Pretty sweet news: the Klipsch Image X5, a great earphone which usually sells for 250$ has dropped to 149.99$ today only! It is a balanced, comfortable inner earphone which keeps the outside out and the music in. Though TMA has not reviewed it, shigzeo has spent a considerable time at the Apple Store in Seoul auditioning and wishing. If only I lived in a place where Amazon ships!
Monster’s Turbine was a surprise hit and the first official headphone for review at TMA. Now a year later, Monster are still on a roll, pushing out an impressive number of headphones at an equally impressive range of prices. Jamz and Lil’ Jamz are a couple of the latest to grace Amazon’s virtual shelves and thankfully, can be had for south of 100$. TMA will be reviewing the Monster Turbine Pro in the next couple of weeks and will not; I repeat: will not spoil the review by admitting that it is better in every way than the Turbine.
Monster Lil’ Jamz: $79.99
Monster Jamz: $89.95
Monster Turbine Pro: $249
MEElectronics’ earphones rode onto the scene last year with aplomb. Not only are they priced to sell, they sound good and in general, are made well. Now, MEEl have jumped on the wood bandwagon started by the venerable Victor FX500. The R-1 is a solid earphone which will rock the clocks of bass lovers who happen to have no more than 40$ in the bank.
With the release of the CK100, Audio Technica have reinvented the inner earphone. Their former flagship portable, the dual-driver CK10 is a thing of neutral, fast, and airy beauty. But no matter how good it is, its younger, pricier sibling hurdles it in every imaginable way. The CK100 houses 3 balanced armature speakers per earphone from which a brilliant atmospheric sound haunts. For audiophiles looking for a high-quality, good-sounding inner earphone, there is none better for the price.
The world of earphones has been ripped asunder by the ‘driver war’ which is now sillier than the blade war which rears its ugly head in between French handball goals on TV. Today, models which boast 8 drivers roam the prototypical plains in the underbellies of inventive manufacturers – and mark my words, that number will only climb. On the heals of the Jerry Harvey JH13Pro, the Fitear Private 333 will expose another niche, another customer base, and another sound among custom earphones. This time, the badge of honour (other than “made in Japan”) which the 333 proudly wears, is that of ‘fun’. Indeed, this custom is somewhat of a departure from the more neutral options from Sleek and Jerry Harvey and goes the Ultrasone route of fun, space, and speed. And it rocks.
Sherwood have been a big name in home audio since the 1950′s and currently rank among the best-selling hifi companies in the United States. It was only a matter of time before they released a hi-end earphone for the growing portable audio market. The SE-777 is a single ultra-wide balanced armature design which weighs in at a respectable 53 ohms for the paltry sum of 79$ USD. Equally newsworthy is that SoundCAT and Uncle Wilsons, two of Asia’s premier audio distributors, have secured exclusive distribution rights for it. SoundCAT have been on the cutting edge of custom and consumer audio since their founding and are continually moving forward in both segments. TMA recently did an exclusive article on SoundCAT’s business which will interest the audiophile and music lover.
TMA will be providing an in-depth review of the earphones in the near future, so keep an eye out in our headphone news and reviews section for this new entry.
UPDATE: TMA’s review of the Sherwood SE-777 is up. Spoiler: it’s a good one!
Spec, pictures and more info after the gap:
Admittedly, Apple’s new In-ear Harphones are inexpensive in comparison to many other dual-driver models; and especially considering their functionality with the remote and mic, they may be a good deal. But, this white wonder is simply not an engineering marvel. For some, it is the cable which goes first, and for others, the filters get lost or strip the corkscrew. For 80$, they are one of the best options available for a balance of sound and features, but with the failure rate so high, it might be time for Apple to invest in engineers rather than just-graduated metrosexual designers with a penchant for ‘cute’.
Check after the gap for Apple Discussion information.
Jerry Harvey Audio, the world’s current custom inner earphone technology leader, have taken a major step in rearing their new business in opening an online store. If you have forgotten who JHA are and why they are important, let me remind you: founder Jerry Harvey began the in-ear professional monitor business back when he mixed for Van Halen. Since then, he has been pushing the limits of the technology, and now at the helm of his new company, reshaping the hi-end earphone world. Jerry Harvey Audio is his second major hi-end business; the first, Ultimate Ears is still hands down the market leader, but has since been sold to Logitech and subsequently, renamed to Logitech Ears.
Still looking for more? Try TMA’s review of Jerry Harvey Audio’s top of the line custom earphone, the JH13Pro (below), a six balanced-armature driver beast which really sizzles. They are earphone for the serious professional, or the outright insane audiophile.
Jerry Harvey Audio Store — accessories coming soon!
Last year, the Monster Turbine rocketed the cable manufacturer into the realm of hifi portable audio. Great sound and a sturdy housing set the Turbine aside in its price range, and like other ‘grabbed’ headphones at TMA, cemented its spot as a great buy. Its weakness, however, was cable design which has no stress relief, comes in a straight-jack, and has a wishy-washy y-split.
Apparently, things have changed: Monster are listening to customer requests and the feedback from reviewers.
The Monster Turbine Pro (while not in these hands), looks to change a lot of that. The new earphones retain the same sturdy housing design, but enter the market with strain relief, a right angle plug, a better y-split, and according to Monster, better sound. The MSRP is a stiff 250$, but if Monster pull all of the punches listed above, the new earphone should be worth it.
Additional Monster literature, spec, and pictures after the gap.
Every month of every year, enterprising audio designers create new gadgets which achieve some paragon of aural nirvana. Jerry Harvey founded Ultimate Ears to support the rockers, Van Halen with products which would both protect their hearing and relate greater production value to their fans. For 1099$, the JH13Pro stands with a 50$ cheaper price tag than its older — and now estranged — brother, the Ultimate Ears UE11Pro, but lacks a few of its amenities. What it doesn’t lack, however, is beautiful sound.
INC have a great article detailing Jerry Harvey’s moves which changed the stage performance industry.