Archive for the ‘Headphones’ Category
Oh wow, I actually have a set of headphones that I can review that was released quite recently. And by those, they are the MDR-10R family. Released in Sept. 2013 at MSRP of $200/$250/$300 ish for normal, Bluetooth, and Noise Cancelling Editions, they have gone down to more affordable and reasonable price of $100 (10R)/$150 (10RBT/RDC)/$200(RNC), pending your local retailer availability of course.
Their heritage isn’t tied to the nigh legendary MDR-R10 as its name would suggest. For the record, the Sony MDR-R10 is considered the magnum opus of Sony Headphones (not unlike the Sennheiser HD800s) but to the previously high end MDR-1R. And they all can probably trace their lineage back to Qualia 005 and the MDR-SA line of headphones, boasting some ridonkoulus frequency response number. Not as ridiculous as Qualias and MDR-SAs, but take a big grain of salt with those numbers.
So, these are in essence, Sony’s take on the Bose’s On-Ear Noise Cancelling phones, the QC15, the Audio Technica ANCs and the like, and not the Beats (those would be the Cowell endorsed X10s and the XBA lines). How do they compare to the mid-range headphones? Let’s roll and find out. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh dear my, oh dear me. If people spinning grave could be tapped as a source of power, I’d imagine that Mr Miles Davis’ grave would generate enough to power the entire city of Los Angeles…
Here then, are a set of Monster Turbine In-Ear Speakers. Admittedly a decent set of cans on their own, they’ve gone and jazzified that up a bit with gold and brass trim, and other things so that there would be legit excuse to charge US$499 (MSRP) along with a modest $100 on-line discount (gees, thanks Monster!).
According to this article, they are OK’d by the Davis family and comes with the endorsement of the estate. Also, they include some magical Monster Mojo to make older recordings sound lush and full.
Nice to know that the likeness of Mr. Davis will be on a set on a good sounding but overpriced set of Monster products. Like I said, if this trend continues, we can go ahead and tap the spinning graves of celebs and musicians whose images will grace these products to power the nation. Huzzah.
On a different note, I’ve migrated most of the materials on Damaged Gears to (http://www.damagedgears.net), which you can visit. Nothing new there yet, but that will change eventually.
Sorry, no new pithy posts about new year resolutions (way too late for that), or HOPE about change. I’m getting back to what I do best. Reviewing the heck out of interesting low to mid-range headphones and DAPs. This time, Damage focuses his laser vision on the MDR-XB40 Earbuds, recently released by Sony in some random fashion to appease the bass head audience.
All 10 of you (I kid, for the 11th self-professed basshead).
Wait, do I still have an audience?
Now that I’ve got you all hot and bothered, should you blow your hard earned $60 for these guys? Read on.
Sometimes, you find the darndest things out on the road. The usual gas station/travel station that are frequented by the trucker types (God bless these people) occassionally have cheap electronics for sale. The Philips SHN2500 is one of those.
The question is then, is this one of the diamonds in the rough, or a piece of cowpie?
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Quick Can reviews, divided by price range. YMMV, as always.
$0 – $25 Range:
Earbuds: None recommended. At this price range, all you’re going to get are no better than most pack-ins. If you must get an earbud for that range, then you might want to try Sennheiser MX400/MX500s, but their size makes them painful to use for some.
Absolutely stay away from KOSS the (Spark)plugs unless you’re one of those few folks that can’t hear above 10kHz.
Clip-Ons: KSC-75. Routinely available for $20 ($10 when on sale), these use similar drivers to the legendary KOSS PortaPros. If you’re willing to fiddle with the ear-clips a bit, then you have yourself a high quality headphones at prices that won’t break your budget. Heck, pick one up for your significant other, and you still will have pleny of cash leftover.
Open: Pass on this as well. Nothing that impressive lies in this price range, unless you like having a back up for your pack-in earphones.
Small, but a significant observation of both occupying the same spot in a pocket. There’s a nice round dent where the two met in my pocket (unintentionally I shoved them in my pocket for a nice 2 hour drive). Surprisingly, the dent’s on the HD5 rather than the EX90. Moral of the lesson?
The EX90s are Very durable.
This also brings me to my second point, which I brought up earlier. Transcoding. It’s evil, I’m very aware of it. And it’s something I shouldn’t take very lightly. After all, the quality of my audio does suffer, especially in the high end of things. Everytime a cymbol goes off, it sounds like someone’s hitting it underwater…
Yet, I’m disturbed by the fact that I can live with it. Does that make me a bad person?
Probably not. But I bet there are dozens of you that are crining at the thought of listening to transcoded junk? Right? Unfortunately, Sony Electronics, in its might wisdom, declared that only ATRAC3plus files will have full functionalities with this particular model. So given that, it was fairly natural to say. The whole 64kbps thing was out of necessity-the hardware doesn’t support ATRAC3plus at 128kbps where history otherwise would tell us it would (See ATRAC CD players, D-NE1 for the most blatant example of this).
Interestingly enough, I find the transcoded ATRAC files much more tolerable than the transcoded WMA Files. Yep, I did that too on my Rio to see how much it can hold and if I could live with the quality as well. I can live with it, but doesn’t mean I have to like it. Quality is very questionable with WMA transcoded file as well. Actually, it just sounds piss poor, where as the ATRAC3plus files can almost fool most people into thinking that it is something of an 128kbps MP3 flavor (as previously marketed by Sony). Well, it could fool people into thinking that it is either XING 128 flavored MP3 or 96kbps MP3. Something of a shock, and maybe a testament to the ATRAC3plus encoder’s improved quality, perhaps. Other than that, meh.
Extra quick thoughts while SonicStage 4.0 does its job of transcoding (I know, I know, evil, evil, I’ll explain my reasoning a bit later).
MDR-EX90 is noticably more durable than its cheaper counterpart, the MDR-EX71. More than 30 days has past since I’ve returned my first pair for cable damage, and thus far, nothing major has cropped up. Perhaps I got a bum unit initially (it’s been known to happen with first batches of certain headphones, the Panasonic HJE50 comes to mind), or maybe it was an accident. However, I can say that the EX90s are durable as far as these things go.
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