Flares Pro: the best Bluetooth headphones I’ve heard

Pros:  Extraordinarily clear in Bluetooth, excellent resolution and speed, accurate timbre, black background, completely non-fatiguing, tiny and comfortable, cool packaging, super ergonomic tips, great Bluetooth range and battery life Cons: rolled off sub-bass, microphonic cable, USB micro, prone to electrical interference in Bluetooth, ugly poor quality cables List Price: £349 ($399) Product Website: https://www.flareaudio.com/products/flares Rating... Continue Reading →

Questyle QP2R: my favourite digital audio player

Pros:  beautiful natural timbre, full body without sacrificing detail, big driving power, solid and sexy construction, awesome volume knob, top-loaded audio outputs, format compatibility Cons: small screen, wheel control, hiss with a few IEMs (especially out of 2.5mm), no wireless connectivity (Bluetooth, DLNA, streaming, etc.) List Price: £1199 (Audio Sanctuary), $1299 (Todd The Vinyl Junkie)... Continue Reading →

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 →

Unique Melody ME.1: a spacious stage with an organic and euphonic sound

Pros:  Big sound stage, smooth organic sound, no harshness to be found, euphonic, comfortable, open but not leaky Cons: Some detail is lost to give the euphonic sound, not extended on either side of the audio spectrum, source has bigger than average impact on sound (matching is important), isolation, big shell will not fit some... 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 →

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 →

TheBit Opus #3: stellar sound, Android features still under construction

Pros:  Excellent tonality, good soundstage width, very detailed, balanced output with good power, solid build quality, leather case (not included by default everywhere) Cons: Horrible app implementation, navigation niggles, DLNA music app sounds substantially worse than standard music app, tiny hardware buttons, wobbly volume knob Price: $899 (€899) (Haven’t found UK shop with it yet)... 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 →

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