Rapid Reaction: Westone UM Pro 50 — like a warm radiator

I’ve been hard on Westone lately. Innovation just does not seem to be on their minds. They have been obsessed with face-lifting themselves, however. They’ve re-hauled their entire product lineup, from low to high end.

Continue reading Rapid Reaction: Westone UM Pro 50 — like a warm radiator

News Feed & Updates: September/October

In order to make our news updates simpler and faster to write (our writers don’t always have a lot of time), we’re in the process of integrating our Facebook Page more deeply into our system. Let us know what you think of our new system — we always appreciate feedback!

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Continue reading News Feed & Updates: September/October

Post-Show Report: Fujiya-AVIC Spring Headphone Festival 2013, Part 1

Editor’s Note: I had intended on taking it easy for the past week and hoped someone else would cover #HPFES Spring 2013, but alas, our very own AnakChan laid moribund (minor exaggeration) on his bed with a sore throat on the day of the show, and thus I had to flex my web crawler muscles and look up all the cool news. To my joy (perhaps?), this year’s show was composed of mostly in-ear and portable showings; the prospect of having to write about all of it, unfortunately, caused my initial elation to transmogrify into fear and loathing… here are the best bits: Continue reading Post-Show Report: Fujiya-AVIC Spring Headphone Festival 2013, Part 1

Video Feed: Behind-the-Scenes Production of Custom IEMs

I wanted to put together all of the videos concerning the production of CIEMs behind-the-scenes (there’s an additional Engadget feature on Westone, but I found the other videos more informative; there’s also an old video with ex-UE/JH lab manager Noy where he talks about the curing process in a pretty detailed fashion, but I can’t seem to find it anymore — if anyone has that link, please do let us know!).

From the videos, it’ll become evident that the basic steps are as follows:

  1. Receipt and trimming of the ear impressions
  2. Wax dipping
  3. Negative impressions from the colloid duplicating gel
  4. Acrylic pouring and UV shell timing
  5. Shell trimming and electronics/tube assembly
  6. QC measurements
  7. Faceplate production and UV sealing
  8. Final trimming, buffing, and polishing
  9. Final check and packaging for shipment

Other steps go into the actual design of new models and readying the production line, such as testing all drivers to be used, experimenting with different types of acrylic pours and mixtures, etc. but for the most part, these details aren’t discussed in the videos. Nevertheless, they should still be pretty revealing.

This is the “original” behind-the-scenes video from UE, from way back in 2009. Nevertheless, it’s pretty complete, and should probably be the first video anyone watches if they’re interested in the CIEM production process.

Continue reading Video Feed: Behind-the-Scenes Production of Custom IEMs

Rapid Reaction: EarSonics SM64

Editor’s Note: Sorry about the poor picture quality — I only had my old Nexus One with me when I listened to it.

I got to take a quick listen to the new EarSonics SM64 (version 1, not 2) universal-fit in-ear monitor.

The new reference? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Continue reading Rapid Reaction: EarSonics SM64

Video Feed: RMAF 2012 – Panel Discussion on IEMs

The video is over an hour-long, but if you’re interested in the history of in-ear monitors, their general principles, and future developments, this is a great video to watch. It’s not at all overly technical, and even experienced users (and yes, I’m talking about you folk that dabble with CIEM designs in your garage by yourself) can stand to learn from what’s essentially a Who’s Who in the world of IEMs.

Best in the Biz: The Top CIEM Companies in 2013

I picked these companies through multi-faceted criteria of technical superiority, logistical reliability, build quality, art, value, and spectacle — it’s not necessarily about who makes the absolute best-sounding CIEMs — it’s about who pulls it off the best in a whole package, and who will remain a mover and shaker in this industry years from now.

These are my picks (in no particular order): Continue reading Best in the Biz: The Top CIEM Companies in 2013