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As a longtime reviewer who’s on all sorts of press lists, I get dozens of pitches every month to review headphones. Sometimes I wake up to find three or four new pitches in my e-mail -- with more likely to come later in the day. I confess the sheer volume of pitches sometimes makes me a little too eager to delete them, and that’s what I did when I got an e-mail about Ausounds, a company that launched in August. Fortunately, I stumbled upon them at the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and that’s where I saw the AU-Flex ANC earphones.

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Many people think that performance tuning is the toughest part of being an audio manufacturer, but I’d wager if you polled 100 product managers, they’d say that deciding on looks and features is a lot tougher. After all, everyone likes good sound, but not everyone likes red. With the MX Pro series -- of which the MX4 Pros are the top model -- MEE Audio decided to let you decide.

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When a boutique, audiophile-oriented headphone company like HiFiMan releases true wireless earphones, you know it’s a thing. And it’s a thing for very good reason. When the design is right, people love the convenience and comfort of being able to enjoy their music and podcasts with just a couple of little earpieces -- and no cables, headband, etc., to get in the way when you’re moving from machine to machine at the gym. With the TWS600 earphones ($199 USD), HiFiMan seeks to deliver that convenience to audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts.

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I’ve gotten so used to reviewing complex multi-driver earphones with exotic shapes that the Periodic Audio Carbon earphones ($399 USD) seem like a throwback to the innocent early days of the headphone boom, when almost every earphone was nothing more than a single dynamic driver in a simple, cylindrical enclosure. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with a single dynamic driver -- in fact, some of the priciest earphones you can buy, such as the Campfire Audio Atlases ($1299) and Sennheiser IE800s ($999), use just a single dynamic driver per ear.

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It’s easy to talk about bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., but the difficulties of building cost-competitive products here often overwhelm those who try. Campfire Audio proves it is possible. Take the new Campfire IO earphones. They resemble the company’s higher-end models, and like most elite earphones, they come with a beautiful case and lots of different tips. Yet they’re made in Portland, Oregon, and they sell for just $299 USD -- not cheap for earphones, but less than people often pay for mass-market brands such as Bose and Beats.

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If you’re not interested in true wireless earphones, I can sympathize. The first true wireless earphones sounded cheap, felt clunky, ran barely long enough to play three albums, and often refused to connect to each other. But the latest generation of true wireless products, such as the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 earphones ($129.99 USD), can be radically superior: smaller, more reliable, and, in some cases, better sounding.

Latest Comments

Ragav 2 days ago AKG K371 Headphones
@Brent ButterworthHi Brent! AKG also launched the K275 closed back, K245 semi-open back, and the K175 ...
Mauro 5 days ago HiFiMan HE400se Headphones
@Brent ButterworthThe two mentioned by Ragav are very different headphones by looking the oratory1990 measurements..
@JohnyI forgot to compare it very close to LCD-3 for 1/3 their price.
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Brent Butterworth 5 days ago HiFiMan HE400se Headphones
@RagavIf memory serves, I contacted them and we e-mailed a few times, but I can't ...
Sitting in an orchestra level seat one evening at the SF Symphony when the musicians ...
Ragav 8 days ago HiFiMan HE400se Headphones
@Brent ButterworthIf possible could you review the ‘Austrian Audio’ Hi-X55 closed back and Hi-X65 open back ...
Brent Butterworth 10 days ago How to Not Go Deaf From Headphone Listening
@RagavThanks! Still making a living, so I can't complain. I hope you're well, too.

I don't ...
Brent Butterworth 10 days ago HiFiMan HE400se Headphones
@RagavI hate to generalize, but the number of closed-back headphones that can match the spaciousness ...
Ragav 12 days ago HiFiMan HE400se Headphones
How does the soundstage and spaciousness of the HE400se compare to the K371 and DT ...