Earphone Showdown: Etymotic’s ER4, Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 and LKER i1

Etymotic continues a tradition of balanced sound, but it faces stiff competition

4 min read
photo of Etymotic ER4 earphones plus accessories in the box
Photo: Etymotic Research

Even for dedicated audiophiles, the musical experience nowadays is frequently delivered by earphones. Happily, there's been an explosion in earphone ingenuity, with many models offering stunning sound reproduction and remarkable value. If you're still using the earbuds that came with your smartphone, it's time to trade up.

I recently auditioned a sample of this new earphone wave. Here I'll consider a couple of new models from Etymotic Research, a brand I've admired for years, along with a Chinese product that stunned me with its performance/price ratio. In a follow-up article, I'll consider three other surprising, audiophile-grade Chinese earphones.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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