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 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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Shure SRH-145 On-Ear Closed-Back Review Diary

Welcome to this new semi-exciting experiment! A headphone review diary. Instead of waiting a few weeks to post my impressions, I am posting them “diary style”. The latest updates go on top, so if you are reading this for the first time, start reading from the bottom (not that there are any spoilers). So the subject/victim of our first experiment are the brand new Shure SRH 145 closed-back on-ear headphones. You can find their specs at the bottom of this post in bright orange (that’s the back of their box).

If you have any questions, feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment below…

Dec 5: Keyboard Test

All apologies for the delay in updates, a number of factors contributed. This time I used them to play the music keyboard (61-key Casio). Overall, I did not find anything offensive in the piano sounds. The only audio area that stood out in terms of issues was the first few keys of the Acoustic Bass faux-instrument. The SRH-145 simply did not have the rumble and impact as the Sony MDR-V6 bass (which is a bigger and more expensive studio headphone). I’m guessing most people use the piano sounds on a keyboard anyway? There is a certain level of oddity playing a guitar or bass or saxophone or drums on a keyboard 🙂

While they do not have the benefits of over-ears, they are fairly lightweight and comfortable for a practice or play or improv session, and they are not picky on 1/4″ adapters (they don’t come with one – see unboxing – but they worked with random standard 1/4″ adapters I randomly grabbed).

Obviously playing the keyboard is not their intended use, but they are serviceable in this fashion, in other words, you don’t have to buy another pair of headphones (unless you want to or you are a more advanced player/student with a more advanced piano/keyboard). They are certainly an upgrade over the basic $10-ish headphones included with some headphone bundles (the aforementioned Casio was bundled with a Nady pair that fell apart without much use).

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Shure SRH145 Headphones – What’s Inside The Box? (Unboxing Pictures and Text)

Shure stopped resisting the temptation and finally joined the world of consumer headphones, featuring a trio of lightweight portable on-ears. I just received the brand new SRH-145 closed-back on-ears (purchased from, and opened the box and took a few pictures while they were fresh and factory-clean (most pictures were taken on a blue background)…

The SRH 145s have an orange box, cardboard, can be disassembled, and of course recycled…



Inside the box we find:

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Shure reveals a new consumer line-up of Portable Folding On-Ears

The increasing popularity of headphones finally melted the studio-hardened hearts of Shure and they are pretty soon releasing *gasp* consumer on-ear headphones! The current shipping estimate at is 2-5 weeks. The new consumer line-up starts at $40 with the Semi-Open SRH-144 (folding, non-detachable cables on each side, replaceable ear cushions, 34 ohm impedance, 36mm drivers). Interesting choice to go with semi-open here, given how many consumers at this price-range are not necessarily familiar with the trade-offs of semi-open vs closed (vs open).

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New Headphones at IFA 2014: Sony, Sennheiser, Roam, Pioneer, Philips, and more

IFA 2014, as expected, brought up lots of new technology, and among them we had new headphones and new headphone related products! The big headlines so far: Sennheiser’s more direct attempt to grab a share of the Beats/Celebrity/Fashion headphones market while the Momentums go in-ear… Sony makes a concentrated High Definition Audio move with the MDR-Z7 headphone and XBA-Z5 earphone and a new high-definition (up to 24/192) Walkman. Sony also refreshes the MDR-1* line with a normal headphone and one with a built-in DAC… The Beats Fallout continues, Steven Lamar launches new $300 Roam Ropes… Pioneer adds another DJ headphone… Philips went on the attack new van Buuren on-ear DJ headphones and two M-series on-ears and one noise-canceller… More Philips, they revealed the world’s first headphone with a Lightning connector, the M2L…

Latest Update: Fri 9/11/14: added Philips M2L Lightning Cable headphones…

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New Headphones at CES 2014 include Sennheiser, AT SonicFuel, Star Wars by 50c, Hifiman, Streamz, Razer, etc

CES 2014 came and went and with it we got even more headphones of all kinds. We had some traditional headphones, some headphones with the now almost-obligatory mic and inline remote control but as also got some different and unusual entries, including an Android-powered headphone, touch-sensitive controls, a headphone with a built-in amp (from AT none-the-less), experimental designs from Intel, and more!

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New Headphones at IFA 2013: AKG K545, K845BT, Sony MDR-R10s, Klipsch Stylus, Philips L2 and M1BT, Urban Ears, and more

The big annual IFA 2013 technology trade show is ending in Berlin, and with it we got a handful of new headphones from some of the well-known manufacturers. The trends continue as before, more Bluetooth, more fashionable headphones, more noise-cancellation, and more mics and in-line buttons!

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Top 50 best rated headphones at Amazon (by customer reviews)

We start this new blog with the wisdom of the crowds. We take a look at the top 50 best rated headphones at based on customer reviews. The ranking is provided by Amazon using their proprietary algorithms that balance the number of reviews with the review rating. For example, a headphone with three 5-star reviews will not be ahead of a headphone with 1200 reviews and a 4.7 rating. Historically 1200 reviews are more credible than 3 reviews, so it can filter out review shenanigans and over-ear fanboys/fangirls!

The different colors and options of an individual product typically have their own individual Amazon product pages. Most of the time they often share the same pool of reviews. So the reviews of the red, green, or blue color of a headphone will go to the same review pool. However, in some other cases, each option may have its own review pool. This is how the listings are set up by Amazon, and it is beyond my control.

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