I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and reflective 4th of July. This week we have a handful of new headphones (woo!) and some news on upcoming headphones.
- Kinera unveiled their flagship IEM, the Baldr, which is named after the Norse god of light, joy, and purity. It features a seven driver hybrid setup with four EST drivers, one dynamic driver, and two balanced armature drivers. It's available now for $1,399.
- Dunu's new budget-oriented IEM, the Studio SA3 ($139), is available for pre-order and ships July 13. Read more about it here.
- Moondrop teased a full-size headphone on Instagram by posting this and calling it the "headphone of mystery"
- Sony released a limited edition IEM in collaboration with composer Hiroyuki Sawano called the XJE-MH/nZk. I've never heard of him, but he is apparently popular (!) with 634,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. The XJE-MH/nZk is essentially a XJE-MH1R retuned to be suitable for "general listening environments". It looks like availability is limited to Sony's brick & mortar stores in Japan through the end of October. It's priced at 250,000 yen which equates to about $2,300 greenbacks. Die hard fans only!
- A budget woodie?!? Sivga announced the Phoenix, a $259 dynamic-driver headphone made with Zebra wood. I don't think I've seen a nicer looking headphone at this price. It's available now across a variety of online retailers.
- Apple announced at WWDC that the Airpods will be getting 2 upgrades: automatic switching and spatial audio. Automatic switching allows your Apple devices to smartly switch between one another, for example if you are listening to music on your iPad and you have an incoming phone call on your iPhone. There are many implementations of spatial audio aka 3d audio, and Apple will be bringing their own their new OS updates.
- We still don't know all the details about Sony's upcoming WH-1000XM4, the follow-up to the their dominant WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphone, but we do know one thing: they will be dropping support for Qualcomm aptX codecs. According to the FCC, the XM4 will only support SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs. Given that LDAC is Sony's creation and they probably have to pay licensing fees for aptX, this isn't too surprising and shouldn't affect the user experience negatively given that LDAC is on par with aptX HD.
- DUNU's modular Blanche cable is available for pre-order until 7/12. Priced at $299 (pre-order) / $329 (normally), it features 3 interchangeable source connections: 2.5 mm TRRS balanced plug, 4.4 mm TRRRS balanced plug, and 3.5 mm TRS single-ended plug. On the headphone side, you have a choice between 2-pin or MMCX.
- Brainwavz has added to their extensive line of headphone earpads with these perforated PU leather with memory foam earpads in round 100mm x 100mm size. Available in black and dark red.
The COVID cancellations continue...
- Capital Audio Fest has unfortunately canceled the 2020 show which was scheduled for October 30 through November 1 in Washington, D.C.
But we can't end on a negative note like this... we need to be positive!
I'll leave you with an amazing song that I've been listening to on repeat for the past few days... "5d" by Ta-Ra:
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