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Audiophile Column No 22. End of the year results
I would like to give a final look at all gadgets I reviewed during the year and choose the most interesting ones. Some of them are mass products, while others are quite rare. I cannot mention everything, which deserves attention, but I will try my best.>.
Ultimate Ears triple.fi 10 vi earbuds
I cannot fail to mention legendary "triple". The sound is excellent, while the price (and ergonomics) is a serious issue. The sales came to an end and you can only purchase the model for $300-400 instead of $200.
On the other hand, it is the best accessory for iPhone. Unfortunately, I cannot get a cable with remote for my UE11PRO (its review will be published in due time), but that combination with iPhone would have been sublime as a backup
Teclast T51 8 GB touchscreen player
This high quality player has inconvenient controls and costs $150-200, which is not that bad. Sadly, its shipments are not regular and in Russia it has become a rarity of late. Demand seems to stay high.
After new models from Head-Direct hit the shelves this player lost some of its luster, but it is still one of the best options available.
Monster Turbine Pro Gold earbuds
This gadget was a revelation of the year for me. The dynamic model offers sound typical of circumaural headphones accompanied with impressive noise insulation. The initial price of $290 easily increased to $420, but a pre-owned sample can be bought for a more adequate price.
If you are lucky to find this model with a remote for iPhone, you will get a nice bundle.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 monitor full size headphones
Excellent monitor headphones impressed me more than other circumaural models I tested this year. If you get it for $230 you must be glad. Some people complain about the ergonomics, so beware – not every pair of ears will benefit from ATH-M50.
Anyway, if you don't mind buying an amplifier, this model can be a good tool for music playback at home. The type of headphones is not that important here.
Westone UM3X earbuds with Removable Cable
This new Westone offering did not disappoint. A removable cable and high quality sound impress, but the price of $400 is a little bit too much.
There is still an ergonomics issue, but tips from the box should do the trick if you are lucky.
Sennheiser IE7 earbuds
Despite a gorgeous stereo pan of IE8 and imperious value for money offered by CX870 and CX550 I will stick to my guns. IE7 is the best Sennheiser earbuds on offer. The price ($190) is right as well.
STAX SR-001MK2 electrostatic headphones
Electrostatic headphones can be transformed into full size headphones and offer stunning sound. They can be had for $330 on some auction websites, while in Russia the price goes up twice. I would prefer to purchase them abroad for obvious reasons.
This model can substitute both full size models and earbuds, but the noise insulation is nonexistent.
In 2011 you will read reviews of even more feature-rich models - 4040 and Omega II.
Hifiman HM-601 and HM-602 players
New models in Head-Direct range represent different levels of downshifting from Hifiman HM-801. These smaller and lighter models cost less, but the sound quality is also inferior. HM-601 costs around $300, while HM-602 will fetch $450. Both can be traditionally ordered here.
I think that Head-Direct is moving in the right direction.
Ortofon Hd-Q7 amplifier
This excellent amplifier breaks many stereotypes. Excellent sound is not necessarily reserved for huge amplifiers taking up half of your table, which look ugly and heat up like a stove into the bargain. The price remains the same $620. Quite impressive!
Hifiman RE0 and RE ZERO earbuds
I agree with my friend who said that Chinese manufacturers produce decent headphones at acceptable prices. It is an excellent choice for $100. The body is made of metal, while good sound and impressive noise insulation complete the lineup.
Dell Axim X51v communicator
This old communicator powered by Windows Mobile has a decent audio sound, which differentiates it from many rivals. Wait for details during 2011. I hope it will be interesting.
Colorfly C4 player
I could only manage to get a glimpse of this model, but it doesn't make it less interesting for me. Classy sound (albeit with some defects), wooden body, analogue volume controls represented by a lever and other small touches create a good player for audiophiles. The price of €500 is equally impressive.
The list could have been continued, but I guess the gadgets I have mentioned were the best. Don't complain about the price. Advanced features cost money.
I am truly grateful to my loyal readers!
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Published - 10 December 2010
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