Initial impressions: Unique Melody Mason v3

Introduction The Mason v3 is the flagship of the Unique Melody line. It is designed to be the technical master of the line-up. It doesn't disappoint. These are my first impressions off the Head-Fi Official European Unique Melody Mason v3 and Mentor v3 Tour. I posted an unboxing gallery here, and impressions of the Mentor... Continue Reading →

Unboxing(s): Unique Melody Mason v3 and Mentor v3

These came in late last week. They've now headed off to the first participants in the European tour. Twelve lucky participants will enjoy one of this pair. If you'd like to follow the impressions of the tour participants and see as their reviews on Head-Fi pop up, go check out the tour thread. Box worship... Continue Reading →

Focal Utopia: a detail and instrument separation monster with some limitations

Pros:  detailed, revealing, outstanding depth and instrument separation, punchy engaging listen, speedy like a coked up F1 driver Cons: compact soundstage for a flagship (small width/height), poor accessories, long-term comfort, listening fatigue, $$$$, sensitive to accessory cables (you’ll probably buy at least one) List Price: £3499 (UK, Audio Sanctuary), $4000 globally Product Website: https://www.focal.com/uk/headphones/home/utopia Rating... Continue Reading →

XIAUDIO (Eleven Audio) Formula S: Power and clarity sublimated

Pros:  Crystal clear, exceptional imaging and depth, resolution and detail (especially bass texture) power for HiFiMAN Susvara, grace for Focal Utopia, excellent outputs, built like a tank Cons: not for low impedance high sensitivity IEMs, price List Price: $3499 Product Website: http://www.theevolutionofsound.com/xiaudio-formula-s/ Introduction Alex Twister introduced me to Michael Xiao, proprietor of Eleven Audio, formerly... Continue Reading →

Focal Utopia: unboxing and initial impressions

After reviewing the HiFiMAN Susvara, I wondered, and I'm sure many readers on this blog wondered, which of the Focal Utopia and the Susvara would be king of the mountain. Unfortunately, during the Susvara review, I didn't have both on hand to compare. Now I do, but I'm not going to tell you the result... Continue Reading →

The HiFiMAN Susvara – a breathtakingly beautiful and breathtakingly expensive headphone

Pros:  Detailed like an electron microscope, mostly flat frequency response, excellent sound stage height/depth/width, layering and instrument separation, incisive speed without excess, impeccable attack and decay, like being there (miniaturised) Cons: $6000, $6000, difficult to drive well (I still don’t know if I did) List Price: $6000 Product website: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/susvara.html Introduction I’ve been a big... Continue Reading →

Effect Audio Arthur: $3800 of win? Yes.

Pros: Stunningly beautiful statement piece, exceptional natural sound, Excalibur cable ergonomics are excellent Cons: Price, difficult fit, huge shell, narrow nozzle doesn’t fit several Comply Isolate series tips or similar size tips (200 series fits), probably better to buy as custom List Price: $3799 Acknowledgment Thank you Eric at Effect Audio for making the HeadFi... Continue Reading →

Unboxing: Effect Audio Arthur and Excalibur

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, mostly. These are the most expensive headphones that have ever been in my house. These are $3799, and they look it. They've got 14 drivers per ear in a 2 low, 6 high, 6 mid configuration. They've got a cable made of super flexible ultra-comfortable Hip-Hop jewellery grade... Continue Reading →

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