AKG N90Q – the tunable TOTL over-ear

Pros: Tunable sound, noise cancelling in a TOTL headphone, high detail levels, dynamic sound, packed with unusual tech, bomb proof storage case and bags of accessories Cons: Tuning capability less useful at the extremes, flimsy 2.5mm cable connectors, thin cables, onboard DAC not same quality as rest of package, slightly dry tinge to the sound... Continue Reading →

Campfire Audio Comet – unboxing and initial impressions

Introduction After the recent fanfare around the launch of Campfire Audio's first over-ear headphone (the Cascade), they have decided that one release in 2018 isn't enough to keep everyone busy, so they have released two new single driver models, the Comet and the Atlas. Both models use a new drop-forged stainless steel body and more... Continue Reading →

Campfire Audio Cascade – substance with style

Pros:  Solid metal construction, stellar bass, outstanding physical texture to the sound, big sound, musical but balanced tuning, emotive midrange, crisp treble Cons: Bass will be too much for some, have to detach cables to fold and stow in carry case, pretty much nothing else Price: $799 Product site: https://campfireaudio.com/shop/cascade/ Acknowledgement These headphones have been provided... Continue Reading →

NCM Bella – the Bella of the TOTL hybrid ball

Pros:  Sub bass presence and overall bass capability, beautiful and non-recessed midrange, exceptional treble, lots of air and sparkle, very coherent tuning Cons: Fit is shallow, nozzle bore is very large List Price: 23,500,000 (Vietnamese Dong) / c. £735 (UK) Product Website: http://www.nguyencustoms.com/ncm-bella/ Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective. Audio quality and value do not mean... Continue Reading →

Audeze iSINE 10 – a DSPlanar in ear experience

Pros:  Open sound, that planar bass texture, clarity resolution for the price, no distortion audible at any volume, ability to take EQ like a chameleon Cons: Fit is fiddly, lack of isolation, need EQ applied to sound their best (either Cipher cable or parametric) List Price: $399 Product Website: https://www.audeze.com/products/isine-series/isine10-ear-headphone Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective.... Continue Reading →

Focal Elear: dynamism with a dash of French flair

Pros:  Incredible dynamics and punch, crisp and detailed sound, good balance through the frequencies, rock solid build and comfort, decent bass weight, highly engaging sound Cons: Small soundstage for an open-back, dip in upper mids may not be to everyone’s taste, “always on” dynamics make this a little excitable for more mellow genres Price: £769 ($799,... Continue Reading →

Empire Ears Athena – the goddess of Olympus

  Ratings Pros: Impeccable build quality, balanced but musical tuning, incredible sense of smoothness, good note weight, fantastic midrange, good clarity Cons: May lack air in the treble for some, can take a little time to adjust to the tuning, extension/quantity in the sub bass area could be better Price (as of Dec 2017): $1299 Website:   Empire Ears... Continue Reading →

64 Audio U8 – bass over APEX

Introduction I have always been fascinated by bass in music. That’s probably why I always feel a little bit of a fraud when someone calls me an “audiophile”, as my tastes quite often encompass a little more lower end substance than the current fashion for a more lean and mean sound. I can appreciate detail... Continue Reading →

Campfire Audio Andromeda – another stellar constellation from the stargazers at CA

Pros:  Great value, classy metal build and accessory package, superbly balanced tuning, clarity, large and airy soundstage, neutral yet musical Cons: Sharp edges on the shell casing can cause discomfort for some, not for bassheads Introduction Anyone with more than a passing interest in high-end in ear audio gear costing more than $100 will most... Continue Reading →

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