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Headphones and Earphones

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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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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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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Paradigm H15NC Noise-Cancelling On-Ear Headphones

Paradigm H15NC Noise-Cancelling HeadphonesThe new Paradigm H15NC Noise-Cancelling Headphones are the latest foray into the lucrative headphone market and part of the Shift line of Paradigm products. They feature a noise isolating on-ear design along with active noise cancellation which utilizes a microphone paired with processing to analyze the noise around you and filter it out. Paradigm believes that sound quality trumps celebrity endorsement, and I couldn't agree more. Let's see if the H15NC headphones are up to snuff.

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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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Ultimate Ears 4 Pro Custom In-Ear Headphones

Ultimate Ears 4 Pro Custom In Ear MonitorsUltimate Ears is one of the most well-known and respected names in the custom in-ear monitor (IEM) market (part of the general class: headphones). While historically custom IEMs were targeted at music and sound industry professionals, manufactures have more recently started marketing their monitors to audiophiles, recognizing that many of their attributes might be valued by this community as well. I recently had the opportunity to take a look at UE's entry level 4 Pro Custom IEM and am excited to pass along some thoughts.

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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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Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X Over-the-Ear Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X Headphones

Audio-Technica has been around for over 50 years making professional microphones, phono cartridges, and headphones. Given that it is nearly impossible to research audiophile headphones and not come across Audio-Technica in some fashion, I felt it imperative that I review a pair. Outside of brief, less than ideal listening at trade shows, the ATH-AD900X is the first headphone from Audio-Technica that I have used. In today's vast ocean of headphones, Audio-Technica's claim to fame is offering audiophile sound quality at an affordable price. The ATH-AD900X is the successor to the ATH-AD900 and unfortunately I haven't listened to the AD900 so this review will focus purely on the new ATH-AD900X. The only thing I will mention with regards to the model differences would be the subtle visual differences in the design. The open air cage that covers the back of the drivers is more spaced out on the newer AD900X, so much so in fact, that the insides are easily visible – a neat aspect. Also the logo and markings are in gold rather than the silver of the older model.

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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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Onkyo ES-HF300 On-Ear Headphones

Onkyo ES-HF300 HeadphonesOnkyo, a long time player in home theater electronics, has set its sights on the personal audio market with the new ES-HF300 headphone. The ES-HF300 is a closed-back headphone design featuring two 40 mm titanium drivers, sub-chambers for optimized bass, and a rigid construction for optimal sound reproduction. With an MSRP of $179, Onkyo is aggressively targeting the rapidly growing market for premium headphones. Recent research by the NPD Group reveals a huge jump in sales of headphones over $100 and considering how many smartphones are in the hands of eager consumers, pricing a headphone correctly is an important key to its success. Of course, how a headphone looks and, most importantly, sounds are also keys to its success. Find out how the new Onkyo ES-HF300 headphones score in my review.

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