Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Xiaomi Hybrid: Limit Break

3 comments:

Intro



Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank George at Gearbest.com for providing the Xiaomi Hybrid you see in this review in exchange for my honest opinion. Please note that I am neither affiliated with Gearbest or any of its staff, nor am I being paid to write this review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own unless otherwise specified, and all photos in this review were taken by me. Finally, please take my following opinions with a grain of salt. Thanks!

Not long after the release of the Pistons 3.0, everyone on the Pistons threads – myself included – was surprised to hear news about a new IEM from Xiaomi. Immediately the “first responders” set up shop and gathered scraps of info quickly, and this new IEM was dubbed the Pistons 4.0 – at least, until the translations came out. No, this is a brand-spanking new IEM from the smartphone manufacturer featuring a hybrid dual driver design at the same price the entire Pistons line was sold at -- $16, or CNY 99. That, in and of itself, is a crazy – and risky – feat to pull off.

The question is – did Xiaomi pull it off right? Find out after the jump.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dynamic VS BA: Flare Audio R2Pro VS Final Audio Design Heaven VI

2 comments:

==Introduction==


I would like to thank Flare Audio for providing the Flare Audio R2Pro at such a reduced price and a seller on Head-Fi for providing the Final Audio Design Heaven VI that will be pitted against the R2Pro in this review.

This review should of course be taken as a grain of salt as it is my opinion and only my opinion. I have past experience with quite a few cans and IEMs before. I personally own or have owned these cans and IEMs (to the best of my knowledge):

Sennheiser HD25 Aluminium 25th Anniversary Limited Edition
Sennheiser HD424
M-Audio Q40
Denon AH-D2000
NAD VISO HP50
Aedle VK-1
Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE
Monster Turbine Pro Gold
ADL EH-008
Koss Sportapro
AKG K7xx
Other odd vintage cans

I wanted to try how different companies implemented their own unique philosophies behind dealing with the pressure caused by a single moving driver in front of and behind it when placed in a confined space like an IEM enclosure. Flare Audio's implementation uses a dynamic 5mm driver with their own pressure-balancing system (I think it's called the Dual-Sized Vortex) while Final Audio Design use a balanced armature driver of an unknown sized backed up by their BAM mechanism.

The Flare Audio R2Pro is used with Jaben spinfit tips while the FAD Heaven VI is used with stock medium soft tips. I will also sell the IEM that I don't like as much so this makes it a deathmatch of sorts, if death means having to leave me forever. Now, lets see how they stack up against each other!

Friday, October 30, 2015

KZ ED9: The Enigma

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Intro


TL;DR: One of the myriad of IEMs from the brand I most love to hate, the KZ ED9 offers an otherwise excellent budget package were it not for its manufacturer’s poor (if not outright lack of) quality control.

Before I begin I would like to thank George at Gearbest.com for providing the review sample of the Xiaomi Pistons 3.0 shown in this review. Please note that I am neither affiliated with Gearbest or any of its staff, nor am I being paid for writing this review. Unless otherwise specified, everything you see written in this review are my own honest opinion, so please take that with a grain of salt. All photos you see in this review are also my own unless otherwise specified. Thanks!

Knowledge Zenith, otherwise known as KZ, is as the title says – an enigma. That’s because we don’t really have that much information about them, and also because they’ve never bothered to release any of that. All we know is that they’re a Chinese manufacturer that makes a crap ton of ultra-cheap IEMs that they sell through online marketplaces like Aliexpress. That, and they have a massive cult following on Head-Fi that practically worship the brand with every post they make on the Asian brand thread or their official appreciation thread.

But I’m gonna get straight to the point. I don’t like KZ. I’m not gonna lie about that. I don’t like their lack of presence as a company. I don’t like their lack of ways to contact them. But I couldn’t ignore the cultish hype. It had me curious as to if they really were worth the continuously-spreading hype. And just a few weeks ago, the opportunity presented itself. And so here I am, reviewing one of the many IEMs from the brand I love to hate. Will they stand up to my expectations? Find out after the jump.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Xiaomi Pistons 3.0: The Successor

3 comments:

Intro



TL;DR: The successor to the popular Xiaomi Pistons 2.0, the 3.0 offers a remarkably versatile package that is no less than excellent at its price point. Easily one of the best IEMs I've ever reviewed.

Before I begin I would like to thank George at Gearbest.com for providing the review sample of the Xiaomi Pistons 3.0 shown in this review. Please note that I am neither affiliated with Gearbest or any of its staff, nor am I being paid for writing this review. Unless otherwise specified, everything you see written in this review are my own honest opinion, so please take that with a grain of salt. All photos you see in this review are also my own unless otherwise specified. Thanks!

Ahh, the Xiaomi Pistons. The first IEM where I wrote a serious review, and the only one to be as popular as it is. Since that Christmas of 2012 the demand for the Pistons 2.0 exploded into a massive craze that lasted a bit over a whole year. Then, sometime around April of 2014, news came about of a successor to the Pistons 2.0, aptly named the Pistons 3. Upon its release, there was some buzz surrounding them, but the hype train never really took off the way the 2.0 did. And, well, for that entire year I never really took the chance to get a pair and review it myself. That is, until now.

So here I am, back where it all began. The sands of time have swept across the budget IEM market, with it bringing fierce new contenders. How will the Pistons 3 stand up to some of 2015’s latest and greatest? Let's find out after the jump.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Brainwavz S3: And...We Just Ended

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Intro


TL;DR: Brainwavz' latest (and last) S-series IEM, the S3 proves itself to be a very weak farewell to the S-series with its iffy quality control and excessively warm sound.

Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Pandora at Brainwavz for providing the review sample of the Brainwavz S3 you see in this review. Please note that I am neither affiliated with Brainwavz or any of its staff, nor am I being paid in any form for writing this review. All opinions expressed in the following review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and all photos are taken and own by me. Finally, please take the following review with a grain of salt. Thanks!

With the recently-released Brainwavz Jive that met universally positive reactions from the audiophile community, many of us there hoped for one thing: a higher-end follow-up to the Jive. With a beautiful sound signature at a thirty dollar price tag, a higher price tag would allow Brainwavz to improve the sound even further and provide a more robust build to make one hell of a competitor in its price bracket. And, well, just about a couple weeks ago, they announced the release of the Brainwavz S3, an 80-dollar IEM that may or may not be that successor the audiophiles have been waiting for. Is it? Find out after the jump.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Brainwavz Jive: We're Just Getting Started

12 comments:

Intro


TL;DR: Probably one of Brainwavz' best releases yet, the Jive raises the bar for budget IEMs, combining a refined, detailed sound with Brainwavz' signature build quality and accessories.

Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Pandora at Brainwavz for providing the review sample of the Jive you see in this review. Please note that I am neither affiliated with Brainwavz or any of its staff, nor am I being compensated in any form for writing this review. All opinions expressed in the following review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and all photos are taken and own by me. Finally, please take the following review with a grain of salt.

Brainwavz’ products have always been about value for money. With each new IEM release they push the envelope for product value at each price point. Now, this week we're going to be taking a look at their brand-new IEM, the Jive. It's a $30 IEM marketed as being “tuned to perform like a balanced armature for only $30,” which is a pretty bold statement that, as experience has taught me, shows Brainwavz really has something big going on here. Let's take a closer look after the jump.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Alpha & Delta AD01: Power of Two

5 comments:

Intro


TL;DR: The debut IEM of LMUE's in-house brand, the AD01 provides a thunderous, bass-heavy sound signature built almost specifically for the basshead.


Before I begin, I would like to thank Teo at Led Me UR Ears for providing the review sample of the Alpha & Delta AD01 seen in this review. Note that I am neither affiliated with LMUE or any of its staff, nor am I being paid to write this review. Everything that follows is from my own honest opinion unless otherwise specified, and all pictures are taken and owned by me. Finally, please take everything stated in this review with a grain of salt. Thanks!

Lend Me UR Ears – from henceforth will be called LMUE – is a headphone retailer and distributor based in Singapore, known for popularizing many East Asian brands and making them accessible to the Western audiophile market – not unlike Penon Audio – thanks to its Amazon warehouses in the US and Canada. Just about 3 weeks ago, Teo approached me offering to review an in-house IEM which they released in partnership with a local manufacturer. The IEM in question is the Alpha & Delta AD01.

This new IEM employs a dual dynamic driver system, priced at about $100. How will these newcomers stand up to its much older competitors? Find out after the jump.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bang goes the Buck! AKG K7xx Massdrop 1st Edition Review

2 comments:

==Introduction==


I would like to thank the Head-Fi Massdrop staff and AKG for producing such a good pair of headphones. This pair has honestly been one of the best cures for upgrade-itis I have had in a long while and I think that it will be a nice ending to the long story of the AKG K7-series driver as I think AKG decided to do this because the driver is nearing the end of its life cycle. 

This review should of course be taken as a grain of salt as it is my opinion and only my opinion. I have past experience with quite a few cans and IEMs before. I personally own or have owned these cans and IEMs (to the best of my knowledge):
  • Sennheiser HD25 Aluminium 25th Anniversary Limited Edition
  • Sennheiser HD424
  • M-Audio Q40
  • Denon AH-D2000
  • NAD VISO HP50
  • Aedle VK-1
  • Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE
  • Monster Turbine Pro Gold
  • ADL EH-008
  • Koss Sportapro
  • Other odd vintage cans

As for the backstory behind these cans, I bought the AKG K7xx when I read the description for the drop for it on Massdrop.com touting these pair of cans to basically be a warmer, bassier AKG K702 Annie back around November. As I have already tried various AKG cans in the past and disliked many of them because of the lack of bass, the overly bright tilt and the oh-so-dreadful headband bumps that most of the mid-tier AKG cans seem to possess, I thought to myself that this would be just the ticket to satisfy my desires and jumped right onto the drop, to the displeasure of my wallet and the absolute joy of my ears.

Monday, June 15, 2015

MEE Audio Sport-Fi X7: Gotta Go Fast!

1 comment:

Intro


TL;DR: MEE Audio's (as of this writing) flagship Bluetooth IEM offers an impressive sound quality at its price, but fails in the end due to major connectivity issues.

Before I begin, I would just like to thank Mike at MEE Audio (yep, not MEElectronics anymore) for providing the review sample of the Sport-Fi X7 in this review. Please note that I am neither affiliated with MEE or any of its staff, nor am I being compensated for this review (other than being given the opportunity to keep the review sample). Everything in the following review is strictly my own honest opinion unless otherwise stated, and all pictures are taken and own by me. Also, please take everything stated in the review with a grain of salt. Thanks!

Having had a wonderful impression of the current state of Bluetooth-powered sound with the Brainwavz BLU-100, I felt it was time to take a look at something a bit higher-end. Fast-forward about a couple weeks later, and here I am with the Sport-Fi X7. Will these $80 Bluetooth IEMs catch up to the competition, or will they get left biting the dust? Read on and find out!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

MrSpeakers' Alpha Dog

No comments:

Introduction:

This review features only my own honest personal opinion as such should be taken with a grain of salt.

To start off, I'm the proud owner of the following headphones:
  • AKG K240
  • Beats Studio (first gen)
  • Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (32 ohm)
  • HiFiMAN HE-300
  • JVC HA-MR77XE
  • JVC HA-SZ2000
  • Koss Portapro
  • MrSpeakers Mad Dog 3.2
  • Philips Fidelio X2
  • Sennheiser HD650
  • Sennheiser HD800
  • Xiaomi Pistons V2
  • Xiaomi Pistons V3

And the newest addition, the Mr Speakers Alpha Dog.

A little backstory: In 2014, I went to Canjam Europe. Mr. Speakers was there, showing off his Alpha Dog. I tried it, and didn't like it at all. A long time passed before someone I know sent me an e-mail a few days ago and let me know that he was going to sell his Alpha Dogs for 450 euros (They're 600 euros around here). As I am a huge Mr Speakers Fan, I just went with it and I'm very happy I did, as these might be my new favorite headphones.

On to the real review now.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brainwavz BLU-100: BLU-tooth on a Budget

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Intro


TL;DR: Brainwavz' first foray into Bluetooth IEMs – the BLU-100 – is definitely a respectable one, with a smooth, bassy signature that easily appeals to most listeners.

Before I begin, I would like to thank Audrey at Brainwavz for providing a review sample of the BLU-100 in exchange for my honest opinion. Please note that I am neither an affiliate of Brainwavz nor any of its staff, nor am I being paid to write this review. Also, please take all following opinions with a grain of salt. All opinions expressed in the following review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and all pictures are taken and owned by me.

Wow…okay, so it’s been quite a while since I last got a review up. I’ve been pretty busy the past weeks that I haven’t been able to write something up in so long. By now, however, things are finally getting back in full swing, and DB Headphones is back in business!

Anyways, this week we’re yet gain taking a look at Brainwavz’ latest offering – a Bluetooth IEM. Now, to audiophiles like me, Bluetooth is by far the last thing we would take a look at if we’re looking for a new earphone or headphone by sound quality alone – the wireless audio transmission at this point just isn’t advanced enough to provide the same audio quality wired connections offer (just like how wired is better than wireless in gaming peripherals). But having already seen what Brainwavz is capable of doing, I was more than interested in taking up Audrey’s offer to review these new IEMs. Will they stand up to their wired counterparts? Read on and find out!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

MEElectronics A151P Gen. 2: Smooth Operator, Part 2

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Intro


TL;DR: A direct successor to the A151(P) and a spiritual successor to the A161(P), this second-generation A151 provides a smooth, mid-centirc sound that always makes me come back for more.

Before I begin, I would like to thank Mike at MEE Audio for providing the review sample of the A151P Generation 2 in this review. Let me clarify that I am neither affiliated with MEE Audio or any of its staff, nor am I being compensated or paid in any form by writing this review. This review features only my own honest personal opinion and as such should be taken with a grain of salt. All pictures taken in this review are taken and owned by me.

So, a couple weeks ago, I wrote a review of the MEE Audio M6 PRO, an impressive new IEM from MEE Audio and one of their many cool new releases this spring. Now, MEE Audio was kind enough to also send me a sample of another of their new releases, and this week we’re going to take a look at it – the A151P Generation 2, an update over the original A151.

(A quick note before we begin: The review sample in this review is of the A151P and not the basic A151. The P version has an inline microphone and 1-button remote; aside from that there aren’t any differences to the base model.)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

MEElectronics M6 PRO: For the Professional

4 comments:

Intro


TL;DRAn upgrade to the Sport-Fi M6 marketed towards professional musicians, the M6 PRO is a remarkably solid package on the surface, but its fiddly fit and piercing treble will turn away quite a few people.

Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Mike at MEE Audio for giving me the opportunity to review their recently-released M6 Pro. I would like to stress that I am neither affiliated with MEE Audio, nor am I being paid to write this review. All opinions expressed in the review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and as such must be taken with a grain of salt. All photos in the review are taken and owned by me.

So, not too long ago, MEE Audio revealed a handful of brand-new products, amongst them the Air-Fi Touch and Rumble, the Pinnacle P1 (which is still yet to be released later this spring), the 2nd generation of the A151, and the M6 Pro (stylized as M6 PRO). Now, I was given the opportunity to review the latter two products, and this week we’ll be taking a look at the M6 PRO first. As the name suggests, it’s a version of the original Sport-Fi M6, re-tuned and marketed for the professional musician. So, are they worth their weight, or will they be another one to bite the dust? Read on and find out.


Monday, March 02, 2015

MEElectronics M9 Classic: Your Budget M8

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Disclaimer: I was given the MEElectronics M9 Classic in return for a review. The opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own, and were not influenced by MEElectronics in any way.
Before I begin I'd like to thank Mike at MEElectronics for sending the M9 Classic out to me for review.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

DUNU Titan 1: Master of All Trades

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Intro



Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Vivian at DUNU for providing the review sample of the TITAN 1 in this review. Please note that I am neither affiliated with DUNU or any of its employees, nor am I being compensated for writing this review (aside from being provided the review sample). All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and all pictures are taken and owned by me. YMMV.

Delicate, Unique, and Utmost – these are the three words that DUNU adopts as its philosophy for creating their IEMs. If you’ve been around the forums of Head-Fi for a while, you’ll probably know DUNU as a popular company based in Taiwan, manufacturing great bang-for-buck IEMs that rival that of top-end Western IEMs. This week, we’re taking a look at their latest release – the Titan 1. Early impressions and reviews state these are some of the best IEMs in their price range – how do they stack up? Find out after the break.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Thinksound Rain 2: Rainy Days

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Intro



TL;DR: Thinksound's Rain 2 provides a pretty solid package with a smooth sound signature that should appeal to most listeners, but I find them too warm to be pleasing to my ears.


Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Aaron Fournier at Thinksound for giving me the opportunity to write this review and for providing the Rain 2 in exchange for my honest opinion. Please note that I am neither affiliated with Thinksound or any of its staff, nor am I being compensated in any form (other than the provided review sample) by writing this review. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and all pictures are taken and owned by me. Before I go any further, please take all the opinions in this review with a grain of salt. Thanks!


Thinksound is a relatively new company which specializes in giving you great sound without making a huge impact on the environment. Their eco-friendly vision seems to be following in with the likes of House of Marley, but it seems clear to the members of Head-Fi that Thinksound is aiming to become much, much bigger than that.


Anyways, Thinksound has recently released another IEM into their growing catalogue, named the Rain 2. As you can tell from the name, it is an update to an older model which, upon the release of this one, will be discontinued. Judging from impressions form other Head-Fi’ers, the Rain 2 seems to be another hit with the audiophiles, with one making some pretty bold statements. This week, we’re taking a closer look at this wooden IEM and see if they live up to the hype.



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Master & Dynamic ME03: No Compromises. No Faults. A Force to be Reckoned With.

No comments:

Intro


TL;DR: The Master & Dynamic ME03 is an impeccable piece of work, combining stunning looks and excellent sound in an IEM built to go anywhere and everywhere with you.

Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Scott Byrer, Director of Marketing at Master & Dynamic for providing a review sample of the ME03 in this review. Please note that I am neither affiliated with M&D or any of its staff, nor am I being compensated in any form (aside from being provided the review sample) for writing this review. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own, and all pictures are taken and owned by me unless otherwise specified. YMMV.

Master & Dynamic arrived pretty late to the headphone scene – with some buzz about the brand around June of last year – but they made headlines on both the consumer and audiophile headphone markets with their MH40 headphones.

Despite their relatively late arrival to the headphone scene, Master & Dynamic were quick to make their stand in the headphone market with their highly-popular flagship MH40 headphones, mixing together premium aesthetics, solid durability, and great sound quality in a combination very few headphones have ever really accomplished. Now, this week, we’re taking a look at the ME03, their high-end IEM model that supposedly follows in the steps of its full-size brother, the MH40. How will these stack up against some of the best IEMs I’ve reviewed? Let’s take a look


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Brainwavz M1: Old Dog, New Tricks

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Intro


TL;DR: Though they don't exactly have a lot to offer that makes them stand out, the Brainwavz M1 is nonetheless a solid competitor in the $50 bracket with its clear, enjoyable sound.

Before I begin, I would like to thank Audrey at Brainwavz for providing me with the review sample of the Brainwavz M1. Note that I am neither an affiliate of Brainwavz nor any of its staff, nor am I being compensated in any form for writing this review (aside from the provided review sample). All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own, and all photos are taken and owned by me unless otherwise specified. YMMV.

Just a couple weeks ago, Audrey contacted me, requesting to review one of their older IEMs. Of course, being a fan of their stuff, I was quick to reply. Sadly I didn’t give them much time because of my three other reviews the past couple of weeks, so now that I’m perfectly in the clear, let’s take a closer look at the Brainwavz M1.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Final Audio Design Adagio II – Sonic Boom

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Intro


     Before I begin, I would like to sincerely thank Yoko at Final Audio Design for providing a sample of the Adagio II for review. I would like to clarify that I am neither affiliated with Final Audio Design or any of its staff, nor am I being paid or compensated in any form by writing this review (aside from the provided review sample). All opinions expressed in the review are strictly my own unless otherwise specified, and as such, your mileage may vary. All photos in the following review are also my own unless otherwise specified.

     This is part three of a four-part review series; if you haven’t ready the other two, you can read them here (Part 1) and here (Part 2). Now, this week, we’re focusing on the entry-level model of Final Audio Design’s dynamic IEM line – the Adagio II. Priced at around $80 $35, how do these stack up against some of my favorite IEMs at this price? Let’s take a look. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

Final Audio Design Piano Forte II – Boring ‘Buds of Black and Blue

No comments:

Intro


Before I begin, I would like to thank Yoko at Final Audio Design for providing the Piano Forte II sample for review. I would also like to clarify that I am neither an affiliate of Final Audio or any of its employees, nor am I being compensated in any way for writing this review (aside from the provided review sample). All images shown in the review are my own unless otherwise specified. All opinions expressed in the review are also my own unless otherwise specified. YMMV.

This review is part two of a three-part review series; if you haven’t seen the last one, you might want to do that by clicking here. Anyways, now that the New Year proceedings seem to have died down a bit, let’s continue on with the reviewing! This week, we’re taking a look at another of the entry-level IEMs form Final Audio Design – except, well, this isn’t really an IEM. The FAD Piano Forte II is an earbud, as you can see from the image above. Oftentimes audiophiles tend to stay away from earbuds due to their inherent sound signature which is subpar compared to IEMs at the same price, but since the Piano Forte is here anyway, I might as well review it!