This is Part 2 of the two-part article on cool new headphones and related products seen at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2015.
As always, I offer apologies in advance to worthy manufacturers and components not be mentioned here. The omissions are in no way a commentary on the merits of products left out.
The CEntrance team has been busy bringing their crowdfunded $499 HiFi-Skÿn, which is a combination headphone amp/high-res DAC/iPhone case & charger, toward completion (slowly but surely, it’s getting there). In the mean time, however, CEntrance has found time to update its classic DACport product to create the new DACport Slim ($149).
The DACport Slim is a very high quality, dongle-type USB DAC/amp capable of decoding PCM files at up to 192/24 resolutions and of producing up to 1 watt of output power. The Slim also provides Hi and Low master gain switch settings. Our take is this is an awful lot of DAC/amp for the money – sort of an audio system you can slip into your pocket and take with you wherever you go.
ESS is perhaps best known as the loudspeaker company through which Dr Oskar Heil first introduced his famous (and now widely copied) Heil Air Motion Tranformer–type driver to the audio world. In fact, to this day ESS still produces a version of Dr Heil’s original loudspeaker. But, in more recent times, the firm has also completed work on a hybrid dynamic/Heil AMT driver-equipped headphone, called the ESS-RLM-713, priced at $299, which is available now.
The ESS headphones weren’t being shown in the Newport Headphonium, proper, but rather in the ESS suite in one of the Hotel Irvine’s upper floors, where it was being shown alongside the extensive range of ESS loudspeakers. My hope is that, in future shows, the ESS ‘phones will be demonstrated in the headphone-specific area, where I think they will garner a fair amount of attention.