Andrea said: Driven by a good amplifier -- whether from ADL or anyone else -- they deliver the dynamics that make music come alive. And all of that is wrapped up in a fairly compact, unobtrusive package.
The gist: Really good ‘phones for vocals.
Garrett said: I found the Astell&Kern AK120 indispensable for portable listening -- it sounds great with all types of music, its dual DACs providing fabulous resolution, speed, and great timing. While I can’t quite say it matches live performance or even the sound of my reference system, it nonetheless makes possible reference-quality personal listening.
The gist: Maybe the best portable for sound quality.
Rad said: High in comfort and musical fidelity, low in weight, they’d be a good choice for a commuter, a frequent flyer, or someone who spends time in close proximity to machine noises.
The gist: Nice noise-canceling design from a real audiophile company.
Rad said: Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-WS70 Solid Bass headphones sounded very good with 90% of the music I played. They’re stylish, and except for the cable connection, seem solidly built. They also cost less than comparable headphones. But I couldn’t listen long to them before the heat from the earcups became unbearable. That might not affect you, but it’s something to keep in mind, particularly if you have larger ears. If it’s not a problem, the ATH-WS70s should give you excellent sound from most of your music collection.
The gist: Good sounding but they get hot on your ears.
Garrett said: The EM5813s are in another league entirely from the [Monster] Turbines, providing me with portable sound on a level that satisfies my audiophiliac need for clarity, depth, speed, great bass, and real richness. I don’t feel deprived when I’m listening to them -- quite the opposite. Instead, they’re another means of serious listening. And at $425 retail, they’re a definite no-brainer. Get them. They’re fabulous!
The gist: Really good audiophile earphones from a cable maker.
Rad said: The Jabra Revos are built like a battleship, are comfortable to wear, have great sound, can be used wireless or wired, and have an imaginative and useful app. At its price, it should fill the bill for many listeners.
The gist: Well-built headphones that are ready to hit the road.
Rad said: If you don’t need frills and are looking for stylish headphones with solid bass and that sound terrific with any kind of music, JVC’s HA-M55X Xtreme Xplosives ought to do the trick -- and their low price will leave you a lot of cash to spend on tunes.
The gist: Good headphones on the cheap.
Andrea said: A neutral sound from top to bottom will work well with any style of music, and the n4’s slightly forgiving top end will cause offense to none. All wrapped up in an attractive package, the Miniwatt n4 is well worth a look -- and, of course, a listen.
The gist: You gotta love the leather wrap.
Rad said: If you prefer a sound that’s warmer and less detailed, and are looking for a really solid build, a comfortable fit, and bass to burn, the Munitios should suit you just fine.
The gist: Nice build quality and a warmish sound should find these a market.
Hans said: Shure’s SE535s are remarkably coherent, and supremely pleasing to listen to for hours on end. Their full-range sound is bound to please the great majority of listeners, and their included accoutrements ensure that they’re prepared for most any partnered device and pair of ears. Whether used casually, as I mostly did, or with a dedicated headphone amplifier and D/A converter, these earphones excelled.
The gist: Upgrade your iPhone with these babies.