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Audiophile

For its first foray into a crowded earphone space, PSB Speakers is aiming straight for the audiophile jugular with a combination of hybrid dual-drivers and its own Roomfeel technology. When the source audio signal reaches each M4U 4 in-ear monitor, the lower frequencies are directed to a dynamic driver while the higher end head for a balanced armature driver. This hybrid system has allowed the company's designers to add back the acoustic signature of a typical listening room for greater space and true-to-life presentation of recorded music.

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Many of us enjoy listening to a good tune or two when out and about, and a goodly proportion of that mobile music will likely be sourced from a smartphone or tablet. For those who prefer high quality sounds though, dedicated players like Neil Young's Pono and those from iRiver's Astell&Kern are probably going to be on the menu. The latter has announced a new flagship portable audio player aimed squarely at audiophiles and sound professionals, which is capable of 32-bit/384 kHz bit-to-bit decoding without the need for conversion but comes at a rather high cost.

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Though open high definition headphones like Sennheiser's wonderful HD 598s or the mighty HD 800s can offer greater spacing and a more natural airy feel than closed-back designs, they can't really be used in anything but the quietest of environments so listening on the move is simply not an option. The German audio brand says that it's new HD 630VB headphones offer hi-res music lovers a balanced, airy and audiophile-grade listening experience with the benefit of effective passive noise isolation.

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Oppo Digital has added a new pair of planar magnetic headphones to its existing PM-1 and PM-2 models. At just over 10 oz, the company claims that the stylish PM-3 cans are the world's lightest closed-back planar magnetic headphones, while also holding the promise of audiophile-pleasing performance without the audiophile price tag. Read More
The original Sony Walkman was introduced over 35 years ago, and has since been supplanted in popular culture by first the iPod and more recently iPhones and other smartphones. But Sony isn't giving up on its original portable music brand that easily – the company introduced a new high resolution digital Walkman at CES 2015 and we had the chance to test it out. Read More
Tablets, smartphones and the like are a boon to people who like their life to have a soundtrack, but for all their advanced computing power, they often lack in the audio department – especially when earphones aren't an option. The result is often an inelegant combination of devices with add-on speakers making up for the mobile devices' lack of audio oomph. The Avy Smart Speaker, which makes its debut at CES 2015, is designed to combine an Android-based tablet with a Hi-Fi system for the audiophile. Read More
A sound engineer and inventor based in Melbourne, Australia, is hoping to put a new spin on an old technology with his Desktop Record Cutter (DRC). The turntable-on-steroids looking device allows home musicians to press their music onto wax within minutes with turn-key stereo cutting technology. While the machine is fully automated for ease of use by the technophobe, engineers and tinkerers can customize their DRC with upgrades and modifications. Read More
Around two years after the release of its Zik headphones, Parrot is again looking to prick up the ears of audiophiles after a wireless listening solution. The Zik 2.0 headphones are to be released next week, and after a little hands on time with its new set of cans, our early observations are they provide an impressive listening experience. Read More
Back in August, a company best known for its studio vocal and instrument microphones and USB mics for mobile devices announced its first foray into the headphones market with the launch of Mo-Fi. Blue's big and beautiful over-ear headphones promised mobile music lovers a high fidelity listening experience regardless of the source music device. I managed to snag a quick listen at a busy IFA 2014 in Berlin last month and came away wanting more. My ears have now spent more hours than I care to admit surrounded by soft Mo-Fi foam cushions and I find myself reluctant to remove these rather impressive retro beasts. Read More
Creative Technologies has combined its audio processing know-how with high end audiophile-grade components and specifications for a new addition to the Sound Blaster audio family that's been developed to wrap serious gamers in high resolution sonic goodness. The new X7 boasts more features than any Sound Blaster before it, including a built-in power amp, cross-platform connectivity and intelligent audio enhancement technologies. Read More
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