This Week In Headphoolia #21: New Blind Testing Experiment [week ending 7/16/17)

Game of Thrones Season 7 begins today and while you may be anxiously waiting for it, here’s a new edition of our weekly e-zine (okay, round-up?) that is “This Week in Headphoolia”. This covers up to Sunday 7/16/17. If you finish this and need more, check our previous 20 installments in the Headphoolia archives.

We are going to use a similar format as the previous installment that came out mid-week. Both video content and text-and-pictures articles are mixed together in each category. They are however easily designated in each entry, so if you have a strong preference either way, you can tell easily. Yes, this is a two for one special this week, we posted two installments 🙂

AUDIO SHOWS

It’s Los Angeles Audio Show time, aka LAAS, and Innerfidelity was there with a nice text and pictures report on their website, and also seven video clips added to their YouTube Channel featuring, so far, Chord, Cayin, Campfire, Astell and Kern, Ultrasone, and more.

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This Week In Headphoolia #20: CANJAM (and Winter) Are Coming (up to 7/9/17)

All apologies for the delay in publication of this edition. I had assembled all the articles on time, but then pre-PrimeDay madness hit, and wasn’t able to post it by Sunday night. This only covers up to Sunday 7/9/17, so another edition will be posted by Sunday covering this week. A two for one special this week 🙂

Today’s “soundtrack” while preparing: I am riding an “Elephant” with White Stripes, playback through the Fiio X1 with the Philips SHP9500S open-back over-ears, which I’m finding, while not bad at all, they are definitely over-hyped in terms of sound. But then again, they are a sub-$60 over-ear headphone with long-time wearing comfort whose comfort puts to shame many much more expensive models…

CAUTION: this is posted earlier in the day than usual, which means my brain is “fresher”, which means a dramatic increase in bad puns and seques (plural noun per Bing) than usual 🙂

In this edition, I am grouping posts by headphone size, rather than drawing the line on video versus text-and-pictures. Let me know if you have a preference on groupings and categorizations 🙂

LONDON CAMJAM 2017 PREVIEW

Headfi is back with another studio production, a 52 minute video preview of the 2017 CanJAM in London. No, not Kentucky, London, England 🙂 You can also find it YouTube-embedded below…

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Unboxing the Klipsch S4A (II) In-Ears

I bought this from the clearance section of an Office Depot-Max store as it was preparing to close-down. The price was right, and I was curious to see what is it with Klipsch that audiophiles hate and the general population likes 🙂 This is only the unboxing though, opinion on the sound will come in the review in the future. I try to keep unboxings as objective as possible 🙂

The box calls it “S4A” but inside the cardboard with the barcode and serial number it says it is model “S4A II”. Looking at the pictures at the Klipsch website verifies that these are actually the “S4A II” but the box didn’t bother to mention it on the outside 🙂

It is an all cardboardy box on the outside (but not the inside):

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This Week In Headphoolia #19 (up to 7/2/17)

Another week is in the books, and so it is time for another one of our little “e-zines”. If you missed any previous episodes, you can find them all waiting for you in the Headphoolia archives. If you want to get them as soon as they are published, we have a free full-text RSS Feed. The soundtrack for this week’s edition is Rush’s especially-steampunky “Clockwork Angels” (which is also a book written by (trigger warning for OG Dune fans) Kevin Anderson).

EXPERIMENTS

Trigger warning for Reddit Admins. A Zeos video is next! In this 35 minute video, Zeos and Chewbacca perform a Sony MDR-Z1R burn-in experiment! The first comment (pinned) in the YouTube comments includes a user-generated frequency analysis (files available through Google Drive).

OPINIONS

The Sony MDR-Z1R measurements and reviews created a bit of a kerfuffle among some audiophiles, and Tyll is back with a new post opining on the whole situation and his approach going forward.

If you have a couple of hours to spare, there is a loooooong discussion of this in the Super Bestest Audio Friends forum.

This article from 1992 was resurfaced at Stereophile and still rather relevant, “The Improvement Disease”. It talks about audio in general, not headphone-specific.

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Smartphones with Bluetooth 5

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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This Week in Headphoolia #18: Neutrality discussion, Focal has a new consumer line-up, and more (up to 6/25/17)

Don’t look at the calendar now but we are exactly at the halfway point to Christmas! Time sure does fly. Time to start preparing gift lists 🙂

This is a never-ending topic in the hardcore forums and websites, what is a Neutral headphone? METAL 571 takes a stab at this in a new 15 minute YouTube video, which you can also find YouTube-embedded below:

FOCAL refreshes their consumer headphones line-up

Focal has the biggest expansion so far of their consumer headphone line-up, coming on the heels of their two high-end headphones (ELEAR and UTOPIA). They have an over-ear bluetooth headphone, along with a mix of new wired and bluetooth earphones…

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Unboxing the Monoprice Desktop Headphone Amp (PID 11567)

We have a brand new detailed unboxing post for you today! I purchased this with mine own money (that’s a GRRM-ism) when it was on sale at the Monoprice website. It is the Monoprice Desktop Headphone DAC/amp, with the unceremonious model name number of 11567. PID is just Product ID, it is not part of the name 🙂

The unboxing post below is in timeline order. We start with a sealed box and proceed to remove things out of boxes. Because there are many boxes 🙂 Opinion on how it performs and other measurements (weight, cable length, etc) will be in the upcoming review. Please feel free to yell at me if it doesn’t get posted in the future 🙂

On the pictures: please forgive the “potato pictures”. If I wait until I can take perfect pictures, nothing will ever get done and posted 🙂 I am using a lighting contraption with an LED light strip up top ~ you see that in the second picture below. I left it in the picture so you’ll know it’s that ~ you see parts of it in some of the other pictures below that may appear strange and out of the blue 🙂

QUICK NAVIGATION

+ Outside the Box
+ Inside the Box
+ The actual Monoprice DAC/Amp

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This Week in Headphoolia #17: Sony Z1R measurefefe (up to 6/17/17)

Another week is in the books, and we have another This Week In Headphoolia round-up. Speaking of round-ups, Father’s Day is always a good time for headphone sales. We rounded up some of them

SONY MDR-1Z MEASUREMENT differences

Headfi published their Sony MDR-Z1R measurements using their own setup powered by GRAS and Audio Precision, and their measurements are noticably different from the Innerfidelity measurements and Tyll discusses the differences at IF.

One next possible step is for the two to exchange headphones and measure them with their own setups. This could partially help resolve the question as to whether the two headphones measured are different, or the difference is in the measurement setups.

LISTEN WITH YOUR EARS, NOT WITH YOUR WALLET

Often the price (and relative price) of a consumer good is assumed to have some correlation to the product’s quality. But that’s not always the case. This varies from product category to product category, but needless to say, it’s almost never a linear correlation, audio or not.

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List of Smartphones Without a 3.5mm Headphone Jack

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.

LATEST UPDATE: June 14 in 2017 ~ the companies are listed in alphabetical order. Under each company, the smartphones are listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first)…

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This Week In Headphoolia #16 (up to 6/11/17)

Time won’t stand still and another week zoomed by, which brings us to a new installment of our weekly round-up, aptly (?) named This Week in Headphoolia (all previous, and future editions there)…

AUDIO SHOWS

+ three days of coverage of the Los Angeles Audio Show at Stereophile

+ part #1 of the High End Munich Audio show at Headphone Guru

OPEN vs CLOSED VIDEOS

The videos in this segment compare and contrast open versus closed headphones. Before you scream “apples vs oranges”, note that one can compare anything with anything ~ as long as one understands what they are comparing 🙂

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