The Audio-Technica ATH-CKX7iS, which comes in, oh, about a bazillion colors. It’s a SKU horror show!
Audio-Technica has far, far too many models of in-ear earphones to count. I mean, literally — I tried counting them and gave up due to exhaustion and severe dehydration (I stopped at about 20, which makes me a wimp and means I should probably drink more water).
So why are they adding six more models (which the company is calling their “SonicFuel” series) to the mix? And why do they bear an uncanny resemblance to Monster’s iSport earphones, right down to the swiveling ports and massive flange? Whatever the answers to these questions might be, the new sets, at $50-$100, are in just about the right price-range for holiday gifts; and if the fit really is identical to what we experienced with the iSPorts, they’re probably really comfy.
There aren’t many in-ear monitors made of steel. Aluminum? Yes. Plastic? Wads. But steel-bodied IEMs — now that’s a rare find. There’s good reason for this: Though the material is solid, hard-wearing and, according to some, produces a cleaner sound, it’s heavy — which can make steel-housed IEMs often uncomfortable and annoyingly ill-fitting.
But forget all that. Scottish-based RHA have managed to make the stainless steel-bodied MA750i supremely comfortable and well-fitted, even under heavy action. In fact, RHA absolutely nailed it perfectly with these ‘phones in every single category that matters, with only two or three minor trade-offs.
It’s strange to think that, till now, as big a high-end audio player as Shure has had no answer to the extravagant, big-gun, flagship in-ear monitor models of its rivals — models like the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom, or the JH Audio JH16 Pro.
But now they do — big time. The new SE846 extends Shure’s highly regarded SE line well beyond the SE535, previously their top, most expensive IEM.
Are they for UFC fighters who want to listen to music while they’re actually throwing punches in the ring? For talk-radio listeners who get violent when they hear opinions they don’t agree with? Or just for clumsy goofs who’re always destroying their headphones (you know who you are). Whatever the reason for the over-engineered Jabra Revos existence, the headphones ship today.
The new Audiofly AF160. Somebody spent a looooong time setting this photo up.
Australian earphone-maker Audiofly was just a fledgling outfit with scarcely a handful of models and a shaky toehold in the earphone market when I first encountered a year ago at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. After I had a chance to spend some quality time with what was then the company’s flagship set, the fantastic AF78s, I was pretty certain that, if the company did eventually fail, it would be in spite of the brand’s quality — not because of it.
But they didn’t fail. Now here they are, a year after debuting at CES, with a trio of new, more expensive additions — all decadently equipped with multiple drivers and balanced armatures — that shove the AF78 into the middle of their lineup.
These Scosche Realm RH656 ($130) headphones compete in the same league as with headphones like the Beats (formerly Monster) Solo HD, the Incase Reflex and the Fanny Wang 1000 Series. These ‘phones have a lot in common: they have smallish earcups that sit on the ear, instead of over; they all have track and volume controls (remember though that the volume control won’t work on Android devices); and they’ve all had a dash of fashion added.
But there are some key differences too. And as you’re about to find out, the RH656 does pretty well against its competition.
There’s just something about the natural beauty of wood that seems to mystify man. You’d be hard-pressed to go your entire day without encountering something that’s been made using this porous material. One area wood has always played an important role in is music. For thousands of years, wood has been used in musical instruments, not only because of its availability, but also because of its beauty and unique sound qualities. When you think about the history between wood and music, it’s no wonder we also see it used in speaker enclosures, headphones, and earbuds.
When one company swallows another, it’s common for a slow shift in rebranding and design to occur as the two entities thrash out their roles and relationship. The latest shift in the Logitech-Ultimate Ears story — Logitech purchased UE in 2008 — occured a month or so ago, when Ultimate Ears was rebranded as Logitech UE and launched a suite of high-end, blue-tinged soundware, with a product selection that reached far beyond the in-ear monitors the company has thus far been known for. In fact, out of seven new gadgets, just one new IEM was introduced: the Logitech UE 900 ($400), a quad-armature earphone that now sits at the pinnacle of UE’s non-custom earphone line.
The UE 900 has lineage, of course; we loved the snug fit, solid build and amazing sound of its antecedent, the TripleFi 10. But the TripleFi 10 is gone, and the UE 900 has stepped into its place with new ergonomics, a new sound — and a lot of blue.
If you live an active lifestyle and have trouble finding a pair of earbuds to stay put while you’re working up a sweat, then you might want to check out our next deal. For a limited time, you can pick up a MEElectronics Sport-Fi S6 earphone workout package for only $32. That’s a great price for a package that includes: