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 →

Advanced Alpha: unboxing and initial impressions

I initially met the folks at Advanced at CanJam London 2017. I actually had mixed them up in my head as Advanced Acousticwerkes (AAW), and had them in my schedule for the 2nd day as a must visit. I was confused, but at least I was half right. Advanced surprised me as much as any... Continue Reading →

Flares Pro: Unboxing and initial impressions

So, I'll get this off my chest right off. I'm very very impressed with the Flares Pro. This is the only Bluetooth headphone that I've ever heard that is distortion and noise free. I don't know how they do it. I know what the claims are: incredibly simple balanced amplification and distortion cancelling earbud design... Continue Reading →

RHA CL1: the Richard Dawkins of IEMs: insensitive, brilliant, and not everyone’s cup of tea

Pros:  Excellent clarity and treble extension, good quality and quantity of bass Cons: intimate sound-stage; recessed mids; some mids details fade, veil or disappear; underdriven by many DACs and DAPs; need forward mids to sound totally right List Price: £349.95 (on RHA’s website)($449.95 from Moon audio in USA) Acknowledgment The RHA CL1 was provided to... Continue Reading →

Audio-Opus Opus #1: a transparent reference quality DAP and a great start for a promising company

Pros: Uber transparent black background, balanced out, easy operating system, build quality, up to 432 GB of storage, battery saving mode, nice leather case Cons: Android in name only, did not successfully scan all tags, operating system not fully featured List Price: £399 ($399), available from HiFi Headphones in the UK, Musicteck in the USA.... Continue Reading →

FiiO X5iii: the giant killer that wasn’t

Pros:  Size is nice in the hand, solid build, 2 micro-SD slots for tons of storage, Google Play Store, minimal skinning on Android, good functional interface, Quick Charge, excellent USB DAC function, full-featured Cons: Sound is very mid-fi, hiss with sensitive IEMs, button layout not terribly ergonomic, weak/poor Bluetooth, limited amplification, crowded bottom end, coaxial... Continue Reading →

Sonus Faber Pryma 0/1 – darkly fashionable

Pros:  Quality build, unusual look, rich sound with a smooth and velvety midrange and warm, enveloping bass, decent layering Cons: Can sound veiled / rolled off in the treble compared to other over-ears in the same price range, slightly closed in soundstage Price: £399.00 (PRYMA) Acknowledgment I acquired these over-ears in a trade deal with a... Continue Reading →

iDAC2: an excellent portable performer especially with the iPurifier2

Pros:  Transparent neutral/cold signature, good sound, good value, plenty of outputs, nice soundstage, USB bus powered so no power cable or brick to carry around Cons:  Slight treble emphasis may be off-putting to some, timing imperfect without iPurifier2 List price: $299 Acknowledgment The iDAC2 was provided on loan to me by iFi along with the... Continue Reading →

HiFiMan SuperMini: Pint-sized nuclear powerplant for your ears in a Snickers bar size

Pros:  Tiny form factor, excellent build quality, nice looking, easy UI and intuitive control scheme, ton of power, good battery life Cons: no external DAC, no line-out, no gapless (on the way?), limited playlist capability, screen protector unusable List price: $399 Acknowledgment Thank you HiFiMAN for providing this review sample in exchange for my honest... Continue Reading →

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