Archives for October 2018

USA: Creative Super X-Fi pre-orders November 1st [today]

For the USA market, Creative (formerly Labs) are NOW accepting pre-orders for their brand new Super X-Fi headphone amp (aka SXFI) for $150. And for a limited time, while supplies last, during the pre-ordering period, pre-orders will receive a FREE pair of SXFI certified Creative Aurvana SE SFXI earphones per the bottom of the press release [screenshot of that section below]…

The earphones are added automatically included in the order when you add the SFXI amp to the shopping cart. The product title in the shopping cart indicates there are free earphones included [screenshot inside the shopping cart below]:

This has already been released in Singapore. Creative is learning from the world of smartphones and they are attempting to build a whole ecosystem around this with various SFXI-certified headphones and such.

They have also unleashed a FREE Google Play music player app that takes advantage of the technology but everyone can use it. It requires Android 6 and later and is 54MB. It was updated a couple of days ago.

Here’s a 3 minute video from the IDG/PC-World group of companies talking about this…

New at Massdrop (Thursday 9am ET): Hifiman Edition XX Open planars for $600

UPDATE: the shipping estimate has been revealed, it is the end of May 2019, that’s almost seven months from now, so patience is a virtue even for the patient ^_^

Massdrop strikes again! The date of interest this time is Thursday November 1st at 9am eastern! At that very point in time, after the Halloween festivities are over, they will launch a brand new custom co-brand headphone, the Hifiman Edition XX, an open-back planar-magnetic over-ear headphone. The verbiage at Massdrop says that at 20 ohm, an amplifier is not required, it can be driven from a laptop or portable media player. But what about the Sandisk Clip Plus? 🙂

The price is revealed in the listing, it will be $600 with free US shipping and subsidized international shipping. It will come with a 1-year manufacturer warranty which makes sense since it is a Hifiman x Massdrop co-operation.

The big unknown that will be revealed tomorrow is the shipping estimate. This is a new product, so I’m guessing don’t expect it to arrive in 2018 🙂

Sandisk Clip Jam (8GB) for $30

The lime-green and red-orange color-schemes of the new condition Sandisk Clip Jam mp3 player are on sale for $30 with Prime shipping at Amazon’s website. These are newer models, after the legendary “Clip+”. They come with a 2-year warranty and support mp3, AAC, WMA, WAV and Audible’s DRM for audiobooks.

In addition to the 8GB on-board, they also have a microSD slot for additional storage. I don’t have this newer model, but I am frequently rotating between my three “Clip+” models which also have on-board storage plus microSD. You can view the music separately or together in the player.

It looks like this model however, unlike the Clip+, it does not have the Rockbox option

AKG N90Q Reference ANC Over-Ears for $1000

For a limited time only, B&H Photo is offering the new condition AKG N90Q Reference class ANC over-ear closed-back headphones for a flat $1000 with free shipping and handling. Interesting choice to add ANC to a reference-priced headphone but if all the headphones were the same, it would be more boring 🙂

Monoprice Headphone Stand (Aluminum) for $18 w/free S&H

Monoprice is back with a handful of special audio-related offers, some of which get unconditional free standard US shipping without coupons or other songs-and-dances…

+ Headphone Stand (PID 24462) for $18 with free standard US shipping
+ full aluminum construction; no assembly required

+ Monolith by Monoprice 6ft RCA Cable for $18 with free standard US shipping

+ Onyx Series Auxiliary 3.5mm TRS Audio Cable, 3ft for $1.05

+ Monolith by Monoprice Amplifier/Component Stand for $24

+ Lightweight on-ear headphones for $19
+ unboxing post coming soon [pictures taken; I must process them and write up the blog-post]…

SMSL SH-8 Head-Amp for $160, SU-8 DAC for $200, Both $340

Massdrop strikes again! Unlocked and ready for purchase with an early December 2018 shipment date is the new condition SMSL SU-8 DAC & SH-8 Headphone Amp drop [aka offer]. There are three options in this listing ~ you select them at the checkout. The SU-8 DAC goes for $200, the SH-8 amp goes for $160, or you can buy both for $340 [a $20 off combined purchase discount; stingy?] There are discussions, reviews and links for these models over there at the aforelinked MD webpage…

Free Universal Case with Sennheiser HD 280 for $100

Proper studio headphones they are, the Sennheiser HD 280, and for a limited time, B&H Photo is bundling a FREE Auray UHC-725 Universal Headphone Case, all together going for $100. The case goes for $20 on its own and comes with a 1-year warranty of its own. The HD 280 are a known quantity. The case averages 4.8 out of 5 based on 14 customer reviews and it has a few questions answered as well. Between those and the pictures and descriptions [dimensions under the SPECS sub-tab over there] you can get a feel on what other headphones you can fit inside.

Fiio RC-SE1 earphone cable (3.5/MMCX) for $25

This is not a magic cable. It’s a practical cable 🙂 The new condition Fiio RC-SE1 earphone replacement 47-inch cable is currently on sale for $25 when you add it to the shopping cart at B&H Photo. It is 3.5mm on one end, and gold-plated MMCX on the other end.

Wedn: Treblab X5 Advanced Truly Wireless for $60

Good until Thursday at 1am ET, the current Woot Electronics daily deal is the new condition Treblab X5 Advanced truly wireless earphones offered for $60 with free shipping for Prime members. They are available in the black color scheme with up to ten pairs per customer at the sale price. They come with a 1-year warranty from TrebLab.

PS: I am now filing the “truly wireless” earphones under their own main category, keeping them separate from the traditional wire-connected-together earphones, be they earbuds or in-ears, bluetooth or not.

3pk Maxell Solid 2 earphones for $7

On the budget side of things, if you are already planning a B&H order and want to append a little something to it, there is a sale on the Maxell Solid 2 earphones. The 3-pack goes for $7, the 2-pack goes for $5, and a 1-pack goes for $3. These are for utilitarian purposes, no need to send these to Tyll for measurement. They even come with a mic/remote cable!

Wedn: Samson Podcasting Pack (w/SR-850) for $70

Good until Wednesday 10-31-2018 at 11:59pm ET, New York’s B&H Photo is offering as part of their daily deals the new condition Samson Podcasting pack for $70 with free shipping. This includes the semi-open SR-850 over-ear headphones along with the C01-U PRO USB studio condenser microphone, and a carrying case that fits both of them inside [see gallery picture #2 over there].

If on the other hand you only want the SR-850, which is a very serviceable (albeit not polished or impressive) headphone for the price, it is currently on sale for $29~ at B&H Photo and also Amazon actual

We have in-fact a text and pictures unboxing of the headphone itself ~ not the podcasting pack. It is very spartan as it befits the price 🙂

One thing to note, the cable is long but it is 3.5mm…

Tuesday (EU): Sennheiser Momentums, Sony, Denon, Polk, JBL, Sonos, Gaming, Etc

Amazon Germany has launched a whole lot of deals for Tuesday OCT-30-2018 on various things, including, of audio/headphone interest:

+ select Sennheiser Momentums on sale:
+ M2 AEBT (bluetooth, closed, over-ears) for 219 euro
++ Momentum 2.0 closed over-ears with Apple buttons for 120
+ CX 7.00 bluetooth neckband earphones for 80
+ the Momentum name remains in most of the world; the US Sennheiser changed it because of legal/naming issues

++ Mixed Audio Sale includes:
+ Denon AH-MM440 (walnut wood) closed over-ears for 240
+ Denon AH-D2100 over-ears for 139
+ Denon AH-C821 in-ears for 100
+ various Polk and Denon speakers, soundbars, etc

+ Sony sale including the ZX-330 BT closed bluetooth on-ears for 45, PS-HX500 turntable for 280, various speakers, micro HiFis, etc

+ JBL Control Wireless Bluetooth speaker for 179 euro

+ SONOS ONE with Philips LED Starter Kit bundled together for 269 euro

+ various modern HAMA internet radios some with CD players, some with streaming support, DAB, bluetooth, FM, WLAN, multiroom, etc with prices ranging from 100 to 269 euro

++ Feed your DAPs, Save your FLACs!
+ Samsung EVO Select microSD sale going from 32GB to 256GB (11 to 75 euro; best value per GB are the 128GB and 64GB)
+ big Sandisk sale includes 128GB and 200GB Ultra microSDXCs, along with 64GB Transcend microSDXC; also SSDs and external HDDs for your digital music collection or backups or transfers

+ PC and Gaming Sale including gaming headsets from Logitech and Trust

+ lots of technology and computer deals, and Samsung and LG HDTVs too, see them all at the Amazon Germany Gold Box
+ for EU residents, VAT is included and no customs are collected on delivery

Used Book: 2007 Audio Parts Import/Export for $9

This is the definition of a very deep cut 🙂 If you happen to be looking for a copy of the 2007 book “Import and Export Market for Parts for Audio-Frequency Electric Amplifiers, Microphones, Loudspeakers, Headphones, Earphones, and Combined Microphone-Speaker Sets in United States”, you are in luck! A copy is available in “Used – Acceptable” condition for $9~ by Amazon Warehouse Deals actual. The note says that “associated media” may not be included. In new condition, this 94-page printed book by Philip M. Parker and published by the ICON Group goes for $188…

Used Pioneer SE-MS5 Over-Ears for $25

If you are fond of being used, you can save a few frapuccinos by getting the used version of the Pioneer closed-back over-ear SE-MS5 headphone, in the R’hllor red color scheme, in “Used – Very Good” condition (cosmetic imperfections, damaged original packaging) for $25~ from Amazon Warehouse Deals actual and Prime eligible. The new condition prices currently go for $40+ depending on color scheme…

Open-box Sennheiser HD 660S for $347

If all the various Sennheiser HD 6* and 7* open-back headphones it is the “HD 660S” the one you want, and you don’t mind used/open-box options, this fairly new headphone is now available in “Used – Like New” (open box condition) for $347~ with free shipping by marketplace seller [and Sennheiser refurbished seller] Blinq thru Warehouse Deals. This ships directly from Blinq and everyone gets free shipping. The new condition price is currently $500.

The biggest competitor of course to the aforementioned lines is mayhaps the HD 6XX going for $200 at Massdrop, assuming don’t have to pay crazy customs and shipping fees.

Focal Sphear S In-Ears for $65

A feast of price-matches has dropped the price of the black color scheme of the new condition FOCAL Sphear S in-ears to $65 with free shipping by various marketplace sellers fulfilled by Amazon (thus Prime-eligible) including ZORRO Sounds.

Sennheiser CX 3.00 Earphones for $27

The three colors of the new condition Sennheiser CX 3.0 earphones are currently on sale for $27 at the Amazon website. Those sold by Amazon actual are currently restricted to Prime members, however, any units sold by marketplace sellers [even if fulfilled by Amazon] are open to all shoppers, not just Prime members.

There, they average 3.6 out of 5 based on 530+ customer reviews, and they have nearly 50 answered questions by viewers like you…

Shure SRH-145 lightweight closed on-ears for $20

On the budget side of lightweight closed-back on-ear headphones, the new condition Shure SRH-145 are currently on sale for just under $20, sold and shipped by Amazon actual and you can buy as many pairs as you like.

I used to have these, we had an unboxing post and also an experimental review diary ~ believe or not, that was FOUR years ago! It almost feels like yesterday when I wrote those posts. Time flies ^_^ 🙂

Used Fiio F9 PRO IEMs for $100

The new condition Fiio F9 PRO in-ears with their hybrid setup (one dynamic, two balanced armatures) currently go for $140 in new condition at authorized dealers, but if you are fond of saving some, there is one unit available in “Used – Like New” condition [no signs of use says the listing] for $100 at Amazon Warehouse Deals, sold and shipped by marketplace seller “The Camera Box” (98%). This listing is NOT prime-eligible but you get free shipping from the marketplace seller.

In general, earphones and their packaging is lightweight and small, so any decent seller should be able to ship it reasonably fast.

Now shipping: FOCAL’s first closed-back audiophile

FOCAL made a handful of consumer closed-back headphones but not an audiophile-targeting headphone until the release of the “Elegia”. This new black-silver over-ear model is now in-stock and shipping by various well-known audio-sellers that are fulfilled by Amazon including OneCall, ListenUP, HiDef Lifestyle, etc.

I do not know if there are any plans for a Massdrop variant of this…

Speaking of FOCAL, they were the focus of episode #3 of the relatively new post-Tyll Innerfidelity podcast, talking with Nicolas Debard of the french maker. You can listen to it on all your favorite podcasting apps and sites, such as Stitcher which also offers a web widget:

There is discussion of their approach to headphones and also how it relates to their loudspeaker philosophy. These and more!

Focal Listen Bluetooth Over-Ears for $189

On the consumer side of FOCAL headphones and of the utilitarian kind (read: bluetooth), their new condition closed-back over-ear Listen Wireless are on sale for $189 by “Electronics EXPO” with the order fulfilled by Amazon, so Prime shipping for members. These average 3.6 out of 5 based on 22 customer reviews and they have nine answered questions by viewers like you…

Sunday: NuForce BE Sport3 BT Earphones for $40

Good until Sunday at 11:59pm ET, B&H Photo is offering the new condition NuForce BE Sport3 bluetooth earphones in the gunmetal color scheme for $40 with free US shipping and handling. The silver color scheme is not on sale.

Bang & Olufsen H8i ANC/BT On-Ears for $250

If you enjoy the Bang & Olufsen way of doing this, their new condition H8i ANC + Bluetooth closed-back on-ears, in the black color scheme, are on sale for a limited time for $250 with free shipping or free store pickup at the Best Buy website

Hifiman Mega Mini DAP for $60 [MD]

It’s DAP time now at Massdrop. Hifiman makes digital audio players as well, and their new condition MegaMini player is currently on offer at Massdrop for $60 with orders shipped by Massdrop in late November 2018. Music is stored on a microSD card, and this DAP supports capacities up to 256GB. A manual and a cable are the other things included in the box [in addition to the player [obviously] and the packaging materials].

The “drop” (aka offer in Massdrop speak) runs for the next five days and change {from blog-posting date}.

Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic System for $500

I promise this is the last time I’ll use this joke! Come on Barbie, let’s have an Electrostatic Party! In progress at Massdrop, as part of their growing co-operation with Wisconsin’s KOSS, they are offering the new condition Massdrop x Koss ESP/95X Electrostatic System for $500 with free US shipping and subsidized international shipping. Choice of 120V or 220V is available at checkot.

This is a “massdropized” variation of the well-known ESP-950, but it is an in-development product. Shipment is early April 2019, that’s over five months from blog-posting date.

A total of 713 are offered for purchase. As of the time of 379 of them have been sold.

Monoprice Monolith USB DAC for $85 w/FS

It’s a sale, not coupon-based at the Monopriced of select audio products, headlined by the new condition Monolith USB DAC, Product 29512, going for $85 with free standard US shipping during this promotion. Think of this as a DragonQuest AudioFly type of a competitor device. Okay, it’s AudioQuest Dragonfly ^_^

Purchasing a product that gets free shipping also helps (or eliminates depending on weight/etc) the S&H fee of other Monoprice products, so you may also be interested in these sales which don’t get free shipping on their own:

+ Monoprice Lightweight Closed On-Ears, PID 13191, for $10
+ these have shared lineage with the AmazonBasics on-ears and also sell under a couple of other brand names. I’ve had both but not at the same time ~ from memory they seem to have a similar sound signature, a pretty good value for modern music with some modest and rather tasteful bassiness ~ considering their price
+ an unboxing post is in the works, followed by a review

+ Wired Earbuds with Mic/Remote, PID 18591, for $2.49
+ very serviceable for the price, the kind you keep in bags and cars and workplaces and give to kids and friends and relatives who break or lose things all the time
+ these are of utilitarian use, don’t throw away the Tennmak PROs 🙂

UK: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO for 382, DT 1770 for 387 BP

And now to the UK we go where two of Beyerdynamic’s next-gen studio headphones are on sale by Amazon UK actual [not by marketplace sellers!]. The new condition open-back DT 1990 PRO is on sale for 382 UK pounds, while the closed-back DT 1770 PRO goes for around 387 British pounds (BP). These are sold and shipped by Amazon UK and are not lightning deals, so the sale will continue until it ends 🙂 These are 250 ohm headphones, so keep that in mind iPod Nano music listeners ^_^

Hifiman HE-560 V3 Planar Over-Ears for $299

Hifiman trade-offs return. The company has an above average issue with physical problems of their headphones, so if you are not already aware of that, be sure to read up on it before making a decision on this offering…

For a limited time, Adorama is offering the new condition Hifiman HE-560 V3 planar-magnetic open headphones for the special price of $299 with free shipping. No coupon, no rebate, just add to cart and proceed to checkout. They come with a 1-year limited warranty…

Grado SR60i Open-Back for $35.50

This is a bit of a surprise! There is a listing of a new condition open-back Grado SR60i headphones offered for the very specific price of $35.50 with a “1-3 months” shipment estimate. These are sold and shipped by Amazon actual. The only strange thing about this listing is that the manufacturer name in one of the Amazon fields has been changed from “Grado” to “ANCHENLE” (whatever that is).

Follow the yellow highlights and markings to see the points of interest in the screenshot below…

So there is some risk to this, but since it is “sold and shipped” by Amazon actual, if there is any trouble/issue, Amazon customer service will handle it. Still, if you hate returning products, then mayhaps this is best avoided. On the other hand, if you are a boldly going shopper, sometimes luck favors the bold [and definitely the bald!]

PS: the SR60i [which I had] is the previous generation model. The current generation is the SR60e. And before those two there was the SR60. I personally did not find the SR60i as polarizing as some of the forum dwellers, but it definitely had a bit of a unique sound signature.

Tue: Philips M2L Lightning Headphone for $40 w/FS

The good old Philips SHP 9500S ain’t walking through that door any time soon, but one of the NewEgg daily deals for Tuesday 10/23/18 has the new condition closed-back on-ear Philips M2L/27 Lightning headphones on sale for $40 with free shipping when you enter promo code EMCSEPRR3 over there.

Note that these headphones have a lightning connector and will ONLY work with a Lightning (Apple iPhones, iPods, iPads) port, not a conventional 3.5mm headphone jack.

EU: Shure SRH-440 Studio for 72 euro

It is not a surprise that some of the classic Beyerdynamic DT 7-8-9 headphones sell for less in Germany than in the US, since it is their home country. It is a bit of a surprise though that Shure, although German-sounding, are a Chicago-based USA company, yet their closed-back over-ear SRH-440 studio headphones sell for $100 in the US but they are on sale for just 72 euro by Amazon Germany itself.

I haven’t listened to these, but I listened to the SRH-240A. The 440s can still be found in some of the “$100 closed over-ear recommendation lists” but since then, other closed-back options around that price-range have surfaced [and with mic/remotes], so as always, be sure to research things to your satisfaction before committing to a purchase…

VE Monks Plus Earbuds for $10 w/Prime shipping

Are you curious about the Venture Electronics Monk Plus earbuds [actual earbuds], but don’t want to deal with Massdrop or wait for a long time for them to arrive from sellers on Alibaba and such. Well, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get a brand new pair delivered to your front door in around two days as the official VE store is selling them fulfilled by Amazon for $10 in the “smoke” color scheme. This is a model without a mic/remote, just good old earbuds…

We have an unboxing and review diary of a different color scheme. To cut a long story short, these are a pretty good value for the price [or a much higher price] ~ assuming you want actual earbuds and not in-ears.

PS: they also selling for $10 the VE Monk Lite but I haven’t seen or heard the “Lite” model…

Monoprice MP Gaming headphone for $13 w/FS

If you are looking for a basic gaming headset with free US shipping [and don’t want to hunt for coupons and rebates and such], for a limited time, the Monoprice website is offering the new condition Monoprice MP Gaming for the very specific price of $13.41 with free standard US shipping. These average 3.4 out of 5 based on 14 customer reviews.

Speaking of Monoprice, if you are going to place an order anyway, there’s a handful of earphones that go as low as $2.49 per pair towards the middle of their Spooky sales. If your order already qualifies for free shipping, or if the items you are buying are lightweight [eg earphones], then they have minimal impact on the S&H fee.

PS: unrelated, but in the next few hours I will do another dive into Amazon Warehouse Deals, so expect a few posts to come out of that adventure [assuming they are notable deals of course]…

PADs: Unlocked LG G6 for $250 [Monday only]

From the “Phones as DAPs” (PADs) department, good until Monday 10/22/18 at 11:59pm eastern time, you can get the new condition, unlocked, carrier-free LG G6 for $250 with free shipping at B&H Photo. This is in the Ice Platinum color scheme.

NOTE: this is the international version phone but it comes with a 1-year warranty from B&H Photo itself…

Hifi Walker HX DSD DAP for $88 after coupon

It didn’t take long for Chi-fi to come up with DSD digital audio players, and for a limited (unspecified) time, Amazon is offering a 20% off clip-on coupon on this small-ish Hifi Walker HX DAP with 16GB on-board and one microSD memory card slot. It supports up to DSD 128 (5.8 MHz), with Bluetooth 4.0 (with apt-X) that works in your choice of receiver [use it amp your smartphone/tablet/etc music] or transmitter [play music on your bluetooth headphones/speakers/etc].

It averages 3.5 out of 5 based on 20 customer reviews and has 39 answered questions, so it looks like the DSD support generated some curiosity interest among some fans.

The name is more likely word-play on the more famous Sony Walkman, another defining characteristic of Chi-fi we know and love [VE Monks FTW! ~ it is the two year anniversary of my Monks purchase 🙂 ]

Its current price [as of the time of writing] is $110, with the 20% off dropping it to $88 or so.