Newest Updates - Quick View
- JBL Everest Elite 700 Headphones
- David Bowie: "Blackstar"
- The Five Best New Headphones at CES 2016
- Chasing Bruno Putzeys Down the Rabbit Hole of Audio and Discovering the Channel Islands Audio E•200S Stereo Amplifier
- Music Everywhere: Audio-Technica ATH-S700BT SonicFuel Bluetooth Headphones
- Klipsch Reference X20i Earphones
- "In Cold Blood"
- KEF Muo Bluetooth Speaker
- John Abercrombie: "The First Quartet"
- What We Can and Can't Tell from Measurements of Headphones
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 / C3 v.3 / ADP3 v.3 / Sub 1 / PBK Home-Theater Speaker System
- Monitor Audio Silver RX6 / RX Centre / RXFX / RXW-12 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Anthony Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference 3.5 Loudspeakers
- Paradigm Reference Signature S6 v.3 Loudspeakers
- Paradigm Reference MilleniaOne / Seismic 110 Home-Theater Speaker System
- Logitech Squeezebox Touch WiFi Music Player
- From "Home Theater & Sound" to "SoundStage! Xperience"
- Explaining HDMI while Solving the Cause of Blue-Screen Nightmares
- Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond Loudspeakers
- Anthem Performance MRX 710 A/V Receiver: King of the Sonic Frontiers
Reading over the six headphone-related blogs I filed for SoundStage! Global from the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, I realized that this CES marked something of a watershed for the headphone market. Although I considered headphones at every price as I wandered the show, I found the most action and excitement in higher-end models designed primarily with sound quality in mind. That’s a big change of pace -- at the previous ten CESes I’d attended, the focus had been on mass-market headphones. But in January 2016, even the only new celebrity headphones I saw -- the Onkyo Ed-Ph0n3s, endorsed by Iron Maiden -- were meticulously engineered and tuned for high performance.
I’ve heard a rumor that this year’s new iPhones won’t have 3.5mm headphone jacks. Can this be why everyone and her brother seem suddenly to be making Bluetooth headphones? Less than a year ago, an Audio-Technica rep told me that A-T would probably never release a Bluetooth model. But they have released some in Japan, and this year, five models are available in the US: three in-ear and two over-ear versions of models already popular in wired versions. And right now I’m wearing Audio-Technica’s ATH-S700BT SonicFuel over-ear Bluetooth headphones ($129.95 USD).
JBL Everest Elite 700 measurements can be found by clicking this link.
The JBL Everest Elite 700s are the most technologically advanced headphones I’ve tested. I can’t think of a significant feature they don’t have, but the most innovative is TruNote automatic calibration. TruNote uses an internally generated test tone and an internal microphone to evaluate the acoustical effects of your ears, and tunes the Everest Elite 700s’ frequency response to compensate for those effects. It’s basically a headphone version of the auto-calibration technologies, such as Audyssey MultEQ, found in most A/V receivers. This feature was launched earlier this year in the N90Q ($1499.95 USD), from AKG -- which, like JBL, is owned by Harman International.
Any artist’s sudden and unexpected death alters our view of his or her final work -- whether it be Jimi Hendrix’s The Cry Of Love, Janis Joplin’s Pearl, or John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. No matter how hard we try, we can never truly divorce that final recording from thoughts of what went before or projections of what might have been yet to come.
Chasing Bruno Putzeys Down the Rabbit Hole of Audio and Discovering the Channel Islands Audio E•200S Stereo Amplifier
“Hey, Wes, I want you to look up the new Bruno Putzeys speaker. Giant killer.”
Thus spake Jeff Fritz, Commanding Officer of our enterprise. We’d been e-mailing about another speaker, and this recommendation came as a pleasant surprise. Jeff’s ears regularly experience the best, most expensive loudspeakers made, so when he uses even mild hyperbole, my ears prick up. I looked up Putzeys and the speakers and found only Grimm Audio’s LS1 speaker with LS1s subwoofer. It was obviously a great speaker, but too rich for my blood at $39,895 USD per pair.
Klipsch Reference X20i measurements can be found by clicking this link.
When non-audiophiles see something like Klipsch’s new Reference X20i earphones priced above $500 USD, they’ve got to wonder how something so tiny could be worth so much. For that price, you can buy a TV or a digital SLR camera -- something that looks as if it costs $500. But the X20i’s don’t appear to be substantially different from Klipsch’s R6 earphones, which cost only $79. What makes them worth $549 -- nearly seven times as much?
Art Imitates Life in Flawless Blu-ray
The Criterion Collection 781
Based on the book of the same title -- described by its author, Truman Capote, as a “nonfiction novel” -- the film In Cold Blood is grim, gritty, probing, and brilliant in every way. Director Richard Brooks, who wrote the screenplay, managed to express in it his opposition to the death penalty in ways so subtle that many missed the point. Brooks’s insistence on using relatively unknown actors paid off. Robert Blake as Perry Smith, and Scott Wilson as Dick Hickock, are brilliant in the roles, and the fact that they looked very much like the killers they portray helps underline Brooks’s documentary style.
I’ve been noticing that the proliferation online of information about headphones has inspired some enthusiasts to judge headphones by their frequency-response measurements alone. One anonymous commenter went so far as to proclaim that the HiFiMan HE400S headphones -- a model praised by many reviewers as the best you can buy for $300 -- are “terrible.” His or her evidence? That someone on an enthusiast forum had measured the HE400S and the measurements didn’t look good, even though the highly experienced headphone expert Tyll Hertsens had published measurements on the website Inner|Fidelity that conflicted with the ones from the forum.
In August of 2014, when I reviewed Astell&Kern’s AK240 portable player, it was the flagship of the company’s line. But it seems that every time I turn around, A&K comes out with something new. First was the AK Jr, a more affordable, stripped-down player; and now, superseding the AK240 (which remains available), is the AK380, A&K’s new flagship model. At $3499 USD, it better be.
A price of $349.99 USD might seem high for a medium-size Bluetooth speaker, but the KEF Muo isn’t just any Bluetooth. With its release, KEF enters a new realm of speaker manufacturing -- namely, of portable wireless Bluetooth speakers -- while upholding its longstanding reputation for making great-sounding audiophile speakers.
Box and specs
The Muo is available in Neptune Blue, Light Silver, Sunset Orange, Storm Grey, or Horizon Gold, and comes in an oblong box of heavy cardboard. The top lifts off to expose the speaker, covered in clear plastic -- nice plastic, not the blister-pack style that rips your fingers. Lift the Muo to discover its accessories: a braided USB-to-Micro-USB cord, three power adapters that allow you to charge the Muo from your home’s power grid, and a quick-start guide and warranty information.