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 →

64 Audio U8 – unboxing and initial impressions

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 →

IMR Acoustics R1 – unusual ceramic/beryllium hybrid with bags of tone

Pros:  Smooth and organic sound signature, good all metal build, serious bass prowess, nice texture and weight to the sound, smooth and clear treble, very coherent and musical tuning, multiple tuning options with filters, capability to open up the soundstage with the open/closed port mechanism Cons: Not massive amounts of micro-detail, could potentially be a... Continue Reading →

CMOYBB DIY kit by JDS Labs

  Acknowledgement JDS Labs provided me with this kit to build and review.  Big thanks to John for helping to support the DIY ecosystem and make the review possible! Introduction The CMoy amplifier, first published in 2001 by its namesake Chu Moy, is a mainstay of DIY headphone amplification. This humble amp has sailed a thousand... Continue Reading →

Empire Ears Zeus-XR – the pinnacle of the pantheon

Pros:  Sublime detail retrieval, very coherent tuning, switchable crossover modes, mid range clarity and expression, non fatiguing but truly transparent sound, superb build quality Cons: A little on the expensive side, prone to hiss with most sources, not a drastic difference between the two modes on some DAPs, not much else List Price: $2399 (empireears.com) Acknowledgment... Continue Reading →

Empire Ears Athena – unboxing and initial impressions

Introduction At the recent Canjam London expo, I had the privilege of spending some time with @Jack Vang and the team at Empire Ears, working my way through their current and unreleased IEM range. As an owner of the Zeus-XR, I was interested to find out what the rest of their lineup offered in terms... Continue Reading →

Questyle QP2R – initial impressions (part 2 of 2)

Introduction This set of impressions follows on from my previous blog post about the QP2R (which you can find here), and concentrates mainly on the sonics and some comparisons with other gear. If you want to get the full picture, feel free to go back and read the first chapter - if you are the sort... Continue Reading →

Pocket Class A DIY Headphone Amp by XRK971

I crossed paths with XRK971 a few months ago on the diyaudio.com forums as we worked concurrently on Class A single-ended headphone designs. Although we did not collaborate and our parts choices differed, our overall topologies share a strong resemblance. After chatting a bit, we exchanged some parts so that each could hear what the... Continue Reading →

Campfire Audio Dorado: Campfire’s search for audio gold, a triple driver hybrid with added sparkle

Pros - Full bodied bass, great extension at both ends of the spectrum, forward vocal ranges, unusual W shaped tuning, great airiness and treble sparkleCons - W shaped sound can push mid-range instruments a little further back in the sound, long nozzle may not be ideal for everyone List Price - $999 (Campfire Audio) Acknowledgement... Continue Reading →

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