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 →

iFi DC iPurifier2: deeper stage, improved clarity, and texture from a power device

Pros:  improved depth, blacker background, crisper highs, more refined overall sound, small, flexible voltage/amperage/wattage (works with most DC wall wart type sources), great set of adaptors, inexpensive Cons: improvements are small (can’t rule out placebo effect), effect will depend on system quality (more noticeable with better headphone), will be more cost-effective improvements for many, attracts ridicule like... 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2: unboxing and first impressions

Getting the HE-1000 v2 required some skill, bad luck and good luck. In the recent HiFiMAN HE-1000 International Photo Contest our photo took top place, which won us an EF-6 amplifier. We were stoked. However, when that EF-6 came, there was something wrong with it. It is also the case that HiFiMAN didn't have an... Continue Reading →

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