These affordable audiophile inear headphones banish noise

first_img The Audiophiliac The Etymotic ER2 in-ear headphones  Etymotic Etymotic made a big splash in 1991 with its ER4 in-ear headphones, which brought professional audio monitoring into the mainstream.  The Etymotic ER4 headphone was my go-to in-ear for years, and in 2017 the line was refreshed with the ER4SR (Studio Reference) and ER4XR (Extended Response) at $349/£360 each.  This model was quickly followed by the ER3SE/XR ($179/£199), and it was the Audiophiliac affordable Headphone of the Year for 2018. Now in 2019 we have the ER2 in-ear, which also comes in two versions, the ER2SE (Studio Edition) and the ER2XR (Extended Response). The two models look the same, it’s just that the XR version has slightly more bass. Each one retails for $159 in the US and £169 in the UK. Both ER2SE/XR models use dynamic, not balanced, armature drivers featured in the ER3 and ER4 models. The ER2’s impedance is rated at 15 ohms, the 4 foot (1.2 meter) long cable is user replaceable. The ER2’s warranty is two years. Use the included foam or flanged silicone ear tips with the ER2 and you’ll bask in the quietude of 35 dB of noise isolation, that’s so much better than average. There’s one catch, to achieve the maximum noise hushing you’ll have to jam the tips deeper into your ear canals than most in-ear headphones’ tips. Some folks aren’t comfortable with the feeling, but I don’t mind. True, comfort isn’t stellar, but the ER2’s superior noise isolation on the New York City subway was excellent while listening with my iPhone 8. The ER2 doesn’t use batteries; its deep insertion tips hush noise with their airtight seal. Listening tests I listened to the ER2XR for a few weeks before I compared it with the other ER models. Bon Iver’s soaring vocals were set free by these headphones. The open quality and warmth of the sound balance tickled my audiophile ears; I was a happy camper. I wondered how this new Etymotic would compare with the ER3 and ER4. They all look nearly alike, but what about the sound? I listened to all three ERs with my iPhone 8 (with an Apple 3.5mm to Lightning adapter). The sound was fine, but I couldn’t resist upping the ante with the FiiO i1 Lightning to 3.5mm adapter/digital audio converter ($40 on Amazon) and noted a distinct improvement in the sound of all three Etymotic headphones. The Apple adapter sounded muffled by comparison. 51j2nfw-21l-sl1500The Astell & Kern Super Junior music player Astell & Kern I also listened to music with an old Astell & Kern JR portable music player, which provided much improved sound over the iPhone 8/FiiO i1 combination. The current Astell & Kern Super Junior sells for $220 on Amazon. The ER2XR and ER3XR sound nearly the same, the ER3XR was a bit clearer, but the ER4XR was a decisively more transparent and more open sounding headphone with the Gang of Four’s brilliant Solid Gold album. The spiky guitar riffs cut through the haze like a knife over the ‘4XR, but they were blunted by the ER2XR and ER3XR headphones. The ER3 sounds a little better, and the ER4 is still my favorite, but the Etymotic ER2 has its easy listening charms, and it hushes external noise like a champ.  Share your voice Tags 0 Post a comment Headphones Audiolast_img read more

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Jolie hints at move into politics

first_imgAngelina Jolie arrives at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, 18 February, 2018. Photo: ReutersAngelina Jolie hinted on Friday she could one day enter politics, as she urged global leaders to do more to help refugees and women in conflict.Asked whether she was moving towards a political career, the Hollywood star, an envoy for the U.N. refugee agency who has also campaigned on sexual violence against women, said she would “go where I’m needed”.”If you asked me 20 years ago, I would’ve laughed,” she said in an interview with British broadcaster the BBC. “I don’t know if I’m fit for politics, but then I’ve also joked that I don’t know if I have a skeleton left in my closet.”Jolie said her work with the United Nations and other organisations enabled her to “get a lot done without a title”, but did not rule out a future switch.”I honestly will do whatever I think can really make change and right now, I am able to work with a U.N. agency … to do a lot of work directly with the people in need,” she said.”I’m also able to work with governments and I’m also able to work with militaries. And so I sit in a very interesting place of being able to get a lot done without a title and without it being about myself or my policies. So for now I’ll sit quiet.”The Oscar-winning actor has in recent years visited refugee camps to highlight the plight of those uprooted by war, and broadened her international efforts to protect women, working with NATO and governments to help stop the use of rape as a weapon of war.With 68.5 million people uprooted globally, she said more needed to be done to support refugees and host communities in developing countries.”The focus should be what is happening to these people? Why is this happening? How do we have this many people uprooted and what are the causes?” Jolie said.U.N. members earlier this month adopted a deal aimed at improving the way world copes with rising migration.The non-binding pact, meant to foster cooperation on migration, was agreed in July by all 193 U.N. members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting.”This should not be seen as a headache for people. This is how we need our leaders to be thinking about balancing our world,” she added.VOICE FOR WOMENJolie, a mother of six who last year released her film “First They Killed My Father” about Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, launched the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in 2012 with Britain’s former foreign minister William Hague.NATO agreed in January to help report on sexual violence in war to help bring perpetrators to justice and challenge the idea that rape is an unavoidable aspect of conflict.But there have been questions over the effectiveness of the initiative, especially in light of the mass rape of Rohingya women in Myanmar during a crackdown that forced 720,000 refugees to flee to Bangladesh.Interviewed on BBC Radio’s Today programme, which she guest edited, Jolie said the campaign had made a difference.”I have met victims who finally got reparations when they didn’t have them before,” she said. “When there are prosecutions and when there is accountability, we will see a real change.”last_img read more

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