CanJam London 2019, part two: a tour of IEMs (InEar, oBravo, Acoustune, HiFiMAN, 64 Audio, FiiO)

CanJam London is the biggest headphone and portable audio show put on in the UK every year. It is the highlight of the HeadFi enthusiasts calendar and something that I have attended since the inaugural CanJam London in 2015. This year was the 5th annual edition and it lived up to its billing. I’ll be... Continue Reading →

WAVAYA Octa: a porcelain dream

Pros: Superlative upper mids, superlative treble, cymbals and violins are voiced wonderfully, drum timbre, excellent instrument separation, good stage depth, nice looks, well-controlled bass with good extension, beautiful leather case, Linum SuperBaX cable has great sound and fantastic ergonomics, less wax build-up with porcelain Cons: touch of warmth can lean a bit away from neutral,... Continue Reading →

AKG N90Q – the tunable TOTL over-ear

Pros: Tunable sound, noise cancelling in a TOTL headphone, high detail levels, dynamic sound, packed with unusual tech, bomb proof storage case and bags of accessories Cons: Tuning capability less useful at the extremes, flimsy 2.5mm cable connectors, thin cables, onboard DAC not same quality as rest of package, slightly dry tinge to the sound... Continue Reading →

NCM Bella – the Bella of the TOTL hybrid ball

Pros:  Sub bass presence and overall bass capability, beautiful and non-recessed midrange, exceptional treble, lots of air and sparkle, very coherent tuning Cons: Fit is shallow, nozzle bore is very large List Price: 23,500,000 (Vietnamese Dong) / c. £735 (UK) Product Website: http://www.nguyencustoms.com/ncm-bella/ Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective. Audio quality and value do not mean... Continue Reading →

Interview with Tatco Ma of Lear

Introduction I like to reach out to companies that I view as doing innovative things. I gained interest in 64Audio when they worked with ADEL to relieve pneumatic pressure on the tympanic membrane with the potential to save hearing. I followed Noble for their gorgeous designs. I checked out oBravo because they were the first... 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 →

1MORE IBFree AptX Bluetooth IEMs: One More Excellent Headphone From Luca Bignardi And Crew

Pros:  Balanced sound, good precision for the price, clear mids, tight bass, attractive colours, excellent battery life Cons: Can have some tin in the cymbal strikes, no carrying pouch, fit will be a problem for some, stock tips not secure for active use (need Comply) List Price: $50 (Penon Audio, affiliate link) Product Website: https://usa.1more.com/products/ibfree-bluetooth-in-ear-headphones Rating... 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 →

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 →

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