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Audio Accessory Reviews

NAD HP20 In-Ear Headphones (Earbuds)

NAD HP20 In-EarphonesThe HP20 is a welcome addition to the in-ear (earbud) headphone family from none other than NAD. These little guys pack a lot of punch into a small package and at $169 they cost almost half as much as the $299 NAD HP50 headphones. Like the HP50, the HP20 also takes advantage of the years of research spent at the acoustic labs of Canada's National Research Council. This research is what Paul Barton utilized to create RoomFeel, the concept of making a headphone sound more like listening to a pair of speakers in a room.

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NAD HP50 Viso Over-the-Ear Headphones

NAD HP50 Viso Over-ear Headphones

The NAD HP50 is the latest headphone design from Paul Barton, founder of PSB, a sister company of NAD, and features a new trademarked concept called RoomFeel. RoomFeel attempts to recreate the sound of listening to high-end speakers in a room. Most listening rooms add a low frequency bump to the sound that is often not taken into account when designing headphones. A room gain compensation transfer function was developed to add a +3 dB per octave boost from 200Hz down to 50Hz in order to replicate the fuller, warmer sound of a room. Clearly a lot of time and engineering has gone into the development of these headphones, the only question is, did it pay off? Yes it most certainly did.

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HiFiMAN RE-600 In-Ear Monitors (Earphones)

HiFiMAN RE-600 In-Ear Monitors

After reviewing the excellent HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline in-ear monitors (earphones), I was graciously sent the RE-600 Songbird, a higher-end model offering better performance, for a price. At $399, the RE-600 are a serious investment into music playback and more than most want to spend.

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Emotiva Stealth DAC

Emotiva Stealth DACListening to my records one night, I received an email from Susan Johnson asking if I would be willing to review the Emotiva Stealth DC-1. Would I ever! Last year I tried the Emotiva USP-1 preamp and UPA-200 amp in my system and I have been very happy with the combination. Needless to say I was very curious to see and hear this reference piece from Emotiva.

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Audeze LCD-X Over-the-Ear Headphones

AudezeAudeze has been a rising star in the headphone arena for several years, making their name with extremely high quality planar magnetic over-the-ear designs. Their latest model is the LCD-X, which touts a thinner diaphragm for improved transients.

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OmniMount PJT40 Projector Mount

OmniMount PJT40 Projector MountCompared to mounting a flat panel TV, installing a projector is a pain. You need to get the screen perfectly level and flush with the wall. Then you have to mount the projector to precisely line up with the screen. It has to be perfectly parallel to the screen or you'll see distortion. Getting the projector perfectly level usually means lifting it up to make small adjustments to the feet, placing the projector down, and checking again. Since I review multiple projectors every year, I do this dance too many. By the time I get a projector perfect it's almost time to box it up and send it back to the company. The PJT40 projector mount from OmniMount is designed to make this easier than before and so I decided to install one in my home theater to find out.

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Arcam rPac Headphone DAC/Amp and rBlink Bluetooth DAC

Arcam rPac headphone DAC/Amp and rblink Bluetooth DACEverywhere you look established specialist audio companies are getting into the headphone and lifestyle market. These products are smaller, more affordable, and easier to use than traditional hi-fi. They appeal to a new generation of music lovers looking for products that fit their more mobile and computer centric lifestyles. I'm the ideal case study. I spend hours throughout my day listening to music on headphones at my desk. Streaming RDIO, watching videos on YouTube, editing videos, etc. While the built in headphone output on my Mac book Air is good. I've been using external USB Dacs for some time to drive bigger less sensitive headphones. Arcam sent us two of their R series boxes to check out, the rPac USB headphone DAC/amp and the rBlink Bluetooth DAC.

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ADE-24.1 Analog Digital Enhancer

ADEThe ADE-24.1 Analog Digital Enhancer is an accessory that has been around for a long time. It works at low voltage (e.g., RCA analog output from CD player, iPod, etc.) and manipulates the harmonics. I got one of these units at the California Audio Show and the demonstration definitely indicated that it could improve sound (make it sound more appealing, and widen the sound stage), so I decided to bench test it to see what it does.

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HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline In-Ear Monitors (Earphones)

HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline In-Ear MonitorsHiFiMAN unveiled the RE-400 Waterline In-Ear Monitors back in January at CES. Their goal was to set a new standard for high-performance, yet affordable, in-ear monitors and the name Waterline implies just that. With a low $99 price tag, that is not an easy goal to achieve.

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RHA MA750i In-Ear Earphones (Headphones)

RHA MA750i HeadphonesBritish maker RHA has been in the headphone game for some time, mostly focusing on the lower-end market. The MA750i is the company's first foray into a higher end model: coming it at a list price of $129.99, it enters a crowded space of $100-150 units and I was eager to see how they'd stack up.

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RBH EP2 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones

RBH EP2 Noise Isolating EarphonesRBH Sound is no newcomer to the audio market. They began in 1976 as an OEM manufacturer for companies including McIntosh, JBL, and Parasound. Since then, they have built up their own brand name; one of quality high-performance loudspeakers. Now they have started to produce their own line of earphones. The RBH EP2's, reviewed here, are in-ear earphones.

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