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 →

Campfire Audio Solaris – sound like the sun

Acknowledgement The Solaris were very kindly provided by Ken Ball at Campfire Audio for the purposes of writing a full review. I paid nothing for these, and there is no obligation to or input from Campfire Audio with regards to the content of the review. Allegations was (politely) asked for was a few brief impressions... Continue Reading →

Kumitate Lab KL-Sirius: four sweet drivers in a sexy acrylic shell

Pros:  Silky mids, delicate treble, scale with upgrades, excellent technical performance, good stage width and depth Cons: Reference bass (meaning light), minimal sub-bass, lack of accessories, stock cable is too thin List Price: $800.00 (¥90,000 JPY) Product Website: http://www.kumitatelab.com/kl-sirius/?sl=en Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective. Audio quality and value do not mean the same thing across... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

Audeze iSINE 10 – a DSPlanar in ear experience

Pros:  Open sound, that planar bass texture, clarity resolution for the price, no distortion audible at any volume, ability to take EQ like a chameleon Cons: Fit is fiddly, lack of isolation, need EQ applied to sound their best (either Cipher cable or parametric) List Price: $399 Product Website: https://www.audeze.com/products/isine-series/isine10-ear-headphone Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective.... Continue Reading →

Massdrop x MEE Audio Pinnacle PX: the MEE Pinnacle P1 gets even more affordable

Pros: Stellar balanced sound, an absolute steal at $113.99, top of the class instrument separation in the price tier Cons: Difficult to drive, your phone won't do it justice, abandon all hope ye' iPhone as source people. Average soundstage. List Price: $113.99 Acknowledgement The Massdrop x MEE Pinnacle PX was supplied to me by Massdrop in exchange... Continue Reading →

RHA CL1: the Richard Dawkins of IEMs: insensitive, brilliant, and not everyone’s cup of tea

Pros:  Excellent clarity and treble extension, good quality and quantity of bass Cons: intimate sound-stage; recessed mids; some mids details fade, veil or disappear; underdriven by many DACs and DAPs; need forward mids to sound totally right List Price: £349.95 (on RHA’s website)($449.95 from Moon audio in USA) Acknowledgment The RHA CL1 was provided to... 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 →

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