Write a comment

Sound: *********
Value: ********
(Read about our ratings)

Measurements can be found by clicking this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceTrue wireless earphones have practically taken over the mass-market headphone biz. But to this point, all of the true wireless earphones I can wholeheartedly endorse -- such as the EarFun Frees -- cost less than $100. The pricier models I’ve tried either haven’t offered a clear advantage in sound quality, or they presented ergonomic complications I couldn’t forgive. But I keep on trying more high-end, fully featured true wireless earphones in hopes of finding some I can rave about. This month’s contestant: the Technics EAH-AZ70W earphones ($249.99, all prices USD).

1 Comment

Sound: ********1/2
Value: *********
(Read about our ratings)

Measurements can be found by clicking this link.

Through the years, I’ve come to believe it’s almost impossible to build really good headphones that sell for less than $50. I’ve heard only a couple of them that I’d want to live with. But earphones are different, because they’re smaller and use tiny drivers that don’t seem to range as widely in performance as headphone drivers do. I’ve actually heard very listenable earphones that sell for as little as $10 (all prices USD). Of course, true wireless earphones cost more, but last year I found a great set for just $50: the EarFun Free earphones. This year, EarFun has introduced a new model: the EarFun Air earphones, which sell for $59.99. (And there’s currently a coupon for $10 off on the Airs’ Amazon page.)

Write a comment

Sound: ******1/2
Value: *****1/2
(Read about our ratings)

Measurements can be found by clicking this link.

I’m used to seeing a consistent design philosophy from audio manufacturers, where their products are mostly similar, with the expensive ones having fancier parts and (one hopes) better sound. French manufacturer EarSonics says, “Mais non!” Their high-end earphones split into two very different lines. The Reference line tops out with the Purple, a set of lightweight acrylic earphones with a tiny tone control and five balanced-armature drivers. The top of the Hybrid line is the Stark ($1549 USD, $59 more than the Purple), a metal-shrouded design beefed up with an 8mm dynamic driver in addition to two balanced armatures for the mids and two more for the treble. When I scanned the EarSonics website a while back looking for stuff to review, I decided I just had to hear both, because they didn’t look like they came from the same company.

Write a comment

Sound: *********1/2
Value: *******
(Read about our ratings)

Measurements can be found by clicking this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceEven though we have really solid science on what kind of frequency response listeners prefer in headphones and earphones, that doesn’t mean a product created along those guidelines will be your favorite. There’s still plenty of room for taste. I’ve heard lots of headphones and earphones that closely track the “Harman curve,” and while all of them were very good, they weren’t necessarily my absolute favorites. I might want a touch more or less bass, or just a little more zip in the treble. The EarSonics Purple earphones ($1490 USD) seem designed with just such a thought.

Write a comment

Sound: ******1/2
Value: ******1/2
(Read about our ratings)

Measurements can be found by clicking this link.

Although I don’t know much about you, dear reader, I am pretty confident you’ll eventually own some true wireless earphones -- even if you’re a hardcore audiophile. The sheer convenience of them seems to win over everyone who tries them, and they’re expected to take about 50% of the earphone business this year. Audiophiles haven’t shown much interest yet, but with new models such as the Edifier TWS6 earphones ($119.99 USD) appearing, they probably will.

Write a comment

Sound: *********
Value: ********1/2
(Read about our ratings)

Measurements can be found by clicking this link.

Reviewers' ChoiceI signed on to review the JVC HA-FW01 earphones ($329.95 USD) because one of the many ideas about audio that I’m working hard to disprove, dispel, and sometimes even deride, is the absurd obsession with driver materials in headphones and speakers. Pick a driver material, and I can almost certainly cite examples of good- and bad-sounding products using that material. Or as Voice Coil editor and Loudspeaker Design Cookbook author Vance Dickason told me, “I certainly have my favorites, but given any decent set of drivers, I can make you a good speaker with them.”

SoundStage! Expert: Sonus faber Olympica Nova Speakers - 1) General Care (February 2020)

SoundStage! Expert: Sonus faber Olympica Nova Speakers - 2) Grille Care (February 2020)

SoundStage! Expert: Sonus faber Olympica Nova Speakers - 3) Cleaning (February 2020)

Latest Comments

Mauro 5 days ago HiFiMan HE1000 V2 Headphones
Hi Brent how this headphone would score with your scoring system?
I am trying to compare ...
Margo Coster 13 days ago Is Chesky Dumping Binaural?
@SimonWhat's your point? He's human?
Brent Butterworth 16 days ago Audeze iSine10 Earphones
@MauroHi, Mauro. I don't think the in-ears in this case add anything in particular relative ...
They are by an obscure brand, but full-range AMT has been done before - https://precide.ch/eng/eergo/ergo2.htm

Not ...
Mauro 19 days ago Focal Elegia Headphones
My take for those that might be interested buying Elegia’s:
They have an incredibly clear midrange ...