Monday, December 29, 2014

Final Audio Design Heaven II: A Taste of Heaven

1 comment:

Intro



TL;DR: The cheapest in their renowned Heaven line of BA IEMs, the Heaven II provides a level of midrange performance that you can only really love or hate. As for me? I absolutely love it.

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank Yoko at Final Audio Design for sending me a review sample of the Heaven II for review. I would like to clarify that I am in no way affiliated with Final Audio Design or any of its staff, and that I am not being compensated or paid by writing this review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own unless otherwise specified, and all pictures taken are owned by me. YMMV.

Final Audio Design is a Japanese manufacturer known for their proprietary technologies created after many years of development into products that range from the beautiful (Heaven 2 to 6) to the outrageous (Piano Forte line, Heaven 7 and 8). I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to review the cheapest models of three of their IEM lines, starting with this one. The Heaven II is a single balanced armature (BA) IEM that is priced around $70. Now, how do they stand up against some of the IEMs that I deem the best in their price ranges?


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The HiFiMAN RE-300h: An Unexpected IEM

1 comment:

== Intro ==



TL;DR: Smooth-sounding with just that little extra bass punch, the HiFiMAN RE-300h offers a matured sound in a diminutive package.

First of all, I just want to sincerely thank Peter and the guys over at HiFiMAN for giving me the opportunity to review their new RE-300 IEMs. I would like to clarify that I am neither affiliated with HiFiMAN or any of its staff, nor am I being compensated in any way by writing this review (aside from being provided the review sample). All opinions expressed in the following are strictly my own unless otherwise specified. YMMV.

Well, it’s been exactly 365 days since I wrote my review of the Xiaomi Pistons 2.0, which I could say was the review that started all of this. Over those 365 days, there have been some crazy goings on both personally and internationally. And now, after that full year, I’m going to come back to writing a budget IEM from a popular Chinese manufacturer. No, it’s not Xiaomi.

HiFiMAN is very well known in the audiophile community, and was (before FiiO) probably the only popular audio gear manufacturer based in China. They’re mostly known for their popular planar magnetic (or orthodynamic) headphones such as the HE-400, HE-560, and the extremely hard-to-drive HE-6. But they’ve also made equally popular IEMs, albeit on a smaller scale, like their RE0, RE-400, and now, the RE-300. The question now left to be answered is – will you stuff stockings with these? Read on and find out.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Brainwavz S1: In With the Old

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Intro


TL;DR: Brainwavz' S1, despite it being outclassed by its newer brethren, still holds its own in the S-series with a satisfying consumer-oriented sound signature that does what it does well.

Wow, so it’s that time of year again, huh? Time is passing by really quickly, and already we’re weeks away from Christmas and, in turn, the New Year. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at an older IEM from Brainwavz, the S1. The Brainwavz S1 is by far the oldest IEM of theirs I’ve been given the chance to review, and a lot of things we’ll be looking at in this review will show that the S1 is, well, pretty old. But given that thought, are they past their prime, or are they still kicking like the young ones? Read on and find out.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

MEElectronics M9 Classic: Minimalistic. Animalistic.

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Intro





TL;DR: The M9 Classic is overall one of the best budget IEM packages ever. I don’t think I need to say more.

First of all, I would like to personally thank Mike at MEElectronics for providing the M9 sample for review. Apologies if the review process took much longer than expected – a lot of things got in the way which considerably slowed down the process. Hopefully I get to make up for that with this review. As always, all opinions expressed in the following review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and much be taken with a grain of salt. Furthermore, I am neither affiliated with MEElectronics or any of its staff, nor am I receiving any compensation for writing this review (aside from the provided review sample).

Well, it hasn’t been very long since my last review, and already I have something new to write about. To be honest, though, this isn’t really “new” as the review sample arrived about a whole month ago. Yes, this may very well be the longest time I’ve taken to write a review, but I’m going to go ahead and blame it on my fellow reviewer, Blake. The primary plan was supposed to write a joint review with both our opinions combined into one review – but since that didn't work, I guess we'll have to do with this one.

Anyways, we’re going to take a look at an IEM in a price bracket I’m all too familiar with – the ultra-budget range. The MEElectronics M9 is a $10 IEM that looks to compete with what might be my favorite IEM – the $15 Xiaomi Pistons 2.0. Let’s see how they do.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rock-It Sounds R-30: All About that Bass?

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Intro



TL;DR: No treble.

First of all, I would like to thank Rocky at Rock-It Sounds for providing me with a review sample of the R-30. I would also like to apologize if this review took a while to get started because of logistics issues. I would like to stress that I am neither an affiliate of Rock-It Sounds or any of its employees, nor am I being compensated in any form to write this review (aside from the provided review sample, of course). All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise stated, and that they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Well, it looks like I’m back again with another review, and this time this is from a totally different company – Rock-It Sounds, as stated in the title. These guys are mostly known on Head-Fi for their renowned R-50 dual BA (Balanced Armature) IEMs. I have yet to hear those for myself (and I will probably will soon), but in the meantime Rocky was kind enough to let me have a go at their lower-end model while the R-50 was undergoing an update. At $70, the single BA R-30 looks pretty promising, and I’m pretty eager to find out if it is. You ready? Let’s begin.


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Brainwavz S0: Smooth 0perator

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Intro


TL;DR: The Brainwavz S0 offers a smooth, versatile package that just about anyone can enjoy.

First of all, I would like to thank Audrey (@Salsera) and the Brainwavz team for giving me the opportunity to write this review for their latest IEMs (which, naturally, is the Brainwavz S0). Second, I would like to clarify that I was neither paid to write this review (except for me being given this review sample), nor am I an affiliate of Brainwavz or any of its staff. All opinions expressed in the following review are my own unless otherwise specified, and as it is an opinion, please take it with a grain of salt.Also, the unit I have received for review is the final production version, complete and in its retail packaging. So basically, what you see (in this review, anyway) is what you get.

Over the past two months, my ears have been blessed with Brainwavz, Brainwavz, and only Brainwavz. Why? Because over my past two years in this audiophile journey, my ears have never been more satisfied than with their IEMs. From the bass-heavyS5, to the smooth and sweetR3, I’ve been given a taste of the very best of Brainwavz’ creations. And now, Audrey has given me the chance to sample their newest release has them taking a step back in price with the youngest brother of the single dynamic S-series, the S0 (ZERO).

Now, let’s see if the new kid in town has what it takes to step up to its big brothers – and maybe even the huge battlefield of IEMs its price. Interested? Let’s move on.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Brainwavz Delta: Ramen Noodles, or Brainwavz?

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Intro

Clear Instruments & Vocals
Balanced Bass & All-Metal Housing
Disclaimer: I was given the Brainwavz Delta by Brainwavz in return for a review. The opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own, and were not influenced by Brainwavz in any way.

     Ah budget IEM's... They may not be the most glorious of audio products, but we occasionally find those that are a cut above the rest and become legends, so we keep searching through the massive influx of new IEM's to reveal these gems. That search continues with the Brainwavz Delta, sent to me courtesy of Brainwavz.

Packaging

     When I received the IEM's, I stopped to admire the packaging. It is composed of glossy black, white, and red plastic with a clear window displaying the IEM's. On the back, a shiny logo, and a quick description of them in two lines (note caption on the right).

     Inside the box, we have a pair of Comply S-400 foam tips, three silicone tips (small, medium, and large) and the IEM's.





Sunday, October 19, 2014

Brainwavz R3: Brainwavz’ Bogglingly Beautiful Bottles

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Intro



TL;DR: Don't let its rather brutish looks fool you; the Brainwavz R3 is a smooth, gentle IEM that works especially well with acoustic genres, slow rock, and jazz.

Before I begin, I would like to thank Audrey at Brainwavz for providing the sample of the Brainwavz R3 in exchange for my honest opinion. Please note that I am neither affiliated with Brainwavz or any of its employees, nor am I being compensated for writing this review. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and all pictures are taken and owned by my sister. YMMV.

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my review of the S5s, and from that first impression of one of their IEMs, they’ve earned their place in my ‘Companies to Watch’ list. Though a lot of their IEMs, to my knowledge, lean towards a more consumer-friendly sound, they are no doubt of audiophile quality. Today, I’m going to be reviewing another of their high-end IEMs, and probably one of the most peculiar-looking IEMs I’ve ever seen, the dual-dynamic Brainwavz R3 Rev.2 (I’ll get to this later).

Anyhow, let’s get on to the IEMs. Shall we?

Author's Note: This review is a little bit old, so expect some cringe-y parts if you're reading this in 2015 or later. I'm a little too lazy to edit it, and I want to keep the chronological flow in my reviews as I grow, so you can definitely see the improvements over time.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Audio Technica ATH-WS77: (Insert Clever Tagline Here)

1 comment:

by Blake Larson

Intro

     Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Audio Technica in any way (other than how I'm using their product). I was not paid for this review. These are 100% my opinions on this pair of headphones... If you haven't stopped reading yet from boredom, then congratulations. You don't have a short attention span.

     So what I got here is the ATH-WS77 from Audio Technica. As part of their "Solid Bass" series, I wasn't expecting much in the way of refinement... I am happy to say my expectations were completely shattered. These are a very mature bass can.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brainwavz S5: The Party Pill

4 comments:

Intro




TL;DR: The Brainwavz S5 is loud, bass-heavy, energetic, and a lot of fun to listen to -- just the ticket for any EDM lover.

Before I begin, huge thanks to Audrey (@Salsera) for providing a sample of the Brainwavz S5 in exchange for my honest opinion. My deepest gratitude goes out to her and the guys over at Brainwavz. But let me remind you that I was neither paid to write this review, nor am I an affiliate of Brainwavz or any of its staff. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and these opinions should be treated as nothing more than that. Finally, my impressions of the S5 in this review might conflict with yours; therefore, your mileage may vary.

Well, let me just say this: This review is filled with a lot of firsts. I won’t list them all to keep things brief, but the most significant one is how this is the first time I’ve been asked to write a review from a representative of a company. I know, I’m still squealing like a girl since I was sent a PM a couple weeks ago -- but still, it is my first time, so I’ll give it all I got!

Anyway, let’s get onto the subject at hand. The Brainwavz S5 is Brainwavz’ latest IEM release, and is now their current S-series flagship IEM. Priced at $100 retail, the S5s look the part, feel the part, and are priced the part, but do they play the part? Read on and find out.


Note: To view the pictures in a larger size, click on the images.