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 →

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 →

HiFiMAN RE2000 Gold and Silver: fantastic audio quality, fubar construction

Pros:  Well controlled extended bass, tight linear sound, impressive stage width, excellent resolution and dynamics, lovely timbre Cons: Slight recession in mids, poor shell design for mid to small size ears, there are better built IEMs for under $200 List Price: $1500 (Silver), $2000 (Gold) Product Website: RE2000 Silver, RE2000 (Gold) Pros and cons are... 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 →

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 →

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