The HiFiMAN MegaMini – now in plastic, with a far better $99 price

Pros:  Tiny form factor, excellent build quality, nice looking, good even keeled sound, easy UI and intuitive control scheme, excellent value at $99 Cons: no external DAC, no gapless (on the way?), limited playlist capability, somewhat thin sound, dismal battery life (especially with HiRes) List Price: $99 Product website: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/hifiman-megamini-high-res-music-player-531.html Rating disclaimer: ratings for audio... Continue Reading →

Empire Ears Zeus-XR – the pinnacle of the pantheon

Pros:  Sublime detail retrieval, very coherent tuning, switchable crossover modes, mid range clarity and expression, non fatiguing but truly transparent sound, superb build quality Cons: A little on the expensive side, prone to hiss with most sources, not a drastic difference between the two modes on some DAPs, not much else List Price: $2399 (empireears.com) Acknowledgment... Continue Reading →

Campfire Audio Dorado: Campfire’s search for audio gold, a triple driver hybrid with added sparkle

Pros - Full bodied bass, great extension at both ends of the spectrum, forward vocal ranges, unusual W shaped tuning, great airiness and treble sparkleCons - W shaped sound can push mid-range instruments a little further back in the sound, long nozzle may not be ideal for everyone  List Price - $999 (Campfire Audio) Acknowledgement... Continue Reading →

Campfire Audio Lyra II – the comeback constellation: a smooth and soulful sequel to the original Campfire Audio single dynamic driver

Pros - Warm and engaging sound, powerful but not overdone bass, great build and ergonomics, beautiful midrange, smooth and clear treble Cons - Treble may be too laid back for some, not for fans of lean "audiophile" style bass List Price - $699 (Campfire Audio) Acknowledgement The Lyra II were provided to me free of... Continue Reading →

Questyle QP2R – initial impressions (part 1 of 2)

One of the most popular and critically acclaimed digital audio players (DAPs) in audiophile circles over the last few years has been the QP1R from Questyle Audio. Audio Primate have been lucky enough to be given a sneak preview of the successor to Questyle's current flagship (the QP2R), which is due for global release in... Continue Reading →

Shanling M2s gear gallery and first impressions: a pint-sized performer

In a little bit of a different take on gear galleries, this post has some initial impressions. Things I like: Tiny. Super tiny. This thing is smaller than a pack of cards. It looks like the perfect mate to a Mojo. Can be used as external DAC Bluetooth receive and transmit (Cayin N3 does this... Continue Reading →

Campfire Audio Vega: the diamond constellation with stellar sound

Pros: Huge bass presence while still managing to sound balanced, texture, incredible fullness, detail retrieval, treble clarity, emotional delivery of vocals Cons: Might be too heavy for some die-hard fans of a lean sound signature, not much else List Price: $1299 Website: http://campfireaudio.com/shop/vega/ Acknowledgments Thanks to Ken Ball and the team at Campfire Audio for giving... Continue Reading →

HiFiMan SuperMini: Pint-sized nuclear powerplant for your ears in a Snickers bar size

Pros:  Tiny form factor, excellent build quality, nice looking, easy UI and intuitive control scheme, ton of power, good battery life Cons: no external DAC, no line-out, no gapless (on the way?), limited playlist capability, screen protector unusable List price: $399 Acknowledgment Thank you HiFiMAN for providing this review sample in exchange for my honest... Continue Reading →

Noble Kaiser Encore: balanced bliss distilled into a soaring aerie of superlatives

Pros:  Vast soundstage with natural placement—doesn’t sound like an IEM, natural body, perfect timbre, speedy, micro-details-a-poppin Cons: Hiss on many sources; pinholes on the small side, making aftermarket cables a bit scary; potential side effects of purchase: living with one kidney, spousal waves of wrath, incredulous friends List price: $1850 (£1699) Acknowledgment Thanks @BangkokKid, otherwise... Continue Reading →

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