Black Friday Headphones Deals for 2017

The time is right to start an on-going round-up covering some of the best Black Friday headphone deals for 2017! In fact, there are so many, I’m worried this will be too long to read. But then again, it’s better to have more than less options ~ at least up to a certain degree!

LATEST UPDATE: November 19 in 2017 at 1:40am ET… headphones are sorted by price in each category below…

This is a very long post, more after the break…

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Summary of headphone offers in the official and leaked Black Friday Ads

We are about ten days away from Black Friday 2017, and most of the Ads have either been released officially or leaked already. In this post, we have an executive summary of some of the headphones advertised for various brick and mortar retailers. This is more of a guideline for the madness ahead, as almost all of these will be price-matched online by their websites and various online sellers.

I am breaking them down by headphone type instead of by store, because there is some repetition in the offers. This way, we save us space, and increase readability 🙂

Note that some of the prices below have already been matched or even “defeated” by online dealers. The list below is a reference of what’s offered in the Black Friday Ads. I will have a separate post with the latest active deals. Stay tuned for that. I will add a link to it here when it’s ready.

UPDATE 11/18/17: our giant round-up that summarizes the latest active online Black Friday 2017 Headphone Deals is now LIVE! Bookmark it!

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Unboxing the House of Marley Uplift II (EM-JE093) earphones

I believe these are the first “wood” earphones I’ve touched if memory serves me well. We have a new unboxing post for you, text and pictures, no annoying audio/video, it is a second generation model, the House of Marley Uplift II (EM-JE093) earphones.

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Unconventional Headphone Hacks

This is a brand new diary-style post that I will keep adding to it over time. As the title suggests, we’ll have unconventional and off-beat headphone hacks. Randomness is key here 🙂 They are posted in reverse chronological order, so the newest ones will appear at the top. You can read them in any order, this is not a book 🙂

#1: BEANIES AS EARPHONE HOLDERS

Do you have earphones that refuse to stay in your ears? Are you looking for a way to “encourage” the earphones not to fall out of your ears so easily? Well, how about a beanie hat? Wearing it on top of the earphones gently holds them in place, so they are less likely to fall out of your ears. Or even if they get out of the ear, they won’t fall on the ground or drop into your drink 🙂

Note though that depending on your situation, they may slightly alter the perceived sound signature, especially if the earphones don’t isolate very well (by design or you can’t find a perfect eartip fit).

This is mayhaps more helpful when the weather co-operates. I’m not sure how many people would be willing to wear a beanie in 100+ F / 40+ C degree weather 🙂

List of Smartphones Without a 3.5mm Headphone Jack

LATEST UPDATE: November 1 in 2017 ~ Razer joins the list of “traitors” :)… the big Google day, the Pixel 2 ditching the headphone jack with Google releasing $159 wireless but not truly wireless “Pixel Buds”. The War for the Headphone Jack got real!

Even the best of futurists sometimes have a hard time beating a coin toss with their predictions, so I have no way of knowing where the headphone jack will be in five or ten or twenty or thirty years from now. At the moment however, it reigns supreme in smartphones, despite some high profile defectors to the Lightning cable (Apple) and USB-C (a few Android models).

Given the situation today, it is a lot easier to keep track of the smartphones that do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, rather than keep track of all the ones that do (the vast majority of them). There is only a handful of defectors so far. 2016 created a mini panic, but as of mid 2017, the existential crisis that was predicted did not materialize.

Samsung’s Galaxy 8 co-flagships along with the LG G6 and Sony XZ*, Huawei P10 flagships continued to embrace the headphone jack. Heck, even the brand new iPad Pro 10.5″ has a headphone jack 🙂 But the year is not over yet, we are still waiting for the new Note 8, LG V30, Pixel 2, iPhone 8, Moto Z flagships.

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New Headphones Tracker

LATEST UPDATE on 10/25/17 – the Beats Studio 3 is here (hide them from your audiophile friends!)

This is version II of the “New Headphones Tracker”! Version I was at our deals blog, but this is a better place for it, since the former focuses on quick short posts, while this focuses on longer and more reference-y posts. Here we will keep track of some of the latest and hardest to find new headphones.

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Headphone Jack Crisis Episode II: The Google Menace

Episode I of the “Headphone Jack Crisis” was triggered by Apple when they removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 models in the Fall 2016. I never got around to writing about that contemporaneously, but I am writing about Episode II: The Google Menace! About a year after Apple, Google is removing the headphone jack for their new PIXEL 2 flagship smartphones!

LATEST UPDATE: 10/17/17 – this post is presented “diary style”. The latest updates are on top…

THIS IS GOOGLE’S VERSION OF APPLE’S MFI?

Apple has its famous MFI (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) program with certified products. Google is now implementing their own [apparently forgetting that they are not an iOS monopoly like Apple], and they now have an official list of “Made for Google” headphones whose common thread so far is supporting “Google Assistant”. The wired headphones on the list have USB-C input, and in addition to the PixelBuds, they have these models so far:

  • Libratone QAdapt In-Ear USB-C
  • TMA-2 Modular Presets
  • upcoming Master & Dynamic earphones? (because the models listed there are all 3.5mm plugs)

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Smartphones with Bluetooth 5

LATEST UPDATE: October 4, 2017 – the Pixel 2 phones are here, and they support Bluetooth 5, but not just that, they also support LDAC, apt-X and apt-X HD…

Bluetooth is a tug of war between convenience and compression. Some vow never to use it on the grounds of the additional compression step. Others will under certain circumstances. Certainly, after one ruins enough headphones and earphones during specific tasks and activities, one may be more inclined to give bluetooth a chance, at least during those activities.

Which brings us to Bluetooth 5, a point of hope and hype that you can listen over bluetooth without noticeably sacrificing audio quality. It is too early to tell as of June 2017, as we only have a couple of smartphones and no headphones supporting Bluetooth 5. But IFA is just around the corner, and so is CES 2018, so we should expect more action on this front in the next few months.

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New Headphones at IFA 2017

LATEST UPDATE on 9/30/17: I fell behind by a few weeks, but now I’m adding more of the IFA 2017 era new headphones 🙂

Another year has flown by, and here we are, it’s time for a new wave of products ushered out in Berlin at IFA 2017 and all around the world at the same time period. CES in Vegas typically brings us a lot of new headphones, but IFA in Berlin too gives us new gear as well!

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • Schiit Loki Mini hardware equalizer
  • Shure launches bluetooth versions of SE series
  • Bose QC35 II falls in love with Google Assistant
  • Bose joins the Truly Wireless craze
  • Monoprice M565 Open-Back Over-Ear Planars
  • KOSS Two New Gaming Over-Ear Headphones: Open or Closed
  • Sennheiser IE 80 S earphones
  • Beats Studio 3 Wireless Over-Ears
  • Pioneer HDJ-X DJ headphone trio
  • Sony expands 1000X line with WH-1000X M2 ANC/BT Over-Ears, WI-1000X Neckband Bluetooth Earphones, and WF-1000X Truly Wireless
  • Monoprice Monolith M300 planar IEMs
  • Beyerdynamic Aventho Bluetooth headphones
  • Audio Technica $2K ATH-ADX5000 open-back flagship
  • various RHA earphones
  • various gaming headsets

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