Sensaphonics are a virtual monolith in the American professional/musician earphone business. Their hitherto bread and butter, 2X-s and Max are excellent custom earphones for professionals and audiophiles alike. While TMA is still working on the 2X-s review, Sensaphonics one-upped us by introducing their newest, the triple-driver 3XMax. The new earphone shares many similarities to its older brother: both earphones are housed in medical-grade silicon which isn’t susceptible to the horrors of cracking whilst in the ear. And, mirroring last year’s 2X-s upgrade, it touts a field-replaceable cable for added insurance. Of course, the addition of an extra driver will aid dynamic range and accuracy in musical reproduction.
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Around Christmas time, Sleek Audio injected a little class into their product line when they introduced the wooden SA1 earphone. Pretty in natural rosewood and shiny turned aluminium, it’s a luxurious earphone at a reasonable price. It is also the first earphone the in Sleek’s arsenal to sport a dynamic driver. In typical Sleek Audio fashion, the SA1 features both VQ sound tuning and a removable cable. For its price, it may well be the most versatile earphone on the planet. Feel free to discuss the this Sleek Audio SA1 Review in our forums.
The Swedish portable audiophile company, Jays, have several new cards up their sleeves: seven new headphone products for keen listeners with all sizes of pocketbooks. Firstly, their a-Jays and t-jays, a pair of dynamic-driver based earphones will come in a variety of colours and different sound qualities for customisation freaks. Perhaps bigger news, however, is their new flagship, the x-Jays, a quad-armature design! Not only is it the first universal quad armature based universal-fit earphone, it is designed for size and sound quality. TMA will be taking a look at their new earphones over the next two quarters. Expect 2010 to be an exciting year for the portable audiophile! Feel free to discuss Jays’ new products in our forums!
TMA has reviewed Jays’:
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Car audio enthusiast Rockford Fosgate have taken a personal step with their newest product, the Punch Plug earphone. The earphone carries a massive 15mm driver which is smaller only than Final Audio’s 1601 series which stretches the ruler to 16mm per driver. The new Punch Plugs however, will debut in March at a much easier to swallow 99$. Recently there have been a lot of great sub 100$ earphones to hit market among which the Rockford’s debut model may be one to watch.
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With all my bagging on Korean devices, I am surprised at how much the EXS X10 rocks my socks off. EXS are one of the world’s largest OEM headphone companies and are based in Korea. Actually, there is a lot more to go ‘wow’ about than just sound. This ~55$ earphone performs well and should handle bumps better than a lot of mid-tier upgrade earphones. While I won’t ask you to go out and abuse an EXS, I will suggest that if you are on a budget and looking for a great earphone, the X10 is pretty darn good. Feel free to discuss the EXS X10 review in our forums.
2009’s party, mixed by last year’s Monster Turbine earphone, was off the charts. But in 2010, Monster’s sophomore Turbine, the Turbine Pro Gold, does everything better. Everything the original Turbine did right: bass, mids, treble – is trumped, and each is more controlled, more readily adapted for any music you throw at it. The Turbine Pro proves that Monster are ready to pick up the cheque as the best high-volume dynamic inner earphone maker on the planet. If you’d like to discuss the Monster Turbine Pro Gold, head to our forums.
Big news in the world of headphones: @BJ, organiser of the Tokyo OFF headphone amp exhibition where dozens of local manufacturers and audiophiles met, will be meeting with Apple next week to showcase the merits of portable headphone amplifiers on portable media players such as the iPod. The meeting is scheduled for February 8, and if successful in wrangling the right ear, could mean very prolific exposure for the world of high-end portable audio. Discuss Apple and BJ in our forums.
As HiFi headphone listening evolves, so does its component base. Chic design has influenced many market heavyweights – even boutique audio companies have opted to create sexy. But whereas amps like the ALO Rx is a masterpiece of steam and industry, the Graham Slee Voyager is plastic and comparatively bulky. Thankfully, looks are deceiving. This amp really takes off, surpassing all of my expectations.
Update: Feel free to discuss about the Graham Slee Voyager in our forums
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!
Like stealing the king’s ransom, reviewing arguably the world’s best earphone is no easy task. Final Audio Design is no ordinary name in hi-end audio; its staple audio system have been hailed as among the best in the world, clear and true on the other; but overall, they are certainly pricey. Their new earphone products are marvels of esoterica: just like their speakers, they produced in small quantities with one aim in mind: mind-blowing sound. Of course, Final Audio’s top earphone range, the 1601, is made for the choicest of audiophiles. The same company produces the Opus 204 speaker system which not only costs 500 thousand dollars, but by merit of its solid steel chassis, weighs 800 kilograms per channel! In the same vein, the solid steel FI-DC1601SS is heavy and expensive, but ultimately, wonderful.