Focal Elear: dynamism with a dash of French flair

Pros:  Incredible dynamics and punch, crisp and detailed sound, good balance through the frequencies, rock solid build and comfort, decent bass weight, highly engaging sound Cons: Small soundstage for an open-back, dip in upper mids may not be to everyone’s taste, “always on” dynamics make this a little excitable for more mellow genres Price: £769 ($799,... 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Unboxing: Echobox Explorer

So the long IndieGoGo wait is over. The Echobox Explorer has taken a long while to get here. This was planned for April 2016, but arrived in March 2017, which actually isn't unusual in crowdfunding. I was prepared. Many were not. The player still has some wrinkles to iron out, but Echobox is projecting confidence.... Continue Reading →

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