Welcome to The Headphone List

various earphones Welcome to The Headphone List, where you will find one of the most comprehensive resources on headphones and earphones, from entry-level through top of the line. The site is based on several review lists in table format, with filtering capability to help narrow down your options. If you are just getting started in your search, one of our concise Buyer’s Guides can help find the best set for you. Please use the comment sections on the articles to let us know if you have any questions!

CES 2015 Headphone Impressions

Part 1: Monster, Philips, Skullcandy, and more…

Part 2: Audeze, Phiaton, Sennheiser, and more…

3D audio headphones with Fraunhofer and 3D Sound Labs

CES 2015 Coverage

Review Lists

In-Ear Monitor (IEM) reviews

Custom In-Ear Monitor (CIEM) reviews

Portable Headphone reviews

 

Buyer’s guides:

2014 Earphone Buyer’s Guide by sound signature

Custom In-ear Monitor Buyer’s Guide

The Best Earphones Under $50

 

Recent Reviews

News & Articles

Gorilla Ears GX-4b

Gorilla Ears GX-4b Review

The Gorilla Ears GX-4b is a full-shell acrylic CIEM with warm tone, plenty of bass, pretty good clarity and resolution, and extremely high efficiency.

0 comments
Sennheiser Momentum In Ear

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Review

The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear follows in the footsteps of the other Momentum models with its lightweight, comfortable design and impressive audio performance.

9 comments
Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro custom in-ear monitors

Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro silicone shelled custom in-ear monitor review

Custom Art was born from a headphone enthusiast that has been a contributor to the headphone forum head-fi.org, Piotr Granicki. The Headphone List gave the Music One a recommendation; see how his latest creation, the Harmony 8 Pro performs.

9 comments
Dunu DN-2000

DUNU DN-2000 Review

DUNU’s latest flagship pulls out all the stops, becoming one of the IEMs to beat for sheer performance in its price range.

34 comments
UBSOUND Fighter

UBSOUND Fighter Review

The Fighter is a lightweight and surprisingly comfortable earphone with plentiful bass and smooth (perhaps even smoothed-over) sound courtesy of somewhat recessed upper mids.

23 comments
ADEL

Brief Review: 1964EARS 1964 ADEL A12

A brief look at the 1964EARS 1964 ADEL A12 custom in-ear monitors with comparisons to the StageDiver SD-2, 1964EARS V6-Stage, Noble 4S, JHAudio JH13, and Custom Art H8P.

57 comments
House of Marley Liberate XLBT

Wireless Audio: 11 Bluetooth Headphones and IEMs Compared

A brief roundup of the Bluetooth headphones I’ve tried to date, with a couple of quick recommendations for the holiday season.

19 comments
Hidition Viento-R 05

Hidition Viento-R custom in-ear monitor review: Tunable reference

Hidition is known for their detailed, clear, and precise CIEMs that are on the brighter and analytical side. Find out how their latest release, the Viento-R, stacks up to the other well regarded Hidition products and many more.

5 comments
Minerva Mi-Artist Pro accessories 01

Minerva Mi-Artist Pro custom in-ear monitors review

The Minerva Mi-Artist Pro custom in-ear monitors utilize the Sonion AcuPass dual balanced armature driver, but the differentiator is the ease of purchase, with a one-stop-shop approach, simplifying the process of getting a CIEM.

0 comments
Fidue A83

Fidue A83 Review

The Fidue A83 combines great attention to detail with a punchy, slightly v-shaped sound, solid build quality, and good ergonomics.

17 comments
Advanced AcousticWerkes A3H-V Custom In-Ear Monitors Demo

Demo Impressions: Advanced AcousticWerkes Muskier and Meister lines + W500 AH Morph

average_joe gives a listen to the Advanced AcousticWerkes Muskier and Meister lines with comparisons as well as offers initial impressions of the W500 AHMorph custom in-ear monitors.

1 comment
Rock Jaw Alfa Genus

Deal Alert: Sonic Electronix Presidents’ Day sale: Rock Jaw, Westone, Audeze, and more; 10% off at mp4nation

Several headphones are on sale at Sonic Electronix and mp4nation for presidents’ day weekend. I’ve picked out some of the ones I think are pretty good deals.

3 comments
Audeze CES2015

CES 2015 Headphone Coverage Part 2: Audeze, Phiaton, Sennheiser, and more…

Part two of our CES 2015 Headphone coverage, in which I enjoy new headphones from Audeze, Sennheiser, MEElectronics, and more

4 comments
Fraunhofer

CES 2015 Detour: 3D audio headphones with Fraunhofer and 3D Sound Labs

A brief introduction to the basics of headphone-based 3D audio and overview of two 3D audio headphone demos at CES 2015.

4 comments
EarSonics Velvet Crystal in-ear monitors

EarSonics Velvet Crystal has been announced

A new version of the EarSonics Velvet has been announced for a February launch, and the Velvet price has been reduced.

3 comments
CES 2015 Coverage

CES 2015 Headphone Coverage Part 1: Monster, Philips, Skullcandy, and more…

Part one of our CES 2015 Headphone coverage, in which I enjoy new headphones from Philips, Monster, and… 808 Audio? (and try a dozen others)

4 comments
SE 5-way Ultimate_teaser

Spiral Ear 5-way Ultimate has been announced

Spiral Ear 5-way Ultimate has been announced. Enjoy the first picture while waiting for additional information…

0 comments
Brainwavz M1

[Expired] Deal Alert: $10.99 Meelec M6 at amazon.com, 25% off T-Peos earphones and discounts on Brainwavz R3 and M1 at mp4nation

A couple of post new-year deal from mp4nation, plus $10.99 Meelec M6s on Amazon

0 comments
xmas2015-1

Happy New Year from The Headphone List!

Wishing all of our readers health, happiness, and lots of great new Hi-Fi experiences in the New Year!

8 comments
Narmoo R1M earphones

The great NarMoo giveaway: enter to win an R1M headset [Winners Announced]

Want to start the new year with a set of earphones that you can tune to your sonic preference? Want your friend to get one also? Good, because we’re giving away a total of 15 (that’s right, fifteen) R1M units to our fans and subscribers.

88 comments

 

144 comments


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  1. Hi |joker|,
    I am considering buying iem in ~100 $ price range. GR07, VSD3, Pistons and Momentums seem to be good contenders. Considering the fact that I live outside States, it would be problematic to send back faulty pairs, so I am concerned with the durability of any of these. No iem is perfect, but I at least expect a year or a bit more of faithful work. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • I didn’t find any issues with the construction of any of these. Beyond that, only time and use will reveal any potential problems. I’ve had my GR07 the longest (since 2010) but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily more durable than the others.

      One thing to consider – you can buy several Pistons for the price of any of these others. Four Pistons will almost definitely last you longer than 1 Momentum…

  2. Hey ljokerl,
    I’m looking for IEM’s below $300 with a warm, somewhat bass emphasized sound signature but also clear sound for classical pieces. The more bang for buck, the better (eg as cheap as I can get away with to the point where diminishing returns start). Ideally don’t want to spend more than $150-$250.
    Ones I have been considering are the Vsonic VC1000, GR07, ATH IM02 and Etymotic ER4
    Any help would be appreciated!

  3. Hey joker! I have been using Sony XBA40EX headphones for the past 5 years and I have absolutely loved them. They aren’t the most clear, but they match the sound I’m looking for (heavy punchy bass). I recently lost a silicone tip piece and instead of replacing the tip, I was thinking about upgrade to the Sony MDRXB50AP. Do you have any experience with this model or would you suggest something different? Also, the fit on my XB40s are perfect and the isolation is key for me.

    • No experience with the XB50. The XB40EX is really good for that specific type of sound (lots of bass, warm, etc). I also rather like the very inexpensive Nuforce NE-600X for a similar type of signature.

  4. what do you think about the rha 350 i found one used for $18 are they good for edm?

    • For that kind of money they are quite good but if you’re open to paying $10 more you can get a Xiaomi Piston 2, which I like better.

      • I have the pistons 2.1

      • Hey ljokerl,
        Replying to this comment because weirdly I can’t seem to post a direct comment.
        I’m looking for IEM’s below $300 with a warm, somewhat bass emphasized sound signature but also clear sound for classical pieces. The more bang for buck, the better (eg as cheap as I can get away with to the point where diminishing returns start). Ideally don’t want to spend more than $150-250.
        One of my audiophile friends suggested getting the cheaper Shure 112/215 and then investing in a pair of Open headphones+modmic for PC use (Fidelio X2 possibly)
        Any help would be appreciated!

        • You can definitely get away with spending $150 – my suggestions around that price would be the RHA MA750 or Yamaha EPH-100 if you don’t mind having quite a bit of bass (but good overall sound quality). The SE215 is good as well for a little less bass and sightly lower overall performance.

          • Thanks!
            Is there any worth in spending more? Are the improvements becoming more dimishing?
            I want something that blows any conventional earphones or headphones (beats, ipod ones, skullcandy) out of the water. I have enough money for the Sennheiser HD800 for example, but its probably not worth for me to spend that much.

          • Yes, you run into diminishing returns fairly quickly. To move up from the EPH-100 to the next level in warm sound you’re looking at something like Sony XBA-H3 ($300-350) or EarSonics SM64 ($400) but a good $100-$150 IEM is much closer to a top-tier IEM than to an iPod earbud or cheap Skullcandy. Heck even the $35 Sony MH1C is closer in performance to an EPH-100 or MA750 than it is to your average inexpensive earphone.

  5. Hello!

    Excellent website. Anyways I come to you for a simple recommendation. My favorite earbud that I have ever owned was the Vsonic Gr07MKII (bought after looking at your reviews) and it has served me well. However, it’s lifespan was cut short due to faulty wiring. So I was just wondering what you would suggest that is comparative to the Gr07. The types of music I listen to ranges from jazz, hip-hop, rap, occasionally EDM, and mainstream music.

    I was looking into the Fischer DBAs because even though I loved the Gr07s I kind of want to expand my horizon. What would you suggest is an upgrade to the Gr07s in the 100-300$ price range?

    Thanks!

    • This question comes up pretty often and I don’t have a great answer. The GR07 is tough to upgrade from in a lot of ways because many of its strong points are already easily on-par with $200-300 IEMs. It sounds like you’re willing to try something a little more neutral and balanced, which is similar to a question asked/answered here: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/vsonic-gr07/#comment-60658 . I recommended the VSonic VC1000 there because it tends to be less expensive than the DBA-02, but in terms of sound quality they are on par. Ety ER4 would be another good one if you don’t mind the fit (or cost).

      • Cool cool! I was also thinking about maybe a cheap CIEM like the Alclair Reference. Would you consider that an appropraite upgrade to the Gr07s?

        As always, thanks!

        • Yes, definitely. The Alclair Reference and the slightly pricier Custom Art PRO 330 v2 would both be good options.

          • What do you think a better option is for someone getting into CIEMs? The Alclair Reference or the Custom Art Music One? I know the Alclair is about 150$ more expensive and I was wondering if that difference is really going to make, well… a difference.

            I’m more tuned on getting the Reference because the company is based on the states and the waiting time (as far as I know) is considerably shorter than the Poland based CustomArt. But from your experience, which one do you think will be better for someone just entering the CIEM scene, or perhaps there’s another CIEM out there that is better than these options. If there is, please let me know. Thanks, and as always, keep up the good work :)

          • Hi Josh, thanks for the question. You can read my comparison of the two in my Music One review. Another excellent option, and one that makes a big difference to my ears, is the Perfect Seal Fusion 11 hybrid CIEM as I find it performs exceptional for the price point.

            What sound signature are you looking for, what is your source, and what music do you listen to? I believe all these factors play into making the best decision.

            Cheers,

            Joe

  6. hi ijoker
    a quick question about HRT dsp USB used to enhance audio quality. Whats your openion about it, does it really make any difference?

    • It just looks like a regular USB DAC to me. Probably no better or worse than any other entry-level DAC. There’s lots of them on the market, but this one is small and inexpensive, so it might take off – who knows.

  7. Love the page! I’m looking to buy a warm, sparkly sounding IEM preferably with decent depth/width and solid imaging. I don’t know if this will mean anything to you but I’m coming from a Sony MDR-1R and I really enjoyed the pleasing signature of that; perhaps the word would be ‘lush’ or ‘euphonic’ could be ascribed to that headphone. I listen to a good deal of music female vocals btw. I’d like to stay in the neighborhood of $100-$300. Thanks so much Joker!

    • Hmm… perhaps the Sony XBA-H3? It can often be found in that price range. I think that would be the “safe ” choice for what you want – good bass, warm & smooth sound, spacious presentation, little bit of sparkle. I think it can easily be described as lush.

      Another option for a slightly bassier and less smooth sound is the JVC HA-FX700 (or perhaps one of the newer FX-series models – the FX750 is still in that price range). The hybrid Fidue A83, also in a similar price range, is less bassy and not quite as warm/thick/full-bodied, but still a good way to go for what you want. As a “budget” option, I’d recommend the RHA MA750. Its bass is a bit more bloated and the mids are a little less prominent, but it provides a rich and warm sound that seems to be a good fit for what you’re after.

  8. Hey ya’ll! a quick question: is there an ETA on a review of the Earwerkz Legend R? im considering getting it and dont want to rush it without a solid review from your marvelous site :) also are there any plans for a review of the Cosmic ears CE6P ever? thanks for running this awesome site, you are saints!

  9. We can smell that CES report cooking ljokerl :P

    Impressive?
    Meh?
    Sod it?

    • Just a brief one. As usual there’s stuff in all three categories. Couple of things I thought were quite interesting, and unfortunately a few of the really “out there” demos didn’t work as intended.

  10. Hi! This page is very helpful and informative, I really enjoy reading. I recently purchased a pair of hifiman re-400 from the ratings here and from all over the web. They sound great, but I’m looking for a little different suggestion. I want everything the re-400 has but with more bottom end and I would like an android compatible mic/remote at $150 or less. Please give me your recommendations.

    • There’s nothing that sounds exactly like the RE-400 but with more bass and a mic/remote. There is a version of the RE-400 with mic now so you can try that, but if you want a bassier headphone you’ll probably end up with a different sound signature (e.g. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear, more v-shaped sound, review coming soon) or a slight cut in overall performance (e.g. SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro, and even that only has a hair more bass: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/steelseries-flux-in-ear-pro/)

      • Thanks. I may just need to rethink my sound life. Maybe I need to go with a bass head or v sound model, but I’m not sure I can give up the re-400 tone. Thanks.

        • Hi! i was wondering if you’ve had a moment to listen to the Hifiman RE300? Some are saying they sound like th RE-400 but with more bass in a less expensive design.

          • I do have an RE-300. It sounds good for $50 and does have more bass than the RE-400 but sacrifices some clarity along the way so it’s not an upgrade, just a less expensive option with a warmer, more consumer-friendly sound sig.

          • How does the RE300 fit in to the $50 competition & would it fit into the bass head or warm and smooth signature. Thanks for helping with all my random questions.

          • Most likely warm and smooth. I don’t think bass quantity is as high as on the Xiaomi Piston 2, for instance. As for overall performance, that’s still TBD. I have found myself wishing for a little more clarity, though, so it seems like $50 is the right price point with the RE-400 at $80 now.

  11. Hi joker,
    Your website is the best reference info for earphones and your work is commendable. I wanted to buy an in ear under $ 120.- my current iem are- Philips SHE9850..for your reference- http://www.head-fi.org/t/415347/review-philips-she9850
    These iem are amazing for the price- the are very comfortable due to narrow nozzle and I love their forward mids although they have piercing highs sometimes and bass is a bit less than what is need specially while listening to Electronic music. They are good in piano guitar and vocals (I’m not bass-head but would not mind a bit more bass). Now I want to step up higher, but I’m confused..I dont want to clinical iem but not a bass heavy iem. I narrowed down my options to-
    1. Jvc ha fxt90 (best suits to my needs buy import duties and long shipping time is a problem)
    2.Yamaha eph 100(heard some quality issues and wide nozzle might not fit to my ears properly and is selling double the price in my country of what its selling in U.S)
    3. Rha ma 750(I think it would be to bass heavy and recessed mids)
    4. Shure se 215(great in durability and design but I think it wont be much of and upgrade to my current iems in sound quality)
    5. Vsonic GR07 classic(Quality issue and bass recessed and availability)
    6. Hifiman re 400(Quality issue and bass recessed and availability)
    Then I came across the thread of Audio Technica Ath im70 and I’m literally more confused than ever before..I know you have not reviewed it yet..but I hope you would do it soon. I’m really interested in these as they have-Detachable cables,forward mids,details,clarity and are cheap in my country..I hope you would do a comparison with the above iems. Do you think they will have better sound quality than Jvc Ha fxt90?
    Thanks.

    • Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with the SHE9850 so I don’t know it compares to the ones you’re considering. The JVC FXT90 is not the smoothest in the treble (not sure if it’s more or less piercing than the SHE9850). The EPH-100 is bassier but also smoother so if smooth treble concerns you more than not having too much bass, it may be the better option.

      I’ve tried the IM50 very briefly and thought it was quite good… very competitive for the price (it was listed at $60 or $70). No experience with the IM70.

      • Thanks,
        I think I will buy Audio Technica im50, btw how much would rate im50 in sound quality (approx),are they better than shure se 215 and Vsonic VSD1S. and last are they comfy? because they kind of looks big.

        • I really can’t say – like all of my show impressions it was done over a couple of minutes, which is enough for me to say if something is “good”, “promising”, “meh”, or “crap”. The IM50 is good, probably at least on par with the SE215, and I thought it was pretty comfortable, but I can’t really be more specific on the sound rating.

  12. Hi, I’m looking for a pair of iems with replacable cables for under £150. Using a pair of akg k376′s atm as a sort of fill in because i picked them up for half price in a sale, after selling my sony mdr ex600′s because i got fed up of the strange fit and wind noise. So far I’ve seen the shure se215, which seems pretty decent, for £85, the westone um pro 10 for £110, the earsonics sm1 for £150, vsonic vsd3 (although i would have to buy from america) and I have just come across a new set called the bonnaire mx 320 on amazon uk for £50. I’ve never heard of the brand before but they use dual dynamic drivers and reviews on amazon seem pretty good, wondering what you would recommend? looking for isolation comfort and a reasonably flat sound sig but better bass impact than something like an ety hf5. Love the new site by the way, so useful to be able to search. Also, have you heard anything about the audiofly af240/250 as I was thinking about selling my athm50′s for something a little more sylish – had a look at ultrasone pro 550′s, marshall monitors, shure 750′s and b&o h6 – really want portable, durable headphonres with over the ear fit and the auiodflys loom really good but have no reviews yet.

    • I tried the Audiofly cans as a non-working prototype last year so I can’t say anything about the sound. I do like their AF180 in-ears, though.

      I’ve never heard of Bonnaire but those look like Brainwavz R1s with detachable cables.

      The VSonic VSD3 and SE215 are both quite good for the price – the Shures with a smoother, warmer sound and VSonics with more treble presence and clarity. In value for money and overall sound quality the VSonics are better as long as you have some tolerance to fairly prominent, not entirely smooth treble, but they use a non-standard cable socket so the utility of having detachable cables is diminished. There really aren’t a lot of other options out there with detachable cords – one that I’ve tried briefly and thought was quite good is the Audio-Technica IM50 (there’s a higher-end IM70 as well) but I don’t have one to listen more in-depth. There’s lots of reviews of it on Head-Fi though.

      • Thanks for the help!
        I’ll get the vsonics, just trying to find a seller who will deliver to UK quickly wanted to check if anyone knows whether mp4nation.net is reliable?

        • Mp4nation is one of the two international retailers I recommend for VSonic products (the other being lendmeurears), though I’m not sure about the delivery timeframes to the UK as they both ship from Asia (HK from mp4nation; Singapore for LMUE).

  13. Hi,
    I am a musician (drummer, keyboardist, singer) looking to purchase some CIEMs. Price range around $500, with some edge room. Genres include jazz, funk, rock, pop, hip hop. They will be used to replace “actual” monitors at shows, as well as for rehearsals, and practicing along with music. I have never worn a good pair of in-ears so I’m not really sure what I’m looking for.

    1) will they sound good plugged into an iphone?
    2) if I go to a loud show would they be effective as ear plugs? do they block out sounds across the spectrum?

    • Hi Bob,

      Sorry for the delayed reply. There are several options in that price range and below. The best sub-$500 CIEM I have heard is the Perfect Seal Fusion 11, which is a silicone shelled hybrid.

      For acrylic shelled CIEMs, there are also plenty of options including some from Perfect Seal, In Earz, and Alclair.

      1) They will all sound good plugged into an iPhone, as the base sound quality is quite high. They will sound much better with better sources. The Fusion 11 has by far the best sound for less than $500.
      2) Silicone ear plugs work better than acrylic shelled CIEMs, and the ported Fusion 11 is no different even though the shell is silicone. Isolation is dependent upon multiple factors, which include anatomy, and the noise isolation isn’t even across the spectrum. Adding silicone inside the canal portion of an acrylic shell will help with isolation.

      If isolation is your highest priority, you may want to try the Perfect Seal Sportbud Gold or Alclair Reference and ask that the canal be filled with silicone. If sound quality is your #1, the Perfect Seal Fusion 11 is your best bet.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Cheers,

      Joe

  14. Do you have any recommendations and/or reviews for headphones to watch TV? I purchased Bose Q25′s but after plugging in the 3.5mm into a 1/4 adapter and then into my receiver, the background sound was fine, but the dialog sound became faint and very hard to hear. In any case, I returned them and would like to know what other brands might do the job, either wired or wireless. Thanks

  15. Hey Joker,

    Happy New Year..!!!

    I’ve noticed that there’s a sale on steelseries flux. I was planning to get the Narmoo R1M. Which would you say is a better deal (SQ wise and build quality)? Or is there a better alternative (with mic) under 30$.

    • The Flux sounds better (but you only get one sound signature with it – smooth and slightly warm sound). The construction is pretty similar but I’d probably give the nod to the R1M there. None of its sound tunings have the fidelity of the Flux, but you get three different ones which is pretty cool.

  16. Happy New Year to Joker, all the foloowers and the entire Theheadphonelist’s team!
    Cheers W.

  17. Happy New Year!!

    Excellence work so far and looking forward to more great stuff in 2015.

    Enjoy the holiday!

  18. Dera TheHeadphoneList,

    any news regarding the review & comparison of the aluminum iem fighter by ubsound?

    cheers

    • Getting closer to the end of the queue. Should be one of the next full reviews completed.

      • Thanks Mr. Joker.
        Cheers

        PS: congratulation for the great review about the iem Fudue A83… very professional and detailed as always.

          • Hi. I recently found your website and it is truly a treasure. I got lots of information, you truly know your stuff.
            I am in the market for new In ears, and im looking on the westone line and I can’t get to the bottom there. Whats the difference between the um20 or the w20? And the um 30 vs w30? My budget is up to $400.
            If u can pls clarify a bit that range, it’ll be a major help for me.
            Thanks

          • The UM series is stage-oriented while the W series is consumer-oriented. I haven’t tried the UM20 but the UM30 offers a smoother, less trebly, more full-bodied sound than the W3/W30 with more emphasis on the midrange. The W2/W20 is more balanced and neutral.

            In the end it really depends on what you’re looking for in your earphones – the W20 will likely be the most flat and accurate of the bunch, for instance, as that’s its strong suit, while the W30 will probably have the most exciting an energetic sound (again, I am saying “probably” due to lack of experience with the UM20).

  19. Great site, full of extremely insightful and helpful commentary. I’ve graduated from Shure SE 215 to Westone 3 to Westone 4, which recently broke. Have the opportunity to get them replaced for W40′s at $250, but open to trying something new. Challenge is to find something as good on a wide variety of genres, at similar price range.

    I listen to a pretty wide range of music, but in order of frequency and preference I’d say the list is:

    -Latin- salsa (many instruments at once, lots of percussion), etc.
    -Singer/songwriter acoustic (Jack Johnson, Jose Gonzalez)
    -Medeski, Martin & Wood
    -Hip-hop (De La Sol, Lupe Fiasco, Gangstarr)
    -Electronic (Gramatik, Gotan Project)
    -Rock (Sting, Led Zeppelin, Norah Jones)

    Thanks!!!!

  20. Just wondering what rating you would give the RE-600s? I may have an opportunity to acquire some but was wondering how they compared to the Westone 4. Side grade? Upgrade? Downgrade?

  21. Anders Dam Vestergaard

    Great site!

    one thing that could ease our everyday life is finding a good in-ear solution that allows pairing up with our roof mounted DVD player (in the car). Today we are using the “No name” bulky headphones which came along 1) they are quite poorly built, 2) lots of white noise, 3) they don’t fit our kids well and makes it hard for them to sit properly in their child seats.

    Now having read a lot of reviews – it would be great to get a hint on whether one of the better solutions out there would have some likelihood of effectively pairing up wiht this two channel bluetooth DVD player. We are using 3 bluetooth set at the time (one for each kid in the back-seat).

    Would the Sony SBH80 do that? or do you have any other reco’ I should look into.

    thanks for any support on this matter.

    best,
    /Anders

    • Bluetooth headphones aren’t really known for white noise or 2+ simultaneous connections – it sounds like the ones your system uses might utilize RF or IR wireless technology rather than Bluetooth. I would suggest checking the manual or just googling the exact system (not sure if aftermarket or stock) to confirm before trying to find a Bluetooth headset for it.

      If you can confirm it to be Bluetooth I’m happy to brainstorm some BT headphone options.

      • Anders Dam Vestergaard

        Hi – thanks for the swift reply. I was told by the car dealer it was bluetooth – but sure will check up googling the system / reading the manual and get back to you if we indeed are talking about a bluetooth setup.

        thanks,

        Anders

        • Anders Dam Vestergaard

          Hi again

          Now browsing through various pages /posts I believe you’re absolutely right that the system I’m referring to is running on IR. However there is an analog out from DVD where we potentially can take the sound and put into a bluetooth converter.

          Do you know if there are any bluetooth solutions supporting this, i.e., getting a 3.5mm jack input – converting it to bluetooth signal?

          then I am also curios to understand if there is a good in-ear solution to which the bluetooth signal can be sent. we need to be able to have 3 in-ear sets running simultanously and with individual volume controls.

          thx.,
          Anders

          • You can definitely plug a Bluetooth transmitter into an analog audio output. However, Bluetooth works through a pairing process, which means that typically you get 1 receiver (headphone) per 1 transmitter. There are some transmitters that are set up specifically for two simultaneous connections, but these are fairly rare. Never seen any that support 3 or more connections – that’s just not an intended application of the technology. Bluetooth is not like RF where you just tune as many receivers (headphones) as you want to the appropriate band and they all pick up the signal.

            There is a digital technology that supports multiple headphones – it’s called Kleer and is used, for example, by Sennheiser’s higher-end TV headphones, which are all full-size. I am not very familiar with Kleer and have only used it a handful of times. Don’t think any in-ear earphones use it.

          • Anders Dam Vestergaard

            Hi – great answer thanks!

            I think then the “easiest” solution is to forget about wireless transmission and then hardwire the analog out to a “1:3″ splitter in which I plug-in 3 individual stereo in-ear headphones. They just need to have individual volume adjustment.

            Thanks again for sharing your insights. Much appreciated.

            /Anders

          • Yes, that would definitely be the easiest and most reliable solution. There are some splitters that already have individual volume controls built in but it would probably be more convenient if the volume controls are on the cable of the earphone itself.

            Keep in mind that you need earphones with analog volume controls and not digital ones for this – for example the current MEElectronics M6P or Audio-Technica CKX5iS. Also keep in mind that these volume controls work by increasing resistance, so when hooked in parallel through a splitter lowering the volume one one will (slightly) raise the volume on all the other sets connected to that splitter (electrical current being diverted and all that).

  22. Hi,

    I’m seeking help in getting a pair of earphones and a pair of headphones.

    My Current Gear:

    Klipsch Image S3:
    I like the sound but I feel that the mids are suppressed and that the bass is over emphasized. The highs also feel under-extended. The isolation is sufficient. I’d like a little more warmth and wider soundstage. I’m looking for a pair of budget earphones (about 50 to 60$). Preferably with an inline mic and of decent build quality.

    Audio Technica ATH SJ11:
    I know that this is a very basic pair of headphones but before buying these I tested Sennheiser HD201 which felt very laid back and lacking the “energy” that the SJ11 has. In comparision I felt that the SJ11 has nice warm and full bodied sound which is fun to listen to.The mids highs and lows are all clearly audible however presented. I’m looking to get the Audio Technica ATH-M50x as an upgrade.

    Creative Soundblaster E1:
    I’m totally new to amping and DACs. So all I could notice and observe (when using the SJ-11) was an increase in the quality of bass (depth, tightness and clear definition). Would this DAC/Amp be compatible to the M50x?

    There’s no particular type of music that I stick to. I listen to a little bit of everything and the source is a Galaxy S3 (international version) and my laptop for watching movies.

    I’d like to know if the sound signature and presentation would be similar to that of SJ11. I’m from India and there are no retailers in my locality where I can test a pair.

    If there is a better alternative, I’m willing to consider it provided it is in the same price range as the m50x. I’m looking for an all-round performer with a balanced sound with a slight bass emphasis and warm tonal balance and lesser emphasized treble.

    Also could someone mention a good store(US) in the state of California/online to buy this stuff which might give discounts for black Friday/thanksgiving.

    Thanks in advance

    PS: This is my first post regarding audio experience. Hope it made sense. Constructive feedback appreciated.

    • Lot of questions there. For basic stuff like amps and DACs for the M50 the appropriate thread on Head-Fi might be more helpful – I have no idea what the Soundblaster is capable of, though the M50 is not a particularly demanding headphone so it should be fine.

      For IEMs in that price range I would recommend the VSonic VSD3S: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-vsd3s-ostry-kc06-havi-b3-pro/ at about $50 without mic. With mic is tougher but I guess the SteelSeries Flux would be a good bet. It’s a little on the quiet side so make sure your listening volume with the S3 is not at max – otherwise you’ll run into a volume issue with the Flux.

      I don’t have any hands-on experience with the SJ11 but I like the M50 series enough to recommend them without reservations at their price point. Maybe someone on head-fi has compared the two at some point.

      As for sales, you really don’t see a lot of the niche audio stuff being discounted. The VSD3S is already cheap enough as is at $45-60 – see the post I linked above for direct links to retailers. The M50x you might see a deal on – just keep an eye on slickdeals as it’s a popular enough model to generate some buzz in case of a promotion. Also, BuySonic.com has them on sale every once in a while. They ship within the US for about $2 so you should be able to save a good chunk of change over retail stores and even Amazon.

      • Hi joker,

        Thanks a lot for your patient reply. Ironically after such a detailed query I forgot that I posted it and only stumbled across it just now.

        I decided to postpone the M50x for a few days but will be definitely getting it since almost all audiophiles say that it can’t get any better at that price point w.r.t. all round performance. I almost went for Crossfade LP2 which was on sale for 99$ but decided to forego at the last moment since I’d already bought the LPs by then for 75$; tempted by the price. I agree with your review about them but they are not that bad for a first headphone. EQ-ing helps it a bit.

        Coming to IEM, even though I failed to read your reply till now, I read that brief review of yours on VSD3S and am considering it. Vsonic seems to have nailed it with this model as it is getting some rave reviews all around. There seem to be a few minor issues like build quality and cable connection for the detachable version; waiting for your full review where I’m sure you will speak about these. Before reading about these was looking at Narmoo S1.

        Also planning to get the Narmoo R1M for on the go use as it has the mic.

        Looking forward for many more informative reviews from you.

        Bye.

  23. Hi, ljokerl
    Thanks for the lists! They’re really good!

    Currently I am using Vsonic GR02 bass edition and I love them, but, sadly, the left side stopped working today (Accidentally, I dropped them on the floor two months ago and my sister stepped on them. Only the left side was damaged, but I managed to repair them and they worked perfectly. I suppose that’s why they stopped working after just five months of buying them). So, I want to buy a new pair, but I don’t know which one to get. I was thinking about Vsonic VSD1S or JVC HA-FDX80-Z, but I’m not really sure. What do you suggest? I listen mostly to hard and progressive rock.

    Thank you very much!

    • The VSD1S would make for a nice upgrade from the GR02 heading in a more “Hi-Fi” direction. It still has a v-shaped sound signature but just more balanced and refined overall while maintaining some tonal resemblance, being another VSonic product. The FXD80 is also v-shaped but moves towards a thinner, brighter sound that might be too much of a change from the warmer GR02, so the VSD1S is the one I’d go for. If you don’t want to risk the slight decrease in bass quantity that comes with moving to a higher-end VSonic product, you can also check out the Brainwavz S1 or the recently-reviewed Rock Jaw Alfa Genus, which make for pretty good GR02BE replacements with plentiful bass.

  24. Dear TheHeadphoneList Team,
    First of all congratulations on the reviews I find them really good and very detailed.
    I wanted to ask, as I’ve read many articles lately, if you’re going to review the UBSOUND Fighter aluminum IEM and if they will be tested against the competition?
    Thanks,
    William

    • Yes, the Fighter is in the queue for a review. So far I’m finding it pretty good but a little light on value at $80+. Then again, IEM prices are definitely higher in Europe where it’s from, so maybe it makes sense there. In any case, a full review will be up in due time.

  25. @ljoker, average_joe

    Visiting 2014 CanJam @ RMAF?

  26. Hi ijoker
    I really like and admire your reviews. As I am short on budget,so looking for some budget iems with descent sound. I came across a hongkng based brand called Awei with iems Es900i. I want your expert openin on these as people really seem to like their bass and soundstage.

  27. Can anyone recommend some of the pink noise videos on Youtube to use for breaking in? The longer the video the better.

    I am not sure if some are of higher quality than others or if that matters at all?

    Thank you.

  28. Hey ljokerl!

    Not sure how easy of a question this is gonna be, but I’d appreciate any feedback you can muster. I’ve been going insane reading and reading, and more reading about what to buy. Problem is, no matter how hard I try to understand all the “terms” of sound signatures, it’s getting me nowhere. I do realize that makes a recommendation harder for you to give, with me not understanding the differences in just simple sub bass/midbass terminology, or twin BA, hybrids, analytical, and so on so on. I’m looking into getting some IEM’s, or earbuds, I know there’s a difference but can’t remember what they are now. I’ve never tried these kind before, but am looking for something more discreet to walk around the streets with. I do know that I don’t want the kind that go over the ear, I think they’ll eventually annoy me in the same way on ear headphones irritate my ears. Also, they’d have to be able to use some sort of the memory type foam tips, because I also think that any sort of non secure rubber tip would irritate my ears.

    As far as the type of music I listen to, it’s very very simple – I listen to every last genre of music there is – Punk to Folk, Classic Rock to African, Pop to Really Friggin’ Weird. As far as sound signature goes, obviously that’s where the hard part comes in. My listening habits in my house with earphones are kinda totally different than walking around outside with my iPod. ***I would never say that I’m a basshead – BUT – when I’m outside amongst wind and noise, I definitely turn my bass up considerably to counter the elements.*** With that being said, if I were to describe what I like soundwise “inside” the safe environment of my house, using very non technical terms, lol – balance is definitely the most important thing I like. I don’t want any one thing overshadowing another thing. I “think” I like warm. If something is brickwalled, it’s usually the treble and mids making it so I would imagine, so overly bright would not be something I’m after because of ear fatigue. So I’m guessing this might be what warm is(?). I also use Rockbox with it’s EQ, to add or subtract a little here and there.

    Please feel free to ask me anything, I know that was a little vague in describing what I like soundwise. The most important thing is I live in a sometimes windy, noisy beachtown, and my bass and mids need to be able to overpower these elements while still trying to not overblow the balance of the mids and trebles. I have no idea what a “thick” sound would encompass, but I gotta believe I’d like it – cause if the opposite is a thin sound – well that just doesn’t good at all if one is listening to music. I guess “meaty” would be a good term when I think about a balanced sound. Thanks, hope you can help some.

    CT

    • One thing you didn’t list is your budget but something from the warm-and-smooth category of our buyer’s guide (http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-buyers-guide/) – whatever is in your price range – would be a good start (especially with Rockbox EQ on hand). No previous experience with in-ears and no set sound signature preference means you’ll probably have to try a couple of sets firsthand before you can zero in on exactly what you like, but getting there is half the fun. You can read all you want, but you’ll need a reference point for your ears to start making sense of it all.

      Most in-ears will take foam tips of some kind so if you need those just leave room in your budget for a pack of Complys (about $15). Also, certain IEMs have a problem with windy environments where the wind will create noise as it passes over the earphone body, so for your purposes one that’s flush in the ear would be best. The Shure SE215s might be a good one if you can spend $100.

      • Excellent page, thanks! Had I been a bit smarter and listed it, my budget woulda been under $200.

        • Well, in that case the SE215 is well within budget. You can also just explore a few different-sounding in-ears to see what you like best – for example, for the same $100 you can pick up a Sony MH1C ($30), VSonic VSD1S ($40), and Philips SHE3580 ($10). From there you can either stick with one (and pick up foam tips for it if you need them) or figure out an upgrade path based on which one you like best.

          • Thanks, I’m gonna try and narrow it down to about three, order, and hope for the best!

          • Hey ljokerl – was wondering if any on this list sound atleast somewhat close enough to one another that I could cross some off. I’m trying to get down to only three, so if some of these are almost doubling up on one another, that would help me out.

            1. Fidue A63
            2. HiFiMan RE-400
            3. VSonic GR07
            4. Fischer Audio Silver Bullet
            5. Sony MH1C
            6. Yamaha EPH-100
            7. RHA MA600

            Don’t even ask how I picked these out over others – I still don’t really know what I like in a sound signature – I’m just kind of guessing here, lol! I did kinda take one thing into consideration that I hadn’t thought of when I mentioned the needing of bass for outdoor use, and that was that these IEM’s basically plug into your ear, which probably has better noise cancellation than the on ear phones that I’m using now to walk around in. Thanks for the help.

          • Those are all over the place and the only one out of them I wouldn’t recommend is the MA600 – it just doesn’t sound that good for the price. If you want me to narrow it down for you, I think the MH1C (crappy cable aside) and EPH-100 would make for a great bass-heavy first IEM and the GR07 Classic (the $99 version discussed here: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-gr07-classic-plus-warning/) makes for a great accurate/neutral one.

          • Damn, and I thought they were all sorta similar, lol! I’m just gonna order those three, and atleast from there I’ll be able to tell you what I liked and didn’t like incase there’s a “next” IEM down the line. Just a couple last things…….can you guide me towards an Amazon link for those Comply memory foam tips. I didn’t realize there were so many different kinds. Like a mixed pack with different sizes. Also, will the complys fit on all three of those IEM’s? That’s a definite must, I have sensitive ears, and I think the memory foam are gonna be way better suited for me than whatever comes with ‘em stock. Thanks alot, I’ll come back in a month or so and let ya know which one I ended up with.

          • I don’t have all Comply sizes available to me so I am not sure which fit. They come in multiple inner diameters (100, 200, 400, 500). The VSonic GR07 already comes with Comply-style foam tips in the box but if Complys are a must for whatever else you buy, just cross-reference your potential list with the models listed on their website (http://www.complyfoam.com/). The HiFiMan RE-400 and Silver Bullet are on there, for example, listed as being compatible with the 400 size (you can find the T400 sampler on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1rCz4Gv).

          • OK, thanks. I’ll see what’s available.

          • Hey ljokerl! Ok, finally got ‘em…….and I couldn’t be more fricken bummed. Oh so so bummed. I bought three pair – Shure SE215 – VSonic Classic – and SoundMagic E10. I have no idea what I have, but I’m guessing either super shallow ear canals, or super small?? But I tried every last configuration – small, medium, large, foam, upside down, backwards, straight, over ear…….everything! The Shure’s and Soundmagic could have never worked. The VSonics when I first tried all of them seemed like the worst fit, but ironically, were the only ones that in the end “may” have been do able. With the smallest silicone’s on, and wrapping it around my ear, a part of the square shaped ear piece seems like its big enough to kinda hook onto a piece of my ear to maybe stay put. With that being said, I’m not sure if my ear canals are just too shallow to use an IEM – and I really want to use an IEM. Is this common for some people – having shallow ears that no matter what just won’t keep it in place?? There’s no way in hell the Shures or Soundmagics, or even the VSonics used straight down would have ever stayed in my ear for more than 5 seconds of standing completely still.

            Soundwise it was really hard to judge, given that I had to hold them in place, and wasn’t really sure just how far I shoud push them in and hold. The one thing I noticed was that they all seemed too trebly. I like to use Rockbox so I can tweak the bass and treble a little bit beyond the horrible settings that an iPod has. I tried both Rockboxed and without, and with and without any EQ on both. Surprisingly just the iPod was less trebly than an un EQ’ed Rockbox. So I guess my only two questions would be – in your knowledge of such things, are there any IEM’s built with shallow (or small, not really sure which I have exactly) ear canals in mind, or are IEM’s just probably not in my future? And if there are, any recomendations on something with far less treble, but still having very good bass with a balanced sound signature. Thanks for any advice you can give. I REALLLLY wanted this to work out – I listen to a ton of music outdoors – and over the ears are just too damn big, and on ears bug the heck out of my ears. Thanks.

          • So I’ve played around with them a little more, and I could more than likely live with the way they fit. The over the ear guides help with keeping them in place, but its the design of the actual body of the VSonic that is really what helps it keep it in. I think the fact that its so square and chunky, I can kinda lodge it into place. So if you can think of anything with a similar sorta design with a sound signature that I just wrote above that would be great.

          • While the GR07 is by no means dark sounding, overbright treble is one of the most common indicators of a poor sea with in-ear monitorsl. My guess is that you’re not hearing the sound of the earphone just yet. With in-ear earphones it’s really not enough to have them stay in your ears – you need a good acoustic seal to create that closed system with the driver and your ear drum or you’re mostly going to hear the top end.

            I don’t know if it’s the physical size/shape of your ear canals or something else giving you the problems you’re having with fit – it really sounds like you don’t have a lot of experience with in-ears and there can be a learning curve. We have a guide to earphone fit here: http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-fit-guide/ and even though it’s been on the list for a re-write for a while now, it might be useful.

            As for actual physical incompatibility, the GR07 is pretty tolerant of different ear sizes and shapes. The only things I can think of are your outer ears getting in the way of the body of the earphones or your ear canals being too narrow for the ~3mm nozzle. I guess one last earphone you could try would be one with a really thin nozzle and a housing that can’t possibly get in the way of a good fit. You can do that for $30 with the Fidue A31s. It’s not a great-sounding earphone but it is extremely small and also has the dubious benefit of rolled-off treble, which could be an asset in this case. It also takes foam tips (my favorites are Shure Olives, which you can get in a small size)

            Someone recently had a fitting issue with another earphone and I recommended the Rock-It Sounds R-20 for pretty much the same reasons – see here: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/soundmagic-pl50/#comment-20923 . The R-20 sounds a lot more balanced than the A31s but in this case it sounds like audio quality should really take a back seat to just getting the fit figured out first.

          • Ok, I spent some time yesterday with the VSonics – I can definitely get these to fit and seal in my ear without much hassle. But now I’ve run into another problem. I wouldn’t say I listened for a long period of time, but my inner ears really started to hurt. Not sure if this was from either having something wedged into them, or some sorta pressure that maybe the music produces when something is that far in. So now I’m kinda back to being in a dillema – I may have to go back to looking for some on ears again. I hate to ask again, but atleast this time I have a somewhat better idea of what sorta sound signature I may be after – but could you recommend some on ears with good bass and less treble. I really wish I knew which kind of bass I was after – from what I understand there’s different kinds, maybe mid-bass and sub-bass? Even though I do listen to Hip Hop and Techno, and would like something that won’t falter in that department when called for – I’m more interested in bass more geared towards rock – something that kinda spreads out the bass more evenly towards the bass and mids, if that makes any sorta sense. And even though I just read somewhere on Head Fi that a balanced sound is somehwat V or U shaped – to me that kinda doesn’t make much sense – I would’ve thought balanced means that the vocals, or a snare drum, or a guitar are kinda equal in what you hear from them, meaning nothing is more recessed than the other. Either way, that’s kinda what I’m after – the vocals and instruments being relatively equal. I know you must be pulling your hair out with my posts, seeing as most of your people on here seem to understand what their talking about – and for that I’m sorry – but I do have a passion for music and things sounding “good” or “right” to what I’m listening too – so I do appreciate you helping me. As far as money, it has to be under $200, and obviously since this is kinda trial and error and I’m ordering multiple things at a time, anything much less would be fantastic. I’ll take as many different types of on ears as you can come up with (different size ear cups is a huge plus since I’ve had issues in the past with how some of them can uncomfortably sit on your ear – even really small over ears is perfectly fine.) Thanks a whole lot. I’m still gonna bookmark the Fidue’s and Rock Its, just because their cheap enough to still say what the hell, I’ll give em a try.

          • Oh sorry, one last thing – I can’t help but think because I said the GR07′s were “trebly” that you may think I like my music to sound like it’s being played on the AM dial. I can’t say with 100% certainty that I had them in right – but I’m more than willing to say that I did – if they were in a millimeter more I heard basically no sound, and if I pulled them out a millimeter they became obviously to trebly. I played with them in every direction and came to the point of where I really believe they were in right. I never meant to give the impression that they didn’t sound good – they did sound good, and with some EQ’ing I probably coulda found a decent enough sweetspot – just not exactly what I’m after – and a little too much EQ’ing for Rockbox to function well. With that in mind, I never would’ve thought to say I don’t like treble – I want my snare drum to sound like a snare drum, and my high hat to sound like a high hat, but the word bright is what I definitely believe I wouldn’t like. So I guess dark and warm, but with realistic sounding treble along with the balance of the instruments I was speaking of. I’d like to be able to EQ it a little bit, because even though I’m looking for something to be able to produce some nice thick bass, I’m only looking for it because of the elements when I’m outside – I turn the bass down to a much more “average” level when listening to music inside.

          • I’m not real up to date on on-ears these days. The absolute best I can think of around that price range that is comfortable is the Audio-Technica ESW9: http://amzn.to/12YLYVh . It’s a little v-shaped in signature but mostly just balanced, with strong performance throughout. Real nice-looking too.

            Another good one that I tried recently is the Harman Kardon CL: http://amzn.to/1nLWAjm . It comes with two headbands so you can vary the earcup pressure a bit. For some reason it doesn’t work super well with glasses, but otherwise is more comfortable than average, though not as much as the audio-technica. It has a warmer sound signature and lacks some of the resolution of the ESW9.

            All the rest of the on-ears I’ve tried lately are fatiguing after a few hours, even to me (and I’m quite used to wearing on-ear cans).

          • Thanks alot – I’ll see where all this takes me!

  29. Hello Joker,
    are u planning to reviewing the new iem Fighter by Ubsound?
    It seems to be a cool Italian brand as per other reviews online.
    Go well

  30. Will you be reviewing the RHA T10i anytime soon?

  31. are u planning on reviewing havi b3 pro I/II?????

  32. Hi joker and joe! I’m not asking any questions.

    As two of my most trusted reviewers in portable audio gear, THL has become my to-go audio website, whether it is for buying guide or just merely informative stuff about gears I could not afford :P I have also referred THL to friends who want trusted insights on certain products or just general info on portable audio. So, THANK YOU and keep up the awesome work!

    • That’s great to hear! This site has been a long time coming and we’re very thankful for all of the support and encouragement we’ve received from the headphone community. Thank you for sharing us with your friends, and keep an eye out for more website functionality (and more reviews, of course) in the near future!

  33. Joker, for the average listener. rha ma750 sounds too bassy, hifiman re400 not enough bass for many, brainwave b2 not enough bass and analytical instead of musical in many reviews. I am trying to choose from the vsonic gr07 cce, brainwave b2 and a used custom art music one which may not have enough bass like the hifiman re400 which i really wanted, but decided on the gr07 cce because of the lack of bass. Can you break it down for me. I listen to soft rock and classical for 90 percent of the time. not a basshead but i do enjoy a good tight bass.

    • The B2 doesn’t have any more bass than the RE-400 or Custom Art Music One. Your best bet would be the GR07, which is between the MA750 and the RE-400/B2/Music One in bass quantity. The GR07 Bass Edition is an even safer bet as it gives the GR07 a little extra in the bass. There’s some on eBay at $129: http://bit.ly/1rO41Uw

  34. Hi Joker, thanks for the reviews, it’s very informative, currently I’m using soundmagic PL30, and I’m loving it, airy, analytical but smooth at the same time, but I got a problem with isolation, I can’t use it in a noisy environment, the best tips that works for me is the stock single flange, the double flange make the treble too prominent and the foam tips make it too mid centric.
    If I want to upgrade to something with the same sound character but more refined with better isolation & fit what are your suggestions?
    Thanks.

  35. Hi Joker,

    Would you consider reviewing the JVC HA-FXZ200? It’s similar to the design to the HA-FXT90 using the same dual carbon armature element but in adding the extra subwoofer component and changing the tuning of the sound signiature I’m interested in how much that changes or imporves over the HA-FXT90 model, which I’ve got. I’ve read through Head-Fi forums but I’m interested in your opinion of them given that you have so much experience and your website being a reference point.

    Thanks, Jason.

  36. Hello! Do you have plans to review the SE846? Have you heard them yet? I’ve read a bunch of reviews and am really curious 1) if they justify the cost compared to values like the VC1000 or expensive ciems and 2) if they make any pretense at neutrality.

    • So far I’m not a huge fan of the SE846 as an overall package. They sound good and are well-made but the housings are enormous even compared to something like a Westone W40 or EarSonics SM64 and put pressure on my ears. If it was my $1000 I wouldn’t risk it without trying them out first just for the potential comfort issues.

      The bass seems to be noticeably enhanced even with the most “Balanced” filters (the slightly v-shaped white ones), but not in a bad way. There’s no bloat and they don’t sound unnatural. Still, a direct VC1000 upgrade they are not.

      • Thanks a ton!

        I really like the VC1000. Its just so balanced, musical, detailed and neutral at the same time…its tough to find anything wrong with it! That being said, I’d like to find an upgrade but I don’t know if I will before going to UERM or JH13, etc. Not a bad problem to have.

        Any stones left to overturn before getting into customs? Maybe the Primo 8? (Do you have plans to give that a listen?) I honestly prefer the VC1000 more than the ER4S; that additional bass really helps on some tracks though I do miss a little the vividness of the ER4S.

        The VC1000 is like a going to get a presciptions for glasses. You think it’s perfect, until the optometrist flips the switch one last time, and you see there is one last step.

        • I’m a big fan of the VC1000 as well. I don’t think I will get to hear the Primo 8 any time soon but can’t be sure. I would also add the Noble 4S to your list of neutral $1000 customs :)

  37. Hi, just as a general question, how do you manage to remember the exact sound of every headphone you have reviewed? Do you have to look back at your reviews or do you manage to remember them off the top of your head? Keep up the outstanding work, thank you!

    • I don’t look at the reviews, but I do have detailed notes just on the sound, including more A:B comparisons than are published in the review. Those help a lot. Occasionally, if it’s been a very long time, I’ll take a look at the measurements.

      • That’s very insightful, thank you. Your site is definitely one of the few review sites which give full and accurate reviews. Keep it up! :-)

  38. hi there..
    ijoker you have not talked about a very capable headphone brand called SOMIC in your list. Any specific reasons?coz i am using cans by somic, an older model cost me only $5, but i must say its awsum with nice bass and good overall performance even better than beats cans.

  39. wana ask about aliexpress.com, are they secure source of buynig headphones? as their add is on your site.
    thanx

    • The ads on this site are served by Google and not in our direct control. Aliexpress is just a marketplace, like eBay or Rakuten/buy.com, so your experience will ultimately depend on the individual seller you’re purchasing from. For Chinese brands, it’s probably fine. For Western brands, especially those with known counterfeits, it’s always best to buy from a retailer like Amazon rather than from a marketplace.

    • No. aliexpress.com is materially likely to rip you off.

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