December 25, 2020 § Leave a comment
The trade offs are what one usually finds with Bluetooth headphones: dynamics and resolution, though very good for a wireless headset, do suffer compared to a wired rig of comparable price. There’s always a slight fuzziness to imagine, a slight looseness and lack of impact to the bass and a general lack of resolution when compared to wired operation. The real test is when you turn on the active noise-cancellation, something modern headphones have improved on, but which remains a pain point for many headphones. I’m happy to report such is not the case for the Dali IO 6. There was no weird sensation of pressure on my ears as with many noise-cancelling headphones, and neither was there a complete destruction of tonality. There may have been a very slight bit more edge to the upper mid-range, but even this was extraordinarily small, and not bothersome to my fussy ears. What makes for a great home headphone makes for a great travel headphone, and the active noise-cancellation works great and means you can travel while enjoying excellent fidelity with these if you wish.
December 19, 2020 § Leave a comment
I guess I can say this is next feature is included, but not really, though it is free to download. It is the Bowers & Wilkins headphone app. And before you recoil into your chair with a defeated sigh, the app is not a mandatory fixture of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Carbon Edition headphones feature set, but it does indeed offer a extra optimizations and few useful features. Notably the ability to tailor the amount of ambient noise allowed to enter the headphones while noise cancellation is active. Another enjoyable feature is the provided set of B&W Soundscapes, which include things like ocean noises, campfires, and rain forest drizzle. Soothing and calming sounds for sure, and a nostalgic reminder of why noise-cancelling headphones originated. For a sense of peace and quiet.
December 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
In my conclusions, especially as I get older, I try to avoid heaping superlatives when I review a product that I genuinely like because I never know when that next better product will come along and take me by surprise. However, I’m finding it really hard not to just openly gush about the STAX SR-007A and both of the SRM-700 series headphone amps. Yes, it is a roughly $5000 dollar personal listening set and you may be saying, A- That’s crazy! Or, B- Well it’s $5000 dollars and who wouldn’t rave about a personal toy that cost that much? Both would be missing the point. Electrostatic headphones sound like nothing else out there and anyone who is serious about their headphone listening should experience a pair for themselves to understand what I mean. The STAX SR-007A themselves hit that sweet spot for me in terms of comfort and performance unlike anything else, from a headphone standpoint, that I have experienced thus far. They produce pure, weightless musical energy seemingly devoid of distortion and effort and at a volume that can well surpass reasonable need. And they produce all the bass I could want in the bargain. Combined with either one of the STAX SRM-700 amplifiers, one is presented with a reference level home listening setup that could ruin a person to accept anything less. Is there something better out there? Perhaps, but I’d wager not without a significant increase in cost and for an incremental gain at that. If budget were not an issue I would purchase these outright and use them as a reference. I find them to be outstanding in every regard and that I had every right to be in awe of their ancestors in my youth.
December 12, 2020 § Leave a comment
“With the vast majority of headphones and in-ears I attached to the Arche I found no mismatch issues except with the highly sensitive 119 dB Earsonics EM10 CIEM. With EM10 there was a slight, low-level, hiss. With my most inefficient headphones, the Beyer Dynamic DT-990 600 ohm version, the Arche had more than adequate drive to produce high volume levels with lots of juice left over.
While not ergonomically perfect, the Focal Arche does most things right, both in terms of sonics and due to its built-in headphone profiles and amplifier options, making the Arche an impressive first-time electronic offering.
December 8, 2020 § Leave a comment
Looks-wise, the Kaldas Research RR1 Conquest is certainly unlike anything else out there on the market. It has a ‘sci-fi-meets-industrial’ kinda vibe, and it looks all business with its exposed wires on the outside of the cups and overall Spartan aesthetic. Build-wise, the RR1 employs a mix of spring steel for the headband, anodised machined aluminum for the headband assembly, and injected thermoplastic for those signature, large earcups. Finding your perfect fit with the RR1 requires you to get a bit ‘hands-on’. Kaldas supplies a pair of allen wrenches for adjusting the length of the headband, as well as the amount of articulation on the earcup yokes. It’s a little finicky, but it’s certainly in keeping with the RR1’s ‘industrial’ DNA and no doubt helps to keep the RR1’s price-point as sharp as it is. On the head, the RR1 is supremely comfortable after a few adjustments here and there and it’s certainly an ‘all-day’ proposition due to the fact that it tips the scales at only 366 grams. While the replaceable pads themselves are quite thin, the cup size is generous with plenty of room for my ears. Clamp-force is fairly light, but the leather-like suspension headband has to do most of the work
December 6, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The bespoke nature of the Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 is a nice bonus at this price point. Surprisingly, it’s not common in the space outside of custom in ear monitors, which by their very nature have to be customized to fit the wearer’s ear. The colors are art in and of themselves, and the way the material is crafted pushes the quality to something above and beyond the average. It’s very original in that way, a slight escape from the black plastic or sanded wood options from the rest of the competition.
Sound quality is equally unique to the headphone. It’s artful and constructed with purpose. The low bass is tasty, while the vocals have weight and presence to them. One of the best constructed headphones I have ever reviewed. Sturdy, heavy and audiophile to the core. It’s surely one to add to your collection, the variation from the pack is just enough to add something (aka fun) without detracting. But if it’s your only top tier headphone, you probably wouldn’t need another to fill the space.