As a follow up to Rafe’s recos from this year we thought we would drop a few more winners from 2017 into your lap to spurn on any last minute explorations that might be lingering before the season draws to a close. Rafe’s piece covers off on the more high end of the loudspeaker world, so expect the options here to reach a little further into personal audio and beyond. Not everything was released directly within the confines of 2017, but many have seen their rise to popularity or distribution finally catch up with demand during that time period.
It seems simple, but happens to be relatively unexplored. Audeze’s new line of iSINE 10, 20 and LCDi4 brings the open air backdrop to the closeheadedness of IEM listening. Bass expands, treble relaxes and inner ear pressure is vented. The lineup hits a few varying price tags at $400 and $600, with the top dog LCDi4 ($2,500) utilizing the same diaphragm material as the company’s flagship LCD-4 ($5k).
Eric was mightily impressed with the latest updates to the classic NAD amplifier line at RMAF this year. Now packed with plenty of wireless and new tech options for connectivity, the C328 and C368 hit hard to deliver on the classic budget 3020’s promise of high value at low cost which Eric desribed as “everything I look for and more to cross my personal “this is what I call audiophile” threshold..”
The big splash Triple is still one of our most highly recommended IEMS for $100 bucks. Sure the Quads do sound better, but at twice the price the value just simply can’t be beat for a pair of headphones that deliver in ways that $100 really hasn’t done before. 2017 brought along a few lighting connector improvements to the Triple and Dual, if you care to swap out the iPhones internal DAC and headphone amplifier.
Don’t let the wireless bit scare you off. V-Moda has a new set of winners for easy listening in this new mobile world we find ourselves in. With plenty of punch on the low end, these portable beauties check all the boxes for both convenience and high fidelity. Available with or without Qualcomm’s atpX protocol, we recommend the Rose Gold version with, just to be on the safe side. Like many of V-Moda’s successes before, the new 2’s bind fidelity and fun in a way very few headphones do.