CanJam London, part three: jamming with cans (HEDD, Raal, Mr. Speakers, Warwick Acoustics, dCS, HiFiMAN, Audeze)

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 →

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 →

SOUNDAWARE P1 Headphone Amplifier Review: big power, big performance

Pros:  Powerful (drives Susvara easily), clean neutral sound, transparent, compact, nice construction with no visible screws, attractive smokey glass display top, balanced inputs and outputs alongside single ended inputs and outputs, 2 gain settings Cons: Not very useful as pre-amp due to no remote control, not built for low impedance sensitive IEMs, input selection button... 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 →

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 →

HiFiMAN Susvara: Unboxing and first impressions

Okay, so I've had this thing unboxed for a few days now. I've played it on my Questyle CMA600i and it was loud enough, but boy was that not all that it can do. Holy moly. Some loaners from SCV Distribution here in the UK just arrived to properly drive this beauty: a set of... Continue Reading →

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