Headroom Total BitHead Review

Two months ago I purchased the Headroom Total BitHead with the intention of both enjoying the sonic benefits it would provide me and to review right here. It is a device I have been dying to play with for years. That being said, unless you found this post by Googling the gadget, chances are you have no idea what this $149 device is or does.

HeadRoom Total BitHead digital audio converter and headphone amplifier

The Headroom Total BitHead is a portable headphone amplifier and digital audio converter. It plugs into your portable music device using a headphone jack or into your computer via USB to provide you with a superior audio experience.

When plugged into a computer it uses the USB port for power, otherwise it runs on three AAA batteries. It’s important not to use rechargeable batteries or cheap batteries. That is covered in the Clipping section.

So you ask yourself, “Why would I need or want one of these?”

  • You have some fancy, high-impedance headphones that can’t quite get to the level of loudness or fullness you’d like and expect after spending hundreds.
  • Your portable music player’s audio output is weak and you want more oomph.
  • You listen to audio through your computer but hear interference from things like the hard drive or motherboard and need something to rid you of this annoyance.

This audio gadget resolves these issues. The high quality Burr-Brown digital audio converter (DAC) bypasses the noisy sound card in your computer. Onboard sound cards (like those found in cheap computers and laptops) are the most prolific offenders. Meanwhile, the (also Burr-Brown) amplifier boosts output signal; helpful for bigger headphones like my Sennheiser HD600s which simply can’t run off an iPhone with much gusto.

For those of you who want a quick answer on whether they should buy the Total BitHead. Yes, it is worth purchasing, especially if you have any of the three problems listed above. In some cases, however, it is a waste of money. To learn if it meets all its claims of magically better audio, my pet peeves on its design, when it is a waste of money and why it’s worth every penny, I suggest you keep reading. Continue reading

A Timbuk2 Bag Full of Gadget Reviews

Life has been pretty busy for me over the last few weeks. I’m sure has been similarly busy for all of you as well, so you understand. For me it’s been travelling for work to pitch new business, renew contracts with current clients and work with new clients on how to best make things happen for them.

One of the clients that has kept me busy is Southern Living magazine’s Idea House and the Escondido Golf and Lake Resort in Texas

Most people don’t know what I do for a living. In short I do marketing and public relations for companies and organizations. The majority of the people I work with are non-profits while others are luxury resorts. That’s not what this post is about though.

I wanted to give you guys an update on the gadgets and gizmos I have been playing around with for a while with intentions to review. In no particular order:

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Klipsch Mode Noise Canceling Headphones

To say I got excited when I read the news today that Klipsch was releasing a new, on-ear headphone with noise cancelation is an understatement. Klipsch has long been one of my favorite audio companies starting with their perfect Klipsch ProMedia v2-400 speakers which I got around 8th grade.

When Klipsch first started making headphones a few years ago, I got an early listen at their headquarters in Indianapolis. I was excited then to learn of their cutting-edge engineering and design. They were about to conquer in a whole new world of audio. And they did.

The Klipsch Image S4i is the headphone that first really got the attention of the masses. I reviewed it on this site as you will remember. There were of course other headphones that were superb but these had the all important iPhone features that made them stick out from the rest of the pack.

Then came the Klipsch Image X10i, my pride and joy. These headphones are more like an implant into my body than something I put on (in) to enjoy music. The world’s smallest headphones, so small that most people hardly even notice I am listening to music.

After that, the third Klipsch headphone for me to review and fall in love with was the Klipsch Image One. Their first, on-ear headphone which I praised for responsible audio reproduction, comfort, great remote control and for finally showing the rest of the high-end consumer headphone companies that you don’t have to out bass and out price Beats by Dre to make a great headphone (actually, please no one ever do that).

Finally, yesterday Klipsch announced their latest headphone. The Klipsch Mode.

Klipsch Mode Noise Canceling Headphones

This is their second on-ear headphone and their first noise-canceling headphone. In so many ways this headphone is truly unique from it’s super sexy design to its use of four total drivers, to best present high and low frequencies simultaneously. That’s not easy task. One 40mm driver for the lows and a 15mm driver for the highs.

Unlike most noise-canceling headphones, these will run as regular headphones even without battery power, which lasts 45 hours by the way. They have removable cables and a three-button, Apple remote control.

You can be sure that I will get my hands on a pair of these as soon as I can for a review. These headphones are tied with the Klipsch Image X10i as their most expensive headphones, at $350. That $350 is buying you quite a bit of technology and design savvy.

I haven’t been this excited about a headphone since the S4i was released.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • BUILT FROM: 2011
  • DESIGN: Over-ear, Active Noise-Canceling
  • DIMENSIONS: Driver diameters: 40 mm/15 mm
  • DRIVE COMPONENTS: Dual-drivers: Dynamic Moving Coil 40 mm and 15 mm speakers
  • FEATURES: Passive Cross-over Network, Active Noise Reduction, Mic+3-button remote
  • FINISH: Copper/black
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • INPUT CONNECTIONS: 3.5mm
  • INPUT IMPEDANCE: (@ 1kHz): 32 ohms
  • SENSITIVITY: (@ 1 mW, 15 mm): 97.5 dB
  • WEIGHT: .78 lbs (356 grams)

Zagg SmartBuds Review

For the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Zagg.com had a super sell. Just about everything in their store was 50% off or more. I am a big fan of Zagg’s InvisibleSHIELD screen protectors and ZaggWipes so I thought I would take advantage of their sale.

For whatever reason I didn’t order any InvisibleSHIELDs for my new iPhone or new iPad. Instead I purchased the Zagg Sparq 2.0 battery for Ryan’s Android phone. Its battery life is abysmal. I also picked up a pair of Zagg SmartBuds. I’m in the market for some good workout headphones that don’t cost the $350 my Klipsch Image X10i headphones cost and thought these would be a great alternative.

The normal retail price for the headphones is around $50 but the sale brought them down to $25.

Typically I only review products that I have purchased for myself and typically those products have been heavily researched before I make that purchase. Thus, most of my reviews are positive, glowing even. This is not one of those reviews.

If you learn one thing from this review it will be that the Zagg SmartBuds are perhaps the worst headphones I have ever purchased. Want to know why?

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Klipsch Image ONE Preview

Klipsch released their first on ear headphones, the Image ONE, this fall. Klipsch entered the headphone market just three years ago and quickly shot to the top of nearly every gadget sites’ “Editor’s Choice” list. With the massive success of the Image S4i, their first iPhone optimized headphones, Klipsch is back with a new breed of headphone.

With a sound signature modeled after the Klipsch S4i, an iPhone/iPod/iPad remote control, carrying case and full-sized drivers, the Image ONE headphones are certainly ready to take on the competition.

I picked up my pair of Image ONE headphones yesterday and have only had a few hours of listening to them but here is what I can tell you so far.

  • The packaging is worthy of the Apple products these headphones are made for.
  • The carrying case is perfect.
  • The headphones are comfortable and incredibly light.
  • The headphones are so light they might feel cheaply made to some.
  • The sound isn’t cheap.
  • Isolation doesn’t compare to their in-ear headphones but works well enough.
  • The cabling is solid, best headphone cables I’ve had lately. Thick, well insulated and yet pliable.
  • Remote control is improved over the previous Klipsch iPhone headphones.
  • Headphones started out harsh but have warmed up after some time.
  • Similar sound signature to the Klipsch Image S4i, which was the goal.

I plan to post a review of these headphones after some more listening in different environments and after some tests with the microphone. Hopefully this will be done by tomorrow but no promises!

Klipsch Image X10i Headphone Review

If you read my wordy review of the Klipsch S4i headphones back in July, you already know how impressed I’ve been with Klipsch’s headphones.   Sadly, after around 800 hours of use, I managed to short out the left channel.  Legendary for their customer service, Klipsch of course was ready to send me out a replacement pair.  However, I had another idea.  Instead of replacing my Image S4i headphones with another pair, I decided to upgrade to the Klipsch Image X10i, the S4i’s big brother only, some how, much MUCH smaller.

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Klipsch Image X10i

In a few weeks, these headphones will be mine!  They are the Klipsch Image X10i headphones with inline microphone and iPhone/iPod controller.  Did I mention they are also the world’s smallest headphones?!

Be sure to check back here for an in-depth review.  Though, since I have tested out a similar model, the Klipsch Image X10, I can already say it will be mostly a love fest.  Taking into consideration their size, comfort, price, features and performance, these are perhaps the best in-ear headphones ever made.

Meanwhile, I will continue to love my Koss PortaPros.  I must say, I have never gotten so many compliments on the looks of my headphones and there hasn’t been a day of wearing the Koss’s out that I didn’t get a compliment.  Today I was told at Starbucks, while paying my rent, at Kaldi’s Coffee and at an art gallery that my headphones were cool looking, awesome, really interesting etc.

I’d recommend these headphones to anyone who needs a great set of headphones for an unbelievable price.  Only $35 on Amazon and they out perform several $100+ headphones out there.  Only two warnings.  They are open headphones so you won’t block out any outside noises and people can hear what you’re listening to.  Second, their headband catches on your hair if it’s long, and even mine sometimes.  Other than that, amazing.

Ok, enough nerding out over headphones.  Time to get ready for work!

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