Monday, June 26, 2017
High End 2017
in Munich
Brand New
Video Series
NAD C 368
DAC-Integrated
New Integrated
Anthem STR
Vandersteen
Model Seven Mk.II
Ayre Acoustics
QX-5 DAC
Paradigm's Flagship
Persona 9H
Newsflash:
Merging NADAC ST-2 on SoundStage! Ultra ... Read the review
Onkyo's A-9010 on SoundStage! Access ... Read the review

Sponsors

Beyerdynamic Tesla T 70Price: $595

Website: www.beyerdynamic.de

Andrea said: Their greatest strengths are levels of focus, clarity, and detail that are rare among dynamic headphones. Their closed-back design only augments that sense of detail, and seems to have no adverse consequences. If you strive to hear everything that's on your recordings, the Beyerdynamic T 70s should definitely be on your audition list.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: For the discriminating classical listener.

B&W P3Price: $199

Website: www.bowers-wilkins.com

S. Andrea said: If you come to the P3s from a pair of earbuds or the average small headphones, you’ll likely be amazed at how much bigger and more open they sound. And when you turn up the volume, they won’t complain -- they’ll just get more enveloping. Bowers & Wilkins’ P3 headphones offer a very satisfying sound wrapped up in a stylish, go-anywhere package.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: 801s wrapped around your ears?

HiFiMAN Express HM-601Price: $249

Website: www.head-direct.com

Vade said: Overall, the HiFiMAN HM-601 has definite pluses that will need to be weighed carefully to determine whether it’s the right audiophile-quality portable player for you.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Pretty good portable player but then there's the iPod to consider.

HiFiMAN HE-400Price: $399

Website: www.head-direct.com

Vade said: With the lowest price of any current planar-magnetic headphone, and with sound rivaling or surpassing that of many other headphones in its price range, the HiFiMAN HE-400s are flaming bargains. I have no trouble giving them a Reviewers’ Choice award. 

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Electrostatic headphones at an ambitious price point.

Kinivo BTH220Price: $44.99

Website: www.kinivo.com

Rad said: The Kinivo BTH220s offered very exciting, very good sound, as well as the freedom of wireless Bluetooth. (Warning: Once you’ve experienced this freedom, you maybe never want to be wired again!) And they cost amazingly little. Amazon sells them for $29.95, but you can probably find them for less. At that price they’re a true bargain, and high on my value-for-dollar list. I’m happy to have rediscovered them.

Read the SoundStage! Xperiencereview.

The gist: Good sounding wireless ‘phones for a pittance.

Logitech UE 9000Price: $399

Website: www.logitech.com

Rad said: Logitech’s UE 9000s have a lot going for them. They’re solidly built, have a shiny, gleaming appearance, provide excellent sound whether used wired or wireless, and come with a practical carrying case and a better-than-usual warranty. What’s not to like?

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Wireless and neutral 'phones.

MartinLogan Mikros 70Price: $149 per pair

Website: www.martinlogan.com

S. Andrea said: The Mikros 70s’ detail and clarity are excellent with small- to medium-scale music. Though they won’t substitute for studio headphones for more complex fare, they won’t discourage you from listening to such recordings. The Mikros 70 delivers a sonic balance that strives to please, regardless of musical selection or driving equipment. Tastes varying as they do, there’s no guarantee that you’ll like the flavor of sound offered by the Mikros 70s -- but I sure did.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: The vaunted speaker company makes a pretty good earphone.

Polk Audio UltraFit 2000Price: $69.95

Website: www.polkaudio.com

Rad said: They’re comfortable, durable, and intuitive to use. Polk provides different earpads to fit different folks and situations, and the ’phones provide solid, evenly balanced sound with great overall clarity.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Designed to enhance your workout experience.

Polk UltraFocus 8000Price: $349.95

Website: www.polkaudio.com

Rad said: Polk Audio’s UltraFocus 8000 active noise-canceling headphones offer much. They sounded better than any of the commuter headphones I’ve auditioned, and are easy to operate. They’re smartly and simply designed, with superior build quality.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Knockout headphones from the venerable loudspeaker company.

PSB M4U 2Price: $399

Website: www.psbspeakers.com

S. Andrea said: They provide extremely powerful yet well-controlled bass, an exceptionally even midrange, and a top end that deftly walks the line between delivering the necessary musical information and exposing the foibles of many contemporary recordings and portable players. Given a good recording, they also deliver a more spacious, more immersive soundfield than you might expect from such relatively small ’phones. Add to that the fact that you don’t need to buy or carry around an additional headphone amp to enjoy all of those benefits, and PSB’s M4U 2s make a very compelling case to the audiophile who thinks that great sound isn’t only for the home.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Paul Barton takes on a new genre of product with great success.

RHA SA950iPrice: $59.95

Website: www.rha-audio.com

Rad said: The RHA SA950i headphones are a genuine bargain. They will give you an ampleness of bass and a balance of sound that are usually heard only from headphones costing much more. They’re light, comfortable, stylish, have a detachable cord, and a terrific warranty. If you’re on a budget but still want excellent sound, especially good bass, these could easily be the headphones for you.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Cheap’n’good headphones from Scotland.

SMS Audio Sync by 50 CentPrice: $399.95

Website: www.smsaudio.com

Rad said: I liked the SMS Sync by 50s. They’re comfortable and have good overall sound quality, especially with vocal music. But for a $399.95 pair of headphones, they have too many big and little problems -- the worst being the drifting Kleer signal and how little they masked outside noises -- for me to recommend them without hesitation.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Worth closer to 50 cents than 400 bucks.

Stax SR-507Price: $1099

Website: www.stax.co.jp

S. Andrea said: If you value detail, transparency, openness, and timbres and textures just to the warm side of realistic, regardless of volume level or musical complexity, then the combination of Stax SR-507 Lambda Signature headphones and WooAudio GES amplifier is far and away the best I’ve heard. You may be able to do better, but I have a feeling that it will cost you a lot more.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: The reference electrostatic headphones.

Trends Audio PA-10.1DPrice: $299

Website: www.trendsaudio.com

S. Andrea said: It impressed me with its low noise and ample power. Most of all, I appreciated the ability of the PA-10.1D to change its character so completely when I changed tubes. Given the huge variety of compatible tubes available at reasonable prices, the buyer of the PA-10.1D will enjoy great latitude in tailoring the sound to his or her preference, or in changing it as the mood strikes. Such flexibility, combined with well-executed circuitry and very respectable build quality, make the Trends Audio PA-10.1D a good value.

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: The little box that could.

WooAudio GESPrice: $1450

Website: www.wooaudio.com

S. Andrea said: If you value detail, transparency, openness, and timbres and textures just to the warm side of realistic, regardless of volume level or musical complexity, then the combination of Stax SR-507 Lambda Signature headphones and WooAudio GES amplifier is far and away the best I’ve heard. You may be able to do better, but I have a feeling that it will cost you a lot more.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: A perfect match for Stax headphones.

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