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About Me

  1. Listening to the $350 Audio-Technica ESW990h wood-earcup headphone has been my most pleasurable hi-fi experience in a long time. The $1000 Focal Elear could have been even better if it weren't so recessed. Even though the ESW990h doesn't have quite the Elear's detail (when the Elear is EQ'd), the overall accuracy of musical tone puts the ESW990h in that rare category of mine - headphones that sound right, right out of the box. ATH-ESW990H Portable Wooden On-Ear Headphones - Review - MyMac.com
  2. It was my good luck to get another Audio-Technica headphone for review this month, on loan from MyMac for a couple of weeks. To be honest, I like most headphones I do get, since I choose only those that interest me. That said though, this A1000z is one of the better bets in a more-or-less neutral 'monitor' headphone, and I commented after the review that the only headphones I've had that are comparable in the A1000z's price range are the MrSpeakers Mad Dog and the AKG K712 (albeit they don't sound quite as neutral). I think the cheaper AKG K553 Massdrop edition was nearly as good as these, and probably the best bargain. Audio-Technica ATH-A1000Z Art Monitor Headphones - Review - MyMac.com
  3. This headphone has as much build quality as it does bling, and the quality is fantastic. But the sound is somewhat muffled, and burn-in didn't change that. But, because of the amazing physical quality for less than $90 USD, and because the simple bass reducer setting found in Apple players (as well as other devices) renders the sound very good for portable use, I recommend it highly on condition of using the player's bass reducer setting. Well worth checking out in my opinion. Xiaomi/1More 'Mi' On-Ear Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  4. Here is a very nice earbud with a good hi-fi sound and soundstage, when properly equalized. Played without EQ, it's bright and very thin sounding. Why would anyone want this? Low cost, great potential, very small size to go anywhere. One of my favorites... Yuin PK2 Earbuds (not ear-canal) Stereo Earphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  5. Here's a very small on-ear headphone you can probably enjoy with no need for bass, treble, or any other adjustments. $19 USD - ridiculously good - say no more.... MEElectronics HT-21 On-Ear Portable Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  6. Here's a headphone I had on my wishlist for ages, but if I knew how it really sounded, I could have skipped it. Anyway, here it is, for better or worse: Creative Aurvana Live Around-Ear Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  7. Almost identical to the Yuin PK2, except this PK1 is even thinner sounding than the PK2, and is 3 times the price. EQ can bring a measure of audiophile quality to the sound, but cannot recover the low bass. I like it, but I'm pretty flexible. Yuin PK1 Audiophile Stereo Earbud/Earphone review | Rock Grotto
  8. Here is a very, very nice on-ear wood-earcup headphone from Thinksound. I previously reviewed their On1 headphone and Rain2 IEM. This time around, the On2 has a much better non-glossy wood finish, and I suspect better drivers, since the clarity is phenomenal. It isn't the easiest thing to have mellow sound with great clarity, so there ya go. On2 Headphones - Review - MyMac.com
  9. Another unusual product - a very light plastic headphone - so light that it needs no headband padding, and yet this headphone has a near-reference signature for monitoring etc. The reference signature doesn't always mean perfect tone quality however, but still it's fantastic I think for under $30 USD. Audio-Technica SJ-11 On-Ear Portable Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  10. And here's the best of Edifier, in one sense anyway - though the H850 has a more classic neutral bass, both the H840 and H850 share an excellent midrange and treble. But should you prefer the warmer bass, say, half to 2/3 the strength of a v-moda M100, at 1/6 the price of the M100, here for your consideration is the H840: Edifier H840 Around-Ear Budget Audiophile Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  11. Here's a new one for me, low-cost (~$35 USD) but decent sound quality and build quality. The H840 review follows tomorrow. Edifier H750 On-Ear Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  12. Taking a break from the very low-budget headphones and reviewing the Philips Fidelio X2 (which I missed in the initial intro), I was actually surprised at how good the X2 is. You'll appreciate the X2 if you've been using small plastic headphones like I've reviewed recently, even when you carefully EQ those small headphones, because Philips corrects the X2's resonances or other sonic anomalies with a much larger and better build, etc. I paid $199 at Massdrop, which is one heckuva deal. Philips X2 Around-Ear Open-Back Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  13. Here's a Beyer I missed - I've had the Custom One Pro(2), Custom Street, DT48(4), DT770-32, DT1350(4), DT1770 Pro, T1, T51p, and T90, but this is the first T70p for me. I like it - a lot. It has a strong midrange emphasis, but overall very hi-fi with the Tesla drivers. It's not an ideal on-the-street portable, in that isolation is compromised if wearing glasses, and insofar as when pulled down around the neck for ordering coffee or schmoozing with people, it bumps against my chin. The cheaper Custom Street has no such problem. I like the comfort better than the T90, but it's easily as comfy as the T1 or DT770. Beyerdynamic T70p Around-Ear Portable Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  14. The MH30 is a work of art and metal, and I find it very charming... Master & Dynamic MH-30 Luxury On-Ear Stereo Headphone review | Rock Grotto
  15. This is an earbud, so the expectations will be low. The tonality is definitely better than the Apple earbuds (not earpods), but not as good as the Yuin PK2 (and likely the PK1). I wouldn't be inclined to review an earbud as-is, but with the magic of parametric EQ, it sounds very hi-fi except for the deep bass, which can't be recovered any way that I know. FiiO EM3 Stereo Earbuds (not IEM) review | Rock Grotto
  16. Here is a very nice on-ear headphone that sells for $28 USD, in the U.S. It should be available world-wide. The downsides are 1) Very lightweight and plastic, with a possibly fragile non-detachable cable, and 2) A neutral-to-light bass response. All else is good to excellent. Edifier H650 On-Ear Portable Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  17. Here is a delightful little portable headphone from Beyerdynamic, and unlike most of their other low-end portables, this is a real (made in Germany) Beyer with their famous earcup forks and all. The signature is much flatter than the Beyer mini-Teslas (T51p, DT1350, ....), with better extension on both ends - I love it. Beyerdynamic Custom Street On-Ear Stereo Headphone review | Headphones Hangout Forum
  18. This is my first Grado 'woodie', excepting any Grado headphones where the wood parts are inside of the earcups only. I describe the sound compared to the SR325e, since I don't have a sense of how any of the Grado 'RS' series sound. This is a very good headphone, but be aware that some of the $650 USD price is because of the limited material from that Brooklyn tree. Grado GH1 'Brooklyn Tree' Wood-Cup Stereo Headphone review | Rock Grotto
  19. I've always wanted one of these, but couldn't justify it until recently. I've been disappointed with more than a few expensive purchases in the past, but not this time. The PS-1000e is very different from the AKG K812, Beyer T1, and Sennheiser HD800 headphones that I've owned, physically and sonically, so rather than try to summarize here what's in the review (too complicated), I'll just point to the full review below. Grado PS-1000e Audiophile Stereo Headphone review
  20. Here's a headphone I got from Musical Fidelity direct. It's quite close to neutral, with a very slight mid-bass bump, color-free midrange, and smooth treble. It is on-ear however, it has low isolation, and a fairly strong headband clamp. If you're looking for really good sound in this price tier and are OK with these features, then I'd say highly recommended. As an aside, I've been told by a couple of users that some companies who are well-regarded for speakers and other components, who make headphones for the first time, often don't get involved in the design and end up putting their brand name on an inferior headphone. Not this time. Musical Fidelity MF-200 Audiophile Stereo Headphone review
  21. I've read reviews of Music Hall components for years in Stereophile, and the manufacturer's comments in the back of the magazine, containing entertaining banter between the reviewer and manufacturer. I was hoping for a hi-fi or mid-fi headphone from these guys, and my expectations came up short. A light bass impact, some very slight treble peaks, or a modest treble rolloff - any or all of these can be had in many headphones that sell for $200 USD or less. In the case of the DE-BE however, the sound required significant EQ to be usable for hi-fi listening indoors or out, and so this is an "EQ review" that's intended only for people who are OK with using equalizers. Music Hall DE-BE On-Ear Portable Stereo Headphone review | Rock Grotto
  22. Here's a small portable on-ear headband-behind-the-head headphone that has a Grado sound more-or-less. I can only compare it to the SR325e at present (besides the 4 portables I compared to in the review) as far as Grado Sound is concerned, so here's the recap, compared to the SR325e: Weaker lower bass (although the overall bass on most tracks is pretty good), a tendency for driver breakup on a few tracks (less than one percent of mine), a comparable treble with one little exception - there's a slight sense of sibilance or a peak in the mid treble, but I don't think it's a result mainly of the small 7 khz peak, I think the 4 khz recess ahead of the 7 khz peak is how it becomes more noticeable. But it's actually very slight and non-irritating compared to sibilance in many headphones I've had. I like it, but would not advise using it with EDM that has strong long-duration deep bass tones, which can cause driver breakup. Normal bass, even heavy bass, hasn't been a problem. Grado 'eGrado' On-Ear Stereo Headphone review
  23. Here's an interesting coincidence, or maybe synchronicity: My last review, of the open-back Philips SHP-9500, described what to me is a near-perfect headphone at a low price, lacking only a little in the low bass but having a neutral overall sound with a great soundstage. This review, of the closed-back AKG K-553, is complementary in an interesting way. This headphone has a very similar neutrality and great soundstage (for a closed headphone), but where the Philips has a rolloff in the deep bass, the AKG bass is full-up and the overall sound is warmer and slightly darker than the Philips. If ever there were 2 headphones representing my ideal signatures (neutral-light and neutral-dark), with little to no coloration and good soundstage, open and closed, and very low in cost, these 2 are it. I present the AKG K-553: AKG K-553 Around-Ear Closed-Back Stereo Headphone review
  24. The Philips SHP-9500, a lucky purchase at $60 USD from Massdrop, is fantastic for that price, or even the original $120 - assuming $120 was the original price. Amazing build, awesome sound and soundstage. Very comfortable. Comes with a 10-ft detachable generic cable, which can be replaced with any shorter generic cable with standard miniplugs on each end. Only real limitation is it's open-back, if portable use is mandated. The earpads don't seem to be replaceable, but I pulled them off of the plastic backing strip, so tucking the cloth covers back in was a nuisance. And they're loose now, but usable. Don't attempt it unless you're good at DIY stuff. Philips SHP-9500 Around-Ear Open-Back Stereo Headphone review
  25. Here is a nice little headphone I bought as soon as I read about it. Shure is noted for high-quality headphones suitable for critical monitoring applications, although at $39 USD you wouldn't expect this SRH-144 to fit that description. But rather than opt for a bassy or muddy low end with reduced treble to appeal to non-audiophile consumers, Shure created this headphone with a rolled-off bass and treble, which may sound like an average car radio at first listen. I like what they did here, and the bass and treble respond well to a moderate boost as needed. One caveat - the efficiency is low enough that many of the lower-volume tracks on my iPhone6 won't play loud enough for satisfactory listening without an external amp. Shure SRH-144 On-ear Stereo Headphone review
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