Thursday, April 12, 2018

Infinity Kappa Perfect 900 and Infinity Kappa Perfect 300 Component Speaker System Review

When it comes to car audio, Infinity has been making great car audio for decades! They harnessed all this experience, knowledge and technology to create their best of the best. Enter the Infinity Kappa Perfect Series. It’s a 2-way speaker system, with a 3-way option. Up for review today is the Infinity Kappa Perfect 900, and Kappa Perfect 300.


The Infinity Kappa Series is a 2-way component system, with the option of turning it into a 3-way system. They’re 2-way systems come with a passive crossover that can be used for either a 2-way or 3-way system with an easy flick of a switch. The options are the Kappa Perfect 500 which uses a tweeter and 5 ¼ inch woofer, the Kappa Perfect 600 uses a 6.5 inch woofer, and the Kappa perfect 900 uses a 6x9 inch woofer. And if you want to turn it into a 3-way system, all you need is the Kappa Perfect 300, which comes with just a pair of 3.5 inch midranges.

Features and specs:

Kappa Perfect 900 6" x 9" (152mm x 230mm) extreme-performance 2-way component system
  • Plus One™ woofer cone
  • Oversized voice coil
  • High-definition 30kHz polyimide tweeter
  • Switchable 2-way/3-way crossover
  • Power Handling: 150 RMS, 600W peak
  • Sensitivity (@ 2.83V): 91dB
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 30KHz
  • Voice Coil Diameter: 1-1/2" (38mm)
  • Impedance: 3.5 ohms
Kappa Perfect 300m 3-1/2" (88mm) extreme-performance midrange speaker
  • Plus One™ woofer cone
  • Power Handling: 75 RMS, 300W peak
  • Sensitivity (@ 2.83V): 88dB
  • Frequency Response: 150Hz – 10KHz
  • Voice Coil Diameter: 1" (25mm) Impedance: 3.5 ohms
Patented Plus One™ woofer cone
Harman-proprietary Plus One carbon fiber cones are specifically engineered to achieve the optimum blend of rigidity and sensitivity. The result is remarkably accurate sound, as well as exceptionally high SPL performance and low distortion.

Oversized voice coil
Kappa Perfect component speakers employ oversized voice coils, which increase power handling and decrease distortion at high output levels. The voice coils not only improve reliability, they also produce a flatter overall frequency response.

High-definition, edge-driven 30kHz polyimide tweeter
Lightweight yet rigid, the polyimide tweeter in Kappa Perfect component speakers reproduces high frequencies with meticulous detail—an Infinity hallmark. This not only brings out more of the music’s true character, it also improves sound staging capabilities.

Switchable 2-way/3-way crossover
Kappa Perfect component speaker systems include a unique, switchable crossover that lets you select either a 2-way or 3-way system configuration with the addition of the Kappa Perfect 300m midrange speaker. The crossover features weatherproof housing, so it can be mounted in a door.

Sleek industrial design
Combining brushed metal with premium finishes, Kappa Perfect speakers and crossovers are as pleasing to the eyes as they are impressive to the ears
  


The Infinity Kappa Perfect 900 and Kappa Perfect 300 came in a great looking color printed box, with photos and specs of the system. Opening the box revealed a well protected system held in place by custom cut out cardboard and foam. Materials used was mostly metal with some plastic. Quality of materials used was excellent and the fit and finish was stellar! These drivers are the best that Infinity can do, and it shows. They are built like a tank! The same is also true for the crossovers, as well as the 3.5 inch midranges from the Kappa Perfect 300. Also included were the owners manual, and installation hardware.


I have not seen a better built component speaker system. Having been a car audio enthusiast for almost 30 years.....that's saying something!  The woofer and midrange both sit in a monsterly built cast basket. To help improve cooling, there are opening on the sides. Looking in through the side, you can see the motor sits in the cast basket like a bowl. Looking through the bottom, of the two openings on the side, you can see the top of the motor on the bottom, the voice coil, and at the top you can see the spider. Looking through the top of the two openings on the side, you see the spider on the bottom, and the cone on the top. You can also see the wire stitched into the spider. It’s excellent quality throughout!

Wiring up the system was extremely easy. The crossover network was clearly labeled with + and – markings for the woofer, midrange and tweeter. On the side of the woofer is the wire connector that is again clearly labeled with a + and -. There is a small hole underneath to feed the wire into. A standard Philips screwdriver is used to tighten it down. The tweeter comes with a lengthy wire soldered to the bottom of the tweeter, with red and black wire for positive and negative. And for the tweeters came mounted hardware for either flush or surface mounting. Now that it’s set-up, lets hear how they sound!

Styx: Best of Times: vocals were extremely natural sounding with excellent texture and timbre. Imaging was spot on. Percussion was crisp and clean with nice resolution, being able to hear the sticks on the snare and cymbal. The dynamics were great, and the kick drum had nice impact and depth.

Lady Gaga: Starstuck, bass was extremely deep, hit really hard with great authority, sounding almost like 10’s. The claps were clean and extremely dynamic. Vocals were smooth with great harmonics.

Eric Bibb: Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, piano was very natural sounding with good harmonics. Bass was very deep, smooth and played with great authority. Vocals were silky smooth with excellent resolution of the timbre, and great imaging. Percussion was crisp and clean with great dynamics.

Infinity has done it again. They took all of their experience and know how to make the best component speaker they can. And they hit it out of the park. They are built like a tank to provide years of use. And they sound phenomenal doing it. The Infinity Kappa Perfect system provides the kind of resolution that is not typically heard in car audio.  The fact that they offer a 3-way version is just icing on the cake. I love the extra dynamics, and over all improved sound, partly due to a well done crossover. No matter the genre of music you may prefer, the Infinity Kappa Perfect system performs amazingly. The Infinity Kappa Perfect 900 is great if only a 2 way system will work in your vehicle.  But if you can manager to find a way to mount a 3.5 inch midrange, getting the Infinity Kappa Perfect 300 is so worth it!  Based on their design, features and quality, the Infinity Kappa Perfect system has earned out Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at www.inifinityspeakers.com.  Reference gear used:  Kenwood Excelon DNX-893S Receiver, AudioControl  DM-810 Digital Signal Processor, JL Audio NexD 600/6 amplifier, Image Dynamics IDMAX10 subwoofer, and Massive Audio Nano BLU BL1 sub amplifier.



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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

2018 Annual Headphone Shootout Over The Ear Models


We love this time of year, with March Madness. With basketball teams duking it out, we figure, why not do a headphone shootout, and let headphone manufacturers duke it out. Only with headphones, instead of seeds, we have price points. It’s always fun to see how things turn out. We have the headphones divided between in ear and over the ear. First up will be the over the ear models.


We have some exciting products from some great manufactures this year. They are Audiofly, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic, JBL, Monster, and Sennheiser. Most of them are wireless, and have new technologies. As usual we will start with the lowest price point, and work our way up. And as sometimes happens with March Madness, we could have some surprises. It’ll be fun to see.

Once known mostly for high quality cables, Monster has also gotten quite the name for quality headphones. One prime example is the Monster Clarity BT Designer Series. They are an over the ear design that is wireless in functionality. The sleek design with built-in swipe controls perfectly fits the name.  At $199 MSRP they are an excellent value!

Features and Specs:
Cutting-edge swipe controls​ for play/pause, tracking, and volume​.
Superior wireless performance (apt-X)​.
Ultra-soft ear cushions​
Pivoting ear cups​.
Concealed adjustable headband​. Silicon padding won’t slip off your head.
Active echo suppression technology. Built-in, high-intelligibility​ mic for crystal clear calls.
Extended battery for all day and all night listening – Over 24 hours at ample level​. 30 hours talk time​. 20 days standby​.
Low battery warning tone and light.



The Monster Clarity BT Designer Series came in a nice looking color printed box with photos of the headphones and it’s features and specs. They were well protected, held in a molded plastic enclosure. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some metal. Quality of materials used were good, as was the fit and finish. They are a well made product. Also included was the owners manual, charging cable, audio cable, USB to microUSB adapter, and soft cloth bag.

I like the design of the Monster Clarity BT Designer Series. With an MSRP of $199, you get a big bang for the buck. There’s cutting edge swipe controls to control your listening experience. And the microUSB connection doubles as a charging connector, and a direct digital USB audio input. It’s awesome features, but how do they sound?

Why the People Like That – Vocals were nice and smooth. Bass had nice low end extension and was only a tad muddy. Piano sounded natural. Harmonica was crisp and clean.  Rhapsody in Blue – Clarinet was smooth with nice timbre. Bassoon had nice midbass extension. Piano sounded natural. Flutes had good air. Brass was not overly brassy. Imaging was better than expected at this price point.  Earth Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove – Vocals were smooth. Bass had very good extension, impact, and authority. Brass was nice and clean.  Katy Perry: Dark Horse – Bass had nice low end extension, hit hard and was only a tad muddy at the highest volumes. Vocals were natural with good timbre.


Next comes the Audiofly, AF240. Audiofly is a company based out of Australia with a growing reputation for quality headphones. We have reviewed several of their in ear models, but none of their over the ear models. So this is the first for us. It’s a standard closed back corded design.  With an MSRP of $249 they are very well priced.

Features and specs:
Driver type: 40mm single membrane neodymium driver 
Frequency range: 20-20 kHz 
Sensitivity: 103dB at 1 kHz 
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Cable length: 1.5m/60"
Plug type: 3.5mm gold plated straight jack

The Audiofly AF240 came in a nice looking color printed box with photos and specs of the headphone. Opening the box revealed a well protected product held in custom molding. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic, with some metal and leather. Quality of materials used was good, as was the fit and finish. I loved the design using a detachable cable. And the cable was the very high quality cloth wrapped cable that Audiofly is known for.  Also included was a cloth bag and owners manual.  Now let's hear how they sound.



Why the People Like That – Vocals were natural and smooth, bass had nice low end extension and authority. Percussion was sufficiently crisp with good resolution. Harmonica was dynamic.  Rhapsody in Blue – Clarinet was nice and smooth with good timbre. Brass was smooth without being to brassy. Piano sounded natural. Bassoon had nice low end extension into the midbass. Flute had good air. They threw a nice sized sound stage, with good imaging.  Earth Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove – Vocals were nice and smooth with good texture. Bass had nice low end extension and impact. Bass was crisp and clean. Katy Perry: Dark Horse – Bass had ok depth, with ok impact and authority. Vocals were smooth with really good texture and timbre.


Next up is the JBL Everest Elite 750NC. JBL is well known for their high quality products. Having reviewed multiple products of their in the past, including headphones, we know this is the case. The JBL Everest Elite 750NC is on innovative product with adaptive noise canceling, and TruNite auto calibration. So the sound can be tailored to you and your environment. There’s also a cool app for it.  And with a price of $229, they are a killer bang for the buck!

Features and specs:
General Specifications
Dynamic frequency response range:  10Hz-22kHz
Driver size:  40mm
Driver sensitivity:  92dB@1kHz, 1mW
Maximum SPL:  104dB
Microphone sensitivity @1kHz dB v/pa-42
Impedance:  16ohm
Weight (g):  280g
Control and Connection Specifications
Bluetooth Max Output Power:  4dBm
Bluetooth profiles:  HFP v1.6, HSP v1.2, A2DP v1.2, AVRCP v1.4
Bluetooth version:  V4.0
Bluetooth transmitted modulation:  GFSK, π/4-DQPSK, 8DPSK
Bluetooth frequency:  2.402GHz-2.48GHz
Battery
Battery type:  Polymer Li-ion Battery (3.7V, 850mAh)
Charging time:  3 hours
Music play time with ANC on and Bluetooth on:  up to 15 hours
Music play time with ANC off and Bluetooth on:  up to 20 hours



The JBL Everest Elite 750 NC came in a nice looking color printed box with photos of the headphones and it’s features and specs. It came well protected, packaged in a hard zipper case. Opening the case revealed the folded up headphones. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some metal. Quality of the materials used was very good, as was the fit and finish. They are a premium JBL product, and it shows.

I enjoyed the design of the JBL Everest Elite 750NC. They are wireless, but there’s also a wire connection so you can use them when the battery dies. They have adaptive noise canceling so you can turn it completely on, partially, or off. And then there’s the TruNote Auto Calibration, which calibrates the headphones to your fit. Of course, there’s also the JBL App.

The adaptive noise canceling worked well. It has the ability to be in full active noise canceling mode, and then it can be in ambient mode. In full active noise canceling mode, it worked well, canceling about 80% of the noise. In ambient mode, you can select none, some, or all. The ambient mode worked well, and it was easy to move between the level using the button on the earcup.

The JBL Headphone app is really cool. It was really easy to install. Pairing with the JBL Everest Elite 750NC was equally just as easy. Ever worry about how much battery you have left? Now you don’t need to. With the app, you know just how much percentage you have left. Want to change your ambient settings? In the app, you have tons of setting son a sliding scale. You can even set each ear differently! And if you like to customize your headphones to your own custom sound with an EQ, you can do that too. The app doesn’t give you a ton of control, just the perfect amount of control. So far it’s all good, but how do they sound?

Why the People Like That – Vocals were nice and smooth and very natural sounding. Bass had nice deep extension and played with authority. The piano sounded natural. Percussion was crisp and clean. Harmonica was very smooth with good harmonics and dynamics.  Rhapsody in Blue – Clarinet was smooth with nice texture. Brass was just a tad edgy. Piano sounded very natural with nice harmonics. Bassoon had sufficient resolution of the timbre. Flute had nice air, soundstage and imaging were good.  Earth Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove – Vocals were really smooth with good texture. Bass had very good low end extension and play with good impact and authority. Brass was clean with nice harmonics.  Katy Perry: Dark Horse – Bass had really good depth and clean impact, playing with good authority. Vocals were clean with good texture of the timbre.


German engineering has been a quality saying for decades. This saying can also be used with headphones, and Sennheiser is a good example of this. Now it’s time for Sennheiser’s HD1 Wireless Around the Ear Adaptive Noise Canceling Headphones. And in addition to German engineering, Sennheiser taps into premium materials.  MSRP is a huge bang for the buck at $399.

Features and specs:

Technical Data
Headphones
Color:  black, ivory 
Impedance:  passive: 28 Ω 
Impedance:  active: 480 Ω 
Frequency response (Headphones):  16 Hz – 22000 Hz 
THD, total harmonic distortion:  <0 .5="" nbsp="" o:p="">
Contact pressure:  Approx. 3.6 N 

Microphone
Frequency response (Microphone):  Wideband: 100 - 8,000Hz 
Frequency response (Microphone):  Narrowband: 300 - 3,400Hz 
Pick-up pattern:  Dual omni-directional microphone (2 mic beamforming array)
Sensitivity as per 121 TR 9-5:  -44dB V/Pa (1kHz) 

General data
Bluetooth Version:  Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR 
Supported Profiles:  A2DP + AVRCP + HSP + HFP 
Ear coupling:  Circumaural 
Jack plug:  3.5 mm, angled 
Cable length:  1.4 m (Detachable) 
Transducer principle:  Dynamic, Closed 
Attenuation:  Up to 25dB 
Charging time:  Approx. 3 hrs 
Operating time:  22hrs (HFP + ANC) 
Battery Specification:  Rechargeable Lithium-ion Polymer (600mAh) 
Codecs:  apt-X® 
NoiseGard™ noise compensation:  NoiseGard™ Hybrid technology with 4 pick-up microphones 
  
The Sennheier HD1 Wireless Around the Ear Adaptive Noise Cancelling Headphones came in a nice color printed box with photos of the headphones as well and it’s features and specs. Opening the box revealed custom foam molding holding the case in place. Inside semi-hard neoprene zipper case was the headphones, held inside a soft cloth bag. Pulling out the headphones revealed an elegant product. Materials used were plastic, leather and metal. The headband was metal, wrapped in leather. The earcups were plastic with what appears to be a cream colored pearl finish. The pads were memory foam wrapped in soft leather. Quality of materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. The Sennheiser HD1 is definitely a premium product and it shows. Also included was the owners manual, charging cable, wired analog cable, and airline adaptor.

I love the design of the Sennheiser HD1. I loved the fact that it comes with a wired analog cable, because you never knew when your battery is going to be dead and you’ll need the analog cable. When I first saw the cable, I was disappointed, thinking, what, no mic? But then I thought…wait, this is Sennheiser. I then looked at the earcups and saw the multiple built-in mics. A small downside…whether you want it or not, the active noise canceling is always on, unless you use the wired cord. But the soft English leather, and memory foam are nirvana for your ears. It’s so soft and comfortable they could live on your ears! Now let’s see how well they sounded.

Why the People Like That – Vocals were very natural, smooth with great texture. Piano was very natural. Bass was very deep and played with tons of authority and kick. Percussion was crisp and clean. Harmonica was silky smooth with excellent dynamics.  Rhapsody in Blue – Clarinet was silky smooth with very good timbre, being able to make out the breathing and tonguing technique. Piano sounded very natural. Bassoon had nice texture and midbass harmonics. Brass was very smooth without being overly brassy. Dynamics were very good as was the imaging.  Earth Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove – Vocals were smooth like honey with great timbre and texture. Bass had excellent low end extension and hit like a sledge hammer. Brass was crisp and clean with excellent harmonics.  Katy Perry: Dark Horse – Bass had excellent low end extension, was really clean, and hit hard with serious authority. Vocals were smooth with excellent texture and timbre.


Speaking of German engineering, another company to tap into those bloodlines is Beyerdynamic. They are known for their high quality and innovative products. This tradition continues with the Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless. With their MIY app, the sound from the Aventho Wireless is tailored just for you.  It's innovation in spades!  MSRP is $449.

Features and specs:
  • Mobile Bluetooth headphones with optimum sound quality thanks to Tesla technology and top-class Bluetooth transmission (Qualcomm® aptX™ HD und AAC)
  • Adapts acoustically to the user's hearing thanks to integrated sound personalization and thus delivers perfect sound, no matter which device
  • Personalization via the beyerdynamic MIY app: create a sound profile, adjust the sensitivity of the touchpad, track daily listening habits – all with ultimate ease
  • Impressive battery life of more than 30 hours, intuitive handling using the touchpad integrated in the right ear cup as well as high-quality handsfree microphone for phone calls       
  • Stylish design for on the go thanks to high-quality materials and top-class workmanship made in Germany - available in black or brown
  • TRANSMISSION TYPE
  • Wireless via Bluetooth
  • REMOTE
  • Without Remote
  • NOMINAL IMPEDANCE HEADPHONES
  • 32 ohms
  • HEADPHONE FREQUENCY RESPONSE
  • 10 – 40,000 Hz
  • NOMINAL SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
  • 105 dB SPL (1 mW / 500 Hz)


The Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless came shipped in a nice looking color printed box with photos and features for the headphones. Opening the box, I found the headphones in a nice cloth bag. Materials used in the construction were plastic and metal. The headband is stainless steel wrapped in a soft synthetic, which is understandable at this price point since they are made in Germany. The earcups are the same combination of plastic, metal and soft synthetic. The quality of materials used were excellent, as was the fit and finish. They are a very well made product. Also included was the owners manual, analog audio cable, and charging cable.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of the small on the ear design. I prefer the larger over the ear design. But I had the feeling I was going to become a fan. I heard about the MIY app, and if it works the way I believe it will, Beyerdynamic will have a very, very special product on their hands. How does it work?

In simplified terms, everyone hears differently. So through the MIY app, using special technology, multiple test tones are sent to each ear. The user, through the app, tells the app how soft or loud each test tone was heard, though the different frequencies. It's basically like a hearing test.  After the setup is complete, you have a specific sound profile for the way you hear. If it works like I hope it will, there’s only one word to describe it: game changer. Now that I have them set up for me, let’s see how they sound.

Why the People Like That – Vocals were silky smooth, very natural, and excellent texture and resolution. Bass had very good low end extension and played with great authority. Percussion was really crisp and clean and dynamic with tons of resolution. The harmonica was as smooth as honey with killer dynamics and resolution.  Rhapsody in Blue – Clarinet was so silky smooth with excellent texture and timbre, with plenty of resolution to hear the breathing technique. Piano sounded surprisingly very natural! Bassoon had excellent texture of the midbass harmonics. Flute had very nice air. Dynamics were excellent, as was the imaging in the large soundstage.  Earth Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove – Vocals were silky smooth with excellent timbre and texture. Bass had nice deep low end extension and played with authority. Brass was so clean with excellent harmonics. Soundstage was huge.  Katy Perry: Dark Horse – Bass had very good extension, playing really clean with a ton of authority. Vocals were extremely smooth with excellent texture of the timbre.


We all work hard for our money. So when we look at spending our hard earned cash, we want a good bang for the buck. You want good quality and price with great performance. Audio-Technica continually makes their brand with this. They also provide some good innovation. A perfect example of this is the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT.

Features and specs:

Exclusive Pure Digital Drive system keeps audio signal completely digital from source to driver for exceptionally pure sound

Dnote chipset controls driver amplitude directly with digital signals – no D/A converter required
Compatible with Qualcomm aptX HD, aptX, AAC and SBC codecs, enabling wireless transmission with a resolution up to 24-bit/48kHz

Exclusive 45 mm True Motion Driver, featuring 4-core twisted OFC-7N voice coil and diaphragm with DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating, extremely accurate audio reproduction with extended high frequencies

Housing’s dual-layer isolation structure keeps the electric circuitry separate from the acoustic space for optimal phase and transient response

Acoustic resistor controls airflow inside the diaphragm housing, yielding more natural sound

Mic and volume/control switch are built into the earcup for convenient control of smartphones and other Bluetooth wireless devices

NFC (Near Field Communication) functionality enables touch pairing with NFC-compatible Bluetooth wireless technology devices

Remembers the last eight Bluetooth wireless devices paired

LED indicators in the earcup display pairing and charging status, battery level, and the codec currently in use

Heat-reactive soft foam earpads and an easily adjustable leather headband provide a comfortable fit with outstanding sound isolation

Internal battery provides approximately 15 hours of continuous use (1000 hours on standby) on a full charge

Includes a 2.0 m (6.6') USB cable, for charging and Hi-Res Audio playback. and hard carrying case





The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT came in a nice color printed box with photos of the headphones and it’s specs. Opening the box revealed a well protected product in a hard zipper case. Materials used in the construction was a lot of metal, with some plastic. Quality of the materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT is very well built for a long lifespan. It’s a premium product and it shows.

The design of the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT is stellar. We live in a digital age, and our music is following suit. So to keep the sound the best possible, they came up with a design for the signal path to be completely digital. Enter the Pure Digital Drive system. It keeps the signal path digital from source to driver to deliver the best sound possible. I also really like having NFC built in for easy connectivity, as well as the LED’s for a battery level indicator! It’s an overall excellent design, but how well does it sound?

Why the People Like That – Vocals were very smooth with great texture. Bass had great low end extension and played with tons of authority. Piano sounded natural. Percussion was very dynamic, crisp and clean. Harmonica was silky smooth with great harmonics and dynamics.  Rhapsody in Blue – Clarinet was smooth like honey with excellent resolution to hear the breathing and tonguing technique. Piano sounded very natural. Brass was crisp and clean without sounding brassy. Flute was smooth. Bassoon had excellent midbass harmonics and texture. Imaging was very good in the large soundstage. Earth Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove – Vocals were silky smooth like a dove chocolate bar, with excellent texture and timbre. Bass had excellent low end extension and impact, hitting hard like a sledge hammer. Brass was so clean with excellent harmonics.  Katy Perry: Dark Horse – Bass had excellent low end extension, was really clean, hit hard and had tons of authority. Vocals were smooth, clean, extremely natural, with excellent texture and timbre.

It’s been a crazy year for March Madness, with some teams really underperforming, and some over performing. A bit of the madness found its way into the Headphone Shootout. All of them performed well. Bur there were a couple that surprised me.

The Monster Clarity BT Designer Series did better than expected at their price point. The styling is excellent, the clarity and resolution was as expected at their price point. But the bass performance was much better than expected. They are targeted as a high value big bang for the buck. As I would expect from Monster, they hit it out of the park.

Audiofly is known for their high quality products that sound great. The Audiofly AF240 follows suit. Build quality is excellent, as I have come to expect from them. There was great resolution and clarity in the mids, and highs. The bass output was just a tad lacking.

I like JBL products. If you’re not sure what to buy, JBL is typically a safe bet, and that proved to be the case with the JBL Everest Elite 750NC. The sound quality was on par for their price point. But you also get a lot of bang for the buck with the extra features, like wireless functionality, active noise canceling and the app.

Sennheiser is a brand that you can always count on to give great performance. The design is off the charts! Real leather wrapped over stainless steel headband and the ivory finish is absolutely sexy looking! Add to that the English leather wrapped over memory foam that is a soft that you can wear them for hours. When you included the stellar sound into the equation, you have a synergy that will bring an ear to ear smile for any buyer.

Beyerdynamic is another excellent brand that I have came to expect great things from. I was not a fan of the on ear design. I know it’s much more portable, but it just isn’t my style. They quickly won me over with the better than expected performance. Because my bar was already set high, as it was Beyerdynamic. That’s saying something. The sound was stellar. Add to that the ability to customize the sound to your particular hearing with their app, they hit this one out of the park. The app didn’t help me much, but I also protect my hearing, so that didn’t surprise me.

Last but not least is the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT. Audio-Technica is a company known for giving a good bang for the buck, and that trend continues. Their direct digital drive is innovative, and gives you some great technology. Better than that, the technology worked, giving excellent clarity and resolution! The built quality was also excellent. The only thing I didn’t like…since it is completely digital, there’s no option for using an analog cable, if the battery runs out. Being completely digital, not being able to have an analog cable makes sense.  And the excellent sound....worth being without a cable.

We also can't forget the wireless performance.  Having a 2 story house with a full basements, I thought the best way to test is to pair it with my HTC One M9 Smartphone, leave it in the far corner of the basement, and start walking around.  I walked around the basement, walked up to the main floor, walked around the main floor, and then went upstairs to the 2nd floor.  They all started to give a little hiccups at the extreme other corner of the basement.  Walking upstairs, I got a few more hiccups.  And going up to the 2nd floor was even worse.  I was actually surprised with the Bluetooth performance.  The Sennheiser HD1 had the best performance, being able to go all the way up to the 2nd floor, with a few hiccups along the way as it was trying to keep hold of the signal. The JBL Everest Elite and Monster Clarity BT Designer Series had pretty equal performance. The Beyerdynamic and Audio-Technica couldn't make it up to the 2nd floor - just too much crackling for having a hard time holding onto the signal. Just keep in mind when reading about this performance.....how far away do you really wander from your signal device, which is probably your smartphone.  All of these could handle 50 feet without much problem.  Adding the multiple walls and floors just reduced this distance.  So in realistic real world use, more than likely all of them would perform great for what you are needing.

With all said and done, it was a fun Headphone shootout with some standout products. The good news for you shoppers, no matter your budget, all of these contenders will give you great sound. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, the Monster Clarity BT Designer Series and Audiofly AF240 has earned our Recommended Award, the JBL Everest Elite 750NC have earned our Highly Recommended Award, and the Sennheiser HD1, Beyerdynamic Avertho Wireless, and Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT have earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more information and complete specs, check out their websites at www.audiofly.com, www.audio-technica.com, www.beyerdynamic.com, www.jbl.com, www.monsterstore.com, and www.sennheiser.com.





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