Christmas season means massive sales on items from software to hardware and violence in the streets as the the accompanying crush rushes out to spend its life insurance policy on stuff which will probably be returned. Then Boxing day will spread the same spirit of gluttonous shopping for another week. Well, why not get a head-start on the whole business? Internet shopping is physically safer and requires less fuel, and sometimes, much better prices.
I will target the ladies with this one. If you are tired of buying iTunes gift cards, why not get a nice set of headphones for your man? Let me speak as a man: gadgets always hit a sweet spot with your smellier half. Headphones are a great way to show your man what his other gadgets can do, and may be a good way to keep him nerdy, and at home, under your nose. Who knows, he might even turn into a DIYer, making amps, cables, etc., turning his new-found hobby into a small business! Anyway, check out the sales…
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.
Recently, TouchMyApps had the good fortune to review the excellent ALO Rx portable headphone amp. As you can read in my review, the amp is a driving champion, supplying power and flat frequency response for a very wide variety of headphones. The Rx isn’t only your “prescription for sound”, it is also a partner product from the newly formed team, ALO and GR9. Both Ken Ball (ALO) and Matt MacBeth (GR9) have had years in their respective industries, and if I may be so bold, left indelible marks on each. Naturally, I was intrigued about their philosophies, goals, and good ol’ fashioned teamwork. By the way, Matt’s often detailed answers are a great reference for what is possible via the iPhone. Yes, his answers were typed 100% on a virtual keyboard.
For reference, please take a look at TMA’s ALO Rx review and follow any links in the text.
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:
If a headphone amp/dac combination product like the Firestone Fireye II is unique — and a good buy at 115$–, the 190$ Travagan’s Red which powers both headphones and sensitive speakers is the jackalope. Understated in matte black with a Rudolf-red volume and pot, it fits beautifully next to any desktop audio/video rig, computer, or in the living room, but understated it most certainly is not. Its lively, punchy sound has become one of my favourites, and for the comparatively small wallet bite, is sure to leave bite marks all over the competition.
Tucked away from Seoulʼs flashy fashion and meet-market districts is a unique and foreign world. Geeky and lively, Yongsan is home to major electronics companies, importing thoroughfares, haggling hawkers, and most importantly, a thriving distribution/ manufacturing community. This teem of life and business spans the gamut from massive corporations to one-person electronic chop-shops: an organic melange of commerce and concoction. It is also home to SoundCAT, sponsor of Head-fi, and one of the audio communityʼs most diverse and fastidious distributors.
Lady Gaga’s heartbeats earphones from Monster which were announced in September and carry a list price of 119.95$ join the parade of items which are discounted for TGI Black Friday. Earphone Solutions, a major online retailer of headphones in the USA has them for limited-time sale at 89$. Or, if you miss the sale opportunity, Amazon stock them all the time for only 99.95$. So, if you just cannot get enough of Lady Gaga; if you just have to have her in your ears, then enjoy the weekend!
Be sure to keep an eye out for more deals. We are tracking some great App Store deals which devs are hotly thinking up to save you some dosh on hot apps.
ALO, a name highly respected for the manufacturing of hi-end audio interconnects and iPod line-out cables has firmly stepped into the world of analogue headphone amplifiers. Already, they have partnered with Red Wine Audio to produce the high-end solid state battery-powered Amphora headphone amp, and now, partnered with GR9 Technologies, are introducing the Rx, which in their own words, is your ‘prescription for sound’. I say, ‘touché’.
With all the latest audio wizardry coming from smaller, boutique manufacturers, it isn’t surprising when one of the world’s largest headphone companies jumps into the fray with new headphone amplifiers. Audio Technica will debut the made-for-iPod AT-PHA3i in the spring of 2010 and the more traditional AT-PHA10 on 11 December, 2009.
If Head-Direct’s RE series is a benchmark for how far Chinese-made headphones have come, Yuin, another great Chinese manufacturer, should be considered the standard by which even Head-Direct’s products are compared. Back in 2006, the Yuin PK1 startled the audio community not only with its high price, but excellent sound. In 2009, the tradition continues with the excellent G-series of clip-on headphones which start at 49$. The G2A isn’t cheap by an realistic definition of the word, but I will sum up why it simply rocks the house and will keep listeners coming back for more for a long, foreseeable future.