There are many types of headphones, and if you understand the pros and cons of each before you go shopping, you'll make a more informed buying decision. Closed- and open-back headphones sound very different and serve different needs. To learn more about how they differ I spoke with two engineers, Sennheiser's Axel Grell and AKG's Philipp Schuster, and thanks go out to them. Today I'll look at open- and closed-back headphones; I covered on- and over-the-ear headphones in yesterday's blog item.… Read more
Like anyone who regularly reviews headphones, I've noticed that the majority of them have no unique features or qualities. So for example, it's rare to find headphones in the T 51 P's price class that aren't made in China, but this little $289 Beyerdynamic is made in Germany. The lightweight, 174 gram, mostly metal design doesn't have a hinged headband, but the ear cups fold flat for easy storage in the supplied, beautifully designed carry case. The headphone lacks a mic or inline controls, marking it as a design intended for the serious audiophile who … Read more
Bass-emphasized headphones are now the norm, so much so that when I get to listen to more accurate headphones they really stand out. Not that I have anything against bass, readers of this blog who crave feel-it-in-your-bones bass had their turn with the JBL Synchros S700 headphones, so now it's time to go for a higher-resolution/clarity model with the new Phiaton Fusion MS 430 M-Series headphones ($179).
The earcups' carbon fiber inserts are a sleek styling touch, but the ear cushion's comfort levels are good, not great. While the headband padding may be a little lean for … Read more
If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that most people like bass, and they like more bass even more. I suppose JBL engineers know the same thing, and they made sure the new Synchros S700 over-the ear, closed-back headphones deliver incredibly deep bass.
Designwise, JBL avoided the slick, plastic look of Beats and other fashion-oriented 'phones. The Synchros S700's precision die-cast aluminum earcups look like they mean business, and the headband is steel-reinforced, so the headphones feel really solid. One other reason for that is the headband isn't hinged, so while it … Read more
The Velodyne vPulse is one of the best pair of $99 headphones I've ever listened to on the NYC subway, but it's not one I use at home or in any quiet space. Why's that?
The vPulse's overly generous bass turns me off at home, but it sounds perfectly balanced on trains, buses, cars, or planes. What those modes of transportation all have in common is lots of low-frequency rumble, and the vPulse's pumped up bass masks some of that noise. Headphones with more accurate bass response sound fine at home, but woefully bass shy on the go.
Worse yet, the very low frequency rumble on trains, buses, and so on can't be nullified by noise-canceling or noise-isolating headphones because those noises are felt through your entire body, not just heard through your ears. Bassy headphones may not be the perfect solution to the problem, but they can be surprisingly effective. … Read more
Google Glass isn't the only pair of high-tech specs making a splash on the personal viewing scene. Sony Entertainment Access Glasses are about to give deaf moviegoers a way to watch first-run films with closed captions at the theater.
The glasses project closed captions at the bottom of the viewer's eyesight. The text is sent via a wireless system to a receiver that feeds the data to the glasses. Regal Cinemas also is offering an audio headset option for the blind, providing descriptive audio tracks to match what's happening on screen.… Read more
The Sims Social was once heralded as Electronic Arts' "most successful Facebook game," but now it's being laid to rest along with SimCity Social and Pet Society. These three social games will be extinct from Facebook as of June 14.
The game maker made the announcement today, saying that it was a hard decision but had to be done in order to "reallocate servers and resources to more popular titles," according to the FAQ section of its Web site.
"Today we are informing players of the difficult decision to retire some of our Facebook games: The Sims Social, SimCity Social, and Pet Society," EA wrote in a blog post today. "After millions of people initially logged in to play these games, the number of players and amount of activity has fallen off."… Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Fiery meteor explodes over Russia's Ural Mountains; 1,100 injured as shock wave breaks windows.
- Watch asteroid 2012 DA14 fade out via streaming video.
- Iceland wants to ban Internet porn.
- Chubby Checker in a twist over an old app.
- One Direction's new toothbrush streams sound vibrations through your teeth.… Read more
Personally, I'm a tab glutton. I might be using a Windows XP box from 2004, but that doesn't stop me from running four Firefox windows with 10-15 tabs open in each. Each window usually relates to a specific task, project, or … Read more