Blue is a company famous for its studio microphones, but their more recent foray into headphones has not disappointed me. 2015's Lolas were my favorite to date, though I also quite liked the powered Mo-Fis. But what I have here are easily Blue's most ambitious headphones yet: Ella, and she has me absolutely head over heels - this is pure planar magnetic bliss.
If you're not familiar with the term, planar magnetic headphones are a subtype of over-ear monitors that vibrate a series of membranes and strata in a conceptually similar way a traditional dynamic driver does a "voice coil" - using electricity and magnets to drive a moving element attached to a diaphragm that then produces sound. Read More
I may have more than half a dozen Bluetooth earphones lying around home and at work, but my personal preference is almost always skewed toward Plantronics. The BackBeat GO 2 has been a mainstay in my purse for almost two years, and the BackBeat Fit is my absolute favorite workout headset. Both provide a great balance of features, battery life, and portability that fits with my needs. That's why I was eager to see what the company has in store with its newest foray, and the BackBeat SENSE didn't disappoint me. But before I go into my thoughts on this pair of headphones, let's start with the specs. Read More
When it comes to audio on-the-go, the consumer market has come full circle over the last several decades: back in the 80s it wasn't uncommon to see kids running around with massive headphones attached to their skulls, rocking out to whatever crap their parents hated the most. Fast-forward twenty years, and it was all about earbuds – stuffing tiny speakers into your ear canals was the only [socially acceptable] way to listen to music. Today, it's a good mix of both: earbuds are widely available for those who prefer the smaller form factor, and on-ear headphones have re-emerged into the premium market, as they often provide sound quality their smaller brothers are not capable of producing. Read More
The MA350 is an earbud produced by RHA, subsidiary of the UK firm Reid Heath Ltd., based in Glasgow. RHA currently manufacture only two models earbud, both of which use the same audio guts - one of them just has inline controls. The MA350's are the model without them. They retail for $40 (buy here). A small carrying pouch and three sets of eartips are included.
For $40, the RHA MA350's produce sound that is - I would argue - far more comparable to headphones of the $80-100 range. My primary point of comparison, therefore, were my trusty old Etymotic Research hf2's (equivalent to the hf5, which are $100 street price, $150 MSRP). Read More