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It’s hardly unusual when audio enthusiasts and writers reflexively reject new technology -- I’m sad to say it has become the reaction I expect. That’s why I was so surprised to see even some of the most reactionary audio writers embrace Sennheiser’s new Momentum True Wireless earphones ($299.95 USD).

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It’s difficult for audio companies to differentiate themselves, because there are so many of them and most of the good ideas have already been done. That’s why I so admire companies that find a different approach. One of those is Akoustyx, a new company I first encountered at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and the manufacturer of the R-220 earphones ($199.99 USD) reviewed here. Instead of spinning stories of some specious sonic “secret sauce,” Akoustyx focuses on making sure its earphones fit properly in your ears and stay in place once you get them in.

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Reviewers' ChoiceUnder normal circumstances, I’d have been reluctant to review the Campfire Audio Solaris earphones. Why did I relent? Because I’d had such a positive experience with the company’s Comet earphones, and because company founder Ken Ball’s pitch for the Solarises sounded so proud and impassioned, I didn’t even bother to find out what they were before I agreed to the review.

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“Wired headphones have really tanked for us,” a sales manager for a large and respected headphone maker told me at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering that Apple took the headphone jacks off new iPhones two years ago -- and that there are countless Bluetooth headphones and earphones now available at affordable prices. Still, cables have their utility, which is why Acoustic Research’s AR-E010 earphones ($249.99 USD) let you change from wireless to wired operation in just a few seconds.

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Fidue is a Chinese company founded by Benny Tan, who, according to the company’s website, has been involved in research and development of headphones and earphones for over two decades. To date, all of the company’s products have been high-end earphones with multiple drivers, including the A83 ($349.99 USD) and the A91 Sirius ($899.99) models. The latest are the A85 Virgo earphones ($299.99).

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True wireless earphones like the PSB M4U TW1 ($149 USD) -- models in which the left and right earpieces communicate wirelessly with each other, and with your phone or tablet -- got hot all of a sudden when Apple launched the AirPods late last year. The true wireless category had already debuted a few months before, with a bunch of mostly clunky and fussy products that left me wondering why anyone would bother with them. But the AirPods showed the world how nice the true wireless concept can be if executed well; analysts expect Apple will sell 25 to 30 million sets of AirPods in 2018.

Latest Comments

Brent Butterworth 15 hours ago When Is the Amp Important?
@RyanThanks! Give the SoundStage editors 100% of the credit for the integrity and courage. I ...
Ryan 16 hours ago When Is the Amp Important?
Really appreciate your integrity and courage to write this, as this (accurate) message is counter ...
@Brent Butterworth
I looked at the overlaid curves in the graph that you attached. The Edifier S3 ...
@Brent Butterworthhey thanks, will be out on Dec 10?
Brent Butterworth 2 days ago When Is the Amp Important?
@gzostDescribing these things as "solved problems" is right on target.
gzost 3 days ago When Is the Amp Important?
Clearly stating that DACs and amps are a solved problem and that cables do not ...
Brent Butterworth 3 days ago Edifier Stax Spirit S3 Bluetooth Headphones
@Joe Werner I haven't heard the Oppos in years, and the THX Pandas I sent to another ...
Can you compare with the Oppo PM-3s and THX Pandas?


I realize you may not have ...
Brent Butterworth 9 days ago Focal Utopia Headphones
@Bill SizerIt's not out of the question. But unfortunately, DCA usually arranges for about five reviews ...
Bill Sizer 13 days ago Focal Utopia Headphones
Nice, thorough review...much appreciated! Speaking of top-tier headphones, any chance you guys will be able ...