Flares Pro: the best Bluetooth headphones I’ve heard

Pros:  Extraordinarily clear in Bluetooth, excellent resolution and speed, accurate timbre, black background, completely non-fatiguing, tiny and comfortable, cool packaging, super ergonomic tips, great Bluetooth range and battery life Cons: rolled off sub-bass, microphonic cable, USB micro, prone to electrical interference in Bluetooth, ugly poor quality cables List Price: £349 ($399) Product Website: https://www.flareaudio.com/products/flares Rating... 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 →

Unboxing(s): Unique Melody Mason v3 and Mentor v3

These came in late last week. They've now headed off to the first participants in the European tour. Twelve lucky participants will enjoy one of this pair. If you'd like to follow the impressions of the tour participants and see as their reviews on Head-Fi pop up, go check out the tour thread. Box worship... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

Empire Ears Athena – the goddess of Olympus

  Ratings Pros: Impeccable build quality, balanced but musical tuning, incredible sense of smoothness, good note weight, fantastic midrange, good clarity Cons: May lack air in the treble for some, can take a little time to adjust to the tuning, extension/quantity in the sub bass area could be better Price (as of Dec 2017): $1299 Website:   Empire Ears... 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 →

64 Audio U8 – bass over APEX

Introduction I have always been fascinated by bass in music. That’s probably why I always feel a little bit of a fraud when someone calls me an “audiophile”, as my tastes quite often encompass a little more lower end substance than the current fashion for a more lean and mean sound. I can appreciate detail... Continue Reading →

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