T.H.E. Show Newport 2013 – Headphonium

iRiver Astell and Kern AK120

West coast favorite The Home Entertainment show sounded off this summer with the typical audiophile wares. What was atypical from years previous was the growth of personal audio vendors. Previous iterations included a selection of headphones (usually provided by a lone retailer like Headroom) but lacked the diversity in components and selection from shows like the mighty Rocky Mountain CanJam.  Thanks to the efforts of show organizers and Audio-Head.com contributor [Michael Mercer], this year’s event showcased a much broader level of options for “your ears only”.  The specialty section dubbed Headphonium celebrated its own dedicated real estate and categorization.

iRiver brought their new line of digital players with them in tow.  The popular Astell and Kern AK100 (review upcoming) was on display alongside a new announcement – the AK120 (pictured above), which is a step up from the introductory player.  The new player is getting ready to hit the streets should be priced around the $1,300 mark.

ALO audio brought their new completed headphone amplifier flagship called the Studio 6. While we have seen the prototype in various forms at previous shows, this was the first time attendees could get a public listen to the finalized product.  The amplifier design is a SET tube design and should be available in the next few months.  Initial pricing for the unit lands around $5k.

ALO Studio 6

HifiMan is typically known for their full size headphones and corresponding head amps, but these days the personal audio manufacture is expanding into deeper (and smaller) realms.  Their Newport display included a new line of universal IEMs. The in-ears currently come in two flavors, the RE-400 ($100) and RE-600 ($400). I was really impressed from what I heard from the RE-400s and have high expectations for the 600s as well.

HifiMan RE-600

Jason from Schiit audio brought a booth full of audio goodies for visitors to indulge in.  From the Bifrost DAC and Valhalla headphone amplifier stack to the balanced Mjolnir/Gungnir, there was plenty of price points available to try out for those looking for solid desktop and computer audio solutions.

Schiit Mjolnir Gungni

HRT had their robust line of portable audio DACs on display, ranging from the budget mircoStreamer to the new MusicStreamer HD that includes balanced outputs.

HRT Music Streamer HD


Stay tuned to the site and check out our  [YouTube Channel] for more Newport coverage.

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