We're more than halfway into another solid year for high-end headphone audio and a lot of exciting new products and developments!
Companies with longtime experience in high-end audio (but not previously headphone audio) continue to enter the space. OPPO, known mostly for their high-performance / high-value universal disc players, launched their first headphone with their planar magnetic OPPO PM-1. They also released their first DAC / headphone amp combo in the OPPO HA-1. Other established companies who've made moves into our space include Light Harmonic (most famous for their successful Geek Out Kickstarter campaign), and Chord Electronics (with the wildly popular Hugo portable DAC/amp combo), and many others.
The first part of the year saw a lot of our community's attention being stolen by electronics, like the aforementioned Chord Hugo and the Astell & Kern AK240 ultra-high-end portable music player; but the second half of the year holds some exciting new headphone launches, like the new HiFiMAN HE-560, the re-worked Audeze LCD-2 and LCD-3, and still plenty more to come, so look for headphones to come storming' back. (We'll be updating the guide soon with the HE-560 and the Fazor-equipped LCD-2 and LCD-3.)
If you want to experience the products in this guide in real life, make sure to attend Head-Fi Meets, which are independently organized Head-Fi get-togethers held all over the world. Through these meets, you'll enjoy great sound, and, most importantly, start genuine friendships that can last a lifetime.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and enjoy this updated Summer 2014 Head-Fi Buying Guide!
P.S. Some products were submitted for consideration for the Guide too close to the deadline for us to have a chance to listen to them in time for this update's launch. We're going to be adding some of those late entries soon, so please check back in to see them.