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 →

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 →

1MORE MK802 Bluetooth Headphone: Rock The Bass Boost! Roll the features.

Pros: Bass boost switch is awesome and sure to be a huge crowd pleaser, excellent battery life and range, neutral presentation, flexibility, nice looks Cons: App is not useful, average soundstage, slightly recessed mids, some physical ear fatigue, bass cut switch is nasty List Price: $149.99 (Amazon) Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective. Audio quality and... Continue Reading →

Unique Melody ME.1: a spacious stage with an organic and euphonic sound

Pros:  Big sound stage, smooth organic sound, no harshness to be found, euphonic, comfortable, open but not leaky Cons: Some detail is lost to give the euphonic sound, not extended on either side of the audio spectrum, source has bigger than average impact on sound (matching is important), isolation, big shell will not fit some... Continue Reading →

The HiFiMAN MegaMini – now in plastic, with a far better $99 price

Pros:  Tiny form factor, excellent build quality, nice looking, good even keeled sound, easy UI and intuitive control scheme, excellent value at $99 Cons: no external DAC, no gapless (on the way?), limited playlist capability, somewhat thin sound, dismal battery life (especially with HiRes) List Price: $99 Product website: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/hifiman-megamini-high-res-music-player-531.html Rating disclaimer: ratings for audio... 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 →

RHA CL750: excellent value, assuming you have a decent amp on your portable gear

Pros:  Stellar build quality, excellent price, comfortable, fantastic quality cable, excellent clarity, good bass control, balanced signature Cons: Hard to drive, average soundstage List Price: £99 ($129) Acknowledgment The RHA CL750 was provided to me in exchange for running the UK leg of the RHA world-wide tour for the release of the DACAMP L1, CL1,... 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 →

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