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
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

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.