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Reviews by: ClieOS

Well rounded USB DAC

Posted

Pros: Leather wrapped housing. Good performance.

Cons: Volume control

[Impression] miniwatt n4 The Hong Kong based company miniwatt has quite an interesting history as they have the tendency to focus on one product at a time. I actually won their first product a few years ago in a contest, and it was the tiny tube based speaker amp called S1. The n4 under review here however has nothing to do with tube anymore, but a DAC + headphone-amp aiming toward the PC audiophiles.     Spec USB 2.0 Async Mode (driver required) supports up to 32bits/192k (upsampling) DAC: PCM1795 DAC Filter and Headphone Driver: LM4562 with independent L and R channel circuit at output stage Headphone Output: 100mW at 32Ohm Line Output: 1.8V rms (auto mute when...
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Lean, Neutral, Good Sounding Budget Headphone

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Pros: Neutral, Good sounding for a fairly low price

Cons: Long cable, Could a bit too lean for some, though EQ helps.

When it comes to Edifier, they are best known for their desktop PC speaker range and acquiring the prestigious electrostatic headphone company Stax. But just because they now own Stax doesn’t mean they are going to negate their own headphone production line. The current top-of-the-line H850 can be found online for just under US$60. Okay, maybe not quite the Stax level of headphone solely judging by the price, it still swings out quite a heavy punch in the feather weight class. Spec Rated Power: 50mW Frequency Response: 20Hz~20kHz SPL: 96dB Impedance: 32ohm Cable Length: 2M Accessories and Build Quality The packaging is fairly plain, with the only included accessory being a 3.5mm...
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A big improvement over stock Lear cable

Posted

Pros: Excellent price and builb quality that rival aftermarket IEM cable that is much more expensive.

Cons: None

Early in the year, I reviewed the Lear LCM-5. Though it is excellent sounding, the stock cable does look a little dull. At the time, Lear already announced they will release an upgrade cable for those who want to complete the whole package of sound and look. It has been released a few months ago and it is called the C2. Oh, it is actually quite affordable too. The wire inside the new cable is actually similar to the stock wire, made out of high purity silver plated OFC. However, there is where the similarity ends. First of all, the new cable has a much better finishing than the old cable. It is made in Tinsel wire fashion to ensure better flexibility as well as durability. So even...
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The new Mini+ might be the best of its kind.

Posted

Pros: One of the best sounding / measuring inline untraportable amp. Unique and well built. Mic+remote pass-through.

Cons: Would be nice to have a separated power switch.

I have reviewed the Fireye Mini from FireStone Audio a while ago and now an updated version has come out. The Mini+ keeps to the ultra-portable size while adding in a few more very useful features and mending some of its predecessor’s shortcomings. Spec Amplifier Structure: Class-AB, coupling capacitor-less. Power Structure: Built in battery power supply Headphone Impedance: 32 ohm to 600 ohm Bass Boost: Switchable, +3dB @ 130Hz Circuit Protect: Output short circuit / temperature protect Usage Time: With 100% full battery around 12hrs. Charging Method: Using PC or USB adapter to charge Charging Time: Fully charging in 1.5hrs, fast charging in 1hrs (90%) Main Opamp: Maxim MAX9722A Audio...
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Yet another ultraportable inline amp for the smartphone generation

Posted

Pros: Dual headphone-out, selectable gain.

Cons: Gain is a little high. Roo-off in sub-bass.

It seems there is a sudden surge of volume-control-less, fixed boost type of ultra-portable amps being released to the market in the recent months, likely targeting the smartphone users market which has seen enormous growth globally in the last few years. NuForce is following the trend and comes out with a small amp called the Mobile Music Pump, or MMP for short. Spec Audio Input: 1 x 3.5 mm Headphone Output: 2 x 3.5 mm Gain: 3X or 5X, selectable by user THD+N: 0.09% @ 1 mW / 0.45% @ 32 mW S/N Ratio: over 100 dB, 20 – 20 kHz A-Weighted Frequency Response: 20 – 20 kHz +/- 1.5 dB Max Output: 94 mW @ 32 ohm, 1.74 V, 10% THD+N / 49.2 mW @ 100 ohm, 2.2 V, 10% THD+N Battery Life: over 8...
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The Dolby Surround Sound Enhancer

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Pros: Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound effect for movie and music

Cons: Hiss, volume reduction.

Last time when we take a look at Spider, they were mainly a cable and IEM company. Now however, their product range covers everything from full sized headphone and small portable amps, including the Surround Pro that will be reviewed here.     Spec DSP: Dolby Pro Logic II Input/Output: 3.5mm Audio Jacks ADC Audio Performance: 93dB SNR 81dB THD Sampling Frequency: 8Hz-96kHz DAC Audio Performance: 100dB SNR 90dB THD Sampling Frequency: 8Hz-96kHz MSRP: US$90       Accessories and Build Quality The amp itself comes fairly well packed. Inside, you will find the amp, a back-clip ‘holster’, a short TRRS-to-TRRS interconnecting cable, as well as a...
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amp-S - among the best from China

Posted

Pros: Excellent sound, great soundstage.

Cons: Hard to find.

The headphone amp market in China, like its headphone market, is full of competition. Besides the bigger brands that have already made a name for themselves in the international market, there are still quite a few small companies and workshops that are highly regarded in the local market, yet remain relatively unknown to the outside world due to language barrier. Panda Audio is one such company – found in 2006 as more or less a DIY workshop, the company has earned respect among the Chinese audiophiles for producing some of the best sounding portable headphone amps around. Here we take a look at their latest flagship – the amp-S.       Spec No official spec has been...
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Portable Tube Hybrid Amp from The Far East

Posted

Pros: Excellent build quality, Good Sounding. Rollable opamp.

Cons: Hiss, Microphonics.

Elekit, or EK Japan, is a Japanese company that specializes in making educational electronic DIY kit and DIY tube power amplifier. I have a recent chance to hear their latest ‘22’ hybrid tube power amp driving a pair of CEntrance’s MasterClass 2504 desktop speakers quite beautifully on the Mook’s Headphone Festival in Singapore. The TU-HP01 under review, which also appears on the show, is the company first portable tube hybrid headphone amplifier.     Spec Vacuum tube: 2 x Raytheon 6418 Frequency response: 10Hz - 65kHz Recommended Headphone impedance: 16ohm - 32ohm Power supply: 4 x AAA or 4 x AAA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries Battery life: Approx.10 hours Dimensions: W78 x...
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Firstborn IEM of India

Posted

Pros: Wooden earpieces, good quality case, smooth and fun sound

Cons: Sightly veil

Signature Acoustics is a brand created by the India based audio retailer Pristine Note. Their first offering is the Elements C-12 - an IEM that took them 18 months of R&D, completed with a full wooden housing and aims to deliver the best bang for the bucks with an estimated price of US$50~60 with international release.     Spec Driver: 8 mm (CCAW) Dynamic Impedance: 18 Ohms @ 1Khz Frequency: 17 Hz to 20 Khz          Sensitivity: 102 dB Cable length: 1.2m (split length 28 cms) Channel Imbalance: Less than 2.5% dB @ 1 Khz     Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality The C-12 comes on a fairly innocent looking black paper...
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An unique fully discrete portable headphone amp

Posted

Pros: Tube sound without tube

Cons: Overly high gain

I reviewed the BL-2 from Tube Amp a while ago. It is a portable tube amp that is on the cleaner side of the presentation, which is quite different from the warmish, mellow sound that you would have expected from tube gear. Nevertheless, it is still an excellent sounding amp on its own. Now the company has released another portable amp to the market, the TA-1. What is unique about the TA-1 is that it is a full discrete amp - meaning instead of using fully integrated opamp, the circuit is composed mainly of individual transistors, resistors and caps. Priced around US$210 in China, TA-1 can be found between US$230~$250 outside of China.     Spec Input Sensitivity:...
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Head-Fi.org › ClieOS › Reviews by ClieOS