Headphones

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Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 03, 2018  |  0 comments
There is something about a well-designed electrostatic headphone that conveys a sense of atmosphere, presence and intimacy without the feeling of the sound being closed in that can so often be the case with other headphone designs. I first saw the M1 at last year’s Hi-Fi Show Live in Windsor and was immediately impressed by the upmarket electrostatic design from Colorado-based company Sonoma Acoustics.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jul 21, 2017  |  0 comments
Audeze is best known as manufacturer of full-size headphones that use planar magnetic driver technology to achieve thin and lightweight units with the voice coil printed into them, resulting in a large radiating area with little mass. The iSINE 10 is the first in-ear to make use of such a driver. Making such a design work in an in-ear form is no small undertaking. By the standards of a normal planar magnetic driver, the 30mm unit used here is tiny but still larger than the ear canal utilised by in-ear models.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jun 21, 2017  |  0 comments
A hybrid design using balanced armatures with 8mm dynamic driver configuration, the Rock Jaw Resonate comes with three tuning filters and MMCX detachable cables. A good selection of ear tips is also provided to ensure a good fit. Build quality is solid and the slightly larger than usual design can also be flipped 180° and the cable wrapped over and around the back of the ears. It’s compatible with iOS and Android devices and has an inline universal remote plus a built-in microphone.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 05, 2016  |  0 comments
Californian-based Noble is perhaps best known for its custom fit in-ear monitors, which come in a variety of lively finishes and materials. The Savanna is the second most affordable model in its generic fit Universal range that’s built around a quartet of armature drivers and is designed to do justice to a variety of genres of music. Noble is tight lipped about its designs and won’t divulge any information about the configuration of its drivers or whether each handles a specific part of the frequency range or if any are paired up. The drivers are placed in an enclosure that first appeared in Noble’s 10-driver K10u.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 21, 2015  |  0 comments
I was lucky enough to attend the launch of AKG’s N90Q headphones back in June 2015, and am also privileged to be among the few to get their hands on one of the first samples of the flagship model. Regular readers will know that the luxury headphone market is big business for audio fans as more and more of us turn to a pair of high-quality cans as our transducer of choice for a good chunk of home listening. This isn’t the first time we’ve looked at high-end headphones in these Exotica pages either, and the AKG follows Final’s Sonorous VIII £2,300 offering, reviewed back in issue 403. Although the AKG costs £1,000 less, there’s plenty here to ensure it meets our Exotica review criteria as it is blessed with high-class credentials in its construction and tech that includes noise cancelling and sound tuning to tailor the sound output to your ears.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 21, 2015  |  0 comments
All headphones offer a degree of passive noise reduction by simply placing the earpeiceson your ears. Some offer greater background noise reduction than others, and in-ear types cut this more significantly simply by inserting earbuds into the ear canal to block out the interference. With active noise cancelling technology added to an on-ear headphone, ambient sounds can be significantly reduced thanks to the use of built-in microphones that analyse any background noise and regenerate it out of phase so that it is effectively cancelled out in the listeners’ ears. It’s a clever technique, and one that gets more sophisticated with each new generation of noise-cancelling cans.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Apr 08, 2015  |  0 comments
The ongoing boom in headphone sales has led to a huge number of brands entering the sector to try their luck. The headphones that result are very different in the nature of the components that go into them and the styling varies wildly betweenthe deeply prosaic and extremely elegant. Sitting firmly in the elegant camp is the Aedle Valkyrie VK-1. Although the name Aedle is Scandinavian, it is based in France and the VK-1 is assembled there too.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Headphones have taken over the audio world for all but the cognoscenti (that’s us, we know about sound). And the well established hi-fi brands have all been scrambling to get on the band wagon too, even brands that have previously not been involved with domestic audio are getting in on the act; I even saw some Marshall branded headphones in a Paul Smith store theother day! Focal got its first headphone to market a couple of years ago, that was the Spirit, late last year it added two more models, the Spirit Pro and Spirit Classic. The latter is an audiophile version of the Classic with higher build and, its claimed, sound quality than the standard Spirit. The two models are very similar in appearance, but when you put them side by side the Classic looks positively deluxe with its leather padding and brushed aluminium metalwork.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 14, 2015  |  0 comments
The latest and most expensive Bowers & Wilkins headphones are also the most desirable. The smell of the leather as you open the box, the contrast of chrome and black, it all says luxury. You also get a lot in the box. There are two alternate cables, one for use with Apple portables with inline volume and play/pause control, and another straight wire (without gain) for more discerning listeners.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 13, 2012  |  0 comments
Heading west Straight from Brooklyn, New York, comes the brand new Grado PS500 headphone. Richard Black lives the American dream… By most standards, £700 is a lot of money to spend on a pair of headphones, yet the PS500 isn’t actually Grado’s top model – the PS1000 will make a £1,600-shaped hole in your wallet, whereas the GS1000 is a mere bagatelle at just £1,000. And it’s not like Grado has a monopoly on the high-end headphone market, as there are numerous rivals from the likes of Sennheiser, Stax and so on… Still, compared to the world’s finest loudspeakers, some of which cost in excess of £50,000, this is still small change. Given that the very best headphones can, in some respects at least, equal the sonics of cost-no- object speakers, £700 spent on this Grado begins to look like better value.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 22, 2011  |  0 comments
Flexible friend Richard Black finds the new Audio-Technica ATH-ES10 small enough for music on the move and big enough for sound adventures at home Portable is a vague term applied to headphones. Clearly even the chunkiest models are portable if you’ve got a big enough bag handy, while many would baulk at carrying anything bigger than an in-ear model. The ATH-ES10 isn’t quite pocket-sized, but it’s small enough to fit in a small briefcase or handbag; with the earpieces rotated it’s about 25mm-thick. We’ve spotted plenty of cool dudes wearing similar-size models on the street, and for the audiophile (or indeed audio professional) on the move, maybe expecting to spend quite a lot of time in trains, planes and hotels, it looks a practical proposition.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Unique proposition In-ear newcomer Unique Melody is breaking the (custom) mould with its six-driver tailor-made earphone. Dan George fills his ears ew to the UK, Unique Melody is an earphone specialist with an impressive range of feature-heavy products. The flagship model tested here, the Miracle, is unusual in boasting six drive units: twin treble; twin mid and twin bass drivers, with a passive three-way crossover all packed into a compact shell barely any bigger than rivals from Shure and ACS. From a respectable line-up, the UK distributor AmpCity, suggested we dive straight in with the top model, aimed at audiophiles on the move.
Ed Selley  |  Apr 24, 2011  |  0 comments
A Shure thing Shure's flagship SE535 is the closest you can get to a good hi-fi system on the go. Dan George marvels at the triple drivers making it happen Ipod sales, now into the hundreds of millions, have driven enormous growth in the headphone and specifically, earphone market, to the benefit of music lovers everywhere. With growth comes investment and with that comes developments in technology, leading to flagship models such as the SE535. These sound-isolating earphones are all about the triple drivers they contain.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Total Klipsch With a sleek line of in-ear earphones, US giant Klipsch is finding favour with discerning mobile music fans. Dan George plugs in We first discovered good things from Klipsch’s svelte bullet-shaped in-ears following a round-up for our sister mag T3, back in 2010. The company swiftly suggested we try the new X10i, clearly confident that it was a good match for demanding ears. But that’s not all.

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