Scosche’s HZ8 (“TuneSTREAM II”) packs rechargeable Bluetooth circuitry into an ultra-lightweight frame weighing less than 2 ozs. The transducers are in-ear type but forward-facing and must be carefully positioned at the entrance to the ear canal for correct bass response.
A set of 3 buttons on one side can remote control a Bluetooth player or smartphone. For music, they activate next track, previous track and play/pause. Smartphone call capabilities include: call answer, voice dial. The other side of the headband has the volume buttons. Fully recharges in 2 hours. Two multicolor LED lights indicate charge status and Bluetooth pairing status.
The headband folds at two joints into a compact shape for easy storage. Comes with USB charging cable.
Specs: Bluetooth range: 30 feet; operating time: 3.5 hours of music, 5 hours of talk and 6 days of standby.
MSRP: $50 US.
The Jarv BT-301 (aka Joggerz) are Bluetooth wireless sports headphones with an operating range of 33 feet. Lightweight (1.6 oz) and compact, they fit an active lifestyle while still producing rich stereo sound. The neckband design twist-folds into a tiny shape that fits in the palm of a hand.
Buttons on the right earpiece control music navigation on a tablet or music player. When the Joggerz are connected to a smartphone, a built-in microphone and answer button provide call handling. All buttons light up when pressed.
The built-in rechargeable battery runs for up to 6 hours of talk/music or 100 hours of standby time per charge. The headphone recharges by plugging into a standard USB port with the included micro-USB cable.
Price: $60 US.
Audio-Technica’s A900XLTD is a limited edition of the A900x with similar construction and sound. The wide frequency response of the headphone results from the 53mm drivers made with bobbin-wound 6N-OFC voice coils for exceptional low to mid-range sound reproduction. They are mounted in large closed earcups made of red (scarlet) finished aluminum and designed with AT’s “Double Air Damping System” for extended bass, “vocal projection” and the signature ART series soundstage.
The headband has been equipped with AT’s self-adjusting, vibration-proof, wing support mechanism for hours of comfortable listening. For optimal signal transfer, the 3-meter cable employs OFC-6N + OFC input code line, grounded independent left and right output with a (4 core) structure and terminated with a gold-plated 3.5mm stereo mini plug.
Specs: 5Hz to 40kHz freq. response, 42 ohms impedance, 2000mW max. input power, 101dB sensitivity, 340g weight.
Price: $400 US.
Kingsound’s KS-H3 electrostatic headphones has improved its drivers for lower frequency response and greater robustness. The vented enclosure has been retuned for a more open 3-dimensional sound. The new diaphragm material was chosen to resist better changes in humidity and produces deeper bass.
Kingsound has given the H3 a double headband, a padded inner band for comfort and adjustability and a 2-strip steel outer band for tension. Large, circumaural earpads help seal out ambient noise. Electrostatic headphones require a high bias voltage. The H3s are spec’ed for amps with a standard 550 VDC biasing output. They connect via a 5-wire flat cable that terminates in a 5-pin DIN plug (a standard electrostatic headphone plug).
Specs: Freq. Resp.: 6Hz-46KHz; capacitance: 140pF; impedance: 113k ohms; sensitivity: 109dB (at 100vrms); max. SPL: 116dB.
MSRP: $875 US.
High=end audio manufacturer has released its first headphone amplifier. Famous for its historic tube power amps, the MHA100 adapts their Autoformer technology to produce three headphone impedance ranges of 8-40, 40-150 and 150-600 ohms for optimal impedance matching with all headphones. The new Headphone Crossfeed Director (HXD) generates a 3D-speaker-like sonic image headphones. A 5 Step Bass Boost Control enhances the low frequency presentation. The Four hi-res digital inputs can decode to 32 bits at 192kHz.
The MHA100 can also drive small speakers up to 50W per channel. McIntosh’s Power Guard technology prevents clipping in headphones or speakers. The amp is housed in a stainless steel chassis with glass front panel, knobs and brushed aluminum end caps. In addition to analog i/o, there are coaxial, optical, balanced digital (AES/EBU) and USB digital inputs. A OLED display on the front panel indicates source selection, volume levels, trim settings and setup functions.
Specs: 250mW to 1W per channel headphones and 50W per channel speakers. Impedance range: 8 to 600 ohms. Max. digital resolution: 32 bits at 192kHz (USB)
Price: $4500 US.
The HE560 is the new flagship of HiFiMAN’s orthodynamic headphone line. The 560 is 30% lighter than its previous flagship, the HE500. HiFiMan modified the single-ended magnet structure of the transducer to increase efficiency and deliver a lifelike soundstage and spatial imaging. The increased efficiency means that the headphone can be driven with a modest size amplifier.
A new suspended headband design, teak wood cups, and beveled ear pads provide comfort and improved sound quality. The new audio cable has been designed with crystalline metal featuring oxygen-free copper and oxygen-free silver for lossless, distortionless signal transfer. Comes with a storage case.
Specs: 15Hz to 50 KHz freq. response, 35 ohm impedance, 90dB sensitivity.
Price: $900 US.
Yurbuds Inspire sport earphones connect wirelessly with Bluetooth protocol. Their 15mm drivers are twice the size of the average earphone and provide an extended frequency response. Yurbuds’ Triple Magnet technology helps create a 3D soundscape and deep bass.
As sports earphones, they are sweat and water resistant. The TwistLock technology locks the earphones in place during sports and active lifestyles, so they do not fall out. Although they sit in the ear canals, they allow ambient noise to enter for awareness of one’s surroundings.
The smartphone features include integrated volume, track and call controls and a noise cancelling dual-microphone, integrated into the enclosures to navigate music and handle calls with the highest clarity.
The internal rechargeable battery lasts up to 6 hours per charge. Auditory and visual indicators warn when the charge level is too low. The battery is recharged by plugging in the USB charging cable. Comes with 2 sizes of enhancers, a charging cable and carry case.
Specs: Bluetooth wireless connectivity, 20Hz-20kHz frequency response.
Price: $130 US.
Alpatronix mounts the 8mm drivers of the EX100 earphones in a vented enclosure to produce deep bass and an extended frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz. Three sizes of ear cushions ensure a perfect fit for maximum noise reduction and optimal sound quality.
The EX100 features a single button remote to control media players or smartphones. A single click operates play, pause or answer call. Two clicks skip forward and three clicks to skip back. An integrated microphone permits hands-free calling.
Specs: 16 ohms impedance, 20Hz – 20KHz frequency response, 100dB/1mW @ 1kHz sensitivity.
Price: $30 US
The very lightweight J46BT in-canal stereo earphones feature Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity including A2DP v1.2, AVRCP v1.4, HSP v1.2 and HFP v1.6. Their 6mm transducers reproduce the range from 20 to 18kHz. A 3-button remote control on the cord and high sensitivity microphone control music and handle call functions.
The built-in rechargeable battery charges via a USB cable in about 2.5 hours and operates up to 6 hours of talk and 3 hours of music. Comes with 3 sizes (S,M,L) of silicone cushions, 2 sizes (S,L) stabilizing sports cushions, 1 cable clip and USB charging cable. Available in 3 colors: black, white and blue.
Specs: FR 20Hz-18kHz, Max SPL 105dBSPL @ 1KHz, Rated Power Input 3mW, Mic Sensitivity -37dBV/Pa @ 1KHz.
Price: $80 US.
Harmon Kardon designed the NI in-canal earphones to produce accurate bass and sound clarity even at low volumes. The 9mm drivers have been otpimized for wide frequency response, wide dynamic range and high sound-pressure levels and can generate accurate bass at any volume level. Careful acoustic tuning and passive noise-reduction mean that the NIs play music clearly even at low volume levels. The sonic clarity at lower volume means that the NIs are safer for listening.
HK designed the look of the NIs to project a blend of sophistication and simplicity. The black, rectangular, one-piece housing and aluminum complements the style of many smartphones and tablets. For navigating music and handling calls, HK added an inline three-button remote with built-in microphone for phone calls. The NI’s come with 3 pairs of sleeves (small, medium, and large) for optimal ear fit, 1.1m cable and carrying case.
Specs: 20Hz-20KHz freq. response, 28 ohms impedance, 102dB/mW sensitivity.
Price: $99 US.