Longtime readers know that I usually check in every six months or so with a sound update. Between loving music and producing the Marketing Over Coffee podcast I keep an eye on what’s happening in audio (and tend to spend more money than I should).
I got a push this time from the folks at Headroom, I mention them every time we talk audio because of their great shared testing results. Since I’m writing anyway I can also enter this in their #MyHeadRoom campaign which is giving away 2 sets of Shure SE846 earphones (if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to drop $1,000 on earbuds), and a set of SHR1540 headphones (which I would love to take for a test drive). Listening to music is the only peace and quiet that happens in my house full of kids, and I have worn my Shure’s for a full day as part of work so thanks Headroom!
Last time we were talking about getting better sound out of your iPhone. Since then: Bose replaced the QC15 with the QC25 and all reports say they are even better, so if noise reduction is your thing (hello road warriors), that’s the way to go.
I also found an interesting app called Dirac. It optimizes the sound for Apple Earphones and EarPods (the freebies that come with your phone and most sound fans laugh at and throw away). For $3 it is no joke, it makes the EarPods sound much better, as in better than some earphones costing $100 or more. The catch is you have to use their music player, it doesn’t work for all apps (i.e. no movies, games, etc.) If you want to nerd out on it some more check out their site and how they optimize for Rolls Royce and others.
I’ve been digging into DACs as part of the quest for better sound and have found that some call the Pono snake oil, there are some interesting things (or maybe more snake oil) on the horizon, and some results that show the iPhone 6 actually has fantastic sound. An interesting tip from that last link – the volume slider on the screen gives you more granular control of the volume than the buttons on the side.
As far as phones… a moment of silence for my Shure 535s that have gone to the great listening room in the sky. For now I’m using my Bose QC20i as they are the easiest to travel with. I’m also interested in checking out what lands from the guys that make the Dragonfly.
On the recording front, Shure has some things in the pipeline that look interesting. Also Soundsoap released version 4, that’s my secret weapon for making the podcast sound a bit better than the other guys out there. I’ve also been kicking around a condenser mic in the studio and have been checking out Apogee gear for that.
That’s what I’ve been listening to, if you’ve found anything interesting lately I’d love to hear from you @johnjwall