I was treated to an advance preview in NYC and auditioned the headphones at home. The sound is more open and clearer than ever before. Some experienced audiophiles may think these two new HiFiMans' sound is close to what you … Read more
Elegantly designed, affordable products are marvels of our age, but then there are the extreme, defiantly outrageous ones designed to thrill. Take the new 640-horsepower Dodge SRT Viper GTS: this $120,000 supercar looks like a venomous snake with wheels and can propel its owner to insanely fast speeds, but the car probably won't be of much practical use as a grocery hauler or picking up the kids from soccer practice. The Abyss AB-1266 is the SRT Viper GTS of headphones. It's a no-holds-barred attempt to build the best-sounding headphone on the planet.
The mostly metal design is … Read more
I'm usually a sound-first guy, but when it comes to evaluating headphones, comfort is a very close second. So even when I love the sound of a headphone, if they start to hurt my ears after a half an hour, that's a deal-breaker.
That's why I'm happy to report on a remarkably comfortable and great-sounding headphone, the MrSpeakers' Mad Dog. That's an odd name for a headphone maker, but MrSpeakers' Dan Clark started out as a speaker designer. Now he extensively modifies Fostex T50RP headphones, a headphone that I've never cared for. Clark transforms … Read more
I'm a lucky guy, I've heard most of the world's very best headphones: Sennheiser's HD 800 and their legendary Orpheus, the Audeze LCD 2 and 3, the Stax SR-007 ($2,600), SR-009 ($5,200), and now I'm spending quality time with Hifiman's flagship HE-6 planar magnetic headphones. I've long admired Hifiman's designs, starting with their very first model, the HE-5 back in 2009. The HE-6 looks nearly identical to Hifiman's current HE-4, HE-400, HE-5LE, and HE-500 headphones, but the HE-6 is heavier (502 grams), and it feels like it's built … Read more
Head-Fi is a national headphone club, and I went to the local meeting in Babylon, N.Y., last Saturday.
The vibe was friendly, and it was great to hear Head-Fi members' home-built gear, but there were a few surprises popping up from the headphone and electronics manufacturers in attendance.
Logitech Ultimate Ears' Personal Reference Monitor in-ear headphones feature a new twist on custom-molded-to-your-ears headphone design. Lots of brands now make custom in-ear headphones, and Logitech's have been among my favorites for years, but the upcoming Personal Reference Monitor takes the personalization to the next level. Once your ear canals' &… Read more
For the past few months, I've been trying to figure out how to rearrange my old wall art to make it look fresh again, but nothing's working at the moment. These mosaic LCD tiles would be the perfect solution--you know, if I were rich.
The Planar Mosaic LCD Tiles come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be arranged in different patterns, while proprietary software allows you to program whatever video or image you want displayed across all screens.
Customers can choose from the three models. The first is the Planar Salvador, which is a square LCD that measures 15.6 inches on each side and ideal for use over larger surface areas. Meanwhile, the Planar Pablo has a rectangular shape and measures 40 inches wide, or you can go slightly bigger with the 48-inch wide Planar Vincent.
Planar designed the mounting hardware so that the displays can hang in any position and at various angles, including "concave and convex arrays."… Read more
Who needs to bother with a fitting room when you can use a Kinect to model outfits?
Between pitches for mobile payments, new self-checkout machines, and virtual customer service assistants, technology rules the show floor at the 101st Annual National Retail Federation Convention and Expo in New York, taking place this week.
This year it's possible to try on a new dress -- with matching purse, belt and jewelry -- in just a few seconds using a Microsoft Kinect camera. You become a paper doll on the television monitor with FaceCake's Swivel, a virtual dressing room that will … Read more
Most headphones have tiny dynamic drivers, basically miniaturized versions of the drivers used in box speakers. The Audeze LCD-2 features a completely different technology: it uses thin-film planar magnetic drivers. I first checked out the Audeze LCD-2 headphones last year and absolutely loved them. The company redesigned the drivers to produce even better sound, made the earpads thicker, and now covers the headband in real leather. I found the sound improvements of the revised model significant enough to warrant a new review.
The styling is bulky and retro, but the quality feel of the LCD-2 is more than skin deep; … Read more
I cover a wide range of headphones on this blog, everything from the $40 Deos earbuds to the state-of-the-art Woo Audio WES headphone amplifier ($4,500) and Stax SR-007Mk2 headphones ($2,410). I've written about a lot of great headphones priced between those two extremes.
The common thread to all of the headphones I cover here is they all have excellent sound quality, but if there's one thing I know about the audio business, it's that most people don't prioritize sound quality, even when a better sounding product fits within their budget. With headphones, most buyers … Read more
I've never heard anything quite like the Audeze LCD-2 before. This headphone somehow produces extraordinary clarity, openness, and articulation, but without exaggerated detail or annoyingly overdone treble. The Audeze LCD-2 is a game changer; no wonder it's getting raves from the online high-end mavens at Head-Fi. Audeze's co-founders, Alex Rosson and Sankar Thiagasamudram, are onto something.
The headphones feel great in your hands. Build quality is robust, but the design is nowhere as sleek as Sennheiser's high-end headphones. The LCD-2's impedance is 50 ohms, and the maximum power handling is a remarkable 15 watts, which corresponds to a superloud 133 decibel output! You'd be hard pressed to blow this headphone up by playing it too loud. The LCD-2's tonal balance is noticeably warm, but I never felt it was smearing detail or lacking in resolution. It also sounds great at quiet listening levels. Sure, one of the advantages of headphones is you can play music as loud as you want, but it's still nice to have the option of listening low, without losing detail or presence.
The LCD-2's unusual technology (planar magnetic, or orthodynamic) is currently only used by one other headphone manufacturer, Hifiman, and I raved about its HE-5 headphones last year. The LCD-2's huge headphone drivers (6.17 square inches each) are many times the area of any dynamic headphone I know of. Audeze's very large drivers project sound over most of your outer ears, and that may be the reason why the LCD-2 sounds more speakerlike than other headphones. It weighs a rather hefty 19.4 ounces (550 grams), but I found it comfortable over very long listening sessions. The LCD-2 is handmade in the U.S., with real lambskin leather-covered earpads, and real Caribbean rosewood earcups.
The LCD-2's headphone cable is detachable, via very secure mini-XLR plugs, and is therefore user replaceable. I opted for a Chain Mail 8, an audiophile upgrade cable from ALO. It seemed to enhance everything about the LCD-2's sound, which was awfully good with the stock cable.
The LCD-2's big drivers make bass, oh boy, do they make bass. If you really want to hear amazing bass, you have to get "Kodo: The Heartbeat Drummers of Japan" CD. The drums' big sound is beyond the abilities of most headphones, but here, over the LCD-2, the drumbeats were clear and powerful. Not the sort of flabby, thick, or overdone bass you get from DJ headphones, no, I'm talking about pitch-accurate, highly defined bass that also digs deeper into the very low bass regions than other full-size 'phones.… Read more