Monday, December 29, 2014

Final Audio Design Heaven II: A Taste of Heaven



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

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== 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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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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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.