CES 2015: AKG N90Q Headphones

Harmon says that the AKG N90Q is “the world’s first headphone with personalized sound”. It was designed by Quincy Jones and features TruNote technology that automatically optimizes sound based on the user’s anatomy. TruNote’s proprietary software measures the frequency response that the user hears and auto-calibrates the headphones in combination with a patented, dual-foam ear cushion and pistonic motion driver.

Two microphones in each ear cup measure the frequency response while the headphones are worn. Auto-calibration generates a correction filter. The dual-foam ear cushion and optimized pistonic motion driver eliminate unwanted reflections and cavity effects for optimal and accurate sound reproduction. Additionally, the N90Q employs the latest noise-cancellation and sound customization technology to optimize the audio experience.

Price: $1,299 US.

Availability: Fall 2015.

CES 2015: Monster iSport Superslim Wireless Earphones

Monster’s iSport SuperSlim, is the the world’s thinnest bluetooth earhone for athletes. They are so thin that they can be worn under a helmet, goggles or other headgear and are perfect for extreme sports. They housed the circuitry and transducers in ultra-lightweight and sweat-resistant enclosures and then cut the cord with Bluetooth wireless technology. The wireless operation, durability and secure fit earclips that hook into the ears make them ideal for the most active lifestyles.

Monster achieved that thin profile by folding the circuit board and shaping the battery into a rectangular formfactor. To keep the weight down, they rethought even the angled eartips, which fit any ear and provide superior noise isolation to better experience Monster’s signature “deep, pulse-pounding sound”. For call handling on smaprtphones, Monster included the one-touch Apple ControlTalk inline control with built-in microphone, music, and volume control. Comes with 4 sets of eartips, 2 sets of earhooks and a carry case.

Specs: 50 feet (Bluetooth range), 5+ hours (battery life).

MSRP: !70 US.

Availability: shipping now.

CES 2015: Parrot Zik Sport Wireless Headphones

Parrot’s new Zik Sport was designed in collaboration with the French designer Philippe Starck to be the most advanced wireless sports headphone. The distinctive style of the original Zik (thin, round headband, shiny metal, minimalist detailing) has been ported over to this sports model. The Zik Sport provides sweat resistance and the ultimate stability and comfort for the sports enthusiast. The new “Street Mode” captures sound from the surrounding environment and mixes it directly into the audio to help runners to stay safe when practicing jogging especially in busy streets.

Adaptive noise cancellation technology gradually isolates the listener from external noise. An in-ear biometric sensor measures heart rate and analyzes the athlete’s running style: cadence, ground contact time, vertical oscillation, It comes with a free dedicated app to customize the listening experience and works with other sports apps.

The Zik’s playback electronics include a 32-bit DSP for the highest quality sound. The DSP’salgorithms reconstruct the sound spatially, so that that the music seems to be coming from in front: the “Parrot Concert Hall” effect. The highest headphone freedom being wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 technology transmits music and smartphone calls. The patented headband has two temple cushions that stabilize the headphones and distribute band pressure. It folds into a slim package for easy storage or transport.


Availability: 2015.

CES 2015: Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8 Bluetooth Headphones

Bang and Olufsen introduced the Beoplay H8 headphones, feature noise cancellation technology, Bluetooth wireless and the latest innovation: a gesture-driven interface for an intuitive experience listening to music or controlling a smartphone. The gesture-driven interface offers full control: turn music on and off, answer calls, switch Active Noise Cancellation on and off, increase or decrease volume and so on. The interface is the back of the right earcup and is formed by sliding a finger on the surface.

A supra-aural design, the H8 features 40mm drivers and Bluetooth 4.0 with the aptX codec for uncompromising sound. A mini electret microphone embedded in the right earcup handles voice pickup. B&O have packaged the electronics and drivers in a luxurious product, crafted from anodized aluminum and carefully selected high quality leather, so that everyday wear and tear merely add patina, and the H8 ages beautifully. The earpads have the softness of lambskin and the contouring ability of memory foam for the highest comfort.

The internal battery is both user-replaceable and rechargeable. A single charge (3 hours) will power the headphones with ANC and Bluetooth for up to 14 hours (35 hours with ANC only). The cord is also user-replaceable. B&O sells different length cords as accessories. Available in argilla bright and gray hazel. Comes with an audio cord with 3.5mm plug, a micro USB cable for charging, a flight adapter and carry pouch.

Specs: 20Hz – 22Khz freq. response; Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX codec; 800mA Li-Ion battery.

MSRP: $400 US.

Available: Feb. 2015.

CES 2015: AudioQuest’s Transformative NightHawk Headphones

The Nighthawk is AudioQuest’s first headphone and win a CES innovation award for Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies. The name “NightHawk” is meant to evoke the “power and freedom, inspired ideas of physical and emotional transportation” that the product conveyed in appearance, construction and performance. It won an ecological innovation award for its use of a transformative product called liquid wood which is made from real wood and can be injection to molded to any shape, such as headphone earcups. To take advantage of the liquid wood, the earcups are designed to more closely resemble the human ear for better fit and stress reduction.

A circumaural and semi-open design, those earcups house 50mm high excursion drivers with biocellulose pistonic diaphragms and complaint rubber surrounds for more accurate and musical sound than with standard mylar diaphragms. NightHawk drivers feature a patented split-gap motor to minimize intermodulation distortion for a “well-defined broadband response” and a “large, naturally detailed representation of space”. AudioQuest contoured the internal motor surfaces based on a mathematical analysis of the airflow through its driver to lessen air turbulence and non-linear distortion behavior. Music sounds clean, clear, large, and alive.

To dampen resonances and diffuse sound, the interior of the earcups has been fitted with structural “support beams”, painted with an elastomeric coating and filled with wool and polyester batting. The NightHawks’ high-performance cable design begins with the soft nylon braid that minimizes mechanical noise, the high purity copper of the wiring and a a 3.5mm plug with a 45° scooped shape for an ergonometric feel. Even the grill contributes to the structural stability and sound quality. NightHawk’s biomimetic grille resembles a butterfly’s wings and was created through a 3D printing process called “selective laser sintering”. The overall result is an “extraordinarily smooth, natural frequency response for a deeply immersive and emotionally compelling listening experience”.

Specs: TBD


Availability: 2015.

CES 2015: Turtle Beach Elite 800X Gaming Headphone

Turtle Beach’s 800X is the top of the line of new gaming headphones specifically for the XBox One. Among its innovations is an integrated row of microphones which eiiminates the need for a boom mic arm. Then there’s the new active noise cancellation to screen out audible distractions (in console and mobile modes), and the 7.1 DTS surround sound decoder/virtualizer for 3D sound. Turtle Beach has engineered the DTS headphones for an amazing, 3D 360-degree sound stage with unmatched spatial accuracy. Custom DTS Surround Sound modes and genre-specific presets provide the best immersive experience in games, movies and music.

Push-button controls on the earcups Gaming specific features include “Superhuman Hearing”. For sound effects like footsteps to reloads, Superhuman Hearing enhances their presence to give a player the competitive advantage. Separate game and chat volume settings; set your mix of game and chat volume levels right on the headset. The Elite 800X headphones dock to a magnetic charging stand. The internal battery runs for up to 10 hours per charge. Owners of the 800X have the option to enroll in the Turtle Beach Elite Membership Program with exclusive programming and content and other member benefits.

Availability: TBA – probably in the Spring of 2015.

MSRP: est. $300 US

CES 2015: Urbanears Plattan ADV Wireless Headphones

These wireless headphones feature Bluetooth 4.0, a removable collapsible headband, equalizer, Zound (sharing) jack and a rechargeable battery with an operating life of 8 hours, but the real finger fun is in the swipe interface on the left earcup which interprets swipe gestures on the surface to control music navigation and call answering: a forward swipe skips forward a track, a backward swipe goes back a track, a swipe upward increases the volume, down decreases volume, tap once to play/pause/answer a call, and tap twice to hang up a call. Expect to see this model in a variety of colors.

Specs: Bluetooth 4.0; 10m range; 8 hour battery life.

MSRP: est. $100 US.

Availability: June 2, 2015.

Sony PHA-1A Portable Hi-Res DAC/Headphone Amplifier

Sony introduced its new portable DAC/headphone amp at the CES 2015. Although it is compatible with many players and headphones, it is engineered for the best listening experience with MDR-1A abd Walkman A10. The compact and lightweight design supports up to PCM 192kHz/24 bits. Internally, a Wolfson DAC chip handles the conversion. Sony has paired its DAC with a powerful opamp-based headphone amplifier capable of 148mW per channel and is spec’ed for loads from 8 to 600 ohms.

The internal Li-Ion rechargeable battery lasts about 6 hours per 2-hour charge. Sony has housed the PHA-1A in a sleek and durable aluminum enclosure. There are two digital inputs: USB and mini USB that provide a connection for smartphones, DMPs, iOs devices, and PCs; a mini-stereo jack for the line out and headphone out; a two selection gain switch; and a mini USB charge port.

Comes with digital cable for WALKMAN, digital cable for Xperia, micro-USB cable, silicone belts and Protection sheet. Measures: . 62 x 18.5 x 109 mm.

Specs: Max. 192kHz/24bit (DAC resolution); 8Ω – 600Ω load impedance; 10-100kHz (freq. response), 148mW per channel (max output potential).

Price: TBA

Availability: TBA

CES 2015: Sennheiser Wireless Momentum Headphones

Sennheiser has two new wireless Momentum models: Momentum and Momentum On-Ear. Both feature Bluetooth wireless connectivity and Noisegard noise cancellation. Both are closed-back, but one has larger circumaural cushions and the other sits on the ears (supra-aral). The Momentum implements Bluetooth 4.0 and and NFC for instant connection. They have included a high-definition aptX® codec for sonic detail.

Smartphone features are handled by navigation/call buttons on the side of the earcup. For crystal clear conversation, Sennheiser has integrated a VoiceMax microphone with an omnidirectional pickup pattern. The circuitry is powered by a rechargeable li-ion battery that lasts 22 hours on a 3 hour charge. The headphones will work even if the battery is uncharged and/or active circuitry has been turned off.

The lightweight durable design and exclusive materials like stainless steel and real leather give the Momentums their distinctive look. Sliders made of stainless steel, stitched leather headband, and newly designed ear cushions, make for a slightly retro but modern appearance with luxurious details and finish. The earcups are attached to high-end ball joints running steplessly in the collapsible sliders to get the individual adjustment to the head that is important for both comfort and sound. These headphones fold into a tiny package for storage.

Comes with 1.4 m audio cable (3.5mm plug), USB charging cable, airplane adapter and carrying case.

Specs: impedance: 28 ohms passive or 480 ohms active; Frequency response: 16 Hz – 22000 Hz; Wireless: Bluetooth 4.0+EDR / NFC.

MSRP: $450 US.

Available: now.

CES 2015: Philips Fidelio NC1L Noise Cancellation Headphones

The NC1L headphones features Active Noise Cancellation but do not require a battery because it can draw power from the iOS device via the Lightning™ connector. The internal circuitry includes a 24-bit DAC along with an audio amplifier. The noise cancellation has been enhanced with the placement of two FeedBackward mics located next to the headphone drivers provide strong noise cancellation at low frequencies, whilst the two FeedForward mics on the outside of the headphone extend the bandwidth of noise cancellation into the mid and high frequencies. Foldable and lightweight, the headphones’ memory foam ear pads provide an ergonomic fit, great comfort and breathability – ensuring you can continue to enjoy the sound the headphones deliver, even over the long haul.

MSRP: $299.
Available: April 2015.