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The first question a headphone enthusiast would likely pose when first confronting the Andover Audio PM-50s is, “Who’s Andover Audio and what do they know about headphones?” To answer the first question, it’s a Boston-area company founded by ex-Cambridge SoundWorks employees. Cambridge SoundWorks was a hyper-innovative speaker company founded in the mid-1980s by the legendary audio pioneer Henry Kloss. (Nowadays it’s a brand applied mostly to inexpensive Bluetooth speakers.) Andover Audio makes only a few products, and they’re rather idiosyncratic -- such as a sound system that slips under a turntable -- and the company continues the classic, quasi-Scandinavian styling of Kloss’s best-loved products.

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From the Meze Empyreans to the AKG K371s, I’ve found a few sets of headphones that inspired no significant complaints from me. But I’ve never found a set of noise-canceling headphones I couldn’t complain about. Either the noise canceling was weak, or they exhibited too much eardrum suck, or they didn’t sound particularly good, or they were too bulky for travel. But there’s always hope! This month, it comes in the form of the Marshall Monitor II A.N.C. headphones ($319.99, all prices USD).

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The Drop + THX Pandas are radically different from any other headphones I’ve ever reviewed. According to Drop, while the company’s worked for five years with numerous brands to create headphones tailored to the desires of Drop’s audiophile community, the Pandas ($399.99 USD) are the first headphones whose design is based entirely on suggestions from the community. So in theory, at least, they represent not some company’s idea of what audiophiles want, but precisely what audiophiles want.

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Reviewers' ChoiceMy e-mail’s easy to find, so I hear from readers often. To my surprise, the most demanding ones are not audiophiles interested in getting the best sound, but business travelers looking for a set of headphones that can keep them happy through a transoceanic flight. They want effective noise canceling, great sound, and comfort that lasts for hours -- and some of them have bought every top-of-the-line noise-canceling model in search of the best. That’s just the customer DALI is targeting with the IO-6 headphones ($499 USD).

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The Monoprice Monolith M570s ($299.99 USD) are, in the world of headphones, what the Steve Carell-starring The Office was in the world of TV: an Americanized version of an unfamiliar foreign thing. The M570s riff on a basic headphone design sold by the relatively obscure Chinese brands Blon and Sendy. They substitute a more familiar brand name, adopt a sleeker look, alter the tuning a bit, and cut the price -- by roughly 33 or 50 percent, respectively.

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When the Audeze LCD-1 headphones debuted a couple of months ago, I was deeply disappointed -- in myself. I’d reviewed the company’s products for years, but never really stopped to ponder why there were LCD-2s, LCD-3s, and LCD-4s, but no LCD-1s. Maybe I assumed it was an early attempt that never came to market. Regardless, the LCD-1s ($399 USD) are here -- but these are radically different headphones from what we’d normally expect of Audeze.

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Latest Comments

Brent Butterworth 4 hours ago Andover Audio PM-50 Headphones
@TimYou can't tell from the photo, but the squared ones are about 3/16" thicker than ...
Why do the ear pads change the sound? What is happening with them? Tim
@JohnUnfortunately, there's much more to consider than the version of Bluetooth incorporated into the chipset. ...
Can't get more up to date than Bluetooth 5.0 Brent. Perhaps your phone is out ...
Brent Butterworth 15 days ago miniDSP IL-DSP DAC-Headphone Amplifier
@MauroI'm not sure where the biggest of those ears comes from, but the two flesh-colored ...