CES: Highlights from the Venetian and LVCC South Hall – Headphones and Related Electronics

Earphones and in-ear monitors,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
CES: Highlights from the Venetian and LVCC South Hall – Headphones and Related Electronics

The Canadian loudspeaker/headphone maker PSB added to its successful range of M4U-series full-size headphones by introducing its first-ever in-ear model—the noise-cancelling, in-ear M4U 4 earphone, priced at $299. The M4U 4 is a two-way earphone whose earpieces are each fitted with the hybrid combination of a dynamic-type mid/bass driver and a balanced armature-type tweeter.

The M4U 4 features detachable and thus user-replaceable signal cables and ships with both conventional and Comply-type ear tips. Expect the M4U 4 to arrive in February 2015.

RHA Audio
It was very good to see the UK-based firm RHA Audio (from Glasgow, Scotland) exhibiting in the high-end area in the Venetian Hotel, because we are firm believers that the firm's value priced but very high performance earphones deserve much wider recognition. Long term Hi-Fi+ readers will know that we have favourably reviewed RHA's MA750i earphone ($129.95) and the firm's present flagship, the T10i ($199.95).

The former offers wonderfully neutral voicing and fine build quality that surpasses expectations for the price, while the T10i offers three user-selectable voicing curves and distinctive injection moulded stainless steel earpiece housings. Best of all, at CES show-goers had the opportunity to see the entire RHA range, which comprises five core models, with prices starting at just $39.95 for the MA350

Leveraging the success of its popular and well-regard Momentum-series over-the-ear and on-ear headphones, the German firm Sennheiser took a giant leap forward by introducing a wireless, active noise cancelling version of the Momentum, called the Momentum M2 AEBT ($499.95). The Momentum M2 AEBT should arrive in the marketplace within the next 30 days and we look forward to its arrival.

Though I had only a brief opportunity to listen M2 AEBT, that brief bit of exposure left a lasting impression on me. Specifically, I think the new wireless/noise-cancelling Momentum may prove to offer the best all around combination of very serious music reproduction capabilities and equally serious (and very effective) noise-cancellation capabilities of any headphone presently being produced. In my experience, most noise cancellers turn out to be weighted either toward music reproduction or noise reduction—but not both; the Sennheisers, I suspect, may prove to be the happy exception to this rule.

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