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 →

iFi DC iPurifier2: deeper stage, improved clarity, and texture from a power device

Pros:  improved depth, blacker background, crisper highs, more refined overall sound, small, flexible voltage/amperage/wattage (works with most DC wall wart type sources), great set of adaptors, inexpensive Cons: improvements are small (can’t rule out placebo effect), effect will depend on system quality (more noticeable with better headphone), will be more cost-effective improvements for many, attracts ridicule like... Continue Reading →

Questyle QP2R: my favourite digital audio player

Pros:  beautiful natural timbre, full body without sacrificing detail, big driving power, solid and sexy construction, awesome volume knob, top-loaded audio outputs, format compatibility Cons: small screen, wheel control, hiss with a few IEMs (especially out of 2.5mm), no wireless connectivity (Bluetooth, DLNA, streaming, etc.) List Price: £1199 (Audio Sanctuary), $1299 (Todd The Vinyl Junkie)... 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 →

CanJam London 2017: Empire Ears, Stereo Pravda, Sony, Dinner with Axel (Part 1)

Wow! That was hectic but fun. I got to meet some folks I've wanted to meet for a long time in Jack and Dean Vang of Empire Ears, and Eric Chong of Effect Audio. I've been chatting with these guys on HeadFi and Facebook for a while. It's great to finally meet these lovely people... Continue Reading →

TheBit Opus #3: stellar sound, Android features still under construction

Pros:  Excellent tonality, good soundstage width, very detailed, balanced output with good power, solid build quality, leather case (not included by default everywhere) Cons: Horrible app implementation, navigation niggles, DLNA music app sounds substantially worse than standard music app, tiny hardware buttons, wobbly volume knob Price: $899 (€899) (Haven’t found UK shop with it yet)... Continue Reading →

iFi iDSD Black Label: Swiss Army knife utility, top tier sound and flexibility that does everything extremely well, so much value it’s just unfair to the competition

Pros:  enough power to drive an HE-6 while having enough finesse to feed a Kaiser Encore, plays everything natively, flexible inputs and outputs, flexible sound through XBass and 3D that leaves the core of the mids alone Cons: 3D can sound artificial on some tracks, black on black fonts, difficult to see volume knob level... 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 →

iDAC2: an excellent portable performer especially with the iPurifier2

Pros:  Transparent neutral/cold signature, good sound, good value, plenty of outputs, nice soundstage, USB bus powered so no power cable or brick to carry around Cons:  Slight treble emphasis may be off-putting to some, timing imperfect without iPurifier2 List price: $299 Acknowledgment The iDAC2 was provided on loan to me by iFi along with the... Continue Reading →

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