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 →

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 →

Bristol Sound & Vision 2018: Pioneer, Audio Technica, Quad, Ophidian Audio, Acoustic Energy, Prism Sound (part 2)

Read further for tiny speakers with big sound and professional audio produced for consumers. There's headphones too. Pioneer The Pioneer setup was running the SE-Master 1 (£1699) from the Pioneer U-05 (£540) DAC/Headphone Amp combo with the Pioneer XDP-300R (£459). I’ve checked all these elements out before, but haven’t covered them for the blog. I... 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 →

Indulgence Show 2017: luscious speakers, hot headphones and cool IEMs. Time to listen. (Part 3)

This was the first show I went to as a member of the press, so I should press on, however slow. Audio Sanctuary and all the other sponsors put on a helluva show and I enjoyed myself, in spite of never feeling like I had enough time to explore everything while having the conversations I... Continue Reading →

Epicurean Aural Delights

Right, so, you want the best, right? You earn enough, don’t need money and want to burn it away on totally hedonistic pleasures that are not of the dodgy sort…ish. You are also an audiophile, and more specifically a hardcore headphile; someone who LOVES headphones. You want to look like these guys, right? RIGHT? The... Continue Reading →

Bristol Sound & Vision Show 2017: Dispatches from the 30th Anniversary event

Bristol Sound & Vision Show 2017 Saturday Report The big day…. Saturday 25th February Marriot Hotel Bristol City Centre Welcome to a rollercoaster ride through a dazzling array of vinyl to video £10 earphones to £120,000 headphones, of esoterica on the ground floor to hysteria on the 6th and everything in between… The Bristol Sound... Continue Reading →

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