From JVC’s Xtreme Xplosivs line, these in-canal monitors move air with 10mm neodymium drivers and tuned “Extreme Deep Bass” ports. Rugged, aluminum enclosures with tough detailed rubber protect these earphones from wear and tear. The 4-foot (1.2m) cable (Y-type) terminates in a gold-plated iPhone compatible 3.5mm plug. Comes with hard carry case and 3 sizes of silicone cushions.
Specs: freq. response: 5-23,000Hz; impedance: 16 ohms; sensitivity: 104dB.
MSRP: $70 US.
Like electrostatic headphones, magnetic planar headphones have a very fast response time due to the lightweight, flat diaphragm of the transducer. The transducers in the Abyss AB-1266 utilize a proprietary, thin, very low mass diaphragm and slotted, high power neodymium magnets for amazing bandwidth and low level detail retrieval. Unusual for a magnetic planar headphone, the matched drivers lack a rear magnetic structure and therefore reflections do not mar the open sound. The rigid anodized-finish frame has been machined from solid aluminum for exceptional strength, and an integrated resonance control in the front baffle adjusts for minimal added coloration. The padded headband folds for easy storage, and soft lambskin ear pads conform to varying head shapes. Dual balanced 8-foot (2.5 m) XLR cable set and 1/4″ (3.5 mm) cable Y-adaptor custom made by JPS Labs. Store in either the handcrafted, felt-lined wooden box or the heavy leather tote bag with extra room and pockets for a portable amp/DAC and an iPad.
Specs: frequency response: 5 Hz to 28 KHz; impedance: 46 ohms; sensitivity: 85 dB; weight: 660 grams (without cable).
MSRP: $5,500 US.
FiiO’s E12 Mont Blanc portable headphone amplifier neatly housed in a s slim aluminum enclosure with LED indicators. Designed around two high performance opamps: the ultra-low distortion, low-noise, high-slew-rate LME49710 audio opamp and a wide-bandwidth LME49600 current buffer capable of 250mA for an output up to 850mW. Compatible with high impedance planar magnetic headphones. Assembled with quality parts: WIMA capacitors, ALPS pot and low impedance battery and durable 3.5mm mini jacks for an input cable and headphones. The LiPolymer battery splits into a dual +/-11Volt supply and smart recharges from any USB port or laptop power adapter in as little as 3 hours. Settings for gain, bass boost and crossfeed.
Specs: 850mW max. output, dimensions 3.9 x 0.4 x 2.4 inches, weight 6.4 ounces.
MSRP: $200 US.
The i2 sound engine in Sol Republic’s Jax in-ear headphones produce deep bass and powerful sound with clear highs. The flat cable was engineered to eliminate tangles. Compatible with phone functions: a high clarity mic for talk and a three-button remote to adjust the volume, skip music and answer/hang-up calls. Comes with 4 sizes of eartips. Available in black, white and blue.
MSRP: $40 US.
The prodigious bass in the Skullcandy Crushers blast forth from its subdriver, a 55mm bass extension transducer powered by a class D amp inside the earcup, juiced with a single AA battery. A bass port in the earcups further reinforces the bass. The bass control adjusts the level of bass sensation. The REX40 40mm main transducer reproduces the audio frequencies. Closed-back design and soft-touch earpads seal out ambient noise. Hinged headband folds the earcups into a compact package. The replaceable cord includes a single-button microphone remote. Available in black, white and red.
Specs: 32 ohms impedance, 1 AA battery (40 hours)
MSRP: $99 US.
AKG’s K167 is a premium, professional-grade DJ and studio monitoring headphone. The 40mm drivers in closed-back enclosures produce excellent sound quality with deep bass and high volume. The frequency response goes from 10Hz, all the way to 27kHz for detailed sonic reproduction. It’s easy to wear for hours because the frame is made of durable, lightweight, XRP3 glass-fiber reinforced polymer and the thick cushions surround the ears while blocking out room noise. The frame’s professional 3D-Axis folding mechanism stows it away quickly and compactly.
Specs: 32 ohms impedance, 112 dBspl/V sensitivity, 2000mW power handling.
MSRP: $250 US.
This model in the Sennheiser-Addidas sports headphone partnership mounts earbuds on a lightweight headband for a secure fit. Although earbuds are in-ear, they do not seal and Sennheiser touts them for “situational awareness”. All models in the Addidas line feature water resistant drivers, a Para-aramid reinforced cable, and distinctive black, silver, blue styling. A Smart remote control and microphone integrated in the cord extend compatibility with music players and mobile phones with 3.5mm jacks. Comes with a spare set of foamies, 3 sizes of silicone ring cushions, a mic clip and carry pouch.
Specs: 16 ohms impedance.
MSRP: $80 US
A smaller version of Burson’s high-end Soloist amp, the Soloist SL begins with similar design philosophy: a FET input stage and symmetrical current feedback circuitry of only 21 components total. The Variable Output stage can match a variety of headphone impedances, including magnetic planar headphones. A low noise power supply and resonance-free aluminum enclosure help keep the signal clean. Comparing the Soloist SL to the Soloist, the main differences are lower headphone drive (2 watts per channel vs. 4 watts per channel), 2-setting impedance matching vs. 3-settings, no preamp out, and a continuous ALPS volume control vs. the stepped attenuator.
MSRP: $650 US
Recently upgraded, the 700M in-ear monitors feature an 8mm driver with titanium-coated diaphragm in a machined aluminum chassis to minimize vibration and resonance. The cord has integrated phone microphone and music playback remote. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry Storm and any device that supports a 3.5mm 3 or 4 pin plug. The upgrades include cables with additional strands, 90-degree 3.5mm plugs, better strain relief and a new microphone housing and improved pick-up switch.
Specs: 16 ohms impedance, 105 dB+/-3d sensitivity, 10mW max. input power.
MSRP: $75 US
Recoil Winder: a cord manager for headphones (and other devices) that automatically retracts by tugging on the cord. Find the cord’s midpoint, hook it onto the reel and tug to rewind. Three sizes (small, medium and large) to accommodate just about any headphone, earphone or personal electronics cord. Sold individually and in packs.
MSRP: $10 US.