Now that Americans (like myself) have gobbled some soporific poultry, 16 pounds of sugar (more than a stone, for Brits), and eaten copious amounts of stuffing, potatoes and green bean casserole; it’s time to waddle our fat asses to the shops, or better yet, place our fat asses in front of the ass-growing wonder that is the internet. If you want to blow some money like Thanksgiving blows up American colons, Audio Primate can help you do it wisely.
In this post, I’ll help you find some deals from some of our favourite suppliers, and I’ll also throw down some of this blogs favourite audiophile picks for a variety of budgets.
Black Friday sales
Headfonics has a big list of Black Friday sales, but here are a few of our favourites:
- Campfire Audio
- Linsoul Audio
- Penon Audio
- HiFi Headphones (a UK shop favourite)
- Noble Audio
Go grab yourself a bargain. Or buy something below even if it isn’t on sale!
Best IEMs under $50
- BQEYZ KB100, balanced signature with great detail, especially for the price, detachable cable, sturdy aluminum body. Buy it at Penon Audio.
- KZ ZSA, these are bloody outstanding for under $100, for under $25 these aren’t just a steal, they are an old-West style landgrab. The pricing on these should be criminal. Maybe it is a they might have some Bellsing drivers in them. I have no idea. All I know is they sound amazing, have excellent build quality, a detachable cable, and should be put in any stocking for someone you care about or someone you want to care more about you. Spend a little extra getting some Final Audio E-Type tips to replace KZ’s famous cat-butt tips. You’ll thank me. Currently $15.99 at Linsoul, which is soooo damn good.
- Tin Audio T2, that’s right, not the T2 Plus and not the T3. The original is best. These offer a neutral signature, a good detachable cable and good comfort. They are some of the finest sounding IEMs under $100. Get them from Linsoul, for $39.99 right now.
- VE Monk+, the original best bang for your buck on the internet outside of free porn. If you are really strapped, these excellent earbuds can be had for $5. I recommend splurging for the EX pack. The wings make such a big difference on fit. Best deals come to those who can wait and get direct from Venture Electronics. Their BIE (Bonus In Ear) is also excellent at under $25 and comes with a case. I’ll cover that more later.
Best planar magnetics that normal people would consider buying
- oBravo Cupid, available between $200 and $350 (depends on options) with a bass plus signature and excellent clarity and comfort. These are easy to drive, which is why they are higher up this list than some the equally good sounding Tin Audio P1. Get them from Audio Concierge on sale for £225 ($290) for the PRIME version (comes with balanced cable and 2.5mm to 3.5mm adaptor).
- Tin Audio P1, these are absolutely brilliant in-ears with bass that isn’t heavy but comes out nicely textured and tonally accurate. These won’t blow you down with bass power, but you’ll admire the details. The rest of the spectrum is balanced and detailed with no glaring hotspots. These are some of the most comfortable in-ears I’ve worn of any type. I can lay down with these in my ear on my side. They also come with a cool magnetic closure leather case; it’s nice. The only catch is that to get the full performance of these, you will need an amplifier. It doesn’t have to be a beefy one, but if you are just using your phone or a really weak digital audio player, these are wasted. The bass wakes up with power and so do the finer details. Get these for $149.99 right now on Linsoul.
- SendyAudio Aiva, I’ve just reviewed these and they are stupid good for the money. These have a energetic upper mids and treble focused signature that launches details at you without being overly fatiguing. The bass is agile and detailed, but not extraordinarily powerful. These are crafted with extreme care, and their finely honed zebra-wood shells make these look more than double the price you’ll get them for. Add to it that they come with a high quality, well-built, sexy looking copper balanced cable (including 4.4mm to 3.5mm adaptor), a curvaceous leather case, and impeccable aesthetics and build and these are peerless at their price. The SendyAudio Aiva are currently $479 at Musicteck.
Killer accessories (perfect stocking stuffers)
- iFi iEMatch, got hiss? Got not enough volume control on your phone? Solve those problems.
- iBasso DC02, does your phone audio or computer audio suck? Solve that problem! Get it for $55 at HiFiGo.
- Final E-Type: consistent seal, most comfortable, good balanced signature, best all-rounder.
- Symbio Mandarines W, excellent isolation, good sounding
- Dekoni Mercury: simply the best foam in ears for superior seal without affecting the sound signature. Comply sucks out the highs and bloats the lows. Get these instead.
- JVC SpiralDots: wide bore for wide sound, wide variety of sizes to fit any ear with a comfy shallow insertion depth.
My most used headphone
I use the RHA MA750 Wireless ($165) almost every day. It is super tough, comes with a 3-year warranty, gets 10-12 hours battery, and sounds great. It’s got clear mids, good treble, and some bass with a midbass bent. I love the neckband because when I’m riding to work on my bike I don’t want to risk these flying out like a TWS would. With the neckband I can have these rest around my neck and the magnets in the earpieces hold them together. These are just awesome.