Category Archives: Headphone

Audeze iSine 20 – World’s 1st In-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones – First Impressions – If Aliens made Headphones

The Audeze iSine 20 are a world first in ear planar magnetic headphones. Audeze has loads of patents on these headphones too. There are also the world’s first headphone to include a lightning cable with an in built 24 bit DAC/Amp for iOS users, apart from the included standard 3.5mm cable.

The iSINE 20 features key specifications –

– Planar magnetic drivers for better dynamics and frequency response
– Premium materials for style and durability
– Sleek contemporary design by DesignWorksUSA a BMW group company
– Ear hooks and Earlocks for long listening comfortability
– Fluxor magnetic arrays
– Uniforce diaphragms
– 1.5m audio cable, 1/8” stereo plug input to 2-pin plug output
– 1.5m Cipher cable, Lightning plug input to 2-pin plug output
– Style In-ear, universal fit
– Transducer type Planar magnetic, semi-open
– Magnetic structure Fluxor
– Magnet type High-grade neodymium
– Diaphragm type Ultra-thin Uniforce
– Transducer size 30mm
– Maximum power handling 3W
– Maximum SPL >120dB
– Frequency response 10Hz – 50kHz
– THD <0.1% @ 100dB
– Impedance 24 ohms
– Cable type non-microphonic
– Dimension 31mm x 35mm
– Weight 20g without cable

The new iSINE Series barely weighs 20 grams, contains Audeze exclusive patented technology including power enhancing Fluxor Magnets that nearly double the magnetic driving force on the large, ultra-thin diaphragms with patented Uniforce voice-coil technology that delivers the most accurate in-ear headphones experience ever. The distortion (THD) is less the 0.1% overall even at high volumes, an amazing achievement for in-ear headphone designs.

For iOS users, there is the world’s first 24-bit Lightning cable for higher-resolution sound. Audeze’s award-winning CIPHER Lightning cable specially optimized for the iSINE Series, delivers 24-bit digital audio from iPhone/iPad/IPod to the headphones. The CIPHER cable contains a high-quality inline amplifier, digital-to-analog converter, and DSP. With the powerful DSP capabilities of the Cipher cable, the iSINE headphones deliver a vivid, almost like-you’re-there experience. Customize the sound in real-time with the Audeze iOS App. It features two presets and a 10-band equalizer that changes EQ in real time. Refine the bass levels and tamp down the highs on peaky recordings you still love to hear. The two EQ presets travel with the cable when switching devices.

I will be providing my review in due course but in the meantime, enjoy my first impressions of these extraordinary looking headphones. They are like nothing you have seen before.

Useful Links

More info & latest pricing on the Audeze iSine 10 and Audeze iSine 20

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AirPods vs BeatsX – My Final Verdict

AirPods vs BeatsX – Which headphone is my favourite?

I have now had and used both of these headphones for a while. Both contain Apple’s W1 chip that allows for a seamless connection. Once paired it is connected via iCloud to all your other Apple devices too.The faultless bluetooth connection continues over a vast distance.

These two headphones are vastly different to each other. The BeatsX have more sound isolation and consequently greater bass and depth. They can last 8 hours on a charge. The AirPods allow you to wear them for 5 hours and then the case will recharge them to get up to 24 hours usage in total, by using the case. Both headphones have a 5 or 10 mins quick charge option.

In terms of fit, the BeatsX fit inside your ear canal, whereas the AirPods sit in the ear, but they are not ear canals. For some strange reason, the BeatsX fall out unless whereas the AirPods never fell out. In terms of comfort the BeatsX takes the trump card.

If I had to choose a single pair, it would be the AirPods. I like the fact I can carry on a conversation and hear what someone is saying. I also like the wire free design which do not fall out.

What would be great is if Apple brought out the over the ear Beats headphone with the W1 chip. That would be ideal!

BeatsX Wireless Headphone Review

AirPods review

Useful Links

Latest info and pricing on AirPods
Latest pricing and more info on the BeatsX

Groov-e Rhythm Bluetooth headphones + mic review – Wired or Wireless Headphones

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Welcome to my review of the Groov-e Rhythm Bluetooth headphones with mic, that can be used in either wired or wireless mode. The headphone retails for around £29. 

The Key Features / Specifications

– 40mm drivers
– 10 hours wireless playback
– built in mic for hands free calling
– adjustable headband
– soft earpads
– removable 3.5mm audio cable 1.2m included
– micro usb cable included
– bluetooth chipset CSR 8635 v4.0
– bluetooth profiles – HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP
– charging time 2-3 hours
– standby time 300 hours
– 32 ohm, frequency 20Hz – 20K Hz
– 110db sensitivity

Video Review

Conclusion

A budget priced headphone that outperforms it price, lightweight and comfortable.

Useful Links

Groov-e Bluetooth latest pricing on Amazon

Austell&Kern XB10 – Hi Resolution Bluetooth Adapter – Review – Ideal for iOS, android & more

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Austell&Kern XB10 is a Premium Bluetooth Receiver/High Definition Adapter. Put simply it turns any pair of headphones, or speaker, into a wireless design, but retains, and even boosts the sound quality. The Austell&Kern XB10 retails for £149.

Austell&Kern are a specialist audio manufacturer. Astell&Kern believe in the power of music and so strive to provide the original sound without distortion. Their portable and home audio products offer the exact presence with tiny details bit for bit, exactly as it was recorded

The XB10 is the first bluetooth receiver/adapter to support new Qualcomm aptX HD technology. This means it includes a 24bit, high-power DAC so that it transforms smartphone sound and at the same time drives headphones harder. It even supports high-quality balanced headphones

Key Features / Specifications

– Dimensions 50 mm x 50 mm x 12.3 mm
– Weight 23 g
– Bluetooth Version Bluetooth 4.1, Class2
– Bluetooth Profile A2DP (multi), AVRCP, HFP, HSP
– Frequency Band 2.4 – 2.4835 GHz ISM Band
– Range Maximum of 10 meters
– Operating Temperature – 10°C to 45°C
– Codec SBC, AAC, aptX™, aptX™ HD
– Port 2.5mm Balanced / 3.5mm Unbalanced
– Output Level 2.5mm Balanced : 1.8Vrms / 3.5mm Unbalanced : 0.9Vrms
– Battery Type 350mAh 3.7V lithium polymer rechargeable battery
– Approximately 5 hours for music playing and phone calls
– Standby Time Up to 300 hours
– Charging Time Approximately 2 hours
– Charging Method Micro USB 5Pin (charging 5V 2A)

So what is APT-X HD? Qualcomm® aptX™ HD audio ensures your Bluetooth® wireless enabled device can deliver High Definition (HD) audio. It preserves sound data through the audio transmission, resulting in a ‘better-than-CD’ listening experience.

With aptX HD, you can enjoy listening to your music at the highest audible quality when using a wireless device. APT-X HD is indistinguishable from high resolution audio. APT-X HD enables 24-bit music quality over a Bluetooth® wireless connection. To achieve the HD sound you need a compatible music player/phone as well as the XB10.

APT-X HD is found on several smartphones. In fact the LG G5 was one of the first to feature this tech. So what does the XB10 sound like and how well does it perform. Well I paired it to my iPhone 7 Plus, Huawei Mate 9 and my friends LG G5. I then plugged my Oppo PM-3 and Sennheiser HD598 headphones into the XB10. I would have loved to have tried a pair of balanced headphones with the XB10 as the sound was phenomenal using the XB10 on all 3 of the different players. The XB10 powered both headphones with such ease.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus – the XB10 has the Apple AAC codec and sounds terrific. This is such a good solution for using your existing wired headphones without wires.
Huawei Mate 9 – The Mate 9 has the standard APT-X and again sounded really good.
LG G5 – This has APT-X HD built in so transmitted 24 bit bluetooth sound to the XB10. Truly stunning and so good this is the end of wires!

So are there any negatives. Just one. Its range is limited to 10 metres, but in reality if using the APT-X HD you do need to keep the music player/phone nearby as the bandwidth used is much higher than standard bluetooth.

Video Review

To really appreciate this dynamite piece of tech, you need to watch the video.

Conclusion

Useful Links

Austell&Kern XB10 latest pricing & more info on Amazon

More headphone & audio reviews on gavinsgadgets.

PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

Plantronics BeatBeat Pro 2 – Flagship Bluetooth Headphones – My Review

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Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Bluetooth headphones review. Welcome to my next bluetooth headphone review. This Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are the new flagship bluetooth headphones from Plantronics. They have replaced the original BackBeat Pro headphones which were excellent in their own right.

Key Features / Specifications

– Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6 (Wideband)
– Up to: 24 hours of listening time, six months’ DeepSleep
– Rechargeable, non-replaceable lithium-ion battery
– Charge Time: Up to 3 hours
– Wireless Range: Stream music up to 100 metres (330 feet)
– Multi-Point: Yes
– Microphones: Dual microphones with DSP
– A2DP: Yes
– Voice Alerts: Status alerts for remaining battery
– HP Drivers: 40 mm dynamic drivers
– In the box: BackBeat PRO 2 headphones, micro-USB charge cable, 3.5mm cable, travel sleeve
– Weight: 0.64 lbs / 289 grams

Bluetooth headphones seem to be getter better and better. Everyone wants a slice of this market, and it seems wired headphones are quickly being relegated to the bin. So it should come as no surprise that Plantronics decided to update and improve their original BackBeat Pro headphones.

So how did Plantronics improve the Pro 2’s over the original. First of all, the BackBeat Pro 2 are approximately 50g lighter. The reduction in weight makes a huge difference to the overall comfort. Next, the design of the headphone cups is now rectangular in style. This provides a better fit over the ear and this also adds to the improved comfort. The next improvement is the sound quality. The BackBeat Pro 2 still have deep bass but with more control, but now the mids and treble are improved too. This creates a wider soundstage, clearer vocals and more detail in the mids. Or in simple language, these sound fantastic and are wonderful to use over very long periods. The bass is enhanced so if you prefer a flatter sound, these aren’t for you. Personally, I have enjoyed listening to these with every genre.

However, its not just the sound quality that make these headphones special. They are firmware upgradeable but you need a mac or pc for this and if you find you are on firmware 1.8 you definitely want to upgrade it to v1.9 or above as the difference is noticeable and makes the headphones rock solid when it comes to holding the bluetooth connection. Firmware v1.8 had a few issues. I originally tried to update the firmware on my Mac, but the updater wouldn’t work. I had to use a friend’s laptop!

There is an iOS and android app that provides a help menu and a few other options. The BackBeat Pro 2 allow you to move around up to 100m away and still maintain a connection. Other features like stopping the music automatically when removing them from you head, and restarting the song when you place them back on is rather neat. Call quality was good on these too. The headphones have all the controls you could dream of as listed in the key features.

One of the aspects I like is being able to use the bluetooth connection with or without active noise cancellation. At home, in the peace and quiet, I don’t need noise cancellation. In terms of noise cancellation the BackBeat Pro 2 managed a reasonable job of removing noise but they are not as good as the Bose QC35.

Video Review

Now watch the video review to learn more about the headphones.

Conclusion

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 correct some of the weaknesses of the original BackBeat Pro’s. There are more comfortable and fit better. More importantly, they sound incredible. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Plantronics BackBeat Pro – more info & latest pricing on Amazon
The original BackBeat Pro headphones on Amazon
Link to all my headphone reviews on gavinsgadgets.

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PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

BeatsX Wireless Headphones – My Review – Are these the best Beats Headphones to date? & vs AirPods?

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BeatsX Wireless headphones went on sale on Friday 10th February 2017 on Apple’s website. They are available in grey, white, blue and black and cost £129.95.

The Key Features / Specs

– Experience authentic, clear sound
– Up to 8 hours of battery life
– Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives you 2 hours of playback
– Lightning to USB-A charging cable (short length cable in box)
– Pocket-sized carrying case
– Unique Flex-Form cable provides all-day comfort and easy pocket portability
– Eartip options provide a personalised fit and secure-fit wingtips available in box offer added stability
– Class 1 Bluetooth
– Apple W1 Chip
– RemoteTalk allows you to take calls with a built-in mic, play music, adjust volume and activate Siri
– Charges from a lightning port, short cable provide in box
– Noise isolating

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How To Setup

They instantly set up using the new Apple W1 Chip and iOS 10. Just power on and hold near your iPhone, a notification box appears, tap connect and after that you have simultaneously connected to your Apple Watch, iPad and Mac. This means no more pairing with your other Apple devices as the pairing is synced across using iCloud. The only exception is the Apple TV for some reason which will need manual pairing as will any non Apple device.

The Sound Quality

Apple describe the BeatsX sound as “authentic, clear sound with optimised noise isolation for an immersive listening experience. An innovative acoustic design delivers a clean treble response and distortion-free bass for the most natural tonality across a broad range of genres.”

Seriously, are the BeatsX possessing a natural tonality across a broad range of genres? Well, blow my socks off, because these are the first Beats headphones that have a more natural tonal response. That means there is soundstage separation (medium), there is treble and decent midrange, something that is missing off many older Beats products. And these do deliver a decent punch too.

In fact, I tried these with every genres including pop, rock, classical, dance, jazz, blues, new age and many more. The BeatsX did a stellar job with all of these plus provided a good amount of noise cancellation.

Also as these have the Apple W1 chip, the bluetooth connection range is crazy long and without any signal dropouts.

UnBoxing, Video Review and Comparison versus AirPods and other Bluetooth Headphones

Now its time to watch the next part of my review. This includes a quick unboxing, sound test, comparison with AirPods and other headphones.

Conclusion

The BeatsX are somewhat of a surprise sonically as the midrange and treble are not lost to the bass line. In fact they sound really good. With the iOS benefits of instant pairing across all Apple devices, music controls and more, these are highly recommended and for many will be preferred over the superb AirPods.

Finally, I just want to say a quick thank you to the excellent customer service at the Apple Store in Plymouth.

Useful Links

BeatsX earphones at Apple – More info
Beats headphones on Amazon

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PS. Note this was not a review sample or loan unit.

Back in Action – This is what’s coming up

For those who listen to the Tech Addicts Podcast, you will have known I have not been able to record the last 2 weeks due to being poorly.

I picked up some sort of virus that took me out for a few days, but also left my voice rather croaky 🙂

Anyway, I now have several hot gadgets that I have been testing in the background, ready for publishing the reviews and videos.

So coming up for review will be the –

Huawei Mate 9 – don’t forget to scroll back several weeks to see all the photos taken from this phone.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Bluetooth Headphones, the update to the incredible original version. These are the new flagship Bluetooth headphones from Plantronics.

Austell & Kern XB10 APT-X High Resolution Music Bluetooth Adapter with optional balanced output. This is a dream gadget for going wireless with high quality wired headphones.

Zecti 70 inch tripod. After reviewing the 50 inch version, Zecti has a new 70 inch model which I bought yesterday. Can’t wait to see this and put it through its paces.

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 – great value phone from Vodafone. I reviewed the Smart Ultra 6 a while back, so I am looking forward to this.

BeatsX Wireless headphones. Just released today. I will see how these compare to the AirPods and other bluetooth headphones.

These will all appear over the next few days to a week or so.

Pump-Audio Mix vs V2 In Ear Headphones Review & Comparison

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Pump-Audio was originally founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Adam Blair. Today the company is quickly becoming known as a high quality headphone producer in the UK and across the World.

PUMP Headphones are specifically designed for lovers of dance music.

Today I am going to be reviewing the new and soon to be released Pump-Audio Mix In Ear headphones versus the current V2 In Ear Headphones.

Key Specifications

Pump-Audio Mix In Ear

– Weight: <15g
– 3.5mm gold connector jack
– In line microphone & volume control
– Frequency range: 12hz – 28khz
– Sensitivity: 102dB (+/- 3dB)
– Passive Noise Isolation
– Silicone and Memory Foam earbuds

Pump-Audio V2 In Ear

– Frequency range: 16hz – 24khz
– Sensitivity 102db (+/- 3db)
– Impedance 18 ohms
– Passive noise isolation
– Silicone and Memory Foam earbuds
– Weight <15g
– 3.5mm gold connector jack
– In line microphone

The Review

Conclusion

If you love dance music, the Pump-Audio Mix and V2 headphones dig deep with the bass but not at the expensive of the treble. As the new Mix headphones have a wider frequency range the extra top end is slightly more refined. The Mix also has volume controls on the in line remote over the V2. Recommended for dance music fans.

Useful Links

Pump-Audio
Pump-Audio on Amazon

Note – PS. Note these were a review sample supplied by Pump Audio

Focal Utopia by Tournaire – Headphones that cost $100,000 or $110,000 with a stand! – Details

Focal have introduced probably the most expensive pair of headphones in the world.

Focal call the Utopia by Tornaire the most prestigious headphones in the world.

Focal state “This craftsman jewellery and work of art required more than a year’s work, making these headphones the most prestigious – and probably the most expensive – in the world: Utopia by Tournaire. The product was presented in September 2016 at the Tournaire boutique in Paris.”

AirPods – Is Apple now the Number One Headphone Manufacturer in the World? – The Data is In!

AirPods

I recently reviewed the new AirPods from Apple. To read the review, Click HERE to find out why I was blown away by these and still am.

Tim Cook went on record to say AirPods were a runaway success and based on my views and others, it does not surprise me that these are so successful.

“Now according to a report by Slice, the AirPods made up 75% of all sales in the USA in December 2016. Before the launch on December 13, Beats occupied 24.1 percent of online revenue for wireless headphone sales, according to the report, with Bose following behind with 10.5 percent, then Plantronics and Jaybird with 7.8 percent and 7.45 percent respectively.

For the period after the launch, Apple suddenly became the dominant wireless headphones brand, moving from having no share at all to occupying 26 percent of the market. Revenue derived from Beats wireless headphones dropped down to a 15.4 percent market share during the same time, and though Jaybird and Plantronics dropped down to below 3 percent each, Bose managed to improve its standing to 16.1 percent.”

So it seems and comes as no surprise that out of nowhere, Apple is likely to soon be, if it isn’t already the number one headphone manufacturer in the world!

Source – Appleinsider

My Top 5 Smartphones of 2016 & a message from me 

Can you believe that 2016 is nearly at an end. And what a year 2016 has been. World events have been seismic and so has the technology. 

So what are my top 5 phones for 2016? 

5th Place – Asus Zenfone Zoom – What a phone and what a clever piece of hardware. With 3 x optical zoom, this was a fabulous phone and camera. As Apple has shown, having optical zoom is so useful. 

4th Place – LG G5 – the phone that has every technical specification. Replaceable batteries, micro sd card slot, dual lens system with a super wide lens (so cool), one of the best Bluetooth music using HD APT-X and so much more. Just let down by its build quality versus its competition. If the LG V20 had been sold in the U.K., this would have replaced the G5.

3rd Place – HTC 10 – the phone that everyone forgot about, yet is the phone that has the best audio quality with a headphone jack, solid premium build and super fast. I was going to put the Google Pixel phone in 3rd, but the HTC 10 is a lot less to buy.

2nd Place – Honor 8 – with its dual lens system, infra red blaster, gorgeous hardware and £300 price point, sometimes even less, this is a killer choice and a deserved second place. 

1st Place – Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Apple was helped towards this win due to Samsung suffering a PR disaster with their faulty Note 7. However, IMO there isn’t a single phone on sale at the moment that can offer everything that the iPhone 7 Plus provides. Great camera. Superb audio. iOS 10 and the Apple eco system. For me using the Apple Watch, with an iPad Air,  MacBook Pro and AirPods is a dream setup. HomeKit integrates tightly and Siri for me works very well. 

To catch up on my reviews on all the above phones, and all the other top phones of 2016, click here REVIEWS . Using that link, you can also get to all my Bluetooth headphone reviews and more.

Now in case anyone thinks I am an Apple fanboy or sheep, this is not the case. I just want the best of what’s available. Prior to the iPhone I was using Samsung S7 as my main phone with every Samsung accessory possible. However, after going through a horrific Samsung customer service experience with my Note 7, I have vowed never to use anything with a Samsung logo on it. Following my  Note 7 saga I also sold every Samsung piece of hardware I owned. 

The Holidays 

As we are approaching the holiday period,  news and reviews will be slower. This will allow me to look at the website design and try and improve it in a few places. I will also spend more time with family and friends. So whatever you are doing at this time of year, enjoy the next few days if you can and I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! 

In the meantime,  if you are buying anything on Amazon UK, using my affiliate link helps me towards the increasing running costs of the website. The good news shopping via my link costs you nothing extra. 
Amazon Shopping
If you wish to make a one off dontation (thanks to everyone who has so far) please do so using my PayPal account. 

https://www.paypal.me/gavinsgadgets

Apple AirPods – My Review – The Wire Free Headphone Paradise

AirPods

Welcome to my review of the Apple AirPods.

The AirPods are probably one of the most anticipated products from Apple since it removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Judging by the 6 week waiting time many people are buying these.

I have already experienced Apple’s new W1 chip that is found inside the AirPods with the new Beats Wireless Solo 3 headphones. The W1 chip performs miracles with the connection process, locking on to the audio and then not dropping out any audio ever along with a huge distance possible from the iPhone. So my expectations were really high with the new AirPods.

Setup Process and Configuration Options

Just open the lid of little charging case the AirPods come in, and a message will pop up on your iPhone asking to pair. Tap connect, and voila. The AirPods will get renamed with your name. If you want to give them a different name, though, you can change it at any time via the settings app.

Now the AirPods are paired to your iPhone , via iCloud, the pairing syncs across all your Apple devices. Neat.

AirPods

So now whenever you pull your AirPods out of the charging case, they instantly turn on and connect to your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac. Audio will automatically play as soon as you put them in your ears and pauses when you take them out. The controls work by using Siri. To adjust the volume, change the song, make a call or to get Siri to do anything else, just double-tap to activate to bring up Siri. You don’t need to say “Hey Siri”, just talk.

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If you head over to the settings app, tap bluetooth, then look for the Airpods in the list, and tap on the “i” you can now do the following –

– To change the AirPods name, open the settings app from your iPhone’s home screen. Tap on Bluetooth. Tap on the current name of your AirPods under My Devices. Tap on Name. Edit the name.

– By default, double tapping the AirPods activate Siri. Again in the settings you can switch between Siri, Play/Pause, or to disable double tap function. That’s all you can do at the moment in terms of the double tap functionality.

AirPods

In the settings app you can also tell the AirPods which side you would like the mic to work. Normally, both mics are on, but you can just have the left or right side if you desire. I would recommend leaving this setting alone, as the AirPods will decide where the best signal is coming from.

Do they fall out? No they don’t no matter how hard I tried. The AirPods use optical sensors and a motion accelerometer to detect when they’re in your ears and automatically routes the sound and also engages the microphone. And when you’re on a call or talking to Siri, an additional accelerometer works with beam forming microphones to filter out background noise and focus on the sound of your voice.

Battery life is 5 hours of listening time on one charge. The case is a charging case and provides up to 24 hours of charge. A 15 min charge provides 3 hours of listening time.

Audio Quality / In Use Experiences

I have now used the AirPods for 8 hours. The 5 hour battery life is correct. I got 5 hours 15 mins on my first charge. Recharging them in the case was a speedy affair and I did check that the claim of a 15 min charge provides 3 hours of music. Impressive.

The AirPods are more comfortable than the EarPods. I am not sure why, but it might be because they are marginally lighter and sit better in my ears.

The charging case is smaller than I expected, which is great as it will easily fit in any pocket.

The AirPods have a stronger, fuller bass line that the EarPods and sound good with all genres. The mid and treble are average, but certainly not dull or recessed. The soundstage is middle of the road. The AirPods do sound better than the EarPods. The maximum volume is plenty loud enough for me.

At £159, there are headphones that sound better, but there are none that offer all the connectivity, flexibility, size, style and wire free convenience. The AirPods do not drop bluetooth connection and that in itself is remarkable.

I watched a number of YouTube videos and watched a TV programme. The voices were in sync. Walking down a very busy main road, I was still able to double tab and ask Siri a question. I used Siri to raise or lower the volume, skip tracks and more. It is worth noting, Siri can only change tracks with the official music app from Apple. Using Amazon Music or a third party music player app called Neutron, Siri could not skip to the next track.

I also tried the AirPods with my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. And as if by magic, the AirPods were showing up ready to select. Double tapping to bring up Siri to change tracks using iTunes work fine, albeit it is faster to manually press the next track on the Touch Bar. The AirPods sound superb when connected to the MacBook Pro.

When it comes to noise cancellation, the AirPods have none. You can use just one AirPod. If you take one of the AirPods out of your ears, the music stops. If you then ask Siri to play the music, it will now play through the other AirPod in mono. So if you wanted to listen to a podcast, and just use one AirPod at a time, you could manage 48 hours worth of battery life.

Overall, the entire package is beautiful to behold and a pleasure to use. The music quality is about 7.5/10.

Video Review

In the video below, I try and shake the AirPods out of my ears, unbox and reveal more about these little gems.

Conclusion

A superb product from Apple. Wire free headphones are the future. The future is now. Highly recommended.

Sennheiser HD 598 cs Headphone review – Are these the best headphones made by Sennheiser? Also Sennheiser HD 598 cs vs 598’s

Sennheiser HD598 cs vs 598 SE

Welcome to my review of the Sennheiser HD 598 cs headphone.

The Sennheiser HD 598 cs are not the first pair of Sennheiser headphones that I have reviewed or used. In fact I have reviewed the Sennheiser HD 598 SE, HD 518 and Momentum Wireless 2.0. To recap on these reviews – Click HERE.

I have also owned the amazing HD 600 headphones.

I currently own the Sennheiser HD 598 SE headphones which are on open back version. This means sound leaks, so whatever you are listening to, everyone can dance to your tunes as well. So for commuting on public transport these are not ideal as you can also hear everything going on around you. But at home, in private, these are splendid and provide a massive detailed soundstage.

The Sennheiser HD 598 cs are a closed back design. This means you music stays private. I had not heard of this model until Amazon had it available as a Black Friday special deal of £89.99. It seems Amazon got Sennheiser to make a special version of the HD 598 SE (open back) headphones. Except, after a bit of digging it seems that the HD 598 cs could be the new Sennheiser HD 569 closed back headphones in disguise. In the useful links, at the end of this review, I left a link to the HD 569’s. See what you think. They look really similar and have the same ohm and SPL figures.

But there are more differences between the open back and closed back models. From a physical point of view, they look identical. However, the technical specifications are different. The 598 SE have an impedance of 50 ohms, whereas the 598 cs are 23 ohms. The 598 SE SPL is 112db whereas the 598 cs are 115db. These 2 technical specs mean the 598 cs version are considerably easier to drive from a phone, MP3 player, or any device for that matter and go louder faster and easier.

The open back 598 SE have a wider frequency range at 12 – 38,000 Hz. The 598 Cs are 10 – 28,000 Hz. The closed back version have a more punchier bass than the open back version, but these are not bass heavy headphones. I would classify them as bass perfect headphones at their price point.

So from a physical point of view there are differences. The 598 cs use velvet type ear cushions whereas the open back 598 SE use a velour material for the ear cushions. See photos. Also the headband on the 598 cs seems less cushioned (its not) but it doesn’t have the air suspension cushioning as the 598 SE. Also the 598 SE have the name Sennheiser embedded in the headband.

Sennheiser HD598 cs vs 598 SE

Sennheiser HD598 cs vs 598 SE

Photo above. 598 cs (closed back on left) and 598 SE (open back on right).

Another small difference is the fact that the 598 cs drivers seem to be slightly angled. Also the ear cups are finished differently. See below.

Sennheiser HD598 cs vs 598 SE

On the bottom is the 598 SE (open) and the speaker grill is perforated to allow the sound to spill out. On top the 598 cs (closed) has a material like finish.

Specs aside, what matters is how these sound. After 100 hours burn in the Sennheiser HD 598 cs absolutely rock. Because they are easier to drive they sound ace straight out of my iPhone 7+ and MacBook. They are so dynamic, engaging and incredibly musical that you just want to listen to every song you ever owned again and again. The 598 cs also rock out with so much ease and have tons of volume from both my iPhone 7 and MacBook.

In case you are interested, the Sennheiser comes with a HD 598Cs headset/ 1.2m cable with 1-button remote/ 3.5mm straight plug; 3m cable/ 6.3mm straight plug. The HD 598 SE have a 1.2m cable with a 3.5mm plug but without the 1 button remote.

In the title I asked “are these the best headphones made by Sennheiser?”. I am going to say yes in the context of most people will love these and more importantly afford them. You don’t need any fancy equipment, amps or dacs. At 23 ohms and with a sound pressure of 115db these are super efficient. Therefore, all you need is your current phone. You then will get the superb Sennheiser sound across the entire sound spectrum, mid, treble and bass. The headphones are not genre dependant either. They just rock with anything and don’t ruin the music.

Looks like I will be needed my Apple Lightning to 3.5m headphone adapter for a while longer!

These are more than recommended, these are probably the first headphone that is a must buy from me so long as you can cope with a wired connection. Even if these cost £150, they would be worth every penny.

Useful Links

More info on the Sennheiser HD 598 cs and the latest pricing
More information and the latest pricing on the Sennheiser HD 598 SE Open Back
More information and the latest pricing on the Sennheiser HD 569 closed back headphones

Sony MDR-1000x Bluetooth Headphones – 24 Hours Later

sonymdr

In the last 24 hours I have kept the music playing through these headphones for two reasons. One to burn them in and the other to test the battery life of 20 hours.

So far I can say the battery life is matching the claimed 20 hours with noise cancellation switched on. Secondly, I want to burn these headphones in to see what difference it makes to the sound. I will keep music flowing through these for another 7 days before deciding on final thoughts regarding the sound quality. I will then update my thoughts after a full month to see if anything has changed and to see whether any issues have arisen.

As mentioned yesterday, the sound quality from the start has been excellent. This has improved over the 24 hours of burn in. I will cover more of the audio aspects in my full review but needless to say the MDR-1000x are proving to be well balanced across the audio spectrum, but more importantly want me to listen to more of my music and leave me with many wow moments. Toe tapping away at times too!

I tried out the noise cancellation by sitting next to the loud washing machine and dishwasher. The sounds of both of these machines was 98% removed and with music playing through the headphones it was impossible to hear anything but the music. I have also tried these headphones under the bathroom extractor fan and the fan noise is removed. Due to the excellent noise cancellation, I would not recommend wearing these outside in a busy street or when crossing a road.

What I want to see if whether after a full week’s worth of burning these headphones in, whether these are the first pair of headphones that can IMO take the mantra as better or equal to their non wireless counterparts. Stay tuned for more!

More information and the latest pricing on the Sony MDR-1000x CLICK HERE