The venerable Shure SE530 is a great inner earphone which has stood the test of time. But, after nearly 3,5 years, it is getting long in the tooth. Fortunately for Shure fans, a two new models, the SE535 and SE425 have been spotted at CES. These new earphones are slimmer than the old triple-driver model and come with breakaway (coaxial?) cables. Other than that, not much is yet known about the new earphones which are expected to ship in the middle of 2010.
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.
On 19 December 2009, I attended one of the most eye-opening meetings of my life: the Tokyo OFF Headphone Audio Meeting. While that is a rough translation of the actual event’s title is underwhelming, the current crop of small Japanese audio makers who peeked in is amazing. I have been smitten by the nearly perfect ALO Rx headphone amplifier, but what I heard at the meeting smashed most of my expectations in terms of what is possible in portable audio. Carrying an amp with an iPod can be annoying, but in my opinion, the jump in sound quality is worthwhile – very worthwhile. Matt MacBeth who designed the audio circuitry of the ALO Rx said in TMA interview that 2010 will be the year when portable audio overtakes home audio in terms of quality. In terms of price/performance, that certainly is possible, and in terms of possibility, that much is certainly true.
The DIY audio community is large, well-fueled, and rabidly concocting exciting accessories for the iPod and iPhone. Some successful DIY-ers have gone on to found shops, quitting their day jobs and are now making some of the best components for the iDevice. Down Under, a new shop has opened from the long-time Headfi-er and cable maker, Qusp (Jeremy Glover). Twisted Cables specialises in Cyro parts for best signal integrity and ease of use. TouchMyApps has been using Twisted Cables parts for reviews of products such as the ALO Rx portable headphone amp and the FitEar Private 333 custom earphone. The verdict? Great products with excellent performance. TMA will review Twisted Cables products in the new year including one of the most low-profile audio docks in the world. Till then, feel free to email founder, Qusp, with questions and comments. His website should be up very soon.
Ladies and gents, it has been a great year. The iDevice has become a respectable platform and overtaken a few stodgy mobile OSes in the meantime. TMA has gamed, researched, and enjoyed the production genius of many great companies. Better than that, we have enjoyed receiving contact from our readers who have been a great support in this year. Whether you are working away at your desks, balancing over a lion’s head, or enjoying time with your family, have a safe and merry Christmas. And, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, have a good time nonetheless.
The FX500 is a good headphone at its normal price of 136.80$ plus shipping, but even better when discounted! Wait, what is that? Yes, Seyo have gloriously bestowed God’s good graces on TMA by offering an 8% discount to users who buy through through the below banner. The offer is good until 3 January, 2010.
In layman’s terms, that means that the FX500 is on sale till the end of the year! The good news doesn’t stop there; any product purchased from Seyo through TouchMyApps will garner a 5% discount. That means lenses, headphones, flashes – any product which attracts your inner geek comes with a nice, geeky discount. More details on how to take advantage of this special offer after the break!
Firestone have hammered the last studs into their newest audio block just in time for Christmas. The Fubar IV headphone amp/DAC continues the tradition of excellent price/performance for which Firestone are famous and even enjoys a price reduction from last year’s model. This amp sports USB input which makes enjoying high quality music from your computer a breeze and in the same breath, hooks up to SPDIF and digital coaxial input for direct lossless listening from HiFi sources. Finally, it has also wormed its way into my heart with its excellent pre-amp and even-Stephen sound.
Well, Headphone Solutions’ Emmeline HR-2 giveaway contest is over. Fortunately, the intrepid online seller has decided to host another, and this time with decidedly even heftier loot to be won. The Sennheiser HD800 is arguably the world’s best in-production headphone, and if you can follow the rules below and write a fabulous review for Headphone Solutions, you may just win this 1399$ headphone. Of course, it would have been great to have shot the moon and won the Emmeline also. TMA wishes you luck in this very special giveaway which closes 28 April 2010. TMA is not affiliated with Headphone Solutions.
Contest rules after the gap:
If anyone can one-up the Nuforce, it is Maximo. They sport many reasonably priced headsets and upgrade inner earphones which work well and sound good to boot. The iP-HS5 is their premium model which hits the important price point set by Apple’s new dual-driver inner earphone headset. But unlike the white-on-white of Apple’s sparsely accessorised kit, Maximo pack in a lot of black. In fact, its accessories kit might even make Jays blush.
UPDATE: Maximo have informed me that newer iP-HS5 cables are different to the model I have. If that is the case, I will update this review accordingly.
Not sure what’s afoot, but as I was digging up information on Sleek Audio‘s intriguing new dynamic driver SA1 inner earphone, I got the above from Sleek’s homepage. Something is up. I’ve seen this sort of thing before, but not at Sleek, so I will put forward a couple of guesses. A: Sleek are upgrading their website and have it offline for a few hours. B: The above webpage is a spare tyre, installed because Sleek have too much traffic. C: They have been hacked. I have a feeling that it might be one of the first two. Sleek have just been picked as a recipient of CES’s video award, so they may well have been deluged recently with traffic. I hope it isn’t the latter.
Their video and some SA1 glamour shots after the gap. Warning, video is Flash.