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10 High-End Headphones From CanJam & RMAF 2017

CanJam, the mecca for headphone enthusiasts produced by Head-Fi.org, was once again held in October during the annual Rocky Mountain Audio Festival in Denver. Manufacturers congregated over a span of three days to show off the latest and greatest in high-end audiophile ear candy. Here’s what they saw — and heard …

Beyerdynamic’s Xelento Wireless are in-ear Bluetooth headphones that feature the same proprietary Tesla transducers as the company’s wired Xelento model. Beyerdynamic said it redesigned the drivers with ring magnets and ultra-fine voice coils, delivering an extended frequency response. The Xelento Wireless feature AptX and AAC codecs, seven sizes of “anatomically-shaped” ear tips, three Comply ear tips, and an in-line mic and remote. Silver-plated cables with an aramid-fiber core connect to the rechargeable battery pack, which supplies 5.5 hours of use. A detachable cable is also included for wired use. Suggested retail is $1,299.

Audio-Technica’s top-of-the-line ATH-ADX5000 open-air dynamic headphones employ the company’s Core Mount Technology (CMT), engineered to position the driver’s voice coil in the middle of its housing so that the acoustic space is balanced in both the front and the back of the driver. This configuration provides optimum low-frequency response, according to Audio-Technica, and a damper inside the housing further tunes the bass response. The ATH-ADX5000’s driver unit features a 58mm tungsten-coated diaphragm, Permendur magnetic circuit, high-purity 6N-OFC voice coil and housing, all integrated into the baffle. They will ship in December and are priced to retail for $1,999.

The SE-Master1 stereo headphones from Pioneer are Hi-Res Audio capable with 50mm drivers, a frequency response of 5Hz to 85kHz, max input power of 1,500mW and impedance of 45 ohms. They feature aluminum housings, a floating construction for reduced distortion and interchangeable tension rods. Suggested retail is $2,500.

Acoustic Research’s AR-E10 Bluetooth in-ear headphones boast an 8mm beryllium dynamic driver and a balanced-armature driver. Frequency response is measured at 20-40kHz, with sensitivity rated at 95dB/mV at 1kHz, and impedance at 25 ohms. They have a two-pin, interchangeable cable interface and come with unbalanced and unbalanced audio cables, as well as a Bluetooth AptX neckband, replaceable earphone sleeves and a carry pouch. They will ship in December with a $249 suggested retail.

Klipsch’s Heritage HP-3 headphones feature 52mm drivers built into a semi-open design with wood, steel and machined aluminum materials. Features include solid-wood, triple-vented ear cups, angled sheepskin ear pads and a hand-stitched cowhide headband. They ship with a steel-rod headphone stand, 8.2-foot braided cables and a 0.25-inch adapter. Three wood finishes are offered: walnut, ebony and oak, each at a $1,199 suggested retail.

Sennheiser’s Ambeo Smart Surround earphones are designed to let consumers easily capture and listen to binaural audio recordings on their smartphones. The company teamed with Apogee in the design of the two built-in omnidirectional microphones in the earpieces that work in tandem with a DAC, mic preamp and Apogee’s SoftLimit recording technology. Audio playback is meant to reproduce the sound field in which it was captured. A Transparent Hearing mode, billed as a safety mechanism, enables wearers to tune into ambient noise while wearing the headset. The iOS version is currently available at a $299 suggested retail, and an Android version is in the works.

Astell&Kern and Jerry Harvey Audio are jointly producing the Michelle Limited in-ear monitors, named after the Guns n’ Roses song “My Michelle.” Features include a trio of three-way balanced-armature drivers and a detachable Silver Tinsel Cable with two-pin connector. Patented FreqPhase technology adjusts the length and shape of the tube connected by a nozzle to each driver, to minimize the phase shift of each frequency and produce a more accurate sound, A&K said. They will ship this month at a $399 suggested retail.

Focal’s Clear reference headphones feature a circumaural open-back design with an M-shaped aluminum/magnesium dome equipped with a copper voice coil. The shape of the dome is meant to provide the ideal combination of lightness, rigidity and dampening, said Focal, while the copper gives the voice coil an extremely strong magnetic field, resulting in an accurate recreation of the original recording. The frequency response for the Clear headphones is listed at 5Hz to 28kHz with 104dB SPL/1mW @ 1kHz sensitivity and impedance of 55 ohms. They come with perforated microfiber ear cushions and are currently available for $1,499.

The Dual Driver Lightning ANC in-ear headphones from 1More feature a balanced-armature driver and a dynamic driver, as well as active noise-canceling technology and a built-in DAC. It has an in-line mic and remote on an MFi-certified, Kevlar-wrapped Lightning cable. Suggested retail is $149.

Shure’s SE215 in-ear headphones boast an ergonomic, sound-isolating construction that, when combined with the included sleeves, are said to block up to 37dB of ambient noise. Features for the wireless headphones include Bluetooth 4.1, an eight-hour battery life and a $149 price tag. They will ship in three colors: translucent black, translucent blue and white, plus clear.

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