I've used an iPod Classic as my on-the-go music player for years, while I was waiting for something better. Sure, Astell & Kern has two perfectly fine players, the $699 AK100 and the $1,299 AK120, but FiiO smashed the high-resolution music player price barrier with the X3, which lists for $299, but which sells for $200 on Amazon and most other online retail sites.
A new pair of headphones is the best way to get everyone to notice your impeccable taste in fashion and design. Take a look around any metropolitan area and you'll see the colors of the rainbow perched on people's heads. Too many of today's models, though, sacrifice sound quality for sartorial flair.
AKG's latest K545, K845BT, and K323XS headphones challenge shoppers to demand excellence in both with three flavors for wired, wireless, and earbud options.
The K545 is arguably the least exciting of the three, though it's likely your best bet if you're shopping … Read more
Harman Kardon is a relative newcomer to the headphones market, and made an impressive debut with the BT (Bluetooth), NC (noise-canceling), and Classic models. All three are highly regarded here at CNET, so I'm looking forward to going in-depth with the company's Soho headphones, the latest addition to the uniquely styled roster.
At first glance, you might be fooled into assuming Philippe Starck is the man behind the look of the Soho headphones. He's not, but the sharply angled square earpads and the vintage-inspired industrial theme throughout could very well be a subtle nod to the French … Read more
When we reviewed Sony's $299.99 MDR-R1 headphones last year, we gave them high marks despite their high price tag, saying they were "highly accurate-sounding headphones with style and substance."
That model can now be had for closer to $200, which is where the new MDR-10 Series will start. The new models aren't quite as swanky as the MDR-R1. Nor do they sound quite as good. But they are a little lighter, arguably more comfortable, more mobile friendly, and, in theory, more affordable (I expect that their street prices will come down after launch).
All three … Read more
This blog is all about finding great-sounding audio products, in every price range. In June I reported on the best-sounding headphone I've ever heard, the Abyss AB-1266, but not long after that I was knocked out by Sony's MDR-V6, and now I'm auditioning these surprisingly decent $15 Audio Technica ATH-CLR100 in-ear headphones.
Introduced earlier this year, this all-plastic design is incredibly light, just 3.4 grams. It has 8.5mm drivers, sports small, medium, and large silicone eartips, and the headphone comes with a round plastic case. Amazon sells it for around $12, and even with that … Read more
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Shocking news from MIT, where students made a device that will shock them when they've spent too much time on Facebook. In other Facebook news, Giphy is making GIFs a thing on the social-networking site, a la MySpace 1996. Video earrings turn you into a walking television, and Haptix turns any flat surface into a 3D multitouch surface. Ah, the possibilities. … Read more
Celebrities can't all be Dr. Dre. His Beats by Dre line of headphones has managed to be accepted with a minimal amount of ridicule, thanks in part to the relatively sedate designs. Many celebrity-branded gadgets, however, completely bypass any attempt at practicality and leap straight into a big vat of absurdity.
Celebrities seem to be especially attracted to headphones, probably because they're relatively simple and stand out when you wear them. Consider the new Snooki Couture line, for example. Among the zebra-print earbuds and rhinestone phone accessories, there's a leopard-print headband headphone set with a big cat bow on top. I want to wash my retinas out with soap.… Read more
I've heard a lot of, but far from most of the world's best headphone amps, but even in that heady territory the Auralic Taurus MKII shines. I've used a wide range of my very best headphones, in-ears and full-size, and they're all sounding better than I've heard them before.
The $6,475 Mal Valve amp is right up there, but it's been a few months since I heard it, and I never had it at home so my experience was more limited. I had the luxury of living with the Taurus MKII for weeks, … Read more
While the words "audiophile" and "budget" are usually mutually exclusive, this is an area we're keen to explore here at CNET, especially in the Audiophiliac blog. Products like the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers and the Lepai LP-2020A+ demonstrate that good hi-fi can be had for a little more than pocket change.
As far as the enthusiast community is concerned, the Superlux HD681 headphones belong in this list, and there are several sites dedicated to these incredibly cheap headphones. There is even a page detailing how to mod them (PDF) to squeeze even more performance out … Read more
I'm always on the lookout for great sounding products in all price ranges, so when an Audiophiliac reader suggested the almost too good to be true JVC HA-RX700 full-size headphones, I pulled the trigger. I'm glad I did, first the HA-RX700 doesn't look or feel like a cheap headphone. Better yet, it delivers a clear, highly articulate sound, with a wide stereo image, and it's the most comfortable budget headphone I've tried in years. Comfort is crucial, because even if a headphone is a top performer, but hurts your ears after a while, you're … Read more