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 →

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 →

iFi Nano iDSD Black Label: great genes in this DAC family, wallet happy price

Pros:  Excellent transparent sound, small size, outstanding price, driving power for HD600, iEMatch built in, iPurifier built in, excellent 3.5mm line-out, two good filters, huge format compatibility Cons: Silk-screen writing is damn near impossible to read, doesn’t come with short OTG cable (one would be better than none), doesn’t come with USB3.0 adaptor so not... Continue Reading →

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