Enjoy Your Music on High Performance Headphones at Home
Or Bring Tunes to Any Place You Go in Greater Boston, Metro West, or Points Way Beyond
There are many reasons to listen to music on headphones. You can hear details in a recording that might go unnoticed through conventional speakers. There is an intimacy of listening to music without the effects of “the room.” And, most of the time, you don’t get “turn that music down” from a less enthusiastic family member!
From earbuds to state-of-the-art high-end over-ear “cans,” there is a breadth and variety of high performance headphones on the market today. We can break down the types in several ways. There is the physical “form factor,” which can be categorized as in-ear, on-ear, or over-ear. Comfort is a factor, as is the appearance of the ‘phones if wearing in public is a consideration.
There is the distinction of whether the sound element is operating in a closed acoustic chamber or in an open-backed frame. An open back design allows ambient noise to more easily intrude on the listener and makes the music more audible to those nearby, but is generally preferred for superior sound quality. Since making one’s listening a more private experience is a big reason listeners prefer headphones, a closed back can become a necessity for some.
All three “fit factors” can be made with wired connections, or can be “active” headphones with Bluetooth wireless connectivity to the source device, often with noise cancellation technology added. These require rechargeable batteries and are often favored by frequent fliers as an antidote to the engine roar common on passenger jet flights. Bluetooth can make using a smartphone or watching TV more convenient.
We can’t talk about every individual headphone that we carry at Natural Sound, but we will try to give an overview. We would like to note that we get folks from the Greater Boston area, the North Shore, the South Shore, Metro West and points beyond coming to us because we have a wide selection of higher quality headphones available!
In-ear ‘phones: Although we don’t actually demo them because of sanitary issues, we carry models from Bowers & Wilkins (C5 S2) and PSB (M4U-4), both priced at $149.99. For you cutting edge types, there is the Audeze Sine 20 with their planar magnetic drivers at $599.
On-ear offerings: Grado Labs, top rated by Consumer Reports. All open back with foam ear cushions ranging from $79 to $295. All have a lively clarity and tight, tuneful bass. Amazing sonic values, all---and a favorite Holiday gift over the years!
Beyerdynamic T5i featuring their “Tesla” driver is a top choice for portable use and is also open-backed, at $299.
The predominant category in our selection of headphones is the over-ear open-backed design. These run from the super comfortable Beyerdynamc DT990 Edition at $129 up to the fabulous Focal Utopia at $3999! In between we have the outstanding Sennheiser HD660S at $499, the Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature at $899, the Audeze LCD-X, specially priced without a travel case at $1099, and the Focal Clear, a best seller at $1499. All of these models excel at revealing the spatiality and inner details in the recording to provide the listener with the maximum enjoyment.
Closed back headphones are enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Long consigned to “Studio Monitor” applications, more manufacturers are now applying their most advanced technology to this class of headphone. Our top sellers include the Sony MDR-1A and MDRZ7 at $300 and $700 respectively and the Focal Elegia at $899. Hitting the heights of audiophile nirvana (but not Utopia), we have the McIntosh MHP1000 (usually $2000, on special for $1399) and the Sony MDRZ1R (normally $2299, on special at $1599) and the new and totally elegant Focal Stellia at $2999.
If you visit the store to listen to any of the above headphones, we’ll sit you down and plug into a headphone amp from Bryston, Ayre, Sony, or Naim. All are excellent and also feature onboard digital to analogue converters (excepting the Bryston). The Naim can also serve as a system preamplifier in an all-digital environment.
Our Active Noise Cancelling/Bluetooth headphone offerings come from Focal, PSB and Bowers & Wilkins. They all offer various degrees of fit factor, ease of use, and noise reduction, as well as each manufacturer’s take on accurate sound quality. Price range is from $249 to $399.
A few notable products we offer for portable or computer headphone use are the Audioquest Dragonfly Red and the Chord Mojo. The Red is a USB-Type B plug-in, primarily meant to upgrade the normal sound card in your laptop computer. It has
fantastic sound quality and even “unfolds” the MQA files from Tidal for the ultimate in music streaming, all for $199. The Mojo is designed in a compact box to be used with either a laptop or a smartphone/tablet. Using Chord’s award winning decoding technology, it represents the next level in portable DAC’s, now at a special price of only $399.
As you can see, we have a lot to offer the headphone enthusiast. Even if you don’t think you are one, you owe it to yourself to check out this unique way to get into your music. Fill out our online contact form or visit us to have a listen! Our team would love to assist you with your selections.