Quick Thoughts: Audio-Technica ATH-LS200

Editor’s Note: This overview of the Audio-Technica ATH-LS200 is based off multiple listening sessions at headphone stores and shows, without sustained personal time with the product. Thus, it should not be regarded as a full review — in fact, our entire ‘Thoughts‘ category of articles is not meant to house comprehensive reviews. Continue reading Quick Thoughts: Audio-Technica ATH-LS200

For Those About to Rock, Ortofon e-Q8 and Grado GR10e, We Salute You

Editor’s Note: Both the Ortofon e-Q8 and Grado GR10e were personal purchases by shotgunshane.

There’s nothing quite like a loud, stadium filling, uproarious rock anthem. Growing up in the 70’s and coming of age in the 80’s, I regarded rock as a staple, if not a way of life: AC/DC, Van Halen, Kiss, Journey, Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bon Jovi, and the list goes on and on…

Oh, how I miss the age of the arena rock star, but I digress! Having grown up in the era of guitar-driven rock, metal, glam and southern rawk — I always pay close attention to distortion guitar tone, crunch, and bite when evaluating in-ears and headphones. Continue reading For Those About to Rock, Ortofon e-Q8 and Grado GR10e, We Salute You

The Biz: E-Earphone’s CIEM Store in Akihabara, Tokyo

Founded by an Osakan man with a full head of hair and a hope to spread the spirit of porta-fi to the masses, E-Earphone is one of Japan’s premier personal audio store chains, with storefronts in both Tokyo and Osaka metropolises.

Its aisles upon aisles of headphones and earphones are famed to the enthusiast community, and when the CIEM specialty store opened its doors last August, Nathan of OHM Image and Headfonia went to take a look (link). This glowing report of toys abound convinced me that it had to be a must-see stop while I was on vacation in Tokyo last month. Continue reading The Biz: E-Earphone’s CIEM Store in Akihabara, Tokyo

The Biz: Where is Portable Audio Going? An Overview of the New Age DAP Market

Editor’s Note: Victor leads us on a trip into the realm of DAPs, with additional insight and commentary by Mr. T. Special thanks to longtime reader and good friend Moe, who helped us fact check and gave us numerous additional resources.

If we look back at the annals of [recent] history, we’ll notice that the most primitive portable audio player was probably the battery-powered cassette player. If you are young like me, then you probably didn’t have much experience with it. Yet, the cassette tape was what put the Sony Walkman on the map. Guys like Nathan at ohm-image probably had one attached to their hips while walking to school.

Continue reading The Biz: Where is Portable Audio Going? An Overview of the New Age DAP Market

In Pictures: TEAC HA-P90SD

We didn’t get to listen to it at all, as the operating system froze and crashed repeatedly; turning the power knob to the ‘OFF’ setting couldn’t even turn it off — we had to wait until the battery drained. A very bad sign indeed.

The build quality feels similar to that of the lower cost HA-P50B, with slightly larger dimensions. It would be considered very good for a $299 budget device (as is the HA-P50B), but is starting to show its lumps as a $700 premium DAP device. Worrisome all over.

Better step up your game, TEAC.

Continue reading In Pictures: TEAC HA-P90SD

Rapid Reaction: VSONIC VSD5 & Final Audio Design Heaven VII (Black)

VSONIC VSD5

There’s no point beating around the bush; let me make this point patently clear: the VSD5 is no EX1000. It is nowhere in its realm of existence.

I know. I own an MDR-EX1000. I wrote a tribute to it. It’s possibly the last great Sony earphone. Continue reading Rapid Reaction: VSONIC VSD5 & Final Audio Design Heaven VII (Black)

In Memoriam: Final Audio’s Kanemori Takai

Mr. Kanemori Takai, head of Japan’s Final Audio Design, passed away two weeks ago on June 5th. FAD themselves announced the news via press release, leaving many audio lovers at a loss.

It’s not uncommon that high-end audio companies revolve around the personality of a single person’s vision, but few men have left their mark so distinctively as has Takai-san. Continue reading In Memoriam: Final Audio’s Kanemori Takai