The Astell&Kern AK10 is a compact headphone amp/DAC, featuring the Wolfson 8470 DAC chip configured for resolution up to 24-bits at 96kHz sampling. An in-box “Lightning” cable extracts the digital signal from 5th generation iPhone and iPod Touch, and a micro-USB cable for Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy. Use as a standalone DAC with the USB cable. The large volume control (silver disk on the face of the unit) means easy fine adjustments and a volume lock switch fixes the level. On the side of the amp are buttons for navigating the phone’s music functions.
Comes with a Lightning cable for iPhone and iPod, a USB cable and leather case.
Specs: DAC resolution – 24-bit/96kHz; dimensions – 6.2 x 3.8 x 2 inches; weight – 7.5oz.
MSRP: $299 US
The Klipsch Status headphones feature 40mm drivers in closed enclosures that generate powerful, emotional music playback, the famous Klipsch signature of dynamic sound, crisp highs, deep bass and zero distortion. They are fabricated from the same material used for high-end eyewear for durability and appearance. The headphone’s frame is made of Grilamid TR® which sports a luxury gloss finish with subtle reflective highlights. Klipsch lined the earcups with high-density memory foam, set the clamp force and ear cup rotation specs for comfort and a perfect seal around the ear. Folded, the headphones fit into the travel case. The Status includes 2 detachable cloth cables, a standard 3.5mm cable and one with an inline remote for smartphone call-answering and music navigation on iPods, iPhones and iPads.
Available in pearl white or black. Comes with a carry case, 2 detachable cables. 6.3mm (1/4-inch) and airline adapters, and travel case.
Specs: 32 ohms impedance, 110dB sensitivity, weight: 0.72 lbs (328 grams).
MSRP: $250 US.
The Philips-O’Neill line of active-style headphones is a collaboration with sportswear maker/surf shop O’Neill. At the high end of the Philips-O’Neill series, the Crash model SHO9207 headphones impress with their explosive bass and state of the art sound from 40mm transducers mounted in metal-reinforced closed-back enclosures that have been acoustically tuned for deep bass. Constructed to withstand massive abuse (tested to 1.5 tons of static force), the Crash’s modular design features soft leather circumaural cushions and an ultra-flexible headband that can be bent to extremes and still return to its original shape. Sliding arm construction adjusts the headphone fit. Plus, the arms can be angled outward in “chill mode” when the headphone rests comfortably around the neck. The flat shape of the 1.2 meter fabric cord tangles less and withstands bending better. Smartphone and tablet compatibility: built-in microphone, remote and inline iPhone control.
Specs: 32 ohms impedance, 105dB sensitivity, 50mW max. power handling, 0.8 lbs.
MSRP: $400 US.
The new Bluez is the wireless version of their Sportz line headphones, all with bone conduction transducers. They are worn positioning the transducers in front of the ears, not on them, and the sound travelss via the facial bones to the acoustic nerves, producing an immersive stereo effect. Aftershockz’s Bluetooth wireless operates in a range up to 33 feet from the transmitter and automatically pairs devices. Play and Call buttons on the headphones control music navigation and call answering. The internal battery recharges in 3 hours from any USB port. A LED indicator monitors battery charge and pairing. A removable and adjustable tension band can be attached to the back of the headphone to get the most secure fit.
Comes with USB charging cable, tension band and hard-shell storage case.
Specs: 33 feet operating range, 3 hour recharging.
MSRP: $120 US.
Outdoor Tech’s Adapt adds Bluetooth wireless and call-answering capability to any wired headphone. With an operating range of up to 30 feet, it offers A2DP audio streaming and simple “one-touch” pairing. The compact clip-backed housing has buttons for music navigation, volume and phone functions. For hands-free calling, the internal microphone features noise suppression, echo elimination and duplex sound. Operates for up to 6 hours (150 hours on standby) per charge of the built-in li-ion battery. Small and lightweight, it clips easily to a pants or shirt pocket. Available in black, blue, pink, orange and yellow.
Specs: Bluetooth A2DP; range: 30 feet; 6 hrs play/150 hours standby.
MSRP: $40 US
Beats Electronics has redesigned its Studio headphones with a new DSP engine, adaptive noise cancellation and longer operating time, in a more comfortable, streamlined enclosure that weighs in at 13% lighter than its predecessor. The Beats audio processor delivers the high impact sound that artists want to hear. New adaptive noise cancellation has 2 modes: music and ANC only to set the maximum noise reduction relative to music and the environment. Softer cushions, lighter weight and an ergonomic bellows (ear interface) create a comfortable custom fit with low leakage. The headband is hinged in two places to fold the headphone into a small size.
The new rechargeable battery operates for up to 20 hours and is monitored by a LED fuel gauge on the earcup. Plugging in and unplugging the cable turns the headphone on and off. For smartphones and tablets, a multi-function button on the RemoteTalk cable answers calls and enables music navigation. Available in 4 colors: black, white, red and orange. Comes with USB charging cable, USB power adapter, 3.5mm audio cable, a RemoteTalk cable, a hard shell carrying case and cleaning cloth.
Specs: weight: 0.26 kg; operating time: 20 hours; recharge time: 30 minutes.
MSRP: $300 US.
The AT-PHA20iS is a portable headphone amplifier with phone-answering capability. It’s specifically designed to boost the power of smartphones. The high-resolution amplifier in the AT-PHA20iS features a “direct drive” topology that extends low frequencies and reduces distortion. It has 3.5mm input (4-pole, from the phone) and output jacks (for headphones).
The built-in microphone is an omni-directional capacitor-type. On the front is a multi-function call-answer button that also controls music playback. On the sides are a volume control, on/off switch and mini-USB port. Powered by a Li-Poly battery, the amp runs for up to 10 hours (30-hours on standby) and can be recharged from either a computer USB port or an optional AC adapter. Comes with a USB charging cable. Available in white or black.
Specs: rated output – 30mW per channel @ 16 ohms, freq. response – 20Hz to 50kHz, dimensions – 55.8 x 35.5 x 13.8mm (h,w,d mm), weight 26 gr.
MSRP: $100 US.
The Maxell MXH-RF500 pumps prodigious volume by mounting 10mm drivers in dual-chamber construction enclosures to produce a clear midrange and powerful bass within a wide immersive soundfield. Maxell redesigned the eartips to seal better in the ear canal for the highest quality sound and ambient noise rejection. The RF500′s 0.3m cord terminates in a 2.5mm plug and can be extended to 1.2m with the included 0.9m extension. Comes with 3 sizes of eartips, one 0.9m extension and a 3.5mm adapter. Available in black, white and red. The MXH-RF500S adds smartphone features like an inline controller and microphone.
Specs: impedance: 16 ohms, sensitivity: 107dB/mW, power handling: 50mW.
MSRP: $80 to $90 US.
Rokit Boost’s Swage headphones feature noise cancellation as well as Bluetooth connectivity (version 2.1 + EDR). The supra-aural earpieces and lightweight design pair with any Bluetooth-enabled tablet or phone. A talk microphone for phone is built into the right earpiece. For music navigation and call answering, Rokit has provided a set of multi-function buttons on the right earpiece: Play/Stop/Answer, Volume Up/Down and Prev/Next. The internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery supplies up to 8 hours of playback time. Available in white or black.
Specs: Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, 8-hour playback, rechargeable Li-Ion battery.
MSRP: $50 US.
Bundled with the new LG G2 phone, the Quadbeat 2 earphones improve the tonal balance of the original Quadbeat for more natural sound, deeper bass and lower distortion. The nozzle structure of this in-canal earphone has been re-designed to fit a new rounded-surface ear cushion, comfortable for long intervals. LG’s flat cord resists tangles and terminates in a 3.5mm plug. The inline 3-button remote (Play/Pause, Volume Up and Down) gives positive feedback when pressed. Available in black or white. Comes with 3 sizes of rubber tips.
Specs: impedance: 24 ohms; sensitivity: 97dB (at 3mW); max. power: 20mW.
Price: included with LG G2 phone or as a separate accessory – price TBD.