it took me a good long while to find just the right headphones to accompany me on my journeys.

ljokerl  |  Jul 26, 2012  |  21 comments

If there is any one product to be credited with catalyzing my love of in-ear earphones, the HiFiMan RE0 is it. Over the years Dr. Fang Bian & co expanded the lineup to much more than just earphones, but the latest-gen RE-262 and RE-272 in-ears, like their progenitor, are audiophile fantasy through and through.

ljokerl  |  Aug 31, 2013  |  44 comments

The RE-400 debuted in early 2013, offering the same type of accurate dynamic-driver sound that has become synonymous with HiFiMan earphones. The RE-600, released just recently, is billed as an all-around upgrade but carries a hefty price tag of $399—four times what the RE-400 costs. Let's see what each of them has to offer.

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.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Oct 06, 2011  |  24 comments

Editor's Note: This article was nearly complete when I read of Steve Jobs's death last night. I think the conclusions herein are telling of his passion for making "insanely great" products ... right down to the last detail.

A couple of weeks ago, Steve Guttenberg wrote an article on his Audiophiliac blog entitled, "The Worst-Sounding Audio Product." In it he "aimed [his] sights on the worst sounding product regularly used by millions of people:" the stock Apple iPod ear-bud headphones. There may be some truth in that, but he also said, "Apple is an amazingly innovative company, but it's incapable of selling a decent set of headphones under its own name."

With this, I'm going to have to disagree ...

ljokerl  |  Mar 01, 2013  |  29 comments

A few months ago we tested Logitech UE's new in-ear flagship, the UE 900---a top-tier, quad-driver earphone with very impressive sound quality. Continuing the budget theme of my recent reviews, I thought the company's cheapest armature-based model was worth taking a look at as well.

ljokerl  |  Nov 19, 2012  |  23 comments

At the heart of the Ultimate Ears 900 are four balanced armature drivers with a three-way passive crossover. The design utilizes dual bass transducers and single drivers for the midrange and treble--a setup similar to that of the Westone 4 and many custom-fit earphones. Impressive as that may be, the UE 900 will need to provide a very compelling case for its performance in order to justify the $400 price tag.

ljokerl  |  Aug 12, 2014  |  34 comments

Priced at $15 in China and about $25 once it gets stateside, the Piston is notable for several reasons. First, it features a 3-button inline remote designed for use with Android devices, whereas most headsets on the US market use 3-button Apple iOS remotes that have limited functionality with other operating systems.

Second, the Piston does not look or feel like a $25 product. The design is extremely well thought-out. The compact acrylic box, for example, can double as a storage case while its paper sleeve unfolds into a user manual.

And then, seemingly to underline how much Xiaomi have thought about the first impression their product leaves on its user, the tray and earphones have a faint chocolate aroma, ticking off four of the five senses in total.

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.
ljokerl  |  Oct 28, 2013  |  37 comments

Once in a while, however, a solid entry-level product makes me think of how precariously balanced the whole Hi-Fi segment is.

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.

ljokerl  |  Dec 29, 2013  |  2 comments

Onkyo entered the on-ear headphone market with quite the splash. ljokerl thought it would be a good idea to investigate their in-ear offering as well.

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