Tag Archives: beats

Audio Brands ranking

Here’s my ranking of audio brands

Entry level ($50-$300)

Audio-Technica

Beats Audio/SMS Audio/SOUL by Ludacris/House of Marley/etc other artist sponsored brands (please avoid these)

Skullcandy (please avoid)

Apple/Google/Dell/Microsoft/Lenovo/Amazon/etc tech brands getting into audio

Logitech/Razer/Corsair/Roccat/Steelseries/etc gaming brands (Logitech is ok, the others are usually way overpriced)

Creative Labs

Bose (entry level is better value than their high end)

Cambridge Audio

Monster Cables (their non-cable stuff is actually decent value)

JBL

Etymotic

Samsung

LG

Altec Lansing

Vizio

Pioneer

JVC

Ultimate Ears

Boston Acoustics

JAMO

Yamaha

Libratone

Edifier

Fluance

Fender

Marshall

Philips

Audioengine

Peachtree Audio

Koss

V-Moda

Cowon

Oppo/FiiO/Xiaomi/iBasso/Shanling/Cayin/good quality Chinese brands

Midrange ($300-$1000)

Klipsch

Polk Audio

Harman Kardon

Beyerdynamic

Definitive Technology

Shure

Westone

Sony

Sonos

Acoustic Research

Grado

AKG

Lexicon

Master&Dynamic

Bowers and Wilkins

B&O Play

Infinity

Denon

Onkyo

Marantz

Sennheiser (actually they are good at every range but I like their midrange the best)

High end ($1000+)

Linn Audio

Hifiman

Woo Audio

KEF

Audeze

Bang and Olufsen

Astell&Kern

Jerry Harvey Audio (i.e the ‘new’ Ultimate Ears since UE got acquired by Logitech)

Ultimate Ears Pro (custom monitors)

Noble Audio

Revel

Wharfdale

Focal

Fostex

Stax

Naim Audio

Devialet

Meridian Audio

Audioquest

Burmeister

Dynaudio

Mark Levinson

MartinLogan

Magnepan

Wilson Audio

Quad Electroacoustics

Eminent Technology

I’m an “audiophile”… and no one needs ultra HD displays

I play music for a hobby; I am a musician part time. As of now I have about 270 guitar/piano videos on my Youtube (which you can check on the media page on the side). So yeah, I care about audio alot and audio tone. The irony is that I care about audio more than I care about video. Mainstream consumers are the opposite. They love their 4K super high resolution displays and stuff, but for me, video quality has always been secondary to audio quality.

I remember when HD first came out (720p / 1080p) I couldn’t see much of a difference between that and 480p DVD quality videos. But maybe my eyes are just used to 240p/480p VHS/VCD/DVDs. All my computer resolutions have been 720p (that is, 1366×768) and lower, until this year. That’s right! It took me until 2015 to get a computer with a full HD resolution! so yeah no 4K for me for a while. I also don’t like 4K because I would have to redownload all my movies and tv shows and anime in 4K which takes up a ton of space. I would prefer just a FHD OLED display instead.

Now we have smartphones rocking 4K resolution. Which is absolutely ridiculous because 4K is questionable even on a flat screen TV. At the distance we sit from the TV I doubt many people notice the difference in resolution. Having super high resolution also impacts another big factor in battery life. I like my stuff with good battery life thats why I chose a regular 720p laptop which gets me 20 hours of battery life (thanks to the dual batteries in the Thinkpad X240!) and a regular 720p phone as well, the Sony Xperia Z3C which gets me 2 days of battery life. For my 17 inch gaming laptop I “only” have a full HD resolution. Having Ultra HD 3200×1800 resolution on a laptop will both kill the battery life and alot of windows apps don’t scale well beyond FHD anyways.

Anyways for me audio quality has always been more important, thats why I own tube amps and a record player and 180gram vinyl LPs. I listen to FLACs (lossless) whenever possible (My Sony Xperia Z3C has a built in walkman and support for high res and lossless audio), and have owned countless pairs of headphones and earphones. The irony is the average consumer doesn’t really care about audio that much. They are happy listening to their lossy MP3s, listening on their Mac or PC with a terrible built in DAC, or using cheap quality iPod or Beats headphones.

Let me take a head count here. How many of you have heard of these audio companies: Bose, Sennheiser, Fender, Marshall, IK Multimedia, Apogee, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Shure, Etymotic, Ultimate Ears, JBL, Altec Lansing, Cambridge Audio, Boston Acoustics, Polk Audio, Klipsch, Onkyo, Dynaudio, Denon, Pioneer, Philips, Creative Labs, Monster, Beats, Hifiman, Woo Audio, Linn Audio, Meridian Audio, Apple, Audioquest, Focusrite, M-Audio, SRS Labs, Jays, Dolby, DTS, Audyssey, Wave Audio, Grado Labs, Audeze, THX, Grain Audio, Audioengine, Master & Dynamic, Audio Technica, Skullcandy, Sony, Samsung, LG, Harmon Kardon, Bowers and Wilkins, Bang and Olufsen, Infinity, Sol Republic, Yamaha.

I even know most of the various amp, effects, and guitar pickup makers: Fender, ESP, Gibson, Jackson, Ibanez, Dean Martin, Epiphone, G&L, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Kramer, Vox, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Dr Z, Two Rock, Victoria Amps, Tone King, Line 6, Digitech, Orange, Crate, Boss, Behringer, BBE, Korg, Roland, Maxon, Dunlop, MXR, Way Huge, Xotic, Lovepedals, Keeley, Dimarzio, Seymour Duncan, Lace, Lindy Fralin, Bill Lawrence, TV Jones, Fishman, Electro Harmonix, Visual Sound, Teese, Fulltone, Analog Man, I could go on and on….

That’s a wide range of audio companies, from mainstream to boutique, from headphone makers to DSP and effects makers. But anyways you get my point; I know all these companies because I care alot about audio. I even made an article about the best portable bluetooth speakers, and the Best over ear headphones.

Here’s the audio gear I currently use:

Guitar equipment:
Swart Atomic Jr (Tube Amp)
Fender 60s Strat relic w/ handwound Alnico III/V single coil pickups
Martin OMJM acoustic guitar
Boho Moonshine guitar
Boss Looper
Digitech Trio
Lovepedals Dover drive
RambleFX Plexi Drive
Xotic compressor
Xotic booster
Maxon TBO9
Seymour Duncan 805
Keeley magnetic echo
Keeley Oxblood
BBE Wah

Audio recording equipment:
Shure MV88 iphone mic
Shure MV51 computer mic
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface
IK Multimedia iRig 2
MXL 770 Condenser Mic
Shure SM58 Dynamic mic
Behringer XENYX502 Mixer

Listening equipment:
Philips Fidelio X2 open back headphones/monitors
Sennheiser Momentum closed back headphones
Master & Dynamic ME03 Earphones
Bose Quietcomfort 25 Noise-cancelling headphones
Creative Soundblaster E5 USB DAC/Amp
Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 bluetooth speaker
Audio Technica LP60 Turntable
Creative T4W Speakers (for connecting to anything including record players)
Klipsch R10B Soundbar

Not a bad setup. Unlike some people, I don’t have particular brand devotion to anything. Some people like to have all their equipment the same brand, but I actually embrace diversity of brands. I like experiencing difference. My TV is Panasonic. My phone is Sony and Apple. My tablet is Apple and Nvidia. My computer is Asus and Lenovo. My keyboard is Aorus. My mouse is Logitech. My microphones are Shure. My speakers are Creative and Klipsch. My headphones are Sennheiser, Philips, and Bose. My camera is Nikon and Canon. So yeah I am not a ‘fanboy’ of anything although you could say the closest I come to that is Sony. I have a Sony phone, Sony camera, Sony UMPC, Sony PS4 and Sony PS Vita. But even then.. I like to diversify.

Top 20 Over ear headphones

I already did a round up of the top 20 best portable bluetooth speakers in the $100-$200 range, now I want to shift over to headphones.. for on the go listening. I’m going to be taking a look at the $200-$300 range of over-ear headphones, which generally produce the best sound quality compared to on-ears or in-ears.

1. Philips Fidelio X2

Philips Fidelio X2

Philips Fidelio X2

Techradar rating: 5.0/5.0
Amazon price $299.00

2. Sennheiser Urbanite

Sennheiser Urbanite

Sennheiser Urbanite

PCMAG rating: 4.5/5.0
Amazon price $181.00

3. Audio Technica ATH-M50x

Audio Technica MTH-M50x

Audio Technica MTH-M50x

CNET rating: 4.5/5.0
Amazon price $163.00

4. Klipsch Status

Klipsch Status

Klipsch Status

DigitalTrends rating: 8.5/10
Amazon price $99.00

5. Sennheiser Momentum

Sennheiser Momentum

Sennheiser Momentum

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $168.00

6. Sennheiser HD598

Sennheiser HD598

Sennheiser HD598

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $155.99

7. Samsung Level Over

Samsung Level Over

Samsung Level Over

PCMAG rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $280.99

8. Sony MDR-1R

Sony MDR-1R

Sony MDR-1R

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon Price $174.00

9. Bose Quietcomfort 25

Bose Quietcomfort 25

Bose Quietcomfort 25

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $299.00

10. Beats Studio 2.0

Beats Studio 2

Beats Studio 2

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $199.00

11. Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H6

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H6

Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H6

PCMAG rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $399.99

12. Master & Dyamic MH40

Master & Dynamic MH40

Master & Dynamic MH40

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price$399.99

12. Polk Audio Ultrafocus 8000

Polk Audio Ultrafocus 8000

Polk Audio Ultrafocus 8000

PCMAG rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $214.99

13. Grado SR325e

Grado SR325

Grado SR325

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $295.00

14. AKG K550

AKG 550

AKG 550

TrustedReviews rating: 8/10
Amazon price $188.99

15. Harmon Kardon NC

Harmon Kardon NC

Harmon Kardon NC

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $179.99

16. Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT990

Beyerdynamic DT990

WhatHifi rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $167.99

17. Bowers and Wilkins P5

Bowers and Wilkins P5

Bowers and Wilkins P5

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $299.00

18. Soul by Luda SL300

Soul by Luda SL300

Soul by Luda SL300

CNET rating: 4.0/5.0
Amazon price $159.00

19. Parrot Zik

Parrot Zik

Parrot Zik

CNET rating: 3.5/5.0
Amazon price $299.00

20. Street by 50 Wired

Street by 50 Wired

Street by 50 Wired

PCWorld rating: 3.5/5.0
Amazon price $118.00

20. Creative Aurvana Platinum

Creative Aurvana Platinum

Creative Aurvana Platinum

Techradar rating: 3.0/5.0
Amazon price $250.00