It's easy to understand why there's so much confusion surrounding the differences between earbud and in-ear headphones. The two designs are sometimes referred to interchangeably, but they are two very different types of headphones. Earbuds rest on the outer concha ridge of the ear, located in the center of your outer ear. In-ear or ear-canal headphones are placed inside the ear canal, sealing the listener off from environmental noise.
Bass-emphasized headphones are now the norm, so much so that when I get to listen to more accurate headphones they really stand out. Not that I have anything against bass, readers of this blog who crave feel-it-in-your-bones bass had their turn with the JBL Synchros S700 headphones, so now it's time to go for a higher-resolution/clarity model with the new Phiaton Fusion MS 430 M-Series headphones ($179).
The earcups' carbon fiber inserts are a sleek styling touch, but the ear cushion's comfort levels are good, not great. While the headband padding may be a little lean for … Read more
For this week's giveaway, we've got a nice set of earphones that are just hitting the market, the Phiaton PS 20s, which have an interesting design that the folks at Phiaton describe as "half in-ear." Thanks to that design the company says "users can enjoy hours of great sounding music without listening fatigue."
Four different-sized sets of soft silicon tips ship with the earphones, as well as protective carrying pouch. These guys are available in glossy black or glossy white, but we're giving away the black ones. Phiaton also is making a noise-canceling … Read more
Though there are many types of full-size (circumaural) or earpad (supra-aural) headphones, for this blog I'm going to compare an open-back headphone from Grado, the SR225i ($200), with a closed-back headphone from Phiaton, the PS 500 ($299).
Sure, other manufacturers make open- and closed-back (aka sealed) headphones, but generalizations about the sound of the two types hold up pretty well. DJs, musicians, and recording engineers generally prefer closed headphones because they seal the wearer's ears, limiting how much sound they hear from the world around them, and at the same time, people close to the person wearing the headphones don't hear very much sound "leaking" from the headphones. So closed 'phones are great to wear in bed. Isolation from external sound isn't as effective as a noise-canceling headphone, but the closed-back headphone doesn't use batteries to power the noise-canceling circuitry. And closed-back headphones tend to make a lot more bass than similarly priced open-back designs.
The Phiaton PS 500's outer earcups and earpads are covered with genuine black leather, and the cloth-covered cable adds a touch of luxury to the design. It's a very comfortable and beautifully built headphone.
With an open-back headphone, like the Grado SR225i, you hear external sound quite clearly. This is a good thing if you ever want to listen on the street. Anyone near you will hear some of the sound of the Grado. Bass may not have the weight of a closed-back design, but the bass quality and definition are clearer than most closed-back designs. Open-back headphones tend to be directed to the audiophile market, but that's not to say there aren't closed models that appeal to audiophiles. For me, the biggest sonic difference is spatial: closed headphones make a sound that's "inside the head," and open models are literally more open, so they sound a bit more like speakers. The better closed headphones exhibit less of the inside-the-head quality, but they sound less open than the very best open headphone models. … Read more
Phiaton dubbed the PS 210 headphones a "half in-ear" design, which is a catchy way of saying they don't reach as far into your ear canals as Monster, Etymotic, or Shure's in-ear models do, but they protrude a little more into the ear than earbuds do.
Before we go any further I'd like to tell you a little bit about Phiaton, which may be new to the U.S. headphone market, but looks like it's set to become a major player here. Phiaton is a division of Cresyn, a large South Korean electronics company founded in 1959. It started manufacturing OEM headphones in the 1980s for other companies, and now produces 15 million headphones a month! Phiaton is better-known in Asia and Europe than in the U.S.
Cresyn also manufacturers camera modules for cell phones and has factories in Indonesia and China; Phiaton's U.S. headquarters are based in Irvine, Calif.
The look of PS 210's lightweight aluminum earpieces is distinctive. The headphones come with four sizes of soft black silicon tips to help ensure a comfortable fit.
They're definitely more comfortable and less intrusive than in-ear designs. The PS 210's ear tips rest gently in your outer ear, but that also means the fit is less secure, and the earpieces can fall out, though I'm getting better at keeping them in. The real upside to the half in-ear design approach is that they don't block external sound, so you can still hear the world around you; the downside is you still hear the world around you. … Read more
In a space dominated by the likes of Bose, Sennheiser, and Shure, Phiaton is a relative newcomer to the headphone game. The company made its initial grab for attention with some eye-catching models that were stylish without being over the top. Phiaton continues this strategy with its latest earphones, the in-ear PS 210 sound-isolating earbuds.
This $99 set isn't the best option for blocking out environmental noise, but it does offer clear, mostly balanced audio and a relatively comfortable fit. Anyone who prefers a heavier low end, however, should consider other options.
With the number of people listening to music on the go, it's no surprise portable headphones are flying off the shelves. For those who are looking for extreme portability, the obvious choice is earbuds, but certain users are uncomfortable sticking things in their ears. For them, there are compact on-ear models like the Phiaton PS 320 Primal Series headphones, a lightweight set that can be worn for extended periods without discomfort.
This $199 set of earphones is a good option for travel hounds and commuters who are looking for an alternative to standard earbuds, but the set is relatively … Read more
Phiaton edged its way into the headphone market last year with its MS 400 Moderna Series headphones, an eye-catching set that brought solid sound quality and comfortable construction to the table. Now, with the considerably more portable PS 300 Noise Canceling headphones, the company continues its tradition of sleek design and plush comfort. These on-ear 'phones pack in a slew of travel-friendly accessories and, at $299, cost $50 less than the competition from Bose. However, the set failed to provide great sound quality across a wide variety of music, making it most suitable for only a certain type of listener.… Read more
Phiaton gave us a nice surprise last year with its anything-but-ordinary MS 400 Moderna Series headphones. This full-size set features an eye-catching red and black design with uniquely patterned earcups and plenty of extras in the box.
The company's flagship earbuds, the PS 200 Earphones, are no different. Like their bigger sibling, Phiaton's littlest headphones feature stylish touches, a slick carrying case, and solid sound quality, but potential consumers might have trouble swallowing the $249 price tag from a relative unknown in the headphone market.
Donald and Jasmine discuss two pairs of headphones that are anything but boring. Also this week: Find out how to be a nuisance on public transportation and get hints about the top 10 MP3 players for less than $100. Listen now: Download today's podcastEpisode 112
Q: Hi guys,
Love the show. My hard drive crashed recently, and while I try to back … Read more