Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Audio Technica ATH-ESW10JPN

Yay! My new limited edition Audio Technica ATH-ESW10JPN is on its way from Tokyo! I'll be sure to post pictures and impressions as soon as they arrive. Stay tuned! They should be here within the next few days.

Monday, October 20, 2008

HA-S700 Update (sort of)

I sort of gave up on the HA-S700. I let them burn if with pink noise for another 10 hours or so but they did not get any better. So, for the benefit of anyone who reads this, I gave them to my sister since she listens to books on tape day and night. I think I'll give them another shot when they have a few hundred hours of use but for now I can not recommend them to anyone looking for sound quality. If you don't really care about great sound but want something that sounds decent and is really comfortable, looks nice (read: familiar), and is well built consider them recommended.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Cans: JVC HA-S700 - Initial Impressions

I recently bought JVC's (Victor) new HA-S700 headphones at Circuit City. I bought them since they seemed like a direct knockoff of the Bose Triport - but at a much better price. The decent Triport is vastly overpriced at $130 so I figured that I'd try the JVC "version" which cost only $50. ($35 w/ free shipping on is the best price I could find but it is currently sold out as of 8/25/2008.)

I will write a review eventually but I figure that I should let them burn in for some more time before passing judgment.

First, I will discuss comfort and style. The S700 has a very clean look and fits comfortably over my ears. They clamp my head a bit but that can be expected from new headphones. I think it is great that the ear pads are padded with memory foam. This is beneficial for both comfort and sealing purposes. The headband's extension system is also similar to that in the Triport. The HA-S700 folds inward and flat but it does not have a dual hinge for true portability.

Someone on Amazon gave these a 5 star review and said: I just bought these headphone for a trip to China. I wanted something lightweight that sounded great and the JVC hits on both items. They fold flat to make storage easy and come with a pouch. They compare very well to Bose Tri-port at half the price. Don't buy in to Bose hype !! Buy the JVC !

In my limited experience with these headphones I think that the reviewer is on the right track but may not know of other competing headphones that offer better value. Please keep in mind that my HA-S700's sound may not have truly opened up yet after 5 hours of pink noise. So far, I find the HA-S700 to have a very clean midrange presence but they lack bass definition and impact and the treble can be sibilant. (Once again I tested with an iRiver H120 and .flac music files.

Even now, if you factor in excellent comfort, sound build quality quality, decent portability and the thus unspectacular sound quality, these represent a wonderful value at ~$35. At the price range, if your primary focus is SQ, then you may want to look at the excellent sounding Panasonic RP-HTX7. However, the HTX7 is not as comfortable and does not fold. If you can spend some more I highly recommend the Denon AH-D1001 for ~$100. They are very very comfortable and sound wonderful but they do not fold like the HA-S700.

In conclusion, the JVC HA-S700 is a good looking headphone at a great price. However, if sound quality is your number one concern, there are other options.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

AT-HPP5 - Audio Technica Headphone Case

Yesterday I stopped in at AC Gears in NYC to pick up a case for my ATH-ESW9 - the AT-HPP5. It is really nicely made and has room for my IRiver too (as you can see). Now I don't need to worry about tossing my headphones into my backpack.

Here is a link to Audiocubes:
Audio-Technica AT-HPP5 Headphone Case

And here are some pictures I took. You can click to see the full pictures.




Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones

Here is a link to the ESW9 at Audiocubes. They don't carry them in their NY store any more but they are a trustworthy source of a nice selection of headphones.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

ATH-ESW9 Update (with ATH-ES7 Comparison)

I find that I use the ATH-ESW9 more than any of my other headphones. Even though I often listen to music in bed, I'll lay on my back with the ESW9 rather than on my side with the ATH-CK7 as I normally would.

The ESW9 is simply a stunning headphone and it is hard to imagine a classier design. They were a bit clampy when I bought them but the grew more comfortable very quickly. Some people (including me at first) have a hard time justifying the purchase ($275 USD for me) but they sound so much better than any other headphones I've heard in the past that my constantly nagging feeling that I need to upgrade has been quenched. The consensus on seems to be that they are the best closed portable headphone on the market and from my experience I am inclined to agree. Whether they are worth more than twice the price of the ATH-ES7 is a matter of personal opinion. The ESW9 certainly sounds much much better than the ES7 but the ES7 is a competent portable headphone and is waaaay cheaper at about $110 USD. I'll get to sound soon but as a matter of comfort the ESW9 easily beats the ES7 which is much clampier. The ESW9's lambskin earpads are a huge improvement over the pleather pads on the ES7 since they are more plush and less sweat inducing. The ESW9 also looks better on the head than the ES7 since the headband does not stick out at a funny angle. (This can be fixed on the ES7 as can be seen here. (Thanks 3X0) The ES7 also can get scuffed very easily in day-to-day use. They are both very solidly built and can easily stand portable use. They both come with carrying pouches and are both made in Japan. I don't have it yet but I think I'm going to buy this case for my ESW9 so I can toss them into my knapsack.

Alright. I've got to go so I'll save my sound impressions for later. (They are amazing ;) )

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Audio Technica ATH-CK7 Review

This post is based on a review I did for Amazon a few months ago. I have updated it slightly for the blog.

I have owned the CK7 (which is made in Japan!) for about a year now and I am still blown away each time I use them. I have owned about 20-30 other canalphones and the CK7 is my absolute favorite. The highs are sparkly and beautiful, the midrange presence is fantastic, and the bass has great impact without being "boomy" or overwhelming. The attack is excellent and these are great for rock or metal since they can keep up with a double bass. I also use them to listen to Jazz and classical music. On a high quality recording you can even make out the impact of the piano keys or the fingers strumming the guitar strings. Wind instruments have a fantastic airy quality, usually only found on more expensive headphones or speakers. They do not have a warm sound but are better for it since they are precise and technical.

The CK7 comes in a beautiful titanium housing that looks great and really protects the delicate drivers inside. I take good care of my electronics but they still tend to get tossed around since I use them almost every day. My CK7 has held up extremely well and looks as good as new.

Also of note is that the CK7 has a "Y" shaped cord unlike the "J" cord which is popular with manufacturers these days but generally not with consumers. Included in the package are 3 sizes of tips and a thin leatherette pouch.

All in all anyone looking for an amazing pair of earphones with fantastic sound and decent isolation should check these out. You will not be disappointed.

Just note that directly out of the box the CK7 can sound a bit harsh or shrill. Give them some time. The drivers need to be burned in, and after a few days of use they will really come into their own. You may want to let them play overnight before using them the first time.