An audio engineer’s perspective on an audiophile headphone

pictured: Crumbs, Hifiman Sundara, Muji

Hifiman Sundara

Intro

There are two typical driver technologies found in modern headphones. There’s the more traditional ‘dynamic’ driver and then there’s the relatively obscure ‘planar magnetic’ driver.

Dynamic drivers are what you’ll find in most speakers and headphones usually involving a speaker ‘cone’ in front of a ‘voicecoil’ that vibrates forwards and backwards based on an electrical charge supplied by a magnet behind the voicecoil. Or something like that 😹 …

The Hifiman Sundara sports the more ~alternative~ ‘planar magnetic’ driver technology. …


An audio engineer’s perspective on the latest headphones from Focal

pictured: Focal Clear Mg Professional

Focal Clear Mg Professional

Intro

I’ve been using the original Focal Clear to work just about every day since last March when the Coronavirus pandemic first hit the US. I purchased them in anticipation of many months stuck at home and they’ve truly been a saving grace for both business and pleasure. As an audio engineer, I’ve come to rely on the Clear’s neutral tonality, sharp imaging, and speaker-like dynamics. So when I saw the announcement about an update to the Clear, I was PUMPED. Since then, I’ve been looking for an honest review of…


An audio engineer’s perspective on a Focal flagship

pictured: polar bear, Crumbs, Focal Clear

Focal Clear / Focal Clear Professional

Intro

On March 12th, 2020 after my fourth work cancelation due to the Coronavirus outbreak in New York City, I read the writing on the wall and looked up directions to Adorama in Manhattan. I knew I was going to be stuck at home for a very long time. I might as well be stuck at home with some new headphones.

Some months earlier I had listened to a number of different Focal headphones and absolutely fell in love with the Focal Clear. So I went to Adorama and purchased a pair. …


An audio engineer and music producer explains how to make your Airpods sound better

Photo: Omid Armin/Unsplash

The AirPods Pro sound good, they look cool, they integrate seamlessly with iPhones, and the noise-canceling and transparency features are incredible.

But I do have some gripes with the sound.

Compared to the competition, AirPods Pro have a pretty solid frequency response. The bass boost doesn’t overwhelm the low midrange (probably thanks to the dip around 150 Hz), the mids are decently flat, and the subdued treble is forgiving to less-than-ideal recordings. …


An audio engineer’s perspective on the latest headphones from Sennheiser

SENNHESIER HD 560S

Build, Design, and Comfort

Grade: B+

The 560S feels cheap but looks sleek and ergonomic. The entirely plastic construction doesn’t scream luxury and that’s fine by me because they aren’t expensive headphones. It seems like Sennheiser set out to produce the cheapest possible headphones with the flattest possible frequency response in order to edge out the competition.

The clamp force is a little tighter than that of any other headphones I’ve used. I’ve read that the clamp force reduces over time. …

Jake Cheriff

Audio Engineer / / Music Producer / / @jakecheriff / / 🌐 jakecheriff.com

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