Earphones Reviews

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ljokerl  |  Jul 06, 2013  |  9 comments
It would be very surprising if China, the world's largest exporter of headphones and earphones, did not cultivate several audio brands of its own. Indeed, there are quite a few, some specializing in assembling ready-made components into generic $5 earbuds and others offering remarkably faithful Beats by Dre knockoffs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, are companies producing some of the best-value audio products on the market.

VSonic is one such outfit.

Stephen Mejias  |  Mar 19, 2011  |  1 comments
I haven’t had much luck with in-ear headphones.

Kelli’s Etymotic ER-6i earphones ($99) offered a well-balanced sound, with satisfying bass and natural highs, but I found them extremely uncomfortable and I had a difficult time getting them to fit properly in my ear canals. I liked Shure’s SE210 ($149.99) and SE115 ($139.99), but they felt large and heavy in my ears, and friends often balked at their prices. Don’t get me started about the V-MODA Remix Metal in-ears ($99.99); their highs were so pronounced and glaring and bass so completely absent, I wanted to run away from my music—never a good sign. (But I’ll take the blame here: I should’ve known what to expect from an earphone with the word “Metal” in its name. I have since steered clear of models designed to look like bullets, arrows, and jet engines or whose product literature uses the words “crisp,” “sharp,” or “edgy.”)

John Grandberg, Tyll Hertsens, ljokerl, Steve Guttenberg, Dinny FitzPatrick  |  May 04, 2013  |  52 comments

It's extremely hard to compare custom IEMs. Few users have more than one pair, so direct personal comparisons are rare. They can't be measured by InnerFidelity because they don't fit in the measurement head's ears. What to do?

Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! In this review 5 InnerFidelity writers, blessed with the generosity of manufacturers willing to put their ToTL CIEMs through the ringer do a massive comparative review of 24 of the worlds best custom in-ear monitors.

Epic!

John Grandberg  |  May 27, 2015  |  6 comments
A "new" custom IEM company that's been around for 30 years? Yeah, there's a story in there somewhere.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 27, 2010  |  0 comments
Headphone listening is hot these days, due not only to the ubiquity of the iPod as a music source but also because it is possible to get state-of-the-art headphone playback without having to have stupidly bottomless pockets. A plethora of affordable high-quality headphone amplifiers are available, and high-performance 'phones can be had for a few hundred dollars. Used with a computer or iPod to play uncompressed WAV or AIF files or losslessly compressed FLAC or Apple Lossless (ALAC) files, a headphone-based system can offer the audiophile on a budget seriously good sound.
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.

Wes Phillips  |  Oct 22, 2006  |  0 comments
All of a sudden, it seems there's a renaissance in in-ear monitors. Used to be there was just Etymotic, but now Etymotic, Shure, and Ultimate Ears are all producing high-performance in-ear headphones. It's almost enough to make me suspect we audiophiles have become a marketing juggernaut.
Wes Phillips  |  May 27, 2008  |  0 comments
Meeting strangers at social events, I've learned not to say that I write about hi-fi for a living. It's generally a conversation killer—unless your idea of scintillating repartee is "People make a living doing that?" (Short answer: Not many, and not really.)
Jim Austin  |  Sep 21, 2009  |  2 comments
Designed to be used onstage by musicians monitoring their sound and mix, in-ear monitors (IEMs) such as the new Westone 3 are great in situations where you want to hear nothing but the music. They're small and portable, and their high efficiency and easy impedance load mean they work well with portable players. IEMs are better than electronic-feedback, noise-reducing, closed circumaural phones at blocking out airplane engine noise and annoying neighbors who want to chat. They're also more compact, sound better, and don't require batteries.

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