Specialty Headphone Reviews

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Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 18, 2011  |  1 comments

Great guitar amplifiers are great because they produce a lot of distortion. I wonder what a great guitar amp maker thinks a headphone should sound like?

Well, here’s our chance … I guess. The Marshall Major ($99) is a mid-size, earpad, sealed headphone, but is actually made by Zound Industries of Sweden. Yes, this is another lifestyle headphone from the makers of Urbanears. I have no idea how much input Marshall had in the design and approval, but let’s give the Major a chance. Throw the drum-kit in the back of the Econoline and we’ll go for a ride to Rock ‘n Roll with the Marshall Majors.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 05, 2011  |  13 comments

With about 27% of the population over age 50, and roughly 30% of all headphone purchases influenced by celebrity endorsement, I can understand why Koss turned away from the heavy competition for the younger generation's wallet and focussed their attention on the baby boomers with the introduction of their Tony Bennett headphones. Personally I prefer Tony Bennett to Dr. Dre, Ludacris, and 50 Cent, but I'm not sure the geriatric headphone buyers are really part of the 30% of purchasers who are influenced by celebrity endorsement.

Let's see how they sound.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 15, 2011  |  18 comments

Quincy Jones has it going on, and I liked their higher-end Quincy Jones Q701 when I reviewed it a while ago. But now we come to a very small, sealed portable headphone, the Quincy Jones Q460.

Let's see how it does.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 03, 2011  |  12 comments
After spending time with the Beats by Dre Solo HD (high definition or heavily distorted, I'm not sure) it was a real pleasure to acquaint myself with the Soul by Ludacris SL150.

Surprisingly satisfying!

Steve Guttenberg  |  Sep 19, 2011  |  8 comments
Photo Credit: Steve Guttenberg

You can't listen to a headphone without plugging it into an amplifier of some kind: an iPod, portable device or a maxed out home amp. It's really the combination of the two we hear, so when we talk about the "sound" of a headphone, it's more about the sound of a headphone/amp system.

Lets get started.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 20, 2011  |  40 comments

Simply put, I'm stunned.

It's hard to make a good sounding sealed headphone, and much more so a small, supra-aural (on-ear) type. They all seem to falter sonically somewhere. In-ear headphones were the only way to get really good portable sound ...

... until now.

John Grandberg  |  Jun 01, 2013  |  17 comments

Surround sound from your existing headphones: often promised but very rarely delivered with any degree of success. Most attempts end up sounding like a novelty at best or garbage at worst. Finland's DSPeaker quietly releases a potentially breakthrough entry in the category, cleverly dubbed the heaDSPeaker Home. Is it any good?

Tyll Hertsens  |  Apr 28, 2011  |  62 comments

Yes, historic. The Beyerdynamic DT 48 model has been in continuous production in a variety of forms since 1937. That's pretty historic ... I can't even remotely think of another headphone like that.

Let's take a look ...

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 11, 2011  |  69 comments

Seems like every other day a new celebrity headphone comes out. And they're not cheap! Three hundred dollars used to buy you near-world class headphones. How come there's so much bling in headphones these days? How come they're so expensive? How the heck did we get here?

And more importantly, do these headphones sound any good?

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 18, 2011  |  43 comments

I've got an open invitation to visit Skullcandy's headphone R&D labs in Park City Utah ... and I'll be taking them up on it sometime soon. Why? Because I want to see what they're doing that let them build a few darn good sounding headphones lately.

The Mix Master is one of them.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Nov 07, 2011  |  2 comments
At the bottom end of the Soul by Ludacris headphone line is the SL100. I was impressed by the more expensive SL150, and hopeful for another good showing here.

Um ... didn't quite work out.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Sep 25, 2011  |  68 comments

It's not often one get's to set-up $37,000+ worth of the world's best headphone gear on the dining room table. I should do a little comparative listening test and report my findings, methinks.

Wasn't easy to write with all the good music going on in my head, though.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 28, 2011  |  8 comments

I've been listening to a lot of mid-priced, sealed headphones lately, and these just keep jumping out at me. They say DJ on the side and have a mono switch, but I'm not buying it ... these are just plain good headphones.

Pioneer, eh? Who'da thunk it.

Tyll Hertsens  |  May 14, 2011  |  2 comments

From the “Beats by Dre” website:

“Attention sound engineers, DJs, musicians, and hard core music lovers: Beats Pro is the reference headphone designed by audio professionals for audio professionals.”

Well, one and a half out of four ain’t bad.

You’ll know if you’ve seen my Beat Solo headphone youtube video that I would be perfectly happy to dis these cans. Well, I guess you can’t be happy all the time, because there were quite a few things these headphones did surprisingly well. But I’m not perfectly unhappy, the Beats Pro didn’t fail to disappoint in some ways too.

Life in balance I guess … Dre has his place.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 25, 2012  |  51 comments

With just a few phone calls and emails, I've managed to get my hands on the amazing Stax SR-009 headphones, and some of the world's best electrostatic headphone amps and the gear to make use of them, and set them up my demo room for a week of comparative listening.

Quite the ear opening experience!

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