New Sony Altus headphones: are audiophiles embracing iPods?

October 13, 2006, 10:57 AM UTC
Fortune


Sonyaltus

For the longest time during the dawning of the “mobile digital audio” era, I heard audiophiles bashing the iPod and its ilk. You know, variations of “Those things sound like crap,” and “I love music too much to subject my ears to that.”

Over time, there were subtle shifts. Some audiophiles migrated to higher capacity iPods that could hold their minimally compressed digital files. The Ogg Vorbis crowd began clamoring for Apple Computer to add support for the format.

Now we have Sony’s MDR-D777LP Altus headphones ($149, shipping 10/24/06), which are part of an emerging class of audiophile-quality portable headphones for the iPod set. (Sony has been gradually slimming down the good ones for a while now.) Sure, true aficionados are likely to use these with a laptop. But it’ll be interesting to see how this goes.