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The last ten years have seen a renaissance in headphone science. Important new research into frequency response and tuning has already improved the quality of headphone sound. But I’ve seen no research into something almost as important: isolation, or the degree to which headphones block outside sounds from reaching your ears. The less such isolation you have, the more your music will be polluted by the sounds around you. That’s no problem in a quiet listening room at home, but on a passenger jet or in a crowded Starbucks, it’s impossible to get good reproduction of music unless your headphones isolate your eardrums from the ambient sounds of such environments.

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Why launch SoundStage! Solo -- a new website dedicated entirely to headphone listening -- when the Internet already has several headphone-focused sites, and dozens more audio and tech sites that review headphones? Simple: Because we think headphones deserve more serious consideration than most sites give them.

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