Linsoul BLD initial impressions, $50 IEM shootout

One of the coolest phenomenons in audio right now is the big improvements moving forward in the budget sector. $100 headphones can and do compete with $400 headphones, and $25 headphones sometimes compete with $200 headphones. It’s a great time to be an audiophile, even if your budget isn’t as large as you’d like it... Continue Reading →

Stealth Sonics U2: soul-shaking bass

Pros: Big smooth bass (faceplate on), big rumbling sub-bass murder by death machine (faceplate off), smooth mids (faceplate on), mids balanced between smooth and well-defined (faceplate off), high quality stock cable, includes microphone cable (flexibility+), light-weight, ability to alter bass tuning (removable faceplate) Cons: Sounds substantially better in its less attractive faceplate off configuration—why you... Continue Reading →

Stealth Sonics U9: bass plus refinement

Pros: Precise accurate bass tuning, tasteful bass uptick, timbral accuracy all around, good stage width and height, high quality stock cable, includes microphone cable (flexibility+), light-weight Cons: Upper mids can be a bit aggressive, aggressive elements of presentation reduce perceived stage, case not very usable from a travel perspective, does not look or feel like... Continue Reading →

Stealth Sonics U4: love or hate bass

Pros: Confusingly powerful bass in a fully balanced armature setup—how the heck you do that Stealth Sonics!?, better with faceplate off, high quality stock cable, includes microphone cable (flexibility+), lightweight, ability to alter bass tuning (removable faceplate) Cons: bass rides everything (this may be positive for bassheads, but wasn't for me), midbass distortion (texture loss... 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 →

Unique Melody Mason V3 review: mastering the details at terminal velocity

Pros: Remarkably detailed, natural treble extension, deep bass extension, speed to dominate even the fastest tracks, flexible tuning with dB-Go and ‘Dual Tone’ cable, big soundstage, timbre, bass texture, revealing details previously unnoticed and giving new life to old music, can battle with full size headphones for stage Cons: large universal shell, price, cable is... Continue Reading →

Unique Melody Mentor V3 Review: brilliantly balanced and imminently flexible

Pros: Transparent, balanced sound, excellent resolution, great layering, impressive stage width and depth, speedy, dB-GO module, flexible tune-able sound (copper for warmth/bass body, silver for resolution and space) Cons: large universal shell, price, cable is a touch heavy on the ear, cable housing could be softer material, midrange touch back of neutral List Price: $2099... 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 →

Lark Studio LSX Review: warm, refined, impactful, lush bassy goodness

Pros: Bass that competes with good dynamic drivers, silky mids, tiny shell size, excellent Rhapsodio cable, excellent overall build quality, good selection of tips, custom same price as universal, very competitive value proposition Cons: Rhapsodio cable currently only available single-ended, source dependent sonic precision, some sources will be too warm for some, trades some detail... Continue Reading →

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