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Reviews by: ClieOS

Right Stuff for the Smart Age

Posted

Pros: Features Packed, reasonably Priced

Cons: Hiss as pure amp, Too high a gain for PC use..

Over the recent months, Creative has been bursting out some pretty nice portable gears aiming from the basic casual user all the way up to serious audiophiles. Most importantly, they are pricing them in a way that almost makes all other major brands look greedy. Usually that’s the strategy reserved for new start-ups or lesser known companies, but I have no complaint. If anyway, I am glad to see Creative getting, well, creative again. Two of the major factors for any tech companies to success are innovation and addition of extra value to the user – that’s what Creative is doing now, finally coming out of the shadow of other big tech brands and remaking a name of their own in era of the...
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FiiO X1 - A New Beginning

Posted

Pros: Price, Features, Overall Build Quality

Cons: None, at least not for its price.

FiiO has been quite successful with their X series of high resolution digital audio player. So much so that perhaps even they themselves didn’t anticipate that the company will have to shift its focus away from their portable amp business in order to keep up with the DAP demand. But with Apple fading grip on the pure DAP market, a new niche of higher end DAP is born from music lovers seeking a better device to replace their aging iPod. Well, maybe ‘new’ isn’t the right word here - the higher end DAP niche has been around since Hifiman HM801’s invention late last decade, but now it is in a new era of growth and competition. The significant of X1 is not in its technology or sound quality,...
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Custom foam for the Custom IEM

Posted

Pros: Improve Fit and Seal

Cons: Degrade over time.

Comply foam tip should need no introduction at this point, as it has become a norm for many brand name IEM to include a pair of them. But what we are talking here is something new – or should I say something old that has been put to new use - Comply has been selling a special foam wraps called the ‘Soft Wraps’ for custom hearing aid for a while now. The idea is that, by sticking a piece of soft foam strip to wrap around / near the nozzle of the custom hearing aid, it will ensure a tighter fit. This is especially useful since custom mold – as much as it is custom fitted to the person, it is still mostly a handmade product that subjects to tiny imperfection. Sometime it is just a tiny bit...
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Good Runner-up among the Sea of sub-$200 Protable Amps

Posted

Pros: Build Quality. Unmatch EQ with XBass and 3D Halographics Sound. Better than Average SQ.

Cons: Too High a Gain for Sensitive Headphone. EMI issue. Bulky as Protable.

[Impression] iFi nano iDSD and iCAN with a splash of iPurifer iFi Audio has gained a great success over its Micro line of small sized desktop gears, and now it is pushing into the portable world with the Nano series. The nano iDSD is USB DAC that not only works with PC, but also has OTG support for the iDevice with OS7 (via camera connection kit / CCK) and Android that have USB Audio Class driver built-in (*for older Android that doesn’t have the driver, there is still a chance that USB Audio Player PRO will work). The nano iCAN on the other hand is a pure portable amp, but infused with the magical XBass and 3D Holographic Sound we have seen on the micro iCAN. Both are retailed under...
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Great USB DAC with Decent Headphone Amp

Posted

Pros: Well built, features rich as a DAC with native PCM/DSD/DXD support, OTG for smartphone.

Cons: Headphone amp section isn't the best, Slight bulky for portable use.

[Impression] iFi nano iDSD and iCAN with a splash of iPurifer iFi Audio has gained a great success over its Micro line of small sized desktop gears, and now it is pushing into the portable world with the Nano series. The nano iDSD is USB DAC that not only works with PC, but also has OTG support for the iDevice with OS7 (via camera connection kit / CCK) and Android that have USB Audio Class driver built-in (*for older Android that doesn’t have the driver, there is still a chance that USB Audio Player PRO will work). The nano iCAN on the other hand is a pure portable amp, but infused with the magical XBass and 3D Holographic Sound we have seen on the micro iCAN. Both are retailed under...
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Stick of All Trade

Posted

Pros: Lots of features. Good price point.

Cons: Master of None.

With desktop PC sale declining and mobile devices on the rise, thumb drive sized USB DAC has become the quick fix for poor sound quality that is all too common in portable computer and smart devices. Creative’s answer to that demand is the new Sound Blaster E1 – a multipurpose USB DAC + headphone amp + mic that boosted with quite a few impressive features.     Spec SBX Pro Studio: Supported CrystalVoice: Supported Scout Mode: Supported Max. Playback Quality: 24-bit / 44.1kHz (Stereo) Max. Recording Quality: 16-bit / 44.1kHz Output: Stereo Battery Life: Up to 25 hours SNR: 106dB Headphone Out: 1 x 3.5mm jack Headphone Out / Mic In: 1 x 3.5mm jack Line In:  1 x...
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Heck of a Bargain

Posted

Pros: SQ, Build Quality, Price.

Cons: Rather simple accessories, but not a real issue at its price.

The Korean company really needs no introduction at this point. They have proven themselves as a capable IEM maker with a series of top of the line hybrid as well as some good sound yet budget friendly dynamic IEM. The new Altone 200 is the continuation of the company’s hybrid line of IEM, with a never-heard-of price point nonetheless. The best part? You are not getting lesser of SQ just because you are paying a cheap price.     Spec Driver Units: Knowles' TWFK Double Balanced Armature + 8.0mm Single Dynamic Unit Impedance: 22 ohm @ 1 kHz Sensitivity: 105 dB @ 1 kHz Power: 100 mW (Max) Frequency Response: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz Connector: 3.5 mm / 24 K Gold coated L-Type...
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Decent if not a bit Pricy

Posted

Pros: BUild Quality, Accessories.

Cons: Price.

Almost a year ago, I reviewed the XP series (XP1, XP2 and XP3) from beyerdynamic, which is sold only in Asia. The company has since introduced a few higher end models, including the DX 160 iE that is going to be reviewed here. Priced at about US$120, is it going to sound double as good as the half-priced XP series?     Spec Driver: Closed Dynamic Impedance: 47ohms Frequency Response: 10Hz ~ 25kHz SPL: 107dB/mW @ 500Hz Cable: 0.9m + 0.3m, 3.5mm stereo plug Weight: 32g       Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality   Packaging is pretty good on the DX 160 iE. It isn’t particularly outstanding, but it isn’t bad in anyway either. It is...
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Yet Another Great Budget IEM

Posted

Pros: Price. Overall Build Quality, Sound.

Cons: Lack of Accessories.

The Korea based T-PEOS surprised the IEM world with their hybrid IEM a few years ago and still continues to push for more innovative design. The RICH200 is meant to be a step up from the company’s first dynamic model D-200, but keeping the same high value-for-money factor. Spec Transducer: 8mm Dynamic Power: 3mW / 30mW (normal / max) Impedance: 32 ohm @ 1kHz Sensitivity: 102dB @ 1kHz Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 15kHz Cable: 1.2m Half-Flat with single button + mic Connector: 3.5mm L-shaped TRRS 24K Gold Plated Plug MSRP: US$28 Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality Nothing spectacular about the packaging , but nothing to really complain about either. As you might have expected,...
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The Warmer Sounding Hydird

Posted

Pros: Price. Overall Build Quality, Sound.

Cons: Not exactly an upgrade over previous model

The Korea based T-PEOS surprised the IEM world with their hybrid IEM a few years ago and still continues to push for more innovative design. As the name suggested, the H-100J is related to T-PEOS’s original flagship hybrid, the T-100. However, the T-100J isn’t meant to be a continuance but rather a rebalance, in order to appeal to those who do not like the V-shaped sound of the original T-100. Spec Transducer: 1 BA + 1 Dynamic Dual Driver Hybrid Power: 3mW / 20mW (normal / max) Impedance: 30 ohm @ 1kHz Sensitivity: 102dB @ 1kHz Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 10kHz Cable: 1.2m with single button + mic Connector: 3.5mm L-shaped TRRS 24K Gold Plated Plug MSRP: US$98 Packaging,...
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