The HiFiMAN HE1000 v2 – a triumph of engineering and sonic performance

Pros: Beautiful sound, good stage, nice timbre, bass improved over v1, unique styling, super comfortable, price to performance, prefer it to the Focal Utopia Cons: included cables don’t look premium, mediocre cable sound quality, could use a practical carrying case, not the Susvara List Price: $2999 Product website: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/he-1000.html Introduction I’ve been a big fan... Continue Reading →

Aune S6: warm, thick, impressive low end grunt

Pros:  Full bodied sound, nice information display, balanced inputs and outputs, digital numeric volume display Cons: single-ended sound is foggy, soft treble, only DSD128 (DoP), volume control has no feel to it, could have more bass and treble extension List Price: $569 (Penon Audio, affiliate link) Product Website: http://en.auneaudio.com Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective. Audio... 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 →

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 →

RHA CL750: excellent value, assuming you have a decent amp on your portable gear

Pros:  Stellar build quality, excellent price, comfortable, fantastic quality cable, excellent clarity, good bass control, balanced signature Cons: Hard to drive, average soundstage List Price: £99 ($129) Acknowledgment The RHA CL750 was provided to me in exchange for running the UK leg of the RHA world-wide tour for the release of the DACAMP L1, CL1,... 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 →

HiFiMAN Susvara: Unboxing and first impressions

Okay, so I've had this thing unboxed for a few days now. I've played it on my Questyle CMA600i and it was loud enough, but boy was that not all that it can do. Holy moly. Some loaners from SCV Distribution here in the UK just arrived to properly drive this beauty: a set of... Continue Reading →

Questyle CMA 600i: who needs a stack of components when CMA600i does it all so well? DSD256, fantastic clarity, plenty of drive. Heck yes, I want it.

Pros: Excellent clarity, dead silent noise floor, drives my HD600 as well as my Heron 5, balanced topology, clean pre-amp output, audibly excellent signal to noise ratio Cons: Soundstage could be wider (still average/above average), tiny indicator on volume control List price: £1199 from SCV Distribution or Audio Sanctuary in London ($1,299 in USA from... Continue Reading →

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