Ultimate Ears has been a familiar name to musicians and other audio professionals for a decade, but the company has gained quite a following with its consumer line as well. Earphones in its Metro.fi, Super.fi, and Triple.fi lines range in affordability and scale nicely from discerning listeners to audiophiles. Falling in toward the middle of the bottom is the $129 Super.fi 4, a stylish, low-profile set that comes with a reasonable array of accessories. The earphones offer some of the clearest audio we've come across, but getting a secure and comfortable fit is a challenge … Read more
By far the most difficult (read: impossible) question for me to answer is: what is the very best MP3 player/headphone/iPod speaker/etc? That's because there is no single device in any given category that is perfect for every person. There is a healthy handful of MP3 players that I think are excellent, but finding the right device for an individual has a lot to do with personal preference and requirements. I can, however, tell you what I would buy for myself. Also this week: how to judge the best time to buy a new MP3 player.
Q: … Read more
Bose has built quite the reputation for its entire audio line, so it's no surprise that the third version of the company's noise-canceling headphones, the QuietComfort 3, has a following. These earpad-style cans are supercomfortable and offer a sleek design that's significantly trimmed down in size from previous models. However, Bose made no move to lower the luxury pricing of the QuietComfort, which is where the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7 QuietPoint headphones come in. These full-size 'phones sound good, can be used with or without noise-cancellation turned on, and include a handy hard-shell carrying case--all at half the price … Read more
Turtle Beach has just unveiled its latest surround sound headset for the Xbox 360. The Ear Force X4 offers a wireless connection to the 360 (thanks to a separate base station) and it doubles as an Xbox Live communicator for chatting during multiplayer games (the microphone and headphone-to-controller tether can be removed during solo gameplay). The Ear Force X4 delivers full Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II surround decoding, and the standard optical digital and analog stereo inputs mean that it can be connected to virtually any other audiovisual source beyond the Xbox 360.
While previous Xbox-centric Ear Force … Read more
Donald and Jasmine announce the winners of the Zune giveaway contest. Also on deck: a Zune accessories roundup, a new Iriver player reviewed, and useful podcast info. Listen now: Download today's podcastEPISODE 103 Zune winners announced!
First prize winner is CalBear AKA Dan
Second prize winner is Sean Honsowetz
Zune accessories: http://reviews.cnet.com/4321-6519_7-6551695.html?tag=feat.2
Consider yourself warned: The following post is not for the squeamish. It's time to clean the wax out of your earbuds. Yes, it's gross, but if you have the style of earbud that gets inserted into the ear canal, it must be done. Otherwise, wax can build up on the outer speaker and affect sound quality, and it may actually seep in and damage the inner workings of the earpieces. It's also not a bad idea to disinfect the sleeves from time to time. Find out how to do both below. Also this week: Your iPod isn'… Read more
If you're a performance-minded audiophile who thinks aesthetics are of little or no importance to equipment, consider AKG's newest high-end headphones. The Austrian company has just announced the successor to its highly rated K 701 model--which Crave UK photographed in excruciating detail just last week--but the main differences in the new version seem largely cosmetic.
The K 702, which Steve Guttenberg said will be released in August, will come in a "Stage Blue" as opposed to its predecessor's white finish, according to Audio Junkies. The company says the reason behind the change is more than … Read more
There seems to be a headphone for every purpose nowadays. You have headphones for the gym, headphones for the plane, and even earbuds that work underwater. There are also headphones made especially for the little ones in your life, although the choices are limited. Given the concerns over audio volume and hearing damage, it's not terribly surprising that headphone sets for children are few and far between. Luckily, more and more headphone manufacturers are taking advantage of volume-limiting technology to offer child-friendly models. One such company is Ultimate Ears, which has released the Loud Enough Earphones, a $40 pair … Read more
Anyone familiar with Sennheiser's flagship headphones, the HD 650s, will know they're a truly stunning pair of open-back cans for reference and home listening. And we love them with the flaming passion of a thousand burning nymphomaniacs.
But the vixen of the open-back headphone world has some competition in the Crave house: AKG's K 701--a pair of similarly priced open-back reference-class headphones. With both priced at roughly 180 pounds (about $358), some informed decisions will need to be made. (See Steve Guttenberg's take on the rivalry.)
After about 100 hours of burn-in time we're … Read more
As we all know high-end speakers are really expensive, some cost as much as a nice car. But high-end headphones, even the very best ones are within reach of anybody who loves great sound.
A while back I tested three of the top contenders for Home Entertainment magazine: AKG's K 701, Grado's RS-1, and Sennheiser's HD 650. Each is, in its own way, remarkable. You can read the complete review here.
The AKG K 701 is a very large over-the ear headphone. Its remarkably open sound will be hugely appealing for those of you who use headphones while watching DVDs. I find the K 701 produces a less in your head, more speaker-like sound than the Grado or Sennheiser. As big as they are, the K 701's creamy soft ear pads are so darn comfy it is easy to forget I'm wearing headphones. No wonder some headphone addicts lauded the K 701 as the best there is. The K 701 will continue, but the K 702 will debut in August.… Read more