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September 2016
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Best Audiophile Product Of 2016 Blue Note Award
Best Of 2016 Blue Note Equipment Awards

Abyss AB-1266 Planar Magnetic Headphones By JPS Labs
Price: $5495 for Deluxe version as reviewed, $4495 in Lite version.
Click here to read the complete review.


  The tactile feeling of speakers and the art of system building have never really fully translated from the speaker world to the headphone world according to Enjoy the Music.com reviewer Dave Hanson. The JPS Labs Abyss makes a valiant effort to bridge that gap. Built with perhaps the most original and ambitious design ever attempted in a headphone, the Abyss offers listeners a high degree of customizability in fit and feel. Once you have it tweaked to your preferences, you are greeted with a powerful sound that offers stunning clarity and unprecedented visceral physicality. This is indeed one of the finest headphone systems on the market today.

The practice of building a home system and tweaking it to perfection is a time-honored tradition among music lovers and audiophiles. And I'm not just talking about buying equipment and is plainly evident within my review of the Abyss AB-1266 headphones and you'll soon learn. It's about perfecting the angle of the speaker. Damping the reflective surfaces of the room. Perhaps even rewiring the electrical sockets in search of that last one or two percent.



Few understand this practice better than Joe Skubinski of JPS Labs, a man who has built a name for himself in the world of high-end cables. A close listen to other JPS designs such as the Aluminata Power Cable ($3999) reveals a prodigious level of attention to detail at every stage of the build. In his first headphone, the Abyss AB-1266 ($5495 for this Deluxe version and $4495 in Lite version), Skubinski has captured some of the magic of the personal journey to audio perfection and scaled it down to size. You see, to be fully appreciated, the Abyss demands that you make it your own. It is uncompromising, and for those who don't have the passion, patience and love it takes to personalize this system, it can be quite frustrating. Dave Hanson will admit that his initial reaction to the headphone was somewhat cold. But with time and tweaking, he learned to make it his own. "And as my journey continued, the Abyss rewarded me quite handsomely with some of the finest audio I've ever experienced" said Dave.



"Overall, the sound comes across to me as highly transparent, tonally beautiful and just a heck of a lot of fun," said Dave Hanson. "Much credit is due to Joe Skubinski for knowing his audience and delivering a product that is cleverly tailored to them. The Abyss fills a unique gap in its ability to bring the incredible weight of a two-channel system down to size, while so many other headphones sound like, well, headphones. The fact that it has captured that sound, along with the experience of tweaking and customizing your personal system to fit your taste, makes the Abyss a true accomplishment, in my opinion."

Click here to read the complete review.



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