Fischer Audio have updated their best-selling DBA-02. And what an update it is. The DBA-02 MKII is a delightful earphone replete with comfort and an accessory kit that is the envy of the earphone world. How about its sound, you ask? I’ll be singing praises soon enough.
First, let’s yabber about WOWs.
Last year, Westone released the first true 3-way earphone, the Westone 3. It comes in an overhauled shell, but remains similar in size to the UM2 before it. With a focus on consumers, the Westone 3 has a ‘fun’ sound which is graphically v-shaped in its frequency response with emphasis placed on bass and treble. This year, Westone are releasing the Westone 1, a one-way balanced armature earphone which utilises the same housing and what looks to be the same accessory kit. But, at 199$ versus the 399$ MSRP of the Westone 3, the new headphone will be an easier decision.
In typical Westone fashion, the Westone 1 will utilise the excellent cable which is the industry’s least microphonic and best relieved and bumpered earphone. The suggested street price will likely fall to around 139$, making this a perfect earphone for the active audiophile.
Yeah, it doesn’t get much cooler than today. Companies are doing giveaways left and right. Already, Jays’ c-Jays giveaway is live at their blog and just after waking up, I found out that Monster, too, are playing Santa Claus. The Jamz are a new headphone product from Monster which seems to be debuting with this contest. As for Anjulie, Canadians rejoice! Another home-grown pop star is rising from among our somewhat low-key population. She is a musician from Toronto who has just been nominated for an MTV music award and does seductive pop rather well. The contest convolutes both the Jamz and Anjulie – rather, Anjulie’s signature will accompany the Jamz if you win.
Check out her Myspace page here, or click more below for a few of her videos.
As for Monster – for some they need nearly no introduction. For the others, Monster are a cable company, but have branched out into anything music. We have done a couple of Monster Headphones reviews which are part of our larger headphone section.
The contest takes place at Monster’s webpage and requires you just to fill in your name, date of birth, and acceptance of the terms and conditions – in other words, I joined!
Earsonics, a French producer of professional earphones, have broken into TMA with their SM2 DLX, a dual balanced armature professional in-ear stage monitor which is priced at 280 € in France, or 268€ outside the country . It both feels and performs worthy of its asking price and comes in your choice of the following three attires: black, crystal (clear), and white. Like the UM3X from Westone, Earsonics’ top-tier universal iem has been constructed to exacting standards and utilises the same cable type: a durable, non-microphonic twisted strand design which is a benchmark for cable quality. Also, like its American competitor, the SM2 is plagued by a dearth of accessories.
Jays from Sweden joined the earphone market in 2006 with the balanced armature earphone, d-Jays. Since then, their engineers have been busy creating new technology and designs for their products. Later, they introduced the dynamic driver, j-Jays and the dual balanced armature, q-Jays that we tested in May 2009. Today, we have the s-Jays, an earphone that uses a new technology dubbed, ‘siren’, which refers to armature drivers which work similarly to moving coil drivers (dynamic). The drivers are designed to maximize low frequency performance and allow for high volume output without distortion. Jays has taken this technology and put it in their s-Jay, for the reasonable sum of $89.99.
Some of you may have never heard of Jays, Westone or even Sennheiser prior to our headphone reviews, so when I mention Jensen, Audiovox and Soundcat, you may be scratching your head. Well, the three have teamed up and created Ear Budeez, an upgrade earphone which is likely one of the least expensive on the market. Even in Canada, they can be found for less than 20$ – a nearly impossible feat – abroad, they are marketed starting at ~8$ US.
The Beats Tour, Monster’s second foray into quality mid-priced inner earphones, is a departure in sound, design and construction from their first, the Turbine; a product which is backed and co-produced by American hip-hop artist, Dr. Dre. At 150$, the Beats Tour tips the scale toward the more expensive side of portable earphones, but in many areas, stands tall even amidst stiff competition. However, at around the same price, the Tour’s closest competition comes from the Monster Turbine.
The University of New South Wales in Sydney have come up with a very general, yet good test of your ears’ own equaliser settings. Essentially, it proves that while you can hear 30Hz – 16 KHz, you may find certain frequencies much louder than others. This test (link after break) should be taken in an absolutely quiet environment with the best headphones or earphones you own. However, most headphones, loudspeakers, et al., impose their own frequency responses upon your hearing. This test has not been formatted for your source or your headphones, so it can remain only a general indication.
Klipsch, a leader in consumer and professional speaker systems since 1946, began production of premium earphones in 2007 with the Custom Series and the Image X10. In 2008, the X5 joined ranks in alongside the X10 in the Image line, and in 2009, two new members, the Image S2 and the Image S4, become the newest entrants from Klipsch. Both house new dynamic (moving coil) drivers, a departure from the X5 and X10, which use balanced armatures. Today, we have the Klipsch’s cheapest model, the Image S2, a $49.99 earphone which contends with many other affordable earphones. Be on the lookout for this earphone from electronics’ vendors in August as Klipsch have not yet released the new S2 and S4 earphones.
The world of audiophillium is an intense place. There are so many great toys, too many of which come at insane prices. Settling – purchasing a cheaper alternative – happens often and unfortunately, can sometimes cost more in the long run in what can only be called, the Real McCoy envy. But, buying The One – that headphone or amp that you know will change your world – is even more troubling as it can sink your rent cheque for some months.