FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amplifier Review

I sure did take my time getting to this review. My apologies. Nevertheless, here we go. A review of the FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amplifier, $28 on Amazon.com and worth every penny if you have larger headphones or want to squeeze a little more sound quality out of your devices. You’re using an iDevice with a 30-pin dock, add on the FiiO line out dock adapter for just $7-10 more.

Apple Nano with FiiO E6 Amplifier

Right now you might be asking, “Justin, why would I buy the a headphone amplifier and line out dock connector?” Basically, everything sounds a little bit better and a lot louder and the benefits can be heard with even cheaper headphones. Here’s why.

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Klipsch X7i In-Ear Headphone

It seems hard to believe that it has been five years since Klipsch released the Image X10 in-ear headphone, the world’s smallest and lightest. Shortly after its release came the slightly larger and $100 cheaper Image X5 for $250 and then the Image X10i which added a remote and mic at $350. However there was never an Image X5i for people with iPhones

Enter the Klipsch Image X7i, a high-end, uniquely designed iDevice ready headphone for $200. Not only cheaper than the Klipsch Image X5 but beating it in features and style at the same time. Continue reading

V-Moda Crossfade LP Review

The excellent Klipsch Image One headphones I reviewed last year have been my default headphones since I bought them. At $150 I feel that these headphones are the best option around. However, what happens when a $200 headphone drops to $100?

The retail price for the V-Moda Crossfade LP headphones is $200, a $50 premium when compared to the Klipsch option. But with the V-Moda Crossfade LP2s on the market, the originals are going for a song! With a drop in price that drastic, I figured it was time to see if these guys are worth the rock bottom $100 street price. Continue reading

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

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 Review

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to write a review of the Klipsch Image One headphones. It was last November that I first posted about these over ear headphones, the first on-ear headphones made by Klipsch. And yes, one of these days, I will write a review that doesn’t take an hour to read. Brevity is not my strength.

I’ve decided to edit the introduction to this review with a summary of my thoughts. The full review is posted below, but if you’re in a rush, digest the following. Continue reading

Koss PortaPro, 25 Years of Excellence

After twenty-five years in production, and five years of absence of ownership, the Koss PortaPro headphones still kick ass. I’ve encountered no headphone in their price range that unseats them from their highest of pedestals. The Sennheiser PX100s come very close with superior comfort and a more streamlined design but simply don’t have the same passion in their reproduction of music.

Before I had my Sennheiser HD600s, my Grado SR60s, any of my Shure, UltimateEars, EtymoticResearch or Klipsch headphones, I had these Koss PortaPros, until their untimely loss while moving from California, back to Missouri.

My new set arrived today with only a change in packaging from when I bought mine my junior year in high school.  There’s a sort of comfort in that, just as the Klipsch Heresy speakers I have still sold today have changed very little since mine came off the assembly line around 1984.

If you are in the market for a sub $100 on-the-ear, open-air headphone, this is the one I’d recommend.  I got mine from Amazon.com with free shipping for under $35.  It’s a steal and it feels oh so good to have them back.