VE Monks Plus Earbuds (red) Review Diary

This is a very impromptu thing, a new Review Diary (review developing in progress, diary-style) for the …VE Monk Plus in red. This is a companion to the useful Text and Pictures Only Unboxing post that includes close-ups of things that can help in deciding (plug size, earbud diameter, etc). I forgot to weigh them, but I’ll do that soon…

vemonk_in_the_bag

MUSIC KEYBOARD TEST

Wow this thing is pretty good for a $5 earbud. I connected it to a 61-key basic Casio keyboard and played random keys/things for about half an hour. The default piano setting sounds very piano-ish. A lot of closed over/on-ears sound less piano-ish than this. Successive drum “beats” did not have bloat or sprawl or awkwardness. The string medleys sound good too, but perhaps not as good as the piano. Playing the keys end-to-end back-and-forth did not reveal anything offensive either.

It doesn’t come with a 1/4″ adapter, but it can fit into just about any 1/4 to 1/8 adapter, I just hooked it to whatever random adapter was on the keyboard.

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Unboxing the VE Monk Plus Earbuds (red)

Temptation won, and the price was definitely right (under $9 delivered), so I jumped on the red VE Monk earbud bandwagon! These are true earbud, I haven’t put on earbuds for so long, I forgot how they feel, muscle-memory wants to put them inside the ear :)… UPDATE: for more these earbuds, check our on-going diary-style review

Delivery

I purchased them from Massdrop, and they arrived in a typical 9×7 inch bubble mailer, with Massdrop logo tape on the back. The earbuds are in the black shiny pack, which one may confuse for treats at a market 🙂

vemonk_package_size

vemonk_red_massdrop_tape

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New Headphones at IFA 2016

Time flies and the annual IFA 2016 has arrived. This post will track some of the many new headphones that are revealed at the trade show and elsewhere in parallel with the trade show (smaller manufacturers may not be able to afford a big trade show presence with fanfare and presentations and such, so they have their new launches at home).

LATEST UPDATE: this post will be updated many times as I find and add more and more headphones… TIP: if you are not seeing the correct video embeds, do a hard refresh of the page (eg CTRL-F5 on Firefox)…

TABLE of CONTENTS

The following have been posted below in this long post:

  • Apple: Goodbye Headphone Jack, Hello Lightning, and Wireless Earpods and new Beats 3 and X
  • LG V20 “Phone as DAP”
  • Sony Walkman NW-A30
  • Beyerdynamic Byron Earphone Trio
  • Sony Signature line Head-Amp and two new Walkman DAPs
  • Schiit Jotunheim non-DAC/amp DAC/amp
  • the Sennheiser consumer models (4/2 series)
  • RHA two in-ears and a DAC/amp
  • Sony MDR-Z1R flagship
  • Audeze Planar In-Ears (Sine and i3)
  • four new Sennheiser HD-5xx headphones
  • B&W P7 Bluetooth
  • Sony MDR-1000X ANC/BT
  • Bragi “The Headphone” and IBM Watson co-operation

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Using Back To School Doorbusters as Cheap Earphone (and Headphone) cases

From late June until September every year, many of the big chain stores across the country run a variety of “Back to School” sales. Some of the items that are featured as doorbusters or on sale or as freebies can be repurposed by the thrifty as …earphone and headphone cases.

Having said that, the price of the headphones has to match the price of the doorbuster “cases”. Not a good idea to put $1000 Custom IEMs in a $1 box, but $10 earphones, why not? 🙂

$1 Office Depot Clearance (more details on these coming later)

As of mid-September 2016, Office Depot and Max has put some of their house-brand supplies on clearance for $1 each. These could make great earphone containers.

I plan to post about each one of the above here, “modeling” with earphones inside, but until, then you can get a brief description of each one of the six boxes at this post. UPDATE: they are also available via the Office Depot website.

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Unboxing the Chromecast Audio (text and pictures only)

This is the first in (hopefully) a series of posts on the Chromecast Audio. It is a practical text and pictures unboxing of the device. As ridiculous as unboxings may feel to some, they are the most objective part of a review since they don’t depend on one’s ears or biology or audio-philosophy or musical preferences 🙂

The packaging is practical and recyclable, nothing fancy but pretty good considering this is a $35 item. Here’s the front and the back, the ruler for size purposes.

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cca_box_back

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Skullcandy Grind Wireless: What’s Inside The Box? (Unboxing Pictures and Text)

If you are a fan of bluetooth headphones, in this post, we use pictures and text (no audio, no video) to show you what’s included with the Skullcandy Grind Wireless (bluetooth) headphones and close-ups of the important parts. A review will come later. Given the nature of audio and human perception, physiology and psychology, one could argue that an unboxing is the most objective part of a review 🙂

The Box

This is the front of the box, followed by the side of the box that describes the main features. The “12 hour battery” is a testable specification, something I’ll be paying attention to during the review later on.

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New Headphones at CES 2016

How time goes by! CES 2016 is already here, so this is a good opportunity to summarize some of the many new headphones that got revealed over there. CES is a tech show, so the announcements tend to lean more on the tech side of things, while more esoteric audiophile products tend to get revealed at related events. But that’s only a blanket rule of thumb! This time around we are grouping the new products by category, not by manufacturer…

NOTE: this post includes embedded YouTube videos by the manufacturers. Often, the hype is strong with manufacturer videos, so take everything you see and hear with a grain of (sea) salt!

NOTE #2: this article is a work in progress… More and more will be added in the next few hours and days…

LATEST ADDITIONS: added various Audio Technica products… Apologies for the delays in updates…

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New Headphones at CES 2015

CES 2015 is here and while the focus *cough* hype *cough* is on wearables and the “internet of things”, there is action in the world of headphones as well, not just ones “touching” the hype 🙂 There’s wooden Denon, new Monster flagship, more from Philips, lambskin BeoPlay and a brand new four figure audiophile Sony Walkman (among other things).

This is just the beginning, more will be added in the next few days as I go through all the CES 2015 action. If you need a refresher or a comparison point, here’s our round-up of the CES 2014 action.

Latest Update: 1/20/15 at 11:57pm EST – added Sennheiser Momentum M2, along with Bluetooth versions of Momentum and Urbanite, and new RS xx5 wireless series…

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Yamaha EPH-M100 In-Ears Review Diary

We now have our first review diary for in-ear headphones, starting with the new Yamaha EPH-M100. This is posted diary-style, the latest updates go on top. This format speeds up sharing my impressions, versus waiting until the complete review is finished, which could take weeks/months – I guess I caught the GRRM bug of ever-sprawling and ever-expanding 🙂 The Holidays caused a delay in the start of this, but here we go…

For comments, questions, corrections, suggestions, and such, please feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment below.

How well does the 3-button in-line remote work?

On Apple devices (iPods, iPads, iPhones) all is well since this is an MFi device. There are three buttons, a Volume UP, a Volume DOWN, and the Middle Button. The up and down increase and decrease volume as expected. The Middle Button switches between Play and Pause with a One press. Two presses take you to the Next track. Three presses take you to the Previous track. These are quick click-click-click presses, not leisurely ones. If they are not behaving as such, before you declare them lemons, check the Settings of your app or device, some apps allow you to override the default behavior or may have default presets that are different. For example, in some Podcast apps or Audiobook apps the Next/Previous functionality may be mapped to 30 second jumps forward and backward instead.

On Windows Phone and Firefox OS, none of the buttons work, it pains me to say. I used the Nokia Lumia 520 running Windows 8.1 (Xbox Music, 7digital, Audible) and the ZTE Open Firefox OS smartphone. Music still plays of course, but there is no response at all to the buttons. You have to adjust volume from the device.

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Yamaha EPH-M100 In-Ears: What’s Inside The Box? (Unboxing Pictures and Text)

The $100 in-ears headphone market is a busy spot, with many companies offering alternatives, including the frequently recommended Shure SE-125s. Yamaha too is joining the party with the brand new EPH-M100 In-Ears, and they are already shipping from Amazon.com and other places. This post is a pictures-and-text unboxing. A separate “Review Diary” (like the one we did for the Shure SRH-145) will go live a couple of days later…

The box is 8×5 inches, and around 2 inches tall. You can see its front face (on a blue background) below…

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